The long road to TopoGun 3, a short tale by Cristi Prefac, the developer
Published on 7 October, 2020
In anticipation of TopoGun 3, Cristi Prefac, the man behind the app, unveils how his Character artist career in AMC shifted to pioneering retopology workflows.
In 2007, I was working at AMC as a Character artist, during the shift towards “Next Gen” games. We were all incredibly excited about sculpting characters and then having the details retained in lowpoly versions, using normal maps. It was basically a revolution, a turning point, and we had the chance to work on such a game (Mercenaries 2 by Pandemic Studios).
The main problem that I encountered was the absence of a dedicated software that would be good enough to make the low-poly versions with the so-called retopology.
Having a technical background and programming skills, I decided to try and build a tool that would help me/us with this, as retopologizing isn’t very funny or pleasant, or at least not with the modeling tools that were standard back then.
I eventually managed to write something that worked, my colleagues liked it and I was happy that I had more time to focus on texturing and sculpting.
As I kept adding features, I decided to go public with it, on a global level. I enjoyed a great deal of support from various artists, some of them from giant studios, which helped me improve it, as I received suggestions and bug reports.
The beta testing lasted a bit over a year, and I managed to finally launch the first commercial version in 2009.
Three years later, I released the second version and, after a MAJOR break that lasted about 8 years, I managed to start the beta testing for the third version.
Many people thought the project was dead/abandoned, and they had every reason to do so. However, TopoGun 3 was beta-ready in 2015, but a few days before making the announcement, on the January 1st 2015, I decided I wasn’t going to release it in that form. I just wouldn’t have the necessary leeway had I used the old code base, which was better suited for a small, utilitary soft rather than a modular application, which needed to be easily extended.
I therefore decided to rewrite the whole thing from scratch. Either it takes the form I want, or I take it off the market. It took me five more years to redo everything that was in TopoGun 2 and to add even more features than had existed in the abandoned third version.
As for the current TopoGun 3, the beta testing is going really well, the bugs are decreasing, it will probably be released in early spring.
The feedback has been very positive, I am very optimistic and certain that more and more people will be using it.
TopoGun 2(&3) is offered as prize for the podium of AMC ART Hunt Challenge, our contest for international 3D artists, ON until October 20th. Check it out below:
“We’ve been very happy to work with AMC: from early stages until the end, they always did their best and reached our standards of quality within tough- and sometimes changing- constrains.”
Ahmed BOUKHELIFA, Producer, EDEN Games
“AMC was an excellent partner. Their work was done in a timely manner and to the standard that we were looking for. This included adapting to the unique “Graphic Noir” texture style that The Darkness II maintains. I would highly recommend them based off of my experience on this project.”
Jeff EDWARDS, Production, Digital Extremes
“AMC has shown themselves to be at the highest tier among our outsourcing vendors. Their talent is excellent and their technical expertise shows that they have years of experience working in the game industry. Highly recommended.“
Rodney LUM, Art Outsourcing Manager, Disney/Propaganda Games
“Our experience working with AMC has been excellent… a professional and well managed operation delivering high standards of work on time and to budget.”
Vassos SHIARLIS, Studio Outsource Manager, Disney/Black Rock Studio
“We loved using AMC so much, that we had them working back-to-back schedules starting with Mercenaries 2 and then continuing immediately on Saboteur. They did roughly 60% of our outsource work and their quality was excellent. When the time comes, we won’t hesitate to use them again.”
Carey CHICO, Executive Art Director, Pandemic Studios/EA
“AMC is a great partner! They always achieve our art quality expectations. They are adapting to changes quickly and deliver on time and budget. AMC’s character art team is top notch and we love the cooperation with the whole team!”
MICHAL DRTINA, OUTSOURCING PRODUCER, HANGAR 13
“We had the opportunity to experience the full potential of long-distance cooperation. We are extremely satisfied with the quality and productivity of our joint work on World of Tanks 1.0. AMC has shown that it is ready to challenge the complexity and tight due dates. Great specialists who know their field and are ready to constantly maintain and raise the quality bar.“
Yakov Yaskevich, Vehicle and Environment Art Supervisor, Wargaming.net
“AMC has been a pleasure to work with throughout the duration of our partnership on Scavengers. They always deliver high quality work, are very accommodating to any updates to the production schedule, and continuously seek to improve their craft. They’re a very dedicated team that has performed above and beyond our expectations, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them.“
Audrey Mladina, Producer, Midwinter Entertainment
“Overall, the general collaboration was great. The quality of the delivered assets was great, coming with a great understanding in visual design, form and artistic language, and your experience helped us a lot with adapting our vision from the concept art phase to the 3D models. This was also emphasized by a great communication between our teams and I loved that we shared the same work ethics and mentality that are center focused on delivering the best quality work we can produce.“