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June 25, 2017
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Trent Polack's Blog   Expert Blogs


Hi, I’m Trent Polack (@mittense on twitter).  I’m also the Founder and CEO of Joy Machine, where we're working on the third-person co-op action/shooter (with procedurally generated loot and enormous enemy behemoths): Steel Hunters. We maintain an active Development Log about the game, the development of the game, game design theory and practice, graphics programming, engine development, and more!

In the past, I've helped to save the world as a Lead Experience Developer at planet3 from East Lansing, MI (and Washington, DC, and Austin, TX). Before that, I was as a Senior VFX Artist and Technical Artist working on Crowfall.

And even before that, I was Creative Director and Executive Producer at Team Chaos, working on games like SUPERCHROMARooster Teeth vs. ZombiensLoot RaidersSPACE COLORSDragon RaidersCat vs. AliensDragon Academy, and Elements: Broken Lands.

And even before that, I worked as a Senior Designer on various projects at LightBox Interactive as well as spending years on Starhawk and the initial design/development of Plundernauts.

In the past, I was a game developer at Stardock Entertainment where I worked on Galactic Civilizations 2: Twilight of the ArnorSins of a Solar EmpireThe Political Machine 2008, and Demigod. I was also involved with a large amount of the development of Elemental: War of Magic. I’ve also worked as a programmer working on satellite monitoring programs, a game journalist, an author, a door-to-door salesman, a PR dude, and a grocery bag boy. That last one is really the highlight of my career, I think.

I have a degree in English (with a focus on Creative Writing, Computer Science, and Secondary Education) from the University of Michigan.

I write a whole bunch about bunches of things. In the past, I have been known to write entire books such as Focus on 3D Terrain Programming. I also coauthored Graphics Programming Methods and Game Programming: Tricks of the Trade.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Trent Polack on Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:43:00 EDT in Design, Programming, Console/PC, Indie
A tangent-free, short (for me) practical example of applied system design on a fundamental game element: projectiles.

Posted by Trent Polack on Wed, 31 May 2017 09:43:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design, Programming, Production, Console/PC, Indie
After more than a decade in the professional game development industry, I thought the industry needed an injection of a different type of game. So: I wanted to do that. And so is having almost no money to do this with. Also being a CEO is weird.

Posted by Trent Polack on Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:20:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC
I wrote a late night ramble thing on — WAIT FOR IT — systems design! Kinda. Also ghostbusters and persona and MGS5 and Far Cry 2. Which have so much (nothing) in common.

Posted by Trent Polack on Tue, 04 Apr 2017 09:51:00 EDT in Programming, Console/PC, Indie
I tried to employ an actual scientific method to taking a pass at color-grading/post-stack tuning for not-super-well-calibrated monitors or non-ideal viewing conditions. Then, shortly after starting, I was like "let's make this an article!" I'm so d

Posted by Trent Polack on Thu, 16 Mar 2017 06:18:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Production, Console/PC, Indie
Project management is the sexiest topic in all of game development. Seriously. It's the thing that makes us into rock stars and pop culture idols. For real, it's boring, but it's the most necessary aspect of ensuring your project stays on schedule.

Posted by Trent Polack on Thu, 09 Mar 2017 06:05:00 EST in Indie
I've been in games for about ten years. Or so. All sorts of different platforms, scope (indie->AAA->beyond), etc. And now I have my own company working on a fantastic game (Steel Hunters). Here's what I've learned.

Trent Polack's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 06/01/2017 - 03:38]

I 'm not going to ...

I 'm not going to link to any of my own blog posts because that feels, silly, but I think this is one of the only posts I 've ever read that explains my own emphasis on planning in design better than I think I could even do. Planning and, ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/31/2017 - 09:43]

Thanks a lot lt 3 ...

Thanks a lot lt 3

Comment In: [Blog - 03/16/2017 - 06:18]

So, if someone gets blocked ...

So, if someone gets blocked on a task for whatever reason, we have them assign the @blocked label to a task, so that the production team can use their filter all @blocked to see instantly what tasks are blocked, so that we can resolve the blockers ASAP.

Comment In: [Blog - 02/07/2017 - 10:45]

Yeah, I totally hear where ...

Yeah, I totally hear where you 're coming from. I actually spent a lot of time going back and forth on this I decided on the pixel-perfect aiming for a few reasons: r n r n- For one thing, it 's not true pixel-perfect aim. What I mean is that ...

Comment In: [Blog - 12/22/2016 - 10:48]

If you get access to ...

If you get access to the GameWorks Github repository NVIDIA is generally pretty quick with requests , you can find the beginnings of the integration into UE4 in the VXGI repo. r n r nAnd from there you can just e-mail me and I 'll help you from there. ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/14/2015 - 02:14]

I don 't do philosophical. ...

I don 't do philosophical. I do old testament god wrath.