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Trent Polack's Blog   Expert Blogs


I’m Trent Polack (@mittense on twitter). As you may have noticed above, I am 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’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 Wed, 27 Jun 2018 10:10:00 EDT in Design, Programming, Production, Console/PC, Indie
Mostly a development update on my indie game (Steel Hunters), some highlights, some budget low-low-low-low-lights (and publishing? maybe?), environment creation/iteration, gameplay this and that, MICROMORTS/Banana Equivalent Dose, and syyyystems design!

Posted by Trent Polack on Mon, 07 May 2018 12:13:00 EDT in Programming, Art, Console/PC, Indie
Details on the GitHub repository where I keep a variety of free game development resources: assets, UE4 content, git and OS scripts, experiments, UE4 C++ code, sample World Machine files/output, etc. So: here's all that and why/what it is.

Posted by Trent Polack on Thu, 03 May 2018 11:41:00 EDT in Design, Programming, Art, Console/PC, Indie
A step-by-step breakdown of my final scene composition iteration process for environmental lighting, effects, clouds, atmospherics, and volumetrics in Steel Hunters (in Unreal Engine 4).

Posted by Trent Polack on Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:40:00 EST
Part one of the Trent Polack origin story. This has absolutely no practical benefit other than hopefully providing people that want to get started in games in some form or another. But, yeah, mostly me rambling.

Avoiding reliance on cooked/binary data for data-driven game elements and/or everyday workflow and using basic JSON files for data. And JSON is, of course, introduced by none other than Ethan Mars from Heavy Rain.

Posted by Trent Polack on Tue, 23 Jan 2018 09:40:00 EST in Art, Console/PC, Serious, Indie, Smartphone/Tablet, VR
A brief guide on material usage in Unreal Engine 4 along with best practices and links to our open-source assets.

Trent Polack's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 01/25/2018 - 05:58]

1 The assets references are ...

1 The assets references are all the configs ever care about, and they 're never set directly from the editor so I just grab the path name and that 's all that needs to be done. I was using FStringAssetReference now FSoftObjectPath but I just discovered I never ended up ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/23/2018 - 09:40]

That has the same functional ...

That has the same functional effect as appearing whenever you delete an asset though, yeah r n r nAlso: why are redirectors not automatically cleaned up and resolved upon completion of the process Or at least a reminder when redirectors need to be cleaned up. r n r nThough why ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/04/2018 - 11:04]

I apologize for not seeing ...

I apologize for not seeing this earlier I never got an email for it. r n r nANYWAY. r n r nProcedural generation is a form of systems design, at least in my eyes. Procedurally-generated content has to follow a strict set of rules and systems in order to maintain ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/28/2017 - 10:44]

Yeah, git-lfs is a lot ...

Yeah, git-lfs is a lot better now than it was when I first tried it it also supports file locking now. r n r nI Don 't plan on using git for the long-term, but until I get funding for my game, it 's the cheapest option that is actually ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/26/2017 - 10:43]

In general, I 'd say ...

In general, I 'd say one thing: never put your life savings into a game. Unless you 're one of the most high-risk/high-reward sort of gambler. It 's a dangerous thing to do for a whole lot of reasons, and if it fails, it 'll sour you on games likely ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/26/2017 - 11:24]

I 'd recommend the specific ...

I 'd recommend the specific use case where defaulting to zero is a bad idea: mass values. r n r nGo the Unreal Engine 4 route: r n r n define SMALL NUMBER 1.e-8f