Category Archives: Personal

Reflections on 2016

Today is Saturday, the 31st day of December 2016.

From here it’s very easy to feel all the doom and gloom surrounding everyone. Our senses were attacked like never before by negative media coverage this year. The future looks ever more grim and uncertain. I hope this text survives the years and reaches you at an older age, when you can look back fondly at this time and remember how great everything was.

This year celebrities died. A shitty human being was elected president (what a surprise). Planes crashed. Governments collapsed. But what really shows the state of things is the list of the top grossing movies of the year. A quick look and you will see hundreds of sequels, passable infantile copy/paste fantasies, a true sign of of the cultural depression and stagnation of this age.

This text is not about that though, but about what went on inside of you.

This year was an unforgettable one, probably the best one of your life yet. All the big risks you took paid off. When they turned out to be mistakes, you learned from them. Mistakes are blessings in disguise because they offer a chance for renewal and to learn more about yourself.

You faced some great challenges, some of them shattered you into a million tiny pieces, but you picked them up, one by one, and forged a stronger self.

You realized that taking risks is a way to fight back the materialistic culture that you despise so much. A culture that makes everyone afraid…of other people’s judgement and especially of failing. You want to live your life the way you want to.

One can’t be free when his actions are judged by fear. One can’t evolve when he doesn’t make mistakes.

You also learned to live more in the present, even if this is something you have to struggle with and remind yourself all the time. You were conditioned all your life to forget about the present and obsess about the future, a future that might not even come if Trump launches the nukes, but you won’t let that prevent you from enjoying your existence.  As Kierkegaard said, life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. It took you 29 good years to realize that.

You were not afraid of living new experiences and enjoying them for what they were. You opened doors to a brighter future, planted seeds that will grow strong with time and care, and will bear rich fruits one day.

You made a bigger effort to be more sincere with the ones you love, exposing yourself in the process, and you know what… it felt good! You apologized for mistakes you made and spent quality time with the people that matter in your life, close friends, family members and most importantly, your wife, who endured all the crap and supported you patiently.

This is the year that you learned to get out of her way and let her truly fly.

You finally killed your old judgmental controlling self. You learned to appreciate people for what they are and for the different ways that they perceive the same reality as you. You don’t want to convince people to think like you anymore, but rather to help them to be free. You learned to embrace disagreements. They can always teach you a thing or two.

You lived more as a scientist this year than previously. Not a materialistic academic expert who only believes in objective laboratory experiments, but one who doesn’t take answers for granted and try his own solutions instead, even if they turn out to be misguided.

You learned about the dangers of being connected to the “hive mind”. You learned that the majority of the great works of art you appreciate, the ones that truly showed humanity something meaningful, were created in isolation, when an artist had a vision, suffered through it’s materialization and then spawned something great. This is your personal quest for 2017. Trust your intuition and make something fresh that was never made before. It’s time for your ideas to crystallize into something the rest of the world can enjoy.

This year you were also given the blessing of being able to fulfill one of your life dreams: You contributed your vision to a cultural phenomena that the world hadn’t seen in quite a while.

In an era marked by recycled ideas, strongly held conventions and player exploitation, Overwatch sent a message to the world. A message of love, acceptance and the hopes of a brighter, more colorful future. The game truly reflects what you and the rest of the team thinks and all the hard work paid off.

The project had its ups and downs. Sometimes it was so gloomy that it was hard to trust that anything could come out of it, but as a team we kept the dream alive, working through the hard times, getting each ones backs and pouring our very soul into every aspect of the game. The result speaks for itself. It resonates deeply with people.

This year I want to do something different. Instead of wishing everyone a happy 2017, I want to thank everyone who made 2016 my best year yet. If you are reading this you know who you are!

Much love, from 2016!

My card for this year:

the-hanged-man

Thiago

 

Blogging… again?

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I created this space on my website so I can share thoughts, ideas, workflows, recommendations, personal stories and stuff like that. I don’t plan on writing very regularly and the frequency will probably vary a lot, but I still think it’ll be fun to sit down and write whenever I feel like doing so.

I think the idea to start blogging again came after I stopped following Facebook  closely. It’s funny how Facebook now feels just like cigarettes after I “quit” to me. I still lurk a bit, the same way that I still smoke one or two cigarettes every now and then, but not being exposed to as much noise anymore lead to increased focus on my personal projects.

A lot has happened since I last had a blog, about 4 years ago. I moved to California to work at Blizzard and since then I’ve had the honor of working on some of my favorite IPs ever. It’s really crazy to realize that when I started my career I had very small dreams, and now I work on the game that I would choose over any other game in the industry, Overwatch. I feel really lucky and grateful for having this opportunity and I’m having a blast!

Recently I have also discovered another passion: VR. I was mildly curious about it, never being totally convinced by the current iteration of devices until I decided to buy an Oculus DK2 to try it for good. I fell in love immediately. VR is a dream come true for environment artists and we will be able to express our ideas in ways never possible before.

I ported my Temple of Utu scene (a collab with my friend Martin Holmberg) to VR and the feeling of walking around my own creation was indescribable, it literally brought tears to my eyes. All our work, that felt so static in the editor, came to life in VR. It felt like a real place. The only other time I had this exact same feeling was when I played my very first level for the very first time. I stopped that project to focus on other things for a while, like this website, but good news: I’m back working on it. There isn’t much left to do really, and I think it will be really awesome to release something playable after several year of just doing “static” scenes. Maybe I’ll document some of the new assets here on the blog, so watch out for that!

Another really cool thing that happened with that scene was that a very talented music composer, Nate Combs, volunteered to create a theme song for it. Working with Nate was a great experience and made me look forward to working directly with music composers in the future, for other personal projects. I would send him some ideas and examples of what I had in mind, and he would show up the next day with his own compositions that were much better than what I had in mind in the first place. Everyone check out his top notch work!

Anyways, it’s hard to say if VR will really take off in this generation because it will depend on a lot of factors, but I’m pretty sure that it’s a brand new media and that it’s here to stay. Right now it’s a new frontier and no one knows how to make great experiences yet, so if you are of the adventurous type now is the perfect time to join the revolution. Maybe you will come up with new standards that everyone will follow?

I’ve been also planning a big VR project for several months now, but it’s still very far away from being presentable. All I can say for now is that this project is everything I have always wanted to make and I have never been so inspired by anything before. This project also has a different feeling than other projects in the past. I feel more mature and experienced now, so unlike my past personal projects, I really want to take the time and develop every single aspect of this project to the fullest extent possible. It’s still in the planning stages and I’m writing a lot of backstory and character development. Hopefully I’ll have something to show in a few months!

Well I guess this is it for now, this post turned out a lot longer than I intended. Stay tuned for the next post which will be a love letter to Bloodborne, a game I just completed recently that really blew my mind. See ya!