It’s with a pang of nostalgia (and some shame) that I admit that I re-stumbled upon this blog after a frenzy of Googling my own name (we’ve all been there), and you know what, I enjoyed it and I missed it so I’m back, but for how long? Who cares?! Forever! But, I think we need a sit down and a catch up, followed by a long hard look in the mirror and possibly some crying for good measure.

After finishing my degree at Salford University I trotted off to this little thing called University, but more of it. I did a Masters, yes, I am a Master of Video Games now, according to Birmingham University at least, but my history of high Peggle scores could have told you that.

Fresh faced – for the second time – I got my first job at the now defunct (don’t look at me) Evolution Studios, where we put our collective talents together to make the double platinum racing arcade-sim, DRIVECLUB. I loved it there, I learned a lot there, and I wouldn’t be half the artist I am today if it wasn’t for that studio.

DRIVECLUBWhile Evolution are still singing sweet vehicular music as Codemasters Evolution, I decided to try my hand at independent game development and joined forced with the arcane Secret Sorcery where we released a critically acclaimed God-Sim Tethered, available on a VR platform near you. VR was different, going independent was different, I’ve become a jack of all trades, master of none.

TetheredBut enough about me and my rock-and-roll party lifestyle. Friends, colleagues, possibily (most likely) even strangers, stay tuned for the next episode of me, Lucy. Peace.

A new age is upon us, an age where Dead Metal has travelled through the aether and landed right in our laps in all its glorious roboticness, faster than Dr. Botsworth accidentally killed one of his patients. I have endured, oh how I have endured, a rough couple of months tripping over messy production pipelines, re-scoping, de-scoping and no-scoping, to get this project finished. And now it’s over. Tell socialising to get its best dress on, I’m taking it out!

Dead Metal Poster 01Dead Metal is, what we’re going to call, a third-person, tower-defence, survival, online cooperative arena-based shooter, with robots and cowboys and guns and mild relationship dilemmas of the highest calibre of mildness. Players can choose one of 4 playable characters, each of which have their own personal set of statistics, such as weapon type, speed, health and sex appeal.

Dead Metal Poster 02The once civilised mining town of Whitefalls has become victim to one of the most deadliest virus’ in the Wired West, and it’s the players’ job to help them. Or blow them up. Let’s play and see! The game features 4 different arenas, each with a different completion criteria before the player can progress to the next level. So ladies and gentleman, I think it’s time to buckle up, and go kick some bot!

Dead Metal Poster 03

Dead Metal was created by 5 talented undergraduates as part of a student project. To date, Studio 42 has no plans to continue the production of Dead Metal. If you would like to contact any of the team members, please click the following through-links.
Simon Bramwell – Producer and Programmer
Liam Duncan – Lead Programmer
Andrew Johnson – Audio Producer and Level Designer
Lucy Anna Lowe – Lead Character and Texture Artist
Tommy Turner – Lead Level Designer
Special Thanks to Jonathan Dunn for his help with the music.

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To download Dead Metal click here. http://www.moddb.com/games/dead-metal

Because robots are completely defenceless against other robots, and especially robots with guns and hats, the also team need guns… and hats. Big hats. Hats so big even Jesus himself would wear them. And he would. Always.

As my first attempt at a weapon, Dr. Botsworth’s pistol went quite well, apart from the seam issue and the screaming children. As the problem with many video game assets, this is way too brown. The glowing pink and green bands help bring it to life, but really, this is just another clump of mud that made it on screen.

tumblr_medntuKFDY1qgg4olo1_1280The Goliath Explorer is a commodity no adventurer could do without! It’s guaranteed to kill with ever shot. I pushed myself to go really low poly with this, the main issue being that I scaled down a 1,024 texture to 512 and lost a lot of hard edges.

tumblr_mh57u78kIf1qgg4olo1_1280The sniper rifle makes a nice sidekick if you know how to aim a gun, and handle a gun, and shoot a gun, since it’s got enough kick to make a baby koala completely hairless. The alternate texture has been created for the boss enemy within the game. Who also happens to be a retextured character within the game. But I’ll never tell!

003For players who like to rip through enemies, then rip through the ripped remains of enemies, Old Rusty is the choice for you! With more power than you can shake an incredibly long stick at, Old Rusty will be stopped by no robot. Unless that robot also has one, too. And then, well, you’d need a dragon or something if you want to stand a chance.

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05In case you feel the guns in your hand aren’t quite enough, you can pay for guns to do the shooting for you. That’s right, why play the game when you can watch our AI do it? The turret takes parts from the gatling gun model, and puts them in a shiny new body. Bar the gatling gun clones, this model was created by http://tommyturner.co.uk.

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It’s been a tough couple of months, and I mean tough. It seems when you get a quadro of rowdy Westlanders together, they usurp. “3d!”, they exclaimed, “Get us in 3d, we’re fed up of looking at this line of pixels, and have you ever tried to dodge something without any depth perception?”. I tried to reason, I tried to keep Dakota at bay, “BACK BEAST” I cried, but do you expect me to be able to deny a woman of that calibre? So through the dimensional-streams they swam. Could I stop them? No I could not. But when the boxy Dakota minced through the portals, I just found I didn’t care any more.

Dr. Botsworth was the first into the mix and when it comes to getting two rapid-fire revolvers being held to my head, I find myself quite all right with that. In my opinion, he’s pretty high poly for what he needs to be, but as my second ever character model, he ain’t too shabby.

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Dillinger got stuck in the inter-dimensional portal, I told him to lay off the lambasted crackle snaps, but he was having none of it. So when his stomach and below were still trapped in the portal, all I could do was laugh. The sphere proved difficult to unwrap. I basically turbosmoothed a box, and then laid out the sphere as you would a papercraft box. It’s not ideal, but it was easy enough for a cel-shaded look.

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There she is, the fembot of the hour. I’m most proud of this model, she’s lovely and clean and low poly. My kind of gal! I struggled a lot with her chest; the shape in the concept was rather odd, so I had to compromise a lot, making her a bit more boxy. I think she’s all the better for it.

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Fancying himself a bit of a lone ranger, Hastings loved it when the rest of the funky bunch left. Swanning about with all them pixels, throwing 64bits into the 16bit world to watch their framerate drop. Those guys hate him. Dillinger was so saddened he tried to run back through the portal, only to go and get himself stuck again. But out he came, and he brought the woes of cloth physics with him. Still trying to suss out his cape. More news on that pending or something.

01-Recovered

Spellbooks; they’re just like normal books but occasionally, when reading aloud, there’s a high probability of you conjuring The Dark One, Bringer of the Apocalypse and The End All into your living room. And you don’t want that. It’s crowded. But not all spellbooks are bad, unless they were written by Stephenie Meyer, in which case you should probably get used to the taste of chloride. This spellbook isn’t bad, I wrote it, meaning the only thing you’ll have to worry about is that it might occasionally combust into some kind of yawn.

This is your atypical regulation spellbook, leather bound, hardback, belt seal for maximum security, doodles of unmentionables across the blurb, you know the type. I’ve uploaded all the .psd files for this concept, as a demonstration of how I construct my layers and the methods I use to digitally paint assets in the hope that someone, somewhere will learn how not do to things bad. The package also includes the .psd file for the diffuse texture for the 3d asset, again, portraying how I construct my textures (normal and specular were generated using CrazyBump).

Spellbook

The 3d version of the spellbook is way high poly, weighing in at 289polys/600tris. The book has been uploaded for demonstration purposes, so that users can play around and edit the base geometry or try creating their own textures using my UV layout. This book is free to use so long as the user credits me at http://lucyannalowe.com.

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The package contains .psd for concept and textures, .max files (2012/2013) for the spellbook and .obj files for the spellbook.

If you would like to download the package please click here.

http://bit.ly/11uYojW

 

Things are moving forward, which, in my opinion, is the only direction things should ever move in. Apart from moon walking and parallel parking. When the Medic was created, he had a heavy steampunk influence. It was at that moment when Steampunk winked at me and said, “Hey, I’m Steampunk, want to do it?”. How could I refuse a preposition like that? Tangled in an unethical, implausible, insatiable love affair, myself, Steampunk, Western, Mining and Sci-fi embarked to spew our design goodness all over robots four. Or three. I’m way out of my depth with this maths.

The Fembot was the first to feel the full gravity of our force. Namely because she was still wearing a tutu and pink really was not her colour. But neither is aggressive sexism. Taking inspiration from Joe Benitez’s Lady MechanikaI rustled up some classier steampunk dress designs followed by heavy holsters and straps. She looks weird.

After a lot of brain crunching, I finally produced an elegant yet will-drink-your-coolant-fluid-for-breakfast look. Her mood dramatically improved now that her breastplate isn’t on show. I don’t see her issue, she’ll never find a marriage-material man dressed like this.

Our little banditto Dembot became the little steampitto Dembot after I’d finished with him. C’mon, I tried! Look at the material I had to work with. It’s not like I could have said something along the lines of “The Dembot demolished his banditto roots for a punkier, spunkier, steampunkier kind of look.”. Oh… Shoot…

After a lot of mining-type iterations, and I mean a lot, more iterations than you can shake a pickaxe at, the Dembot was finally dressed to, well, explode I guess.

What’s a ranger without rad Steampunk goggles, right? Not a ranger, is what. You can’t fool me. Getting a complete overhaul from the motherboard up, the ranger has a shiny new body, which he scuffed within the hour. “I want to snipe zappercattle from Electric Basin!”, he said, “I’ll be careful!” he said, “I won’t trip, I promise!” he said. “No.” was my reply. I should have warned him about the loose wires in Electirc Basin, and with his farsightedness and gangly legs, he was begging for a fall. Why, why didn’t I program him to obey orders?!

After a bit of patching up, his booties cleaned and his hat straightened, the ranger was ready for battle once more and this time he has a bird companion. A canary if you want to get technical, but we never want to get technical, what do you think we are, robots?

Weapons. All good cowboys need a weapon. Well, no, all bad cowboys need a weapon. So all good bad cowboys need a weapon. Word.

The Medic Bot – or Glob, if you want to refer to his improper title – wields dual pistols, because, you know, he likes to heal people with his bullets… Twice as many bullets. Get in the way of one of his missiles and you’ll get a one way ticket to salvation. But he’s not a great shot. Although he can do some neat spinny things with his guns!

Fancying himself a bit of a sharpshooter, probably because I programmed him that way, the Ranger likes himself a rifle. The exit wounds from these will leave a tunnel so big you’ll only be good for a keyhole afterwards. Or a straw. You may struggle with Angel Delight.

The Fembot likes a big set of guns in her hands. Well, just one gun. A handheld gatling gun. With a drill on it because apparently they’re supposed to be some sort of robot cowboy steampunk miners. Whatever happened to that, Simon? This chain gun sprays bullets so thick and fast you better hope you packed a priest fully prepared with your Last Rites.

The Dembot likes to make things go boom in the night. It’s never the sexy kind. If there were some way for the Dembot to symbolise how he felt about explosives, he’d probably explode. With a blast radius that could knock even that Fallout 3 NPC that got stuck in the floor on my save off its feet, the Dembot has got wide-breadth explosions covered – mostly with napalm.