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

 

Office tutorial playable demo

Earlier this week I released a playable demo of the office environment that you can download right now and take for a spin.

The demo can be downloaded right on my newly created gumroad page:

> DOWNLOAD DEMO

Work on the tutorial package has been going well, but it still needs some editing and a lot of writing for the “manual”. I’ll also see if I can squeeze in OSX and VR versions this weekend.

On a side note, It was a good feeling to release something after a really long time – the last time I remember releasing something playable (made completely by myself) was way back in the Counter-Strike days. I don’t know why I never made Zest Foundation or some of my older works playable… no better way for an environment artist to show his work huh? Hopefully, with things getting easier by the day, more environment artists will  share their works that way too.

On that front, I’ve been making some slow progress on VR versions for both Sampa and the Throne Room scenes. I’ll have more news about them soon :)

My first video tutorial coming soon!

Here’s something I always wish was available when I was learning environment art: A complete recording of an environment creation, from start to finish. Seeing that there are basically no tutorials like this available I thought I’d try and make one.

I started this environment without any specific ideas in mind, only a very vague image of what I wanted it to be. I created a few modular pieces as a start and played around with them, eventually seeing interesting shapes and new spaces the more I worked on it.

I recorded every single step along the way: From the moment I created my work folders to the last post-process adjustments. My goal is to offer you a complete overview of my workflow for creating videogame environments.

I created a hotsite where you can read more information and subscribe to my mailing list for a nice 20% discount when the tutorial launches. Please check it out on http://www.unreal4environments.com/

For now enjoy the final screenshots and stay tuned for the final release, which I hope should be pretty soon!

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