News Design Artwork Photos Articles
  Top of the World 01.Dec.2010
Level Design Shopping The perfect place for Level Designers to go shopping!?! A store which sells the essentials that so often litter all computer game levels, crates and barrels! Awesome!

The bane of computer game levels is the blob of cover to hide behind while waiting for the sad red screen splat to disappear and the predictable regeneration health bar mechanic to kick in. luckily for designers everywhere, crates and barrels can suit any environment and they never look out of place!

One place I have always wanted to visit is New York and coupled with the fact that a friend of mine recently moved there, I thought it was time to visit the Big Old Apple and see what it was all about!

New York is full of so many iconic buildings that I could not miss the opportunity to see the Empire State Building. Standing 1250 ft / 381 m tall with 102 floors it was completed in 1931 and became the tallest building in the world, a title it held for 40 years.
Empire State Building

Victoria The capital city of British Columbia is Victoria which is located on Vancouver Island 100Km south of Vancouver. (which does not make any sense) The connection to Victoria is either via small planes which are expensive but quick or via coach/car and then the ferry.

Victoria has a real old British vibe with plenty of village style pubs and a more relaxed way of life. A friend of mine told me to visit a couple of places during my stay and the Bengal room in the Empress Hotel was gorgeous, very cool atmosphere.

Overlooking the city of Victoria is Craigdarroch Castle which was built between 1825-1889 for the Dunsmuir family. The castle has 39 rooms spread out over 4 floors which have been restored to their former glory by a beautiful collection of 19th century antiques.

The castle is a located in a leafy suburb about 20 minute walk from the city center and easy to find on a map. The front of the castle has a large central tower which connects all floors and the design is simply amazing considering the age of the place.
Craigdarroch Castle

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral This photo album is from a day trip visit to Sophia while coming back from a ski resort in the mountains of Bulgaria. I only recently discovered these pictures while looking for some reference images for a new project.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches in Europe and was built between 1904-1912 by Alexander Pomerantsev. The church is a cross-domed basilica with a central gold-plated dome that is 148ft / 45m high.
Mr Happy

  Sunny days 01.Oct.2010
The Daily Planet The Marine Building was built in 1930 by architects McCarter & Nairne and is located off Burrard Street in the heart of downtown. The building is a classic example of Art Deco and is styled in a water theme which is present throughout all floors and the exterior.

I always thought the front entrance looked familiar but I could never put my finger on where I had seen it before. Recently I have been catching up with the TV series Smallville and then I saw it, the front door to the Daily Planet in all its glory!

The 374 Pavilion Engine is located inside a spacious building next to the Roundhouse Community centre. The locomotive first rolled into the city of Vancouver on May 23, 1887 with 150 passengers.

In 1945 the locomotive was placed on a section of track at Kitsilano Beach where it was largely forgotten about and suffered from the sea salt air. Eventually the locomotive was restored for Expo 86 and then moved to it's current location.
Engine 374 Pavilion

Spider Woman While wandering around one lunchtime I accidently came across a troupe of woman who were dancing on the side of the Vancouver Block building which was built in 1912 by architects Parr and Fee.

Suspended by ropes the woman bounced off the sides of the building while mostly hanging upside down doing various dance moves. The building also has a gigantic clock tower on the top which was used in the TV series Smallville as the home of the Green Arrow.

While on my way to a friends house for a party I came across a cool sign by the side of the road. A print shop on the north shore was having some fun with a corny word joke and it made me smile.

It is certainly something catchy for passing traffic and is also double sided so plenty of fun for both directions. It is cool how such a simple thing as a funny sign outside a shop can make the difference and be memorable.
Toilet Humour

Good Friday Now this is how Fridays should be, Funkin fever time! I spotted this in a shop window while wandering around town recovering from a friday night hangover. It seemed like fate to find this sign after such an awesome night.

My friend liked the sign so much he had it reprinted onto a T-Shirt which did look cool at a Halloween party. I was also trying out the wacky north american tradition of crazy fancy dress this year, what a night!
Calendar Pin-up

  Stepping outside 01.Sep.2010
Garibaldi Lake Recently I went for a long hike up to a Glacier lake in the mountains north of Vancouver. The trail started out beneath tall shady tree that were covered in long tentacles of moss like the forest was home to giant moss spiders.

After a long trek along various forest paths the trail led down to the waters edge of the lake and the view was breathtaking. The far side was surrounded by giant snowy mountains and the waters of the lake was a vivid light blue colour that looked so pure and fresh.

After slowly crawling up a logging track in a four wheel drive suv, the trail for Brandywine Meadows started with a huge panoramic view of the surrounding snow covered mountain peaks glistening in the midday sun.

Eventually after a gentle stroll along various dirt tracks I reached the start of the Brandywine Meadows and the view was gorgeous. The place felt untouched, fresh and teaming with all sorts of wild life while vivid coloured flowers surrounded my feet in all directions.
Brandywine Meadows

Elfin Lakes The Elfin Lakes trail is a leisurely walk along wide forest paths peppered with wild flowers and berries, followed by a gentle stroll across rolling hill with gorgeous views of weathered mountains in the distance.

The trail was an easy incline with no nerve tingling height issues (lucky for me) but it was a long distance of 22km (round trip). The final destination felt more like a couple of ponds than lakes, but the surrounding view of the snowy mountains was inspiring.

It seems I have been trekking through bear country the past couple of weeks and just like Yogi bear, food snacks close by to the ground are so much easier to eat than having to find and hunt your own meals.

I found this sign at one of the camp sites I passed through while out walking Garibaldi Lake and it made me laugh. Probably the best place to sleep at night is with your food up in the tree's, you are less likely to become a midnight bear snack then!
Food Storage

Sexy Guiness Ah the delights of drinking Guinness on a lazy saturday afternoon in the pub, a trip down memory lane and crazy times in Dublin for me many years ago.

I found this sign out walking one afternoon and it made me smile, the perfect introduction to meals of iron and goodness snuggly fitting into a glass topped with a four leaf clover!

  Vagrant Ventures 01.Aug.2010
Vancouver Library After weeks of wandering around pillars of glass and steel I had almost given up hope of finding something architecturally cool in Vancouver, when one day while walking home from work, I discovered something awesome.

Across the street from me stood a building that looked like the Colosseum in Rome and it was beautiful. It was no longer a wreck of broken stones and crumbling walls but a living breathing entity, home to a collection of books and it looked gorgeous.

On my way to a Bocce game on the other side of town I stumbled across a giant electric substation in the middle of the suburbs. Cordoned off behind high metal fences stood a mass of coils and wires that would even make Dr. Frankenstein tingle with delight!

There is something magical about industrial electricity equipment, everything just feels so cool and complex looking. I have no idea how it all works but if there was ever a tour of the facility I would be there in a blink of an eye.
Vancouver Electric Substation

The Chief Hike Looming above the small town of Squamish is The Chief, a three peaked rocky monster with a trail that will put hairs on your chest! A climb that has large rocky steps, steep forest paths and plenty of scary narrow ledges.

I assumed that the hike was going to be a gradual climb up various forest trails, some boulders to climb over and the occasional viewpoint of distant mountains. I certainly did not expect I was going to be climbing steep ladders and using metal chain ropes! Crazy!

I have always wanted to keep a Christmas tree up indoors all year round because it looks so warm and happy with glowing lights and sparkling decorations. But every year I get talked out of my crazy idea and the xmas tree is undecorated and put away again.

While out on a hike around Whistler I found my dream Christmas tree all decorated and looking so cool. It reminded me of my annual desire to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year round, maybe next year I will get my wish.
Christmas Tree

Vancouver Fireworks What could be more entertaining than four teams from around the world trying to dazzle an entire city with a large over the top firework show synchronized to music!

Set on a giant barge in the middle of the English bay spread out over a two week period, it was a perfect way to end a sunset stroll along the beach. Watching the evening sky lit up with brightly coloured trails of dust and smoke while being bathed in the sounds of music was gorgeous.
Big Foot

  Outdoor Snapshot 01.Jul.2010
Treetop Gardens While strolling around English Bay enjoying the cloudy overcast British weather, I noticed something on the top of a nearby skyscraper. Perched high above the ground touching the sky was a tree, yes a tree!

I know rooftop gardeners love to create the illusion of a tranquil oasis high above the sea of concrete below, but growing a tree up in the clouds seems to me taking the challenge to a new level. I am sure sitting underneath that tree looking to the horizon must be sublime.

A new statue by Douglas Coupland can be found on the edge of the sea wall of downtown Vancouver harbour. Made from large square blocks like something from an old 8-bit game is the outline of an orca whale.

A strange but compelling mixture of brightly contrasting colours and a pixel like structure makes this statue an interesting reflection of modern digital times. Looking at odds with its surroundings due to its resolution it feels like a model in a computer game being displayed at the wrong LOD level.
Digital Statue

Vancouver Sunset Sometimes it is a case of being in the right place at the right time. I was walking around Stanley park with a friend and noticed a couple of people with fancy camera's pointing at the Vancouver skyline and waiting.

A beautiful red sunset was slipping behind the treetops of Stanley Park and reflecting in the glass windows of the Vancouver skyscrapers beyond. Add to that the calm waters of Coal Harbour perfectly mirroring the horizon while a wispy full moon was gliding high above and you have the perfect moment.

My first sighting of a Vancouver Eagle while walking around Stanley park. It took me a couple of attempts to get close enough but eventually I got lucky and the eagle turned round at the right moment for a good photo.

What I did find strange was how the other birds (crows and seagulls) were flying around the eagle squawking like crazy. I assumed most birds would be afraid of an eagle due its size and strength but it seems this is not the case, some birds just don't care.
Vancouver Eagle

Office Invaders While sitting in a meeting at work up on the 15th floor of a skyscraper discussing the lack of features of the in-house editor, a friend next to me noticed something out of the window. The building opposite was home to a post-it note space invader.

What made this discovery even more amusing was that the makeshift office invader could not be seen from the pavement below, but only from buildings opposite. Nevertheless it was an awesome distraction from the meeting and made me smile and that is what life is about!

  End of a Chapter 01.Jun.2010
Berlin Aquadom The Berlin Aquadom is at the center of the Radisson Blu Hotel (formerly Radisson SAS) offering a special bedside view of a towering watery wonderland.

Built by Reynolds Polymer Technology the Aquadom is a tranquil home for 2600 fish and 56 species swimming around in over 900,000 litres of seawater. The feeding of the fish and the cleaning of the fish tank is performed daily by a pair of full-time divers.

The Pergamon Museum is located on Museum Island and was built over a twenty (1910-1930) year period by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann.

The Islamic Art Museum is housed in the upper part of the Museum and contains a wealth of fabric and ceramic exhibitions including the famous Mshatta facade. The ceramic pray altars were a breathtaking sight of beauty constructed from uniquely designed glazed tiles perfectly locked together.
Pergamon Museum

Budapest Parliament Building The Hungarian Parliament building is the crowning jewel in the architectural landscape of the city of Budapest with a symmetrical Neogothic facade, a sea of windows on all sides and a towering dome in the middle.

This magnificent landmark was built (1885-1904) by Imre Steindl (1839-1902) who also designed the St. Elizabeth Church which is tucked away in Rózsák tere of the 7th District. The building is 879 ft long by 404 ft wide and was built using 40 million bricks.

The Hagia Sophia is located near the Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque, which are all close-by to the Bosphorus river. For more than a thousand years the cathedral had survived many natural disasters until the city of Constantinople was conquered by the Turks in 1453 and then converted into a mosque.

Having been rebuilt three times the building is a classic example of Byzantine architecture with a huge 102ft wide dome standing 180ft tall supported by giant stone columns.
Hagia Sophia

Ceramic Tiles The Topkapi Palace was the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans and home to over 4,000 people at the height of its existence. Many areas of the palace are decorated with richly coloured Iznik tiles creating many unique and interesting wall designs.

Some of the courtyard buildings have elaborate ceramic ceiling designs with the surrounding furniture adorned with beautiful mother-of-pearl and tortoise-shell inlays.

The Parthenon is the crowning glory of Athens standing tall atop of the Acropolis surrounded on all sides by a sea of urbanization.

Nowadays this historic site is littered with scaffolding, cranes and many large piles of stonework as restoration work is being carried out by the Greek government. The new Acropolis Museum built at the base of the hill now houses most of the original sculptures and is ironically more interesting than the ancient site itself.
Cheeky Monkey

  Gothic Reflections 28.May.2010
Buda Reformed Church I always try to take a lot of pictures of different places I visit and this is one Church I have loved since the first day I saw it 2 years ago. Eventually after much procrastinating I got the images in the correct order and spent some time getting the background info right.

The Church stands tall on the bank of the Duna river crowned by a beautiful example of Zsolnay roof tiles. Often missed by tourists because of the Matthias Church on the hillside above, this is a breathtaking example of Neogothic architectural styles.

The Great Market Hall or Central Market was built at the turn of the 19th century by Samu Pecz. Shortly before the 150 meter long Neogothic market was due to be complete, a fire destroyed a large part of the roof and delayed the final opening by several months.

When the Great Market was finally finished it had up-to-date lighting, cold storage and an indoor canal running through the middle so that goods could be delivered easily.
The Great Market

St Elizabeth Church St. Elizabeth Church is located in the 7th District of Budapest and was built by Imre Steindl (1839-1902) who is more famously known for building the gorgeous looking Hungarian Parliament.

The Church has a classic Neogothic design with sky reaching buttress supports topped with elegant crocket's, symmetrical bell towers at the front and a large gothic rose window in the middle.

I originally developed this game a couple of years ago and always thought it had potential to be a good game. I even started a new version with better effects and technical fixes but I eventually lost interest when I got no feedback from anyone.

After speaking to a couple of friends recently I thought I would finally release the update I had planned years ago and see if anyone is still interested in the game. The latest version is 1.5 and hopefully this time around it might generate some feedback.
Flipper v1.5

Edge of Forever Source The Edge of Forever source file is a very large (10Mb) because I have included 200+ models and a few of those are linked together. The model naming convention is a bit strange but the level was developed over 8 months with 156 map versions so some stuff will probably be in the wrong place.

The map source is not for the faint hearted and will require a good understanding of existing Q3 mapping editing. The source files should include everything to view the map in the editor.
I Love Dragons

  Over the Edge 07.Mar.2010
Edge of Forever The Edge of Forever started life as an experiment into 3D scripting and entity chain triggers. After a couple of prototypes maps I decided the concept had the potential to be a single player experience and thought it would be an interesting challenge.

The level features a brand new photo sourced texture set, many unique map models, a background story, specially recorded dialogue lines, custom audio effects and plenty of environmental ambience.

This is a small collection of wood, metal and stone textures. All of which were digitally photo sourced by me and are designed to work with gothic or medieval settings.

The photos were taken from various locations around the city of Budapest and I am sure that most people wondered what sort of tourist I was for taking pictures of stone walls and wooden fences.

This texture pack was used in my latest map release Edge of Forever if you want to see some working examples.
TP - Medieval

Is over there

  Dreaming of Midsummer Nights 01.Feb.2010
I can't believe it! the weather outside is cold, global summer seems to be taking a holiday this year. The good old days of winter chills and snow on the ground for weeks on end is back. Even kids are outside loitering on street corners with snowballs in hands instead of screaming profanity on xbox live, what is the world coming too!

After weeks and months and years I think I can finally see the end in sight, the map that has taken forever to complete is nearly finished. The last bit of detail has been added and now all that remains is to give it a final bake in the beta oven and then voila!

While waiting for my friends to get back to me with some last minute feedback I decided to pull my finger out and update my website. Yes I know, the place has been neglected for some time now but the good news is, I have a huge pile of stuff to add.

Terrain Blending While creating gallery maps for my latest plants and terrain texture packs I discovered that high contrast textures do not blend very well using the existing alpha fade system.

After trying out a few different ideas I eventually found a way to create better terrain blends using the existing system with custom alpha channels and high contrast textures.

This article is about different ways of terrain blending and how to deal with blending high contrast textures.

While making the map Pyramid of the Magician I spent a couple of weeks driving around to various locations taking close up pictures of plants and I certainly got my fair share of dodgy looks!

This is a collection of all the plant assets I created and never got a chance to release separate from the map.

This plant pack contains an example gallery map, a Q3 material shader file and a dainty collection of plant leaves looking for a new home. (only one previous careful owner)
TP - Plants

TP - Terrain One of the greatest challenges of taking pictures of terrain is getting the scale right so that gravel does not look like giant rocks. After many weeks of searching I eventually found some good locations, but sometimes I just wished I had a tall step ladder!

This terrain pack contains an example gallery map, a Q3 material shader file and a giant bucket of sand with a dash of pebbles looking for a new seafront home. (Sandbox gameplay not included)

This is a small collection of wood, metal and stone textures. All of which were digitally photo sourced by me and are designed to work with gothic or medieval settings.

The photos were taken from various locations around the city of Budapest and I am sure that most people wondered what sort of tourist I was for taking pictures of stone walls and wooden fences.

The texture pack will be available once my latest map is finished being tested for bugs. So just sit back and enjoy the preview!
TP - Medieval

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