Outerra Engine > Off Topic

The "Introduce Yourself" Thread

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C. Shawn Smith:
Although I've been following Outerra for quite a few months now, I'm amazed that few of us really "know" what others on this forum do for a living, what they're like, etc.  So I'd like to start an Introduce Yourself thread for all vets and newcomers to, well, introduce yourselves and reveal a little about your backgrounds, etc.

For my part:

My name is Christopher Shawn Smith, and I'm a 40-year old artist/writer hailing from Dallas, Texas, and a single father of a 2 and a half year old son who LOVES the Tatra truck videos from the Outerra engine (Daddy, Where he go????  He's going home, son! :)).  For the last 10 years, I've been employed in various industries, including animal welfare and the tech industry.  Back in 1999, my brother gifted me my very first real PC, and I was almost instantly hooked on the internet (leading to one of my online monickers, Wired2theNet).  I've been a PC gamer for the last 11 years, mostly in the realm of RTSs, FPSs, and MMOs.  I have a web development background, having started my own company back in 2000, but have since moved on to hosting websites instead of design.  Back in 2006 or '07, I began work in Animal Welfare, working with the SPCA and Animal Control, before leaving it for tech positions (animal welfare is a very sad and emotionally troubling industry to work in ... and not recommended unless you have a very VERY stout heart.  I got into it quite by accident because of my typing abilities (90 wpm), and although I enjoyed it at first, I quickly realized that I didn't have the heart to continue.  I still love it, but won't ever go back).

Recently, I've been delving heavily into Photoshop painting (my background is in traditional fantasy oil painting), trying to improve my knowledge and skills.  I've also been experimenting with video editing and compilation, to improve my portfolio.

Although I don't have a "technical programming" background, some of the many things Outerra shows translates readily in some of the 3d packages I've worked with, including Lightwave and Maya3d.

I'm currently working on a number of novel projects, the main one being a fantasy trilogy very loosely based on the Native Americans, called "The Journeys of the Greywolf."  The project began after watching a PBS television series entitled How The West Was Lost, which was from the point of view of Native Americans.  The story revolves around an "elven" nation overtaken by "human" (or the white man) expansion and subjugation.  Although started back in 1992, I never progressed very far until the last two years, while I tried to develop an interesting storyline for the main character: "The Greywolf."  (A teaser video with stock footage -- all of which will be replaced as new art is created -- can be viewed here: http://www.cshawnsmith.com/scout/index.html.  Still a LOT of work to be done ... this is more of a storyboard than anything.)

Hopefully, this next year will see the completion of the first rough draft of the first novel, "Cry of the Wolf," and its subsequent publication.  The Outerra engine interests me because of the possibilities it has in helping me deliver a fully realized 3d environment for the novel.  I want my readers to be able to see all the various locations in the novels, and experience it as if they were really there ... something that hasn't ever truly been done before in the realm of fiction, outside of movies.

--- Quote from: grabacr 31770 ---So you would write it with locations in Outerra in mind, which the reader can then see for themselves in real (virtual) life?
--- End quote ---

A little more ambitious than that :).  Since Outerra uses height maps to generate the basic terrain, I'm hoping I'll be able to plug my own height maps that I've created in Photoshop to create a unique world.  I already have one height map for an island continent made, which I was using in Lightwave 3d.  But I can't get down to the resolution I need (I'm doing something wrong, but not sure what it is yet).  Outerra would make my job a LOT easier :)

Soo .... who are you?  And why are you here? :)

grabacr 31770:
Good day.

Good thread, we can see who everyone is.

I'm Ollie, I'm 14 and live in Gloucestershire, England (that bit of the world where it always rains, and you get 7 minutes of sun and snow a year).

Still at school obviously. Working towards my GCSEs, I'm doing maths, English literature, English language, 3 sciences, Spanish, art, history and geography.

I love aviation, have since an early age, and I'm working towards a career as a pilot in the RAF. If anything goes wrong medically (air forces are very medically strict), I'll either go into civil, or, more likely, air traffic control in the RAF. I am part of the CCF (combined cadet force) at school, in the RAF section, and have 1 and a half flight hours in a Grob Tutor, with more soon (I'm chuffed considering I'm still pretty young and it's all free).

Anyway, my other love is music. I play piano and guitar mainly, but bass and drums too. I'm in a band and I've written a few songs. Haven't gigged though yet, will do soon. I love (alternative) rock music mainly, my 3 favourite bands being Them Crooked Vultures, Radiohead and Muse.

So that's pretty much me.


In regards to your post, the novel idea sounds amazing. So you would write it with locations in Outerra in mind, which the reader can then see for themselves in real (virtual) life? Wow :D. You could even create the location to what you want it to look like, with buildings and all, then release it as a patch.

So why am I here .. ;)

For ages the terrain rendering driven by fractals was just my hobby. I regret not keeping the very first screenshots from the terracing "terrain" I was getting on Commodore 64, or was it on my first PC XT? Not even sure anymore.
But here, a younger screen from 2001, that iteration of terrain generator has laid the crude foundation for terrain generator that is used today, but it's been a long way from it to what is now.

As far as I can remember I wanted to have a world that could be explored and lived in. If it was to become any kind of simulator, it would be a simulator of civilization, or maybe a simulator of a lone man surviving in unknown or a changed world. More the latter, I guess. I could say that the driving force was similar to Shawn's, I've always been fan of sci-fi stories that managed to portrait the world as an intriguing place for living one's life in. For example A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin.

I am coming from the northern part of our country - Orava region, that is a hilly and largely forested land. if it reminds you in any way of Outerra's default landscape, now you know why that is :)
Our court modeler Chyshney comes from there as well, lived just across the street and he remembers my early attempts although he probably didn't think it will get this far.

After graduating (automation at technical university) I ended up by a chance in company that was doing enterprise database applications, what was really absurd as I always disliked the databases and the boring enterprise world. I would not have stayed there long weren't it for my very meek boss, whom I relatively easily convinced that making our own multidimensional database engine for analytical processing is the right way to go. Long story short, I stayed with the company for some 13 years, gaining a special status almost from the beginning that allowed me to work mostly on my own designs, albeit it never had anything to do with games or graphics. From one point of view it was an unexpected opportunity to work on new stuff driven by myself, but from another one it was all wasted time as the company was absolutely incapable of selling their own products. But I digress.

I met with Angrypig during the last year in there. We were both dissatisfied, but both working on background projects - he was making a general game engine (not the first one in his life) and I was working on yet another iteration of my terrain engine. It's rather odd how our gears clicked together. Each of us specializes in different areas - his is the core engine above the OpenGL, async task processor and basically all the low level core functionality of the engine. Also his is the web browser integration, object rendering and import, JSBSim integration, and recently he started working also on a tree generator. My parts include terrain and atmosphere rendering, terrain generation, roads, water, ground vehicle physics and from the invisible stuff the shader compiler and data processors.

As for my goals, I mainly want to work on stuff where I can be creative, hoping it will be appreciated by people that want to live their dreams that are somewhat similar to those dreams of mine :)


Yeah and my profile image comes from my enterprise days too, maybe we lasted in there so long because of our almost daily Atomic Bomberman sessions. Always playing with the same color, I was once nicknamed "Orange Death" by an unlucky burning victim :)

C. Shawn Smith:
Love the profile image explanation :).  I've always wondered about that.

By cameni's request, I'll now do my introduction.

I joined here after being referred here by a squadron friend from an Il-2 1946 squad I used to be in.  To be honest, my only experience with graphics engines is playing a few computer games (mostly sims) and some dabbling with Bryce 5.5 when I was younger.  I even managed to make a few clips lasting a few seconds, but nothing very impressive, just a few rough shapes turned into a starship moving through an open area.

And as for Sisi... :P

Every time I see her, my eyes feel like firecrackers have exploded in front of them.  So she was a natural choice for featuring in my custom title.  It's sad that she didn't have a happier life, but she does have a cult following today.


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