The big news this week: Marie-Jo and I have finally jumped through all the legal hoops required for a freelancer/foreigner mortgage and have purchased our first joint home, right in the heart of Montreal’s Plateau – not bad considering we only began looking less than three weeks ago. It’s still over a month before we get the keys, so in the meantime I’ve been impatiently recreating the main room in Google SketchUp. That’s right, those aren’t shots of a terrible port of The Sims below, but a virtual recreation of my future abode – click the images for the full-size versions.
SketchUp is free to download and I’m sure is easy to pick up even for non-videogame developers, (well, easier than a full-blown 3D package), but I’d certainly recommend it to other devs looking to try out colour schemes and various furniture layouts in advance of moving into a new place. Our level design team is currently churning out levels created in SketchUp, allowing them to quickly prototype layouts and test them in the engine well in advance of an artist with years of Max/Maya experience having to get involved as the Pro version allows export to real production 3D packages. As such, I’ve added it to the resources area of the sidebar as anyone interested in level design could do far worse than begin playing around with this.
Props can be downloaded from the large online user-created library for free,Â (I’ve managed to kit it out with the real-world IKEA furniture we already have), as well as approximations of other things. And it certainly wouldn’t be a good layout if I didn’t first figure out where I’m going to be gaming for the forseeable future – even items such as the TV and consoles here have all been pre-created by an avid userbase, (to greater or lesser quality).Â Imagine a time when we’d no longer have to spend months of valuable development time recreating weapons and urban landscapes for the millionth time and could simply import them from huge, free online libraries.