Mission Statement

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Seems like you found the place where it all starts. I guess it makes sense to write some sentences regarding this blog.

Due to the fact that you are visiting this website, I suppose you probably have already figured that I do something games related. If so, you're correct. I'd like to refer to the About page here, as it states what I am currently up to. But just for the sake of completeness, let's start from the top. My name is Julian and I am a game designer and programmer located in Switzerland. I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Design at the University of the Arts in Zurich, where I am also currently enrolled in the Master's degree program (at the time of writing this post at least). Besides my studies I am also one of the tech-kobolds at the Swiss game development studio Koboldgames GmbH. Before working on games though, I was trained to be an electronics technician (with a disturbing affection to microcontroller technology) and the heart still beats for everything hardware and electronics related.

So, What Is This?

Looks like a blog to me. As already stated, I am doing my Master's degree at the moment. The research for the studies involves a great bunch of design, programming and art. More about the planned project in a second. But to summarize, I need a way to document and publish the state of my work and my results. This blog will be the format to do exactly that.

Now, except for writing about my MA work, honestly, I'm not really sure what else I expect to publish here on a regular basis. But whatever it might be, it will surely be related to game design, game development, technical art or programming in the field of high performance in general. At the moment however, the focus lies on...

Stylized Art: A Technical Approach

In my MA I am doing research in the field of technical art, graphics, rendering and shading. The thesis is about the exploration of different techniques which can have a style defining effect in virtual media. But for what cause?

Take for example a smaller game studio, which just consists of a few developers or need to keep an eye on the budget limit. The team is only able to invest little resources for the development in the graphic area of a game. And creating consistent and beautiful visuals can be a very time consuming process. To get around this issue, often an abstract or stylized art style will be pursued. That way, an artistic consistency can be achieved that is much more forgiving, but still results in nice looking visuals in the end. My research revolves all around finding and experimenting with rendering and shading techniques in a realtime environment that can lay the foundation for those kind of art styles. The goal is to explore methods, where a technical approach might be beneficial for the designers workflow or can even act stylistically defining on its own.

Development Environment

For the practical part of my research, I will use the full-featured Unity® Game Engine as main development environment. This simply because that is the tool which I got the most experience and what I am comfortable working with. But there is another reason too. Unity opens access to their render pipeline through the scripting layer which gives me a deeper level of control on the rendering procedure (Scriptable Render Pipeline). At the same time I'm still being able to make use of the full-fledged engine that lets me prototype and iterate fast. Good times being a Unity developer currently anyway. The whole data oriented tech stack with the Burst compiler gives programmers so much more control and flexibility on building logic, structuring data, and ultimately creating high performance software.

In language terms: for Unity, I'll use C# for the scripting layer. Everything shader based will mainly be written in HLSL. However, results and findings of my work aren't really bound to a specific set of software or programming language. The underlying ideas or techniques are what eventually count.

Keeping the Source Open

Code written will be published to GitHub. Primarily, because I believe in the philosophy of open access, transparency and collaboration, but also to provide an accessible repository to inspire other developers or artists. If there happens to be contributors interested in improving or change the things I create, that's great! I am always eager to learn new things from others and improve my humble code knowledge as a professional. Heck, as a still-working-on-the-degree person that I am, I would probably keep on receiving the cursed title of a Junior Developer if it were for a larger studio. So, sharpen some skills can never do any harm, I guess.

Article Format

You should not expect blog posts in the form of guided tutorials. That's not what I'm going to be doing. See it more as documenting stuff that I've been working on or just find interesting. If I learned something new that I find relevant enough to write some thoughts on it, here's where it goes.

So, that's gonna be it.

I think this is a good place to leave off for now.


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