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Creation Date: 2002-02-23
Today's lesson is that of the importance of roots. Anime is my root and this picture shows how I succeed, fail, add, subtract, and change it. You can see that the large eyes of anime is copied, but changed. I don't think that there is an anime out there wit these type eyes. Of course, there's an very large finite number of eye configurations. The face is not striving to be realistic, nor is it deformed. It's not too anime, but it's got features that I say are anime. Indeed, I have created a whole new artform, that of 3D Anime/Manga. That is nothing new for me, I invented and produced the first two recorded duct tape murals. But what I would like to get across here is the willingness of the format to constrain itself to it's derivative while breaking through to a whole new level of art. The low-poly anime lighting gradients seen here are not found anywhere else. Some may criticize my work as amateur or even too simplistic, but it is a style and I make the case that this is the only real-time 3d anime ever made. Being able to actively move around an anime scene is certainly one of the coolest things I've ever seen myself. When twenty actors are all moving in sync in a real-time rendered urban metropolis, my dream will come to reality. That is why I am working myself half to death to graduate college and work on JF as well as AS3D (the Anime Director Engine).

I'd like to comment on something I heard a few weeks ago. It's really bugging me now. A famous web comic artist (you know who you are, don't take it personal) commented that a certain engine developer was "asking for it" by labeling their product as reasonable-priced. Looking at that engine developer's website, I saw that the price for the cheapest engine they sell is $70,000. Compare that to a full-time computer programmer for a year. A year is far too much time, but we'll just say that this certain programmer is thorough. After a company pays $70,000, they still need a full-time programmer to program the engine to work as a video game. The engine will only give common graphics libraries for DirectX, OpenGL, PSX, and PS2 at max. This web comic artist thinks that a game developer only willing to spend $70,000 on the simplest graphics libraries is cheap and not worthy of his time?

I can tell you seriously that a high-quality game can be produced for under $10,000. How? Risk and reward. High quality programmers right out of college need cash to pay off loans and pay for rent. But you say: "Programmers out of college == crap." but then I reply, "Hire one or two full-time to do the engine programming only." Why only the engine? Because you can contract a 3d artist over the net that kicks ass for $2,000. You tell him/her: I need a dozen game levels and forty characters in 3d max, beautiful, clean, bright colors, low poly, 512x512 bmp textures, and rated PG-13. He'll send them to you in two weeks. From then on, your programmers plug in the l1.3ds and you can watch as they add fog, dynamic lights, static world lights, light maps, explosions, steam, and skinned character movement all at 40 fps on a Riva TNT2. You give the programmer(s) a total of $8,000. Wait, did I mention that you're doing this in your apartment? Your programmers work at your apartment too. It'll be just like college again. An experienced game developer would say, "But wait, why did I give all your money away?" Because of what I said earlier: Risk and reward. If you game is high quality, you will turn your 10k into 500k. If your game is at the level I'm talking about, you'll turn it into 1.5M. If your game sux, your 10k will not net you 10k. Cry me a river.

Why I'm saying this crude statement is that this is the stance I am taking with AltSci3d. It is not a video game, but rather a 3d CG movie creator. But it's the same thing. I am a designer, I have an audience, an artist, and a programmer out of school. Guess who is the artist and programmer? Me. I'm exploiting myself paying myself $1 per hundred hours (I'll be a millionaire yet). When I'm finished, I'll have a product to sell for $20 a piece (similar to a cheap video game). My audience is narrow but significant. I believe that my initial sales will be 200 units. Cut out the middleman and I'm $4,000 richer. Then when word catches on and I use my $4,000 to gain momentum, I will upgrade to AltSci3D 2.0 and sell 10,000 units at $40 per unit (increased price for increased product, free upgrade for faithful users). Without a middleman, I'm $400,000 richer minus cost of CDs and mailing.

Why am I planning the end of the middleman? I am thinking of a game development process that forgoes $70,000 initial investment and forgoes publisher controlled development. Too often does development follow the money. A title will rely on it's publisher and will fail miserably for it. When people's livelihood is at stake, it's much better than putting their lively-hood at stake. Note how I just said livelihood and lively-hood. Livelihood is my way of saying risk while lively-hood is ability to create freely. You see what I mean?

Perhaps I'm just rambling. I'm in pain and I'm dizzy. But I'm just now gaining hope. 2:46 AM is not the time for hope. It's time for bed or work. I'm thinking bed. AS3D is being shitty again.

My parents arrive tomorrow afternoon. It'll be good to see them again, Spokane is both too close and too far. I'm certain that too close is the worse of the two.
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