The long road to TopoGun 3, a short tale by Cristi Prefac, the developer

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: