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Alvaro Stuardo Bravo has been impressing us for almost two years with his amazing sculptures. Since those first sculptures, his talent has continued to grow and he is quickly becoming a world class artist. Alvaro recently surprised us with a beautiful sculpture based on the Gears of War: Judgment Reaper. I carried it around the studio and people were so amazed at the detail. It will soon find it’s home hanging on the Epic walls.

Epic Gamer and artist Tim Fangon chats with Alvaro about sculpting and other mediums he enjoys.

966372_331802133613500_473553535_oTim F: How did you get started sculpting?

Alvaro B: I started sculpting 2 years ago with a lot of questions about materials and techniques, learning from YouTube and after all the research now I feel more confident about my sculptures.

I started after I saw “Inside the Wicked Workshop” on YouTube from Chris Perna, to me was very inspiring.

TF: Who is your favorite Gears of War Character to sculpt?

AB: Definitely Marcus Fenix, I believe Marcus is the most awesome Character in the game. :)

TF: Could you describe the process for the sculpture?999059_10151843181449230_2052617188_n

AB: I start with an armature made of metal, then I cover the armature with aluminum foil. Then I start modeling the clay over the aluminum foil with rough shapes until I feel comfortable with the results. I bake the clay and the statue is ready for the paint job!

TF: What kind of clay do you use?

AB: I use Super Sculpey and Sculpey Firm which is a type of polymer clay that can be molded and put into a conventional oven to harden.

TF: How did you make it look like bronze?

AB: That was the paint job made it by my Girlfriend Carla, she painted several layers of different colors to get that finish and then she added some clear coats to bring some shine :)

964503_342751579185222_34180249_oTF: Did you know the sculpture will be on display at Epic Headquarters?

AB: That’s gonna be Fantastic! And makes me feel very happy because you guys likes what I do, to me is an honor.

TF: When did you start sketching?

AB: I been sketching all my life, I love to make drawings and When I saw Gears of War I knew that I wanted to keep improving my sketches. I loved to make drawings using just a regular ball pen and maybe some polychromes!

TF: How long have you been drawing?

AB: All my life! Since I was 4 years old.

TF: Do you create any art on PC?

AB: Yes. I make drawings using Photoshop and recently I started using Z-Brush which is pretty awesome. :)

TF: Which do you like to do more, sketch or sculpt?

AB: I don’t know which is better but I try to do both things because one helps to improve the other and because both makes me happy.

Alvaro on deviantART
Epic Gamers on deviantART

OSTCover_FINAL4The website videogamewriters.com recently posted the top 15 video game soundtracks. Two titles from Epic Games made it to the list. They decided to list only original soundtracks, not ones created as compilations. Gears of War by Kevin Riepl comes in as number twelve on the list.

Jen Bosier says, ” It’s easy to forget how revolutionary Gears was when it first released, with every aspect of the game feeling like a grand experiment. This extends to Riepl’s soundtrack which effortlessly blends strong, militaristic themes with foreboding sounds typically reserved for horror offerings.”

At number seven is The Bulletstorm Soundtrack by Michael Cielecki and Krzysztof Wierzynkiewicz. “Cielecki’s mix of chorals and brass plays as a homage to epic action set pieces and thrilling, tense adventures. There isn’t a weak track on the album and chances are you’ll find yourself remembering your favorite skill shots.”

You can get a track from each of the soundtracks for free from the Epic 20th Anniversary Original Soundtrack. You can also download the complete Bulletstorm soundtrack for free, from FilePlanet.

 

 

Despite the cluttered nature of my desk, I’ve always been able to work fine (a question I always get asked) and, no, they are not all Transformers either.

Unlike most collectors, I don’t buy everything; only designs from anime and games that interest me. So my collection is by no means random and I delight in surprising people by explaining the back-story to each of the toys on my desk. Though I spared Tim Sweeney that when he visited the studio, as he’s a nice chap after all.

I’ve always had a populated work desk, with my last job being no exception. As for my favourites, that’s a tough one. Dancougar and Final Dancougar are great, but the massive SDF-1 Macross toy is amazing. I also have a lot of love for my Tetsukyojin toy and Kaneda’s bike from Akira. Talking of big figures, the fullsize RX-78-2 Gundam in Japan would be nice to have too.

My current desk  only represents about 10% of my total collection, as I have a lot of toys carefully wrapped up in boxes. There’s also quite a turnover too, as I get newer toys and replace older ones (as I prefer accuracy over nostalgia).

In my spare time I run a mecha gaming site, called Mecha Damashii, and used to look after an original Virtual On cabinet. I also play a lot of mecha games, along with everything else out there obviously, and have won a fair few tournaments over the years as well.

My mecha gaming knowledge as also been helpful in my job, particularly during the two years when I was lead designer on Strike Suit Zero: a space combat game featuring transforming mecha. I came up with the core mechanics and overall design, as well as bringing Junji Okubo and the composer Paul Ruskay on board. However, I left a year before the game was released, so the final game wasn’t exactly what I’d intended. The balancing was off and the mecha had a time limited transformation, among other  things. That aside, all my mecha knowledge was very useful in making the game and hopefully one day I will be able to make another mecha game of my own.

In the meantime, enjoy the photos of my crazy desk and don’t mind me as I have more mecha toys to obtain and mecha games to play…

Ollie Barder – @Cacophanus
Senior Game Designer
People Can Fly

ollie_desk_1My entire desk of toys, plus stuff I need for work obviously…

ollie_desk_2The Swedish flag Optimus Prime is holding was a present from Arcade Berg, another designer at People Can Fly. The small Gundam at the front is the Hi-Nu Gundam from Beltorchika’s Children and one of all-time favourite mobile suit designs.

ollie_desk_3I tend to cluster the toys together, so I thought I should give a top down view. You can just about see the Metal Composite Unicorn Gundam in the centre.

ollie_desk_4I’m a big fan of Gurren Lagann, so you can see Simon in the Lagann and the final form of the mecha tucked away. I also love Aura Battler Dunbine and the alternate colour Billbine was a limited edition figure. Samus from the Metroid games also makes an appearance too.

ollie_desk_5

Interesting shot this, as it features the Layzner in the centre (a very influential series), as well as the Dougram (that inspired much of Battletech) and the mighty Crossbone Gundams at the rear. The White Dingo GM Sniper II is also from a Dreamcast game called Rise from the Ashes. The little ships either side of the Layzner are the OF-1 Daedalus from an excellent game called Image Fight, which in turn inspired the fantastic Radiant Silvergun.

ollie_desk_6

The shiny blue mecha at next to the monitor is Tetsujin 28-go, pretty much the granddaddy of all modern mecha. In front of that is MBV-04-G Temjin from the first Virtual On, with the Burglary Dog at its feet. I also have the regular coloured Billbine too.

ollie_desk_7

Link is at the front, as I adore the Zelda games , and both Getter Robo and Mazinger Z give him backup from the rear. This version of Mazinger Z is from the new series and it transforms into a giant fist. Overman King Gainer and Xan are also in the shot, as I think both the series and designs (by Akira Yasuda) are fascinating.

ollie_desk_8

The final top-down shot and you can see Sam from Vanquish, the mighty Final Dancougar as well as the YF-29 Durandal with super packs. The blue mecha in the top of the picture is the VF-1J Max Type with super packs from the original Macross. Max Jenius, its pilot, is also one of my favourite characters in all of Macross.

UNREAL ENGINE 4 LEADS NEXT-GEN MOBILE

photo 2Today marks a new technological milestone in Unreal Engine history.

Thanks to an exciting collaboration with our partners at NVIDIA, we are demonstrating desktop PC game content developed with Unreal Engine 4 on NVIDIA’s next-generation mobile processor, “Logan.”

The demonstration unveiled today is special because it is running on OpenGL 4.3, the most advanced specification for rendering graphics across a wide range of platforms. In addition, Logan is a fingernail-size system on a chip (SOC) that features the same Kepler GPU architecture that powers the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, 780 and Titan video cards.

For the past three years at GDC, Epic has chosen to develop and showcase our high-end technology demonstrations – Samaritan, Elemental and Infiltrator – on NVIDIA Kepler-based GPUs. Now we have that same powerful GPU architecture in a mobile chip.

NVIDIA is showing its vision for the future of games by running Unreal Engine 4 PC game content on its new mobile chip to show what is possible, and to urge developers to be freethinking with their aspirations.

This bridges the gap between highly desirable PC game experiences and what we are already achieving on mobile devices with Unreal Engine 4 and Logan. Mobile games soon will be built using the same architecture as PC games, following the latest standards, and using the most powerful, scalable tools.

We think the next generation of games will be the most incredible one yet, and we’re just getting started.

Read Epic founder Tim Sweeney’s blog post for NVIDIA.

OTHER EPIC AND UNREAL ENGINE HAPPENINGS AT SIGGRAPH

photo 1Epic Games Senior Graphics Programmer Brian Karis will show the Unreal Engine 4 Infiltrator demonstration at SIGGRAPH’s annual Real-Time Live! showcase for interactive visuals which runs from 5:30 – 7 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, July 23 in Hall A.

Four senior members from our art team will discuss Epic’s character art pipeline in the ZBrush theater (Exhibit Hall C, Booth 529) on Wednesday, 7/24 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. PT. Come see Art Director Wyeth Johnson, Lead Character Artist Kevin Lanning, Senior Character Artist Mike Kime and Senior Character Artist Mark Morgan if you’re here!

Epic’s Brian Karis and developers from 2K, Autodesk, Pixar, Ready at Dawn, Sony Picture Imageworks, Treyarch, and Ubisoft will present a course, “Physically Based Shading in Theory and Practice” on Thursday, July 25, from 9 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. PDT in Ballroom AB. Brian will talk about Epic’s approach to physically-based shading in Unreal Engine 4.

Our friends at Vicon are showing their latest demonstration using Unreal Engine technology at Booth 711. Here SIGGRAPH attendees can see the action of two mocap actors captured by Vicon’s Blade 2 software and imported directly into Unreal Engine 3 – all rendered in real time onscreen, live on the show floor.

imagesIt’s that time of year again! E3 has begun, and we’re in Los Angeles cheering on developers who are sharing new details about their upcoming games this week. In addition to talking with folks in our meeting room, LACC West Hall #501A, we’re revealing several cool new demos with our partners.

E3 attendees can stop by and see us at NVIDIA’s booth, South Hall #2323. Here we’re demonstrating the latest version of Epic Citadel running on the SHIELD. It’s the only place where you’ll see such advanced mobile content running on NVIDIA Tegra 4 graphics on the show floor.nvidia-shield_angle

We’re also unveiling the Unreal Engine 4 Infiltrator demo streaming from the PC to the SHIELD. You should totally check this out, so come to NVIDIA’s booth if you’re here, or watch facebook.com/UnrealEngine and @UnrealEngine for updates.

There’s more special news. You’ve probably seen or heard about the Oculus Rift, which is development hardware for games for the Oculus VR headset. You have to experience Oculus for yourself to understand how awesome it is. Just search YouTube for reaction videos and you’ll get the gist.

OculusRift1So what are we bringing to the table? Well, during his ‘Epic Friday’ spare time, our senior programmer Nick Whiting got the Unreal Engine 4 Elemental demo up and running on the Oculus Rift! From there our team worked closely with the Oculus guys to optimize the experience for VR and inject some memorable touches.

For the uninitiated, Epic Friday happens on the second Friday of each month here at Epic. It’s a day that gives employees the opportunity to pursue passion projects and work on anything they like. It’s helped bring clever features to our games and cool new capabilities to the engine.

Elemental is our first Unreal Engine 4 demo on the Oculus platform and we’re eager to see how people like it. Working together with the latest hardware and updated demo make a powerful combo, and it’s only the beginning of what’s to come.

nickIf you want to know how Nick brought Oculus support to Unreal Engine 4, check out his Gamasutra blog post. Also, if you’re an Oculus developer please try out the custom Unreal Development Kit if you haven’t done so already.

Folks visiting Oculus at E3 can also try flying, running and shooting as a virtual mech with Hawken, which is one of the best Unreal Engine 3 experiences on the Rift that we’ve tried to date.

On June 6 we welcomed NVIDIA and Oculus VR to the new Unreal Engine 4 Integrated Partners Program. This helps put their technologies in even more developers’ hands, and we can’t wait to see what our licensees build next. We are fortunate to work with such talented people and couldn’t be more excited to help kick off a new wave of games thanks to their support.

Here’s to a great E3!

Your friends at Epic




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