I am a multidisciplinary artist; I code, I paint, I make small sculpture and models, animation, and digital games. I work mostly with Unity and Blender, am very experienced with programming in C#. I have a lot of practical knowledge about how to build dynamic animations and rich game worlds.
For the last few years I’ve been incorporating physical materials into my work. In many projects I’ve modeled characters and props physically out of clay, cardboard, and tin foil, and captured them with photogrammetry.
Future Forestry Game (working title)2020-ongoing
I am currently working on a new game about living in the woods in the future. The game design is inspired by modern forestry techniques, as well as the hunting, foraging, and land management practices of the Maidu and Nisenan peoples indigenous to the foothills of the Northern Sierra Nevada and Central Valley. Mostly, I regard this project as a kind of loving portrait of the woods I grew up in and have recently returned to as an adult during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some more gaming-centric touchstones:
- What if Firewatch were actually about forest fires?
- What if Breath of the Wild treated the forest as a complex living system, rather than as a static backdrop for adventuring?
- What if Stardew Valley systematized social activities more and let you do things like invite a villager for a hike? or let you invite them to help build trails around the village? or forage for berries together?
Fire Undergroundvideo installation / realtime software animation / feature film / short film
about 1 hour
watch the full video here
Fire Underground is a feature length fantasy animation presenting an alternative history of coal. It pitches myths of forgotten forests, crawling proto-reptiles, and chthonic infernos against labor history, natural history, and Appalachian folk culture.
Although it is exhibited as video, the project was made with Unity, and several scenes were built with game-like logic, featuring semi-autonomous non-player characters, ragdoll physics, and deterministic simulation.
Nearly all of the 3D assets were created physically out of clay, cardboard, tinfoil, and more, captured with a simple photogrammetry setup, and cleaned up with Blender. Animation is a combination of canned mocap, in-engine IK solvers, ragdoll-physics puppetry, and some good old fashioned keyframing.
Visually I was very much inspired by Federico Solmi’s surreal animations, machinma in general, as well as early 3D games that had to build rich worlds out of computationally cheap tricks like billboarding sprites, prerendered backgrounds, and so on.
The full film has been screened at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and a 15 minute edit has been featured at several film festivals around the country.
Goldlichrealtime software animation study
endless (approx 15 minute “lifecycle”)
A virtual creature / haunted skeletal jewelry. The Lich extends itself, perpetually extracts more lengths of chain from the terrain. It's body is animated by a real-time physics simulation. As the hand at the bottom feels it's way around, momentum imparted increases as it climbs up the chain. Eventually, the chain falls apart, segments of the Lich fall to the ground, and the cycle begins again.
Eddo Stern with Steven Amrhein, Nick Crockett, Jessica Hutchins, Lucas Near-Verbrugge
"If you hated the war but liked the movies, you’ll love this game"
Vietnam Romance is about the fictionalized history of the Vietnam War and its cultural remains. The project takes various forms: computer game, collectible, card game, live performance / puppet show / dinner theatre, and video installation.
I have been working on this project off and on with Eddo for several years primarily as a gameplay programmer and general handyperson. I also do a lot of work on the game’s visuals, especially UI elements, particle systems and effects, lighting, and character animation.
I’ve taught many courses on game development and 3D animation for undergraduate and high school students. Below is documentation from one of my favorite classes, a one week course on 3D modeling and character animation for high school students. More documentation of my teaching is available here.