Saturday, February 14, 2009

FIRS - oh, wait...

You know how on a popular blog - and especially on a popular YouTube video series - whenever a new addition is added all of the commentors scramble to be the first one to say 'first?' Well, that is exactly how this post feels. By all rights it should have actually been the first. Unless you consider the last post as a preface or the very introduction, just getting you comfortable. This post could also be like the beginning of the sequel to a book, giving the readers reminders of past events while cluing in those who may not have read the previous installments (the Twilight Saga is a perfect example of this). That would probably be the best definition because those that have read my other blog know all of the following information, or at least should. Therefore, this post is dedicated to those that have never heard of me or have only a vague idea of me.

Welcome to my blog: The Realm of the Humanoid Typhoon II. Back in May of 2006 I started up a blog on IGN for two reasons: the first was because E3 was just around the corner and I wanted to share my thoughts on what was coming. The second reason was because I was about to transfer schools. At the time I had been going to South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD studying Computer Science. It wasn't exactly what I had wanted but it was the closest thing I could afford at the moment. What I really wanted to do was go to school to learn how to create video games. The only two options available to me were DigiPen out in Washington state and Full Sail down in Florida. Both of these, especially considering where they were located, were very expensive. I had planned on getting my BS in Computer Science in state and then transferring to DigiPen to get an Associates. During my Junior year of college, I started seeing commercials for a Game Design major being offered at Brown College in Mendota Heights, MN. I was somewhat upset at this because I had already spent going on three years of college when I could have just gone across the state line and gotten the major I had wanted in the first place if it had been offered when I graduated from high school. Over Christmas break, I applied and got accepted into Brown. I would finish out the year at SDSU and then start the new term at the new school in July. Seeing how IGN was a gaming community, I figured it would be beneficial for others to at least get a small taste of what a gaming college was like in case they were interested in applying as well. The name of this blog: The Realm of the Humanoid Typhoon. Vash the Stampede has always been a favorite character of mine and his attitude is quite similar to my own - very joking and good natured but also very serious when the situation calls for it.

Skip ahead almost three years and I am about ready to graduate (Countdown: 33 days). During this time, I have completed four games from Concept Proposal to Gold while at school and my IGN blog has been fairly popular. I also started up a podcast series called Knights Reborn which consists of myself and three other IGN blog members talking about anything but mostly game related material. Come tomorrow we will be recording our 21st episode.

While I have been pretty good at just about every aspect of game development, the level design aspect has been my personal favorite. Animation is too slow and tedious for my tastes and texturing is definitely out. If given enough time I can turn out some amazing texture work but since I'm color-blind I need to have others tell me which colors go well together and if things that look right to my eyes look right to theirs. Programming, since that's the major I started in, I'm decent at but wouldn't care to have as my career. Audio is okay. I took piano for 10 years so I have musical ability but I get extremely frustrated when I can find the right instrument to match what I want. Besides, if I had it my way everything would be piano and only piano. Level design, however, was different. While it too can be extremely tedious, it suited my OCD-like tendencies for perfection. I could spend just enough time making things perfect while not going overboard and spend too much time. I enjoyed making levels and I was good at it. I had created a stub of our first group Unreal CTF level in the first week of class, had some people playtest it, and they said it was perfect. I have a strong love for the Zelda and Mario series for their puzzles and platforming respectively. As such, I have made some interesting obstacles within Unreal and other levels to reflect this while retaining the feel of the game that is supposed to be played.

As I had stated previously, my personality is normally very up-beat and easy going. However, I do know when it is time to be serious. I was in Boy Scouts and earned the rank of Eagle at the age of 13 - something that's very unheard of. I then went on and earned 9 Eagle Palms before my 18th birthday. During this time I was in a leadership position about as much as I was in the subordinate position. This gave me the ability know both sides of the coin - being able to follow orders and being able to give orders so that people will follow them. This trait has benefitted me in group projects throughout my years in school and in other areas as well.

That's a summary of me. I would say a brief summary but it isn't exactly brief, haha. Those that know me know that I like to make a novel out of everything. I hope this has given you at least a glimpse into what makes me me. In the next post, I'll expand a bit more (if that's possible) with some favorites. Then it's on to the primary purpose of this blog - my work pertaining to the game industry. Cheers.

- VashTS

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