Saturday, June 14, 2014

Apple WWDC Zen Garden Stage Demo


I am posting this about two weeks late.  I happened to be on a much needed beach vacation the day of WWDC, and there was nothing more exciting than sitting by the ocean and watching Josh Adams demo the Zen Garden App I had the privilege of working on with about 5 other content people at Epic.

In the video below you can hear Josh Adams and Ryan Brucks, two of the people who also helped on the demo talk more specifically about the demo. Scrub to about 16:46 to see more.



This is the third time I have helped out and done VFX work for an Apple stage demo, and while each one has been a unique experience this one was pretty rewarding, on par with the original Infinity Blade Dungeons demo we did.  The people on the team are no bones about it, super talented folks who are all incredibly collaborative, and I think we all riffed off of each others skills in a very organic manner which felt really great.

The team made extensive use of UE4's Blueprint system, in fact everything you see in the demo, all of the content and interaction elements was handled by a content person. Wed had no gameplay programmers, though we did have the support of the platform and rendering teams.  Every single one of us contributed Blueprints, Meshes, Materials, Textures, the whole gambit.

I really love it when a team just gels, and from the outset as soon as we decided Zen Garden everyone went and added their own piece and it just worked.  Don't get me wrong, we planned things out, but it was more exciting because all of the ideas just flowed and the work poured out of that.

I am working on a bit of a blog post to hopefully submit to the Unreal Engine blog on our UE4 site, going into some more details about the demo content I personally worked on, including the tree petals and interaction Blueprints. Water splashes and trails when you touch the surface of the pool.  Some additional FX work for Ryan's awesome sand raking Blueprint, and then of course all of the Blueprint work and VFX work for the fountain spill and massive swarm of Butterflies.

In other old news I have moved to the Fortnite team and was able to contribute a bunch of work for the Game Informer article as well as a bunch of stuff on the website etc. etc.  You can see more of that work here.


I helped out mostly with some of the hex map VFX and a big push on the Constructor class doing all the VFX for his abilities.

He was a blast to work on as he has some cool abilities that allowed me to jump in and do some non-photoreal plasma bursts etc. etc.  In general it's been a treat to make stylized VFX after so many years of chasing photo-realism and film VFX.

See more of Fortnite, and signup for the Alpha here

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