Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Am I dead? No. But I am different. [Part1]

It's been a while since I last posted anything of worth. It's been over 2 months since my last video. 5 since my last major video. 3 since my last post on this very blog. I'm not dead, but clearly things aren't operating as they used to. So what's going on? In a word: life. I'm in a very different place now then where I was when I first started the channel and it's definitely had an impact on my output. How's some history to get a better framing for this situation?

When I first started working on the Virtual Dreamers channel, it was 2014, the channel was still gostardreams and it was only to serve as supplementary content since the channel's original owner themselves wasn't uploading content either. The first thing I posted was a drawing video of the character Rosalina from the Super Mario series. It was in commemoration of the fact that she was set to be a playable character in Super Mario 3D World. I'm a big Nintendo fan as I grew up on their content and Rosalina was one of my favorite characters from the series, so I felt glad to draw something to mark the occasion. It was also a bit of a test of my ability to adapt to different art styles that aren't mine. I tend to lean a bit on an anime look with more "realistic" proportions and I felt that drawing a character from the Mario universe, with their bizarre, proportions would be a great exercise. Being that I was aiming to go to college at the Savannah College of Art and Design, practicing in these kinds of ways was on my agenda.

However, even at that point, at the back of my mind, I had one big goal in mind: create games for VR and play VR games just like they do in Sword Art Online. I'd been contemplating VR rigs and set ups for a whole year at that point and had so many documents down that the folder I used to carry around my ideas was falling apart. I "knew" that this was what I wanted to do and that I would do everything I could to make this work. I'd go to college, learn how to make games, and strike out to make a name for myself in the budding VR scene. There was just a bit of a catch with that, I still hadn't quite had my college situation entirely sorted out.

You see, Savannah offered merit based scholarships to students based upon 3 works they could provide. These could be almost anything so long as it was related to the major you selected. I was aiming for their animation major, so I figured some illustrations would do well, but more than anything, I believed that I needed to actually animate something to really get the full benefit of the merit based scholarship. Needing some inspiration and being completely obsessed with VR at the time, I came up with idea to create a short animation going over the VR experience one would have using a virtual reality rig I'd designed. Just one problem, I only had a Toshiba laptop to work with and the only 3d software I had access to was Blender and I wasn't very adept with it. But, being determined, I spent the month working hard to make that video to the best of my ability. The final result was this video here that released in early January. I later used that footage to cover the explanation of the rig and thought I'd mostly be done with VR as a video topic for a while. At least, that was until I decided to do a YouTube search for something: "Can we make Sword Art Online?"

It was a fairly inocuous search topic. I'd covered the Hardware of VR, so clearly someone had been inspired enough to go over the game, right? When I found that nothing popped up in the YouTube search results, I was stunned. I downright couldn't believe that no one had made a video about that topic. I "knew" people had to have been interested in the topic, why else would so many people keep bringing it up in the Oculus VR forums and anime comments sections? The topic came up so often the Oculus VR forums it was derailing threads that genuinely intrigued me, so I set about to do something about it. I'll make a video to cover topic so people can just go watch it instead of showing up to the forums to ask the basic questions. So I slapped together as much knowledge as I could and produced the video as fast as I could. It would have a simple character to point out images and serve as b roll, it would feature the SAO text water effect, and it would cover "everything". 

Yup, that's the driving force, the inspiration that brought about "Can we Make Sword Art Online Today?". Me getting annoyed that people kept bringing up SAO in the Oculus VR forums. Going based on the numbers, I'm finding that a lot of the channels most popular videos had similarly petty motives as their drive. When I look at things from that angle, it makes my current situation seem like something to be expected.

This post is getting a bit long winded and I need to hit the hay as I have work tomorrow, but I'll try to see if we can get a part 2 to this crammed in somewhere in my time. No promises though, I've broken enough of those already.

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