1996 - The beginning

This is a section spanning my earliest attempts at 3D modelling when I was still a kid. I got first interested in 3D art in 1996, when I was 12. This got me started on my career as a 3D artist which was inaugurated 6 years later when I started my first job at Drago Entertainment. In the meantime I occupied myself with making art for different personal projects and even some internet community projects. Occasionally I'd even get a paying job. This is roughly the timeframe of images here, some of them overlapping with my early days at Drago.

To the right, at the top of the article is my first scene I have ever rendered; oddly enough I can just about remember trying to fake the lamp's glow by pointing a second light at it. It's nothing exciting I'm afraid - I was not a child prodigy. Soon I'd be attempting a little more ambitious projects, though. One I remember was this ship, which was maybe a year (?) later on, meant as an illustration for a short story I was writing for a competition. I distinctly remember going overboard (pun purely accidental) with the poly-count and having to switch to bounding boxes on camera move. The PC I had at the time, if I recall correctly, was a Penitum 200Mhz MMX with 32MB of ram. I think the video card was an S3 virge (remember those?) with a whopping 2MB of video memory.

I'm awfully hazy on my childhood memories and it's hard for me to even get these in chronological order but I think my first project was creating some art for a browser game - which wasn't really much of a game, it was tacked onto a forum about ancient Rome. It was purely for fun and had few rules and was pretty much a glorified forum with some basic trading built into it but people expanded on that and created their own meta-games - it felt like a really slow RPG session on a forum.

My first serious attempt at game development and the thing that convinced me I could do this for a living was working on a project with Rob Spencer who was attempting to make a remake of Transport Tycoon - that was well before openTTD was as big as it is today. I spent countless days over summer (I was still going to school, remember I was a kid then!) and I've made over 150 buildings for the game which we never finished.

Eventually some of them found their way to the nice people at Simutrans (another TT remake). They were even nice enough to give me a mention in the credits! I also designed the menus and created lots of icons and buttons and was working on roads and bridges when the project started to grind to a halt. Don't know what happened to Rob afterwards. I think he was at Uni when he was working on the remake. We lost touch when the project fizzled out.

Another abortive attempt at game making was the brief period of working on a Daggerfall remake. Although the project under different names has been going for decades now (now under the name Dungeon Hack)! This had a positive outcome in that it started me hosting Daggerfall remade/inspired music - which I still do now. ReDF as it was called at times (DFR or FReD at others) was overly ambitious and comprised of many fool-hearty young people and Brendan, as self-proclaimed martial arts bum. It was fun and educational. The low-poly models were too low poly but at least I made a decent render for the website background (the interior of a tower with the opened book) and met some really nice people.

Around about this point I think I started working for Drago, it's been some time now, can't really pin it down very well. My stint in Drago was somewhat short and as a junior artist I wasn't getting paid a lot of money so I continued to work odd jobs like low-poly models for outsourcing companies or some architectural visualisations and transferring architectural plans from paper to CAD - hey, whatever paid the bills.

By this time I was obviously out of high school and earning a leaving. I started university the same year and I'm not sure how (I think a friend from Drago who also happened to be attending the same university recommended me) but I was asked to do a short animated eye-catch video for a comedy review. This was one job that didn't see me get paid in any other way than getting free tickets to said event but it a was fun assignment amongst the more bland but actually paying jobs like making websites.