Career Highlights "Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem" - 1999-2001

Cover Art for the Nintendo Gamecube game, "Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem"

 

After 4 years living and working in Arizona, I moved back to my "Home and Native Land", Canada in the fall of 1999. After taking a short time to get everything re-established here, and securing a place to live, I began my job at a local video game company.

 

This was my first time working exclusively in 3D animation software.  I had modelled designs in "Softimage" during my free time at Fox Animation Studios... but this studio used 3D Studio Max.  I was pretty much thrown in feet first into production, which was probably the best way to learn.  I also had many experienced people around me... so, I could ask questions if needed. 

I started out working on character animation loops.  Basic actions and 'attacks' that would be played based on a gamer's controller actions.  Soon after though, I spent most of my time working on the in-game cinematics. 

I produced a lot of the in-game cinematics, plotting out the cameras, and timing my animation to the soundtrack.  I enjoyed this part of the game, as I liked the story-telling side of it.  However I was always dealing with the limitations of how the animation would play back on the Nintendo 64 system.  As advanced as everyone's animation looked on this system, it was somehow losing the subtleties of the acting that each animator so carefully put into the 3D Max files.  With that being said, the animation we produced in this game was excellent compared to other titles being released on the N-64 at that time.

I worked for a year and a half on "Eternal Darkness" for the Nintendo 64. The kick in the teeth was that all that time was lost in the end.  Nintendo decided that we needed to re-do this game to be released on their brand new "Gamecube" system.  This meant all of our character models, props and backgrounds would need to be upgraded.  Most of the animation and cinematics could be used at least... but this decision meant that the game wouldn't be released for at least another year. 

I was feeling worn out at this point.  It's hard to see the efforts of so many people lost this way.  Although we all knew the gamecube version of the game would look better, we were all still very proud of what we had produced for the Nintendo 64.  In many cases, exceeding the expectations for that system.

In the months after the switch, I built many props and weapons for use in the new version of the game, including the swords and assorted guns used by the main characters.  I enjoyed the modelling and texture mapping part of this job. As well as the challenge of keeping them detailed while working with a limit of 500 polygons each. When I had completed building the weapons and props required, I decided to resign... and take a break... something I hadn't granted myself in a long time, including my college years.  I didn't feel this kind of gaming was really my calling, so I wanted to move on and pursue art, animation and illustration as a freelance artist... and produce my own projects on the side.  

In the year and a half I worked on this game, I was grateful to have worked with some very talented people.  Many of whom I still keep in touch with today.  I'm happy to say that I gained new skills, and learned from each new point in my career... after all that's what it's all about.

 

Thanks for Reading!  Look for more of my Career Highlights in future updates!

Mike Hogue