Archive for April, 2010

Portfolio Website Revisionism

2010/04/14

I’ve re-done my portfolio site a good bit, have a look if you like.

(Or click the picture below, it’s much easier to hit with your mouse-pointer.)

CSS vs. Tables

I’ve purged tables from my site and replaced them with CSS magic. You can all stop cringing.
And I daresay, CSS can really be a delight to use. I intend to completely redo the design of my site (yeah, yeah, when I get around to it), at which point I’ll try to be much craftier with CSS. What I’ve got here is largely an adaptation of old, messy code worked over not to make a new design, but only to make it less painful to look at both in-browser and in-editor.

Page Titles

Previously I had the title of each page typed out at the top of each page in a header tag, but my graphic designer Gee Eff pointed out that the link text in the link bar at the top could function as a page’s title if it were highlighted. This far more elegant solution eliminates unnecessarily repeated information.
Done!

The “About” page

The top bar of links currently has had four entries: “About, Contact, CV/Resume, Gallery”. I’ll face the hard truth and admit that no one really cares about me personally when they look at my portfolio — and it’s a weak entry point to the page (as it is the index of the “portfolio” folder). So I think the best answer would be the combine the “about me” section with the “contact” section and make it as simple as possible with a combined pitch, distinctive photo, and the all-important email link.

This felt like such a good idea that I interrupted writing this post to do up a new combined version of the about/contact page.

Most important of all on there, I threw some random art from personal projects around the periphery. If you’ve made it that far, you need a reason to stick around and click links in my portfolio; Hopefully the surrounding pictures make a compelling argument.

I’ve still got to find a picture of me that doesn’t look like a sparkly emo vampire.

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Against a Background Painterly

2010/04/08

These were for an ocean-themed kid’s game. I tend toward darker subject matter, but I found it was a provocative exercise for myself to make work aimed toward children.

Click the image to view the full background.

I painted these for a project that seems unlikely to ever see light. At that, I am a touch bitter about the effort I put into it because I never saw payment, but at the same time they never saw my signature on a contract, so I’m going to use these for my portfolio to get what mileage out of them that I can.

Lessons:

  1. Get a contract or down-payment before putting any serious effort into a project.
  2. I love painting backgrounds.

I’ve not had the problem of not getting paid for a job very often at all. Usually I’m working on a very personable basis with a client in the form of an individual hobbyist or small-time game designer/programmer who is enthusiastic about their project and has a small reputation to foster just like I do. No, I’m not going to badmouth anyone because everyone I’ve dealt with personally in nearly every project has been truly excellent and willing to work past any rough spots that come up — it’s just when multiple levels of contractors and investors are involved that a personal connection is never made and it’s easy to get screwed because someone never thought to think of one thing or another something and is too far from the guy on the wacom tablet to care enough to make it right.

It’s straightforward: With emotional distance, it’s easy to say “It’s not my problem”. We all do the same thing in different areas of life.

Actually, I do recall a certain reptilian web hosting company that I’m a bit mad about. I figured out too late that I was in fact sub-contracting, and their owner was jerking around the guy between me and him. Meanwhile I got offered a job in Texas at this company — but I never got paid for my work.
Maybe I just don’t understand how business works.

Let me restate my lessons:

  1. Get a contract or down-payment on a project before putting any effort into it when working with big companies, investors, or multiple levels of subcontracting.

Gaslamp Games blog

2010/04/07

Much of my blogging energy has been going toward writing Important Weekly Updates to the new Gaslamp Games blog. Yes, much of these updates consist of complaining and making sassy comments about our lead programmer, but the whole team is writing posts regularly so perhaps it’s interesting enough to check out, and I encourage you to do so.

Our illustrious lead programmer got the idea for this blog-as-marketing from how Wolfire Games does their thing. What he fails to realize is that what Wolfire has going for them that we do not is that they have furries. Furry fans are, ahem, rabid.

My posts on the Gaslamp Blog thus far:

Conflict Resolution; Tools for all people
In which I post the comic I posted in my previous entry here then complain about software with bad UI design. Also made fun of where the lead programmer lives.

Herding Art
In which I complain about having to art-direct a project after five previous artists have had their way. Also made fun of the lead programmer’s art skill.

Its an Eyebrow Thing
In which I talk about drawing the Dungeons of Dredmor hero character’s eyebrows and manage not to complain about our leader programmer, but rather about how the best sprite artist we had was sucked into a vortex named Blizzard so we’ll never get a sprite out of him ever, ever again.

As for posting here, and on my GameDev.net journal, I’ll probably do some combination of linking from blog to blog, cheaply recycling content, and adapting posts from one place to another with a slightly different angle. Or something.

It’s a bloody pain trying to run three blogs, though I appreciate the social-guilt enforced update schedule of the Gaslamp blog. I’ll just have to stew this problem in the ol’ think-pot.