Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My gaming history and inspiration

In this post I will talk about my favorite games of all time. They will range from titles that I find particularly awesome to cherished childhood games. Overall each one has affected me in a personal way that grew my appreciation for video games. The list is in order of which I played first.

1. Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World

This was actually the first game cartridge I have ever owned. My parents bought this for me when I was four or five years old and it came bundled with an SNES. The reason I loved it so much is simple - It's Mario and it has all of them in one cartridge! It didn't take much experience in gaming to know that this series was incredibly entertaining. I played it so much that every level just became second nature to me. This game planted the seeds that would eventually make video games into my favorite hobby and something more in the future.

 2. Sonic the Hedgehog

I never owned the game or even a Sega system but I did play this a lot at other people's houses. Mostly I appreciated this game because I loved watching the cartoon. I enjoyed the fast paced gameplay that gave me an adrenaline rush as I tried to avoid obstacles or kill enemies with perfect precision. I remember it taking half a Saturday to beat the game because there no save points and if I lost all my lives I had to start over from the very beginning. The music was great too especially the green hill stage whose theme will always bring warm feelings to my heart when I listen to it.

3. Robocop Vs. Terminator

This is one of the very first games I can recall having a "nerdgasm" for. It was two of my favorite sci-fi movie characters combined into one package. Also it was one of the first mature games that I played at a not so mature age. The story was a serious one that I became extremely excited about because I love fighting for a great cause in my video game stories. After this point I began to notice that I mostly enjoyed games with a great story.

4. Total Carnage

The quote on the box cover says it all, "Prepare to face massive resistance!" After reading that I knew that this was going to be a war game to end all war games. One of the first real time multiplayer games that I had too. This was the type of game I would invite a buddy over and we would engorge on complete bloody mayhem and Cheetos together. Things go boom, bad guys get killed, and fists bumped...this game rocked!

5. Poke'mon - Red Version

This was the very first RPG I ever played, it may not be like the traditional ones of high fantasy but its gameplay was just the same. I got this one Christmas Morning along with a Gameboy Color and jammed on it all day long. I originally asked for it because I was a fan of the TV show but I stayed for the awesome game. Building and raising a party to be the best in the land had never been so much fun and tactical to me at that point. For the first time in a video game I started to think more about strategy than just speeding and mashing my way through a level and I began to like this way of gaming too.

6. Starcraft

I first experienced this game at my cousin's house when I was still in elementary school. When he was teaching me how to play it seemed like the most intense war game in the world. Bunkers filled with marines were being overrun by little alien insects, jets were flying high above shooting down spaceships,  and nukes were going off somewhere in the distance. It was the first RTS I ever played and I cherish this game so much because it reminded me of a time when I was a little boy playing with plastic army men. I used to line up two armies of plastic soldiers, organized by their weapon, facing opposite sides on the floor. Then I would imagine them clashing together at the center as I would strategically command both armies. Occasionally I would throw in my Godzilla toy and the two armies would unite against the bigger threat but that is a whole different story for another time. Now after I experienced Starcraft for the first time I constantly craved to play it again because at the time I did not have a pc. However, when I finally got a chance to own the game I played the hell out of it. The story was fantastic and will forever be my one of my favorites, I even bought three of the Starcraft novels because I was so intrigued by the lore. As for the multiplayer I wasn't really good at it but I was the best player amongst my group of friends and we would often play 3v3 matches after school.

7. Halo

Any chance I got I would always choose to play this game because I never owned the original Xbox and I only got to play it at my best friend's house. I love games that allow to fight against aliens and defend humanity so a sci -first person shooter along with an epic story like Halo was more than enough to win me over. However what set this apart from all the other first person shooters is that I read all the novelizations of Halo before actually playing the entire single player campaign. So I had all this extra knowledge of the lore that helped build a bigger appreciation for the characters and raise the stakes of what was going on in the overall story. At this point I began to realize that games were more than just a quick past time, they were huge works of art created with a passionate imagination.

8. Resident Evil

This series is one of my main inspirations for wanting a career in video games. I absolutely love it! The story was incredible and complex. The puzzles were fun and exciting. The characters were likeable and strong. Managing limited amounts of health and ammo was fun especially after narrowly surviving each encounter. The enemies were absolutely frightening too! My heart pounded each and every single time I would put the disc into my Gamecube and play it during the middle of the night with all the lights turned off. This series was also the first one that I put forth a lot of effort into searching, collecting, and playing all of its sequels, prequels, and spin off's. This was finally it, video games were not just games to me anymore they had become a passion in life now.

All of these games have helped spawn my passion for video games. I realized that if I enjoyed playing them so much why don't I consider a career in making them. Sure it's not as easy as it sounds but my love of games has become a strong enough foundation to endure all the obstacles I have or will come across. Of course I've played other games too and I enjoy them as well. However, these games have personally encouraged me to follow this path in life.

Monday, April 9, 2012

How did he get into rigging?!

            The path to my career choice began in my junior year of high school. However I do have to mention that my basic goal of working on computer graphics began at a young age.

            I remember at the end of elementary school I was being asked what I wanted to do with my life and I started to reply with the answer, computer animator. Now back then I had no idea what that actually meant and I was using the phrase as a general term for someone who worked on CG. The idea itself spawned from my long appreciation of CG shows and films but at the time I didn't know that video games were also using the same technology either, which I would discover later.

            Fast forward a bit to sophomore and senior year in high school. My interest in CG eventually lead me to sign up for a Computer Animation Design class as my elective. Here  I was introduced to Autodesk 3ds Max for the very first time and I instantly became in love with the software. It was my favorite class of all time and I always looked forward to attending it. I mostly learned how to model and became familiar with the interface while I was taking the class. During this time I learned that video games were also being made using the same type of technology that I was studying. So I started to think that maybe I could possibly pursue a career out of this. I've always enjoyed playing video games more than anything else and now I had an idea of how someone could end up working on them as a living. However, I still didn't know what I would be doing specifically.

            Eventually I enrolled at the Art Institute of California - Orange County within the visual game programming course because math was always one of my best subjects in throughout school. In the beginning I was introduced to many types of fields I could go into for video game production: 3D artist, programming, animation, concept artist, etc. I didn't know which path to take until I took my first character rigging class in my second year at the school. I realized that I was doing pretty well while the majority of the class was struggling and I found it really fascinating learning what went on under the hood of animation.

            The very exact moment I knew that I was going to become a character rigger was when I had finally binded the mesh to my skeleton. My mind was completely blown inside out watching the mesh deform to the rotation of my joints. I can only describe this moment as pure awe and curiosity. Everything was starting to come together in my head:
  1. I loved video games
  2. I wanted to work on CG
  3. Rigging was going to be my specialty

            I had finally found my niche in the game industry, my one true passion to chase after was clear. At this point, like a racehorse in the stall after the starting gun had been fired, I dashed toward my goal and studied insatiably the art of character rigging.

            I can honestly say with no regrets that I am happy and proud of myself for choosing to become a 3D character rigger in the video game industry. I can not see myself doing or wanting to do anything else with my life because I am determined, committed, and passionate to my dream.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Who is that man who does a mean rig??

            My name is Adrian Rodriguez and I am a 3D character rigger in love with video games. Ever since I got my Super Nintendo at the age of six I have enjoyed playing games as my favorite pastime. As I grew older I also became intrigued with watching CG television shows and films. Both of these passions eventually merged and brought me to the point I am now, working in the animation department of video games production! The best part is that I enjoy working on this stuff every single day, it never gets old.

            Here on this blog I not only wish to talk about work related material but also influences / stories throughout my life that will help paint a better picture of who I am and why I chose this path in life. Thank you very much for reading my short bio, and I hope you read my other future post as well.

Take it easy everyone!