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Monthly Archives: March 2018

With the announcement that Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is coming back for a week of twentieth anniversary specials, I was compelled to get in on this and throw a revival of my own. Almost two years ago now, I had a go at making a 3D model of the Millionaire set. I hoped I could do better this time!

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I’ve gone for a more 1998 look, or at least the early days in general. It’s always been a fairly intimate arena, but here we have a wider range of colours besides just blue, and with those wonderfully bulky screens and a big case of wonga making the centrepiece.

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The 2016 attempt now looks pretty terrible, so I’m guessing that’s a marked improvement! With what I’d like to think was a more informed approach, creating the model and animation was a much happier experience this time around. No friends needed to be phoned… though, I should give credit to my friend Christopher Jamin; shots of his own Millionaire models helped me no end with the make-up of more intricate elements.

I’m always curious with revivals; it seems there is a very fine line to tread when bringing back an established show. Some are spoilt with unnecessary ‘tweaks’ (Crystal Maze, Krypton Factor) while others just can’t seem to escape the shadow of previous presenters (Blockbusters, Robot Wars, Crystal Maze again). Indeed, it will be strange having Millionaire mark its twentieth anniversary without Chris Tarrant. Jeremy Clarkson probably wouldn’t have been my first choice to succeed him, but he will undoubtedly attract others, and there’s nothing to suggest he won’t do a decent job.

The £64,000 question will of course be whether viewers want Millionaire back just four years after it limped into retirement virtually unnoticed. Should things go down well, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more. If it’s used sparingly and goes back to the basics that made it gripping in the first place, I think Millionaire could well flourish again, twenty years later. We’ll have to ask the audience and see…

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Oh, and ITV: it’s the thirtieth anniversary of Interceptor next year. Celebratory revival please.

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Brrrrr.

Day two of huddling up with this icy stuff. I wasn’t really expecting to be following up so swiftly, but weather is weather, and with the year as slow as it’s been so far, I’m certainly not complaining! This time my letters took on a slightly different form, coming off those nice flat, fragmented planes I chanced upon yesterday.

I though a ’round’ font might complement these, and ended up going with a traditional dot matrix face, subjecting it to various textures and random positioning. I also tried to shake the backgrounds up a little for each character; they’re all different but the dots manage to keep them in union, I think.

Just for a laugh, here are some earlier renders:

Fun fun. It has felt good to be making stuff and buzzing again. Let’s see if it lasts this time around!

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I’m sure everyone knows what the weather is like and you certainly won’t need me to repeat every weatherperson on TV. But I shall. It’s four degrees below freezing, the wind is howling. The night sky is lit up with that otherworldly orange as there’s so much snow. It must be the heaviest we’ve had here in five years, perhaps more, and it’s clearly not over yet. I expect kids are going to be off school for a while – happy times for them, perhaps not so much for slightly bigger commuters. I have to admit, when we first got the stuff, I did squeal a little. That first crunch of the snow benath my foot, and I’m restored to happy-four year old, itching to lob a snowball at someone.

And yet, I found myself indoors and playing on the computer. No real surprise there, I hear you all tut back at me. I started fiddling with textures with no hard aim, but soon began toying with transparency, looking for glass, and then it hit me.

Ice Ice Baby.

Here are the fruits of my experimentation in trying to create something from scratch that resembles icicles, ice blocks or something in between. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. There are probably hundreds of tutorials on the subject which would result in something far better, but I thought it would be interesting practise, and well, I’ve always been difficult.

Cones masqueraded as icicles to begin with, forming a crown for some cool ice prince. It might be a few years before I’m skilled enough to sculpt him.

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Continuing to experiment, I just began placing the texture on flat surfaces but using different wrap procedures and alpha patterns. I haven’t really used flat wrap before, but it seemed to give a really nice stretched aesthetic:

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The letters were a much quicker job than the texture itself; with so many options in there, it’s easy to plunge into a ‘kid in candy store’ situation and completely forget what you’re trying to achieve. In aiming for a more spontaneous result, they were one-and-done jobs with splines, nothing too methodical. I actually rather like how the texture has come out with inverted colour; a crumbly, lunar landscape to it. Perhaps it could be used for something totally different.

It’s been a while since I’ve got this carried away with anything creative, so thank goodness for the Beast From the East, I guess. I cannot let this post pass without mentioning the glorious Ice Cap Zone from Sonic 3 – truly, it was love at first sight for me. Not the most challenging part of the game, but visually stunning. Even the enemies, little robot penguins, are adorable. And just when you’ve thought you’d seen it all, you happen across someone singing the music a-capella. Marvellous!