Homework Army of Darkness Style

Fun Homework – WTF?


I’ve had boring homework. I’ve had interesting homework (sometimes I’d even want to do it), but this has to be a first – homework I actually want to do, because it is fun! The concept is simple: create and texture a die. Of course there was no need to go all out. A simple generic die would have been enough for the task, but that seemed a little too easy. After a little humming and harring inspiration struck in the form of Evil Dead/Army of Darkness, and an idea for a nifty RPG die was born.

Haven’t seen Army of Darkness?

Making Army of Darkness RPG Die

Basic steps:

1. Model die
2. UV map die
3. Find suitable images for skull and “Boomstick”
4. Find brushes to add quick gunge and blood
5. Create texture
6. Light and render
7. Postwork


1. Maya was used for all the 3D aspects of the project
2. Photoshop for texturing and post
3. Skull vector image. Image is covered by a liberal Creative Commons licence.
4. The brushes came from my own collection. Two sets by Diviney were used.

Academy of Interactive Entertainment: The First Week

The Pain of Getting to Know You

Who else finds those “getting to know you” sessions awkward and painful? Maybe it’s just me but whether it be for study, work, or just about anything else this part of the orientation has me looking for emergency escape routes. In short, it has the exact opposite of its intended effect.

HR goon/tutor/etc: “Stand up and tell us about yourself. Don’t be shy. No one’s going to judge you.”

Me: Umm, no thanks.

HR goon/tutor/etc: “Ok, fantastic! Let’s all break up into groups by favourite colour and penis size for awkward bonding activities which are designed to be stupid and disarming.”

Me: Fuck my life.

Or Not…

This time around there was none of that awful anxiety. Maybe I’m just chilling the fuck out in my old age, or maybe being in a room with other awkward geeks and creative types blunted the harsh edge of “getting to know you” politics. Sure, the group wasn’t uniformly anxious and dysfunctional, but these are my people… more-or-less. It also helped a lot that the first round of introductions was simply, “name, and last video game you played”. Our disarming group activity was building structures with marshmallows and spaghetti. How can you go wrong?

The fun rolled on with party games on a huge projection screen in the foyer. Strangers facing off in Joust and the innuendo laden Pole Riders resulted in much laughter and applause.

Down to Business, Maya Style

After a barbecue lunch (which I ditched in favour of a much-needed coffee) it was down to business with the first introductory classes. It was slightly amusing but more painful listening to the tutors struggling to explain fundamental principles such as UV mapping and rigging. Some of the explanations were a feat of linguistic contortion, and likely left those new to the concepts supremely confused. To be fair, these can be hard to explain off the top of your head.

As I suspected, Maya is the 3D software we use in class. My first impressions of Maya: what the fucking fuck? Coming to Maya as a LightWave user made for a distressing first encounter. Without knowledge of why Maya is laid out the way it is and why it functions the way it does, the program appears to be an unforgiving hodge-podge of idiosyncrasies. After a few hours of being completely lost and confused the logic started to appear and an incredibly powerful program was unfolding. Unless I end up landing a job with a big studio I don’t see myself working with it much in the future, but that is more due to the price of an Australian commercial license than the software itself.

All-in-all the first week at AIE was positive and I am optimistic about the opportunities the course and institution have to offer.

The Grand Reboot 2.0

heavily manipulated photograph of sunset with office furniture in the foreground
The view from my office/bedroom

Turn back ye now! Ahead lies a most self-indulgent post of woe (and hope). Everything is about me. So, run or stay. Your choice! Another year has spun on. My hearing is getting worse, my eyes are deteriorating and my hair is in a slow retreat. Those things I can live with but this break-up weight seriously needs to go. I can still see my toes. Last year was one arsehole of a year, but thanks to some good friends and family, self-medication and therapy I’m still here.

Things are looking a little better and new possibilities beckon. This isn’t to say everything was great when I look back further. The five years I spent with miss X and my second born had many ups and downs, but in many respects, they were the best so far. But when looking all the way back to my first days at high school and every day since, a general lack of direction, self-doubt and existential aliments has resulted in a jumbled, turbulent and unorthodox life to date. Not to mention conflicting and contradictory. So, some good and some bad. Some extraordinarily super periods and some hellish.

I know I’m not alone here. Most people experience at least some of what I’ve been through, and there are plenty who go through much worse. There are far too many that don’t made it through to the other side of their worst days, either because the bad ones keep on rolling on, or because suicide becomes preferable. I got lucky. I didn’t end up dead or a vegetable.

My greatest regrets are letting anxiety get the better of me all to often, living so far away from my eldest, and allowing my relationship with miss X to implode.

And this is where it has all lead to. At 30 years of age I am yet again trying to make a “fresh” start. It was 5 years ago, almost to the day, that I first came to Canberra on the grand reboot, and once again I’m heading back to school at a new institution. Unlike previous attempts I’m feeling more secure in my field of study and have a clearer idea of where I’m going. The future has always been a severe case of writers block. Any clarity is very welcome.

Starting next week (Feb 2nd) I embark on a two year diploma of 3D Animation & VFX for Film at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment. I almost forgot what optimism felt like. That too is also very welcome. The biggest obstacle to overcome in making it through this course will be to settle for “close enough is good enough”. In past studies an unrelenting propensity for perfectionism has lead me to burnout time and again. Of course, perfection is a myth, or at best, a fleeting moment destroyed by it’s mere observation. Good is good enough. Repeat. Practice. Good is good enough.