I’m Back From GDC!

The Game Developers Conference is now over, and it’s back to work! This week is my spring break, but I have a lot of schoolwork to catch up on, and I will be polishing some portfolio pieces up. I’ll be posting a lot this week, so check out this list of upcoming works:


  • A Guide for Graduating Students at GDC: This will be similar to my last GDC guide, but with a focus on job hunting and networking.
  • Level Retrospectives: This will be a series of posts where I discuss what went wrong, what went right, what could be improved, and more regarding the levels that are currently in my portfolio.
  • UDK’s Landscape Tool: A quick guide to the basics of using the Landscape tool in UDK.
  • UDK’s Foliage Tool: A guide to using the Foliage tool in UDK.
  • My Level Design Process: A detailed overview on the process I use to design and build game levels.
  • Texturing Levels in UDK (Workshop Video): The newest installment of my UDK tutorial videos. Between GDC and my school’s library being closed for spring break, I haven’t been able to check out a microphone to finish this up. It’s still in the works though, so please be patient as I try to record the last of it.
For those of you who also attended GDC, don’t forget to follow up with the new contacts you made! Whether you’re adding them on LinkedIn, sending out emails, or both, this is the week to do so. Hope everyone had a great GDC; I know I did!

A Guide for First-Time Students at GDC

Next week, I will be attending the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. (If you’re going and want to meet up, tweet me  – @praliedutzel) Unfortunately, this year, I only have an expo pass, so I might not be posting any “What I Learned at GDC” articles. Instead, I plan on doing a ton of networking in preparation for my upcoming graduation this April, as well as marketing the game I’ve been working on, Delirium. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been talking with the team about what to expect at GDC and how to be prepared. Because the majority of the team has never been to GDC, a lot of really good questions came up, so I decided that it might be helpful to write about what I talked with the team about. Read on for a guide to GDC for first-time-attending students!


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Tips & Tricks: Performance Optimization in UDK

The Unreal Development Kit is a wonderful editor for building both games and levels, but sometimes, things don’t always work as anticipated. I’ve heard numerous complaints of people who claim UDK is a terrible editor simply because it was running slow, but don’t forget that there are ways to fix this problem, so don’t just give up on the editor, especially if it could be caused by something you did! If UDK is running impossibly slow, check out these tips for optimizing the editor’s performance.


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Game Design Lessons I Learned From Hockey

I’m not going to lie: I’ve become a bit of a hockey fan since I was first introduced to the sport two years ago. It’s an exciting sport, and I find it to be a lot of fun to watch and follow. Now that I’ve been getting more into it, I’ve come to a realization: hockey and video games have a lot in common. Sure, they’re both forms of entertainment, and yes, there’s a series of NHL video games, but there’s much more to it than that. There are actually elements of game design that can be found behind the scenes in ice hockey, so keep reading to see the similarities I’ve found, and how they can be applied to creating games. 


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Starting and Maintaining Your Own Game Project: Part 2

A while back, I posted part one of two on starting and maintaining your own game project, so now the time has come for part two! Part one was all about starting up a project, but part two is more about the maintenance side of things. This post will focus on ways of setting up and organizing a schedule, communicating with your team, keeping your team motivated, and tips for dealing with common problems I’ve come across during my work on Delirium. If you missed part one, you can find it here: Project Planning and Team Recruitment.


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Tutorials for Making Custom Textures

To go along with the textures and materials tutorial video I’m currently working on, I’ve decided to put together a list of tutorial sites for those interested in creating their own textures from scratch. In my upcoming video, I’ll show how to edit a few textures to prepare them for use in the Unreal Development Kit, but I won’t be covering how to create your own textures from scratch. Be sure to look over the links below if that’s something you’re interested in doing, and let me know if you have any tutorials you want me to add! Remember, I’m definitely not an expert at this, so check out these tutorials to start in the right direction. Also note that the following tutorials are specifically for Photoshop.


Bonus! If you’re interested in creating textures for 3D models/static meshes, check out this tutorial by lead texture artist Daniel Vijoi: Creating Next-Gen Textures


Thanks for reading, and keep a look out for my Textures and Materials in UDK video coming soon!

I’m Alive!

Wow, have I been super busy these past few months! It’s my last semester here at UAT, so I’ve been working on finishing up classes, sprucing up my portfolio and resume, and getting ready to apply for jobs. On top of all that, my game project, Delirium, was selected by our university to go to GDC, so we’ve been hard at work in preparation for the conference. So now that I’m finally back into the swing of things, I’m back to posting here! I know it’s been quite a while, unfortunately, and I am definitely behind, especially with my UDK video tutorials. While I do have enough free time to resume posting, it might be a little longer until I’m able to put out another UDK turorial (sorry about that!). There have definitely been some cool changes in the most recent version of UDK, so for I’d highly recommend downloading it and playing around with the new features. I’m currently building a new team deathmatch level in the January version, so I’ll be posting more about that soon. I also hope to post about tips for job hunting and applications, as well as preparing your portfolio for a job or conference, since that is what I’ve been working on recently. Anyway, thanks for sticking with me if you’re reading this, and look forward to new posts this coming week!

Starting and Maintaining Your Own Game Project: Part 1

As you probably know, I’ve been rather busy working on my game project, Delirium. (Don’t worry, I’m still working on those UDK videos, too!) We’re currently preparing for an upcoming pitch for possible sponsorship to GDC, but I thought I’d do a post about what it’s like to start up your own game project, and, more importantly, keep it running. This post marks part one of the guide, which details project planning and team recruitment. This will mostly be a guide for anyone who hasn’t started their own project before, but it will also include some helpful tips that I’ve learned through my own experiences.


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Unreal University and Upcoming Videos

I’ve currently got two new UDK workshop videos in the works, both of which I hope to finish up this weekend. The first video will be focused on using the terrain, landscape, and foliage tools, while the second will be about creating and importing materials, since it seems to be a popular topic. I’m also planning on making a workshop video for UnrealScript, but I need to brush up my skills a bit with it before I work on that one. If you have any other suggestions for workshop videos, let me know!


While you’re waiting for my videos, why not check out some from Unreal University? The Unreal University sessions from this year’s Montreal International Games Summit are now available on the UDK youtube channel. There are nine videos up currently, and I definitely recommend checking them out (plus, they’re free!).


Check out the videos here: Unreal University Sessions


Since we’re on the subject of UDK, the October 2011 build is available for download! You can download it straight from the official UDK site, and since it’s what I’ll be using for my videos, I highly recommend getting it soon.

What I Learned at GDC: Making Someone Else’s Game

There were a lot of really great talks at this year’s GDC Online, but there was one in particular that proved to be extremely motivational. If you’re going into the game industry, you’ve probably learned by now that you will have to work on a game you don’t want to. While you may be itching to make the next Final Fantasy, you might actually be making a Barbie game. Laralyn McWilliams gave an excellent talk on this very subject, entitled “Get Over Yourself: Making Someone Else’s Game.” 


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