Mike Rayahwk Spin Master
Grind Central Station overview
"Grind Central Station" - 3D Studio Max, 2008
(UV layout, texturing, model finalization, and debugging)
4,527 tris; 14 texture sheets; 665k export

Our first major project at Spin Master Studios was Tech Deck Live, a low-poly, browser-based kids' MMO based on Spin Master's Tech Deck toy line of finger skateboards.

The site went offline in 2010, but there are still videos on YouTube for the curious.

Grind Central Station main hall
Grind Central Station platform
texture sheet
texture sheet
texture sheet
Grind Central Station texture sheets

Because the game content streams and runs directly in-browser, we were working under tight limits for modeling and textures. Our targets were six thousand tris' worth of geometry, twenty texture sheets, and the whole kit and kaboodle exporting at around 600k. Needless to say, this required a whole lot of clever texture re-use and tiling, especially where we managed to sneak in baked-in lighting and shadows.

Spillway overview
Spillway wireframe
"Spillway" - 3D Studio Max, 2007
7,042 tris; 24 textures; 938k export

Compare the look of Grind Central Station to this Spillway level and you'll see how far we came. When we were first starting out, the entire art department consisted of just me, and this river level was the one I slapped together to see just what we could and couldn't get away with in an in-browser engine.

Spillway drain room
Spillway culvert
Spillway overpasses
Spillway sub wreck

In what was probably the last time I'll ever get to use my computer science background, I was the only guy in the office who understood both the engine code and the art pipeline, even after we'd fully staffed both the art and the engineering departments. As such, it was my job to figure out the limits of what the engine could handle, what it would cost us bandwidth-wise, and the best way to optimize between the two.

For example: Intersecting polygons, overlapping alpha textures, surface decals, and multi-textured objects? No, no, no, and no. No dynamic lighting either; all those cast shadows you see were carved in with polygons. On the other hand, a submarine inexplicably crashed in an urban spillway? Yes. For whatever reason, the sub wreck was a big hit in kid testing.

My big accomplishment in this regard was figuring out an optimization path to take the in-game level loading times from minutes down to seconds, in some cases cutting load time by over 90%.

While I did the modeling and texturing for the Spillway myself (with the later addition of some graffiti graphics by Pablo Ruvalcaba), we were already starting to fill out the art team pretty quickly (thank God). For the rest of the images on this page, credit goes as follows

Modeling: Chris Ashbaugh
Geometry finalization, UV layout, and texturing: Mike Rayhawk
Modeling: (various)
Rigging: Newton DePaoli
Animation: Duane Douglass
UV layout and texturing: Mike Rayhawk
Grind Central Station main hall
Grind Central Station platform
Sub commander
Hospital parking lot
Construction site
Construction worker
Shopping district
Beach park
Warehouse rails
Warehouse shelves
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Tech Deck Live" material is Copyright ©2007-2009 Spin Master Ltd.
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