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2021 – Monthly Update #7

Today is my birthday! I’d be happy if this month hadn’t been so… surprising. Both good and bad. Let’s get the bad out of the way first.

Computer Issues

On July 1st, a Windows Update wiped my C: drive. The PC refused to boot up to windows because the update had removed Windows from my computer for some reason. Everything was lost; my programs, settings, entertainment media, and all my work.

Luckily, I back up my work on an external hard drive every week, so thankfully only a few days of work were lost, and not absolutely everything was gone. However, I had to reinstall everything again, get things set up the way I like them, and that took me nearly two weeks, and to be honest, everything still isn’t how I’d like it to be.

So just know that this month has not been super productive, because of that setback. I may also need to get a new BIOS battery for the PC, as it’s on the fritz, so August might not be all that productive either if that also goes wrong.

3D Model Progress

More models were made, despite my PC’s attempts to kill itself; creatures from the Edris Compendium are continuing to be brought to life, and existing models are getting improvements as I continue to learn how to better utilize Blender!

I learned over the end of June about Bump Mapping, more about soft-body physics, and how to better build the models with things like jaws already attached (no more heavy using of the Boolean tool!)

The Hy’dra (left) was the first model I made with bump mapping once my PC was restored, and is also the largest model in terms of scale compared to all the others. It also has a deceptively large amount of bones to it, when compared to the likes of the winged dragons.

The instant I finished the Hy’dra, I began making bump maps for the other scaled creatures. You can see images below of some of them.

For comparison, here’s the Fo’fei before and after bump mapping was applied. The model already had a bumpy texture to it, through sculpting, and whilst it would be nice to just sculpt the other scales onto the model itself, this would be an absolute nightmare for memory/processing in a game engine and just isn’t practical. Bump mapping gives the same look as sculpting does, but costs far less memory to a machine.

Over August, I am making it my goal to learn more about the physics side of things; get soft-body jiggle looking better, make fire breath, and such. I also aim to improve my animation skills, for more natural movement and less rigid motion, and thanks to IK rigging I feel I am already making huge improvements to my models.

Whilst soft-body physics is something I really look forward to using, I learnt before my PC had its tantrum that my physics wasn’t being imported into Unity, even after what is called “baking” the physics. I had this same problem with the hair/fur particles, which are not recognized in programs outside of Blender, so I had to rethink my fuzzy creatures a bit for future use outside the Blender program itself.

If you want to know more about how I make these models, you can see a video here of the building process of a model, along with more details on the bump mapping, below.

Some of the models are getting chopped up and tested for ball-jointed figures, but that’s still in early production and is purely experimental. Should things work out well with these models, I may make figures in the future.

For those unfamiliar with my model work, you can see a video of me creating one from start to finish, with brief explanations for how I do certain things and why, by clicking HERE. If you want to see more pictures, like work-in-progress stuff, I advise you to follow me on Twitter or DeviantArt where I post them more often.

What happened to Unity?

Unity was the game engine I was testing out, for future project use when all my bookwork is done. Unfortunately, after the computer wiped everything, it also erased Unity and everything I had started experimenting with. So, I am back at square one and have no intention of picking it up again for some time.

I have several game ideas in my head, many of which already have assets I made to use ready to go, but I am done trying to program everything myself; I just simply cannot handle doing it all on my own, especially with how much learning I am doing at the same time. So, for now, at least, Unity is on the shelf.

I may decide to try a different game engine entirely. Anyway, for the moment you can read about a game idea that I hope to work on once the Jinimaru Project is done, and all the writing projects are wrapped up for Subject 218 as well. You can read about Game projects by clicking “GAMES” under the “OTHER PROJECTS” tab.

Model for use in a video game, Working titled “Far Fetched”

Book/Writing Progress

Writing up the final entry in Specimen G-13, Heart of the Feles, has been delayed due to PC issues. It is on temporary hiatus whilst I get some other work out of the way for both me and my sisters’ site. The deadline for Heart of the Feles draft stage is June 2022, and edited/publish-ready by June 20th, 2023.

The other writing project, “The Maxwell Report” for Subject 218, WAS planned out but got erased when the PC decided to wipe itself, so I have to do it again. I am putting it on hold until other work is done and the PC is back to how I like it. This book still has no deadline.

There are new articles relating to self-publishing, which can be seen under the “ARTICLES” tab. I have no plans to write any more in August.

Final Thoughts

I have been thinking about a few other things as of late; like how I could bring my new knowledge of 3D models to Second Life again, maybe even doing video readings of my work on YouTube, starting up a Patreon again, those sorts of things.

I miss sharing my work in ways others can actually use them, teaching people how to build, and meeting new people in Second Life, but the program is so time-consuming that I would once again have my own projects suffering from neglect, and I don’t want that to happen again, especially at such a crucial point in their development.

If Second Life is still around when the Jinimaru Project is over, then I might go back to it. Until then, my creations will just have to sit in wait, until they can be used in a video game, short film, or as avatars on Second Life.

I’d like your thoughts on if I should set up a Patreon, and if I should do some book readings on YouTube; drop me a message over on Twitter with your thoughts!


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