NEIL MELVILLE Web Site
Van Helsing FX
In September of 2003, I was contracted to create visual FX for the Van Helsing game in production at Saffire Corporation. My former coworker, Joe Hansen (from Beyond Games' Redline, Motor Mayhem, and Hot Wheels teams), recommended me. Joe had just previously been brought in to work on FX for the same project, and the Van Helsing Project Management wanted yet more muscle on the FX team. Now I joined that FX team to bring it to a total of 4 souls.
The process involved creating particle emitters and animations in 3DStudio Max, with plug-ins to enter special data fields for the proprietary game engine's rendering. The exported FX assets were linked to a game location or character or animation.
Some FX, like sparks and glows, were created with point emitters, while instanced geometry was used for debris, lightning, and a fountain of bats. For environmental FX like fog, rain and snow, the particles were created within a defined volume. Specific breaking or moving objects were animated by keyed frames or pre-calculated physics simulation.
Joe and I focused on creating FX for the real-time in-game cinematic cut-scenes, While Andrew Nielson focused on game environment FX, and Mike Lott on characters. There was some overlap in these responsibilities, and Joe and Mike ended up leaving to pursue other opportunities before the project's completion. This left Andrew and myself to finish up the final polish pass and bug fixing.
By the end of the project 7 months after I had begun, I had worked on many areas, including:
Below are some screenshots that show some of the FX I created in the game.