December 2, 2014

Marketplace Creator Spotlight: C-Media

By Charleston Silverman

A Little About Me

My name is Charleston and you might know me from the assets I’ve created for the Marketplace. I currently own C-Media, a digital media company, which handles web design, web development and online marketing.

When I was 13, I got my first gaming device, the original Nintendo Game Boy.  The very first game I remember playing outside of an arcade was 'Balloon Boy' and I remember being fascinated that this interactive moving picture could hold my interest for hours at a time.  I eventually graduated to a NES, then an SNES and then to a N64.  Eventually I started hearing about these games that you could play online with other people which were only available on PC.  After playing online multi-player games I became, almost exclusively, a PC gamer.

I have been involved in the gaming mod community since I was about 18 (I'm 29 now) as a hobby. I first got into content creation for video games with Half-Life which was the first game I played that came with its own Level Editor - WorldCraft.  I started by creating random, un-optimized environments just to get a hang of the tools. Once mods like Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat started coming out, I decided to learn how to create optimized maps that actually had a game-play flow which I could release to the community for fun- I ended up releasing maybe four to five maps that got decent play time and were fairly popular. 

Since then I have had development experience with just about all of the major engines from Q3 to Source to CryEngine, but Unreal Engine has been consistently superior in just about every aspect. UE4 is, as far as I'm concerned, the most user-friendly, easily accessible and powerful SDK out there whether you're a veteran content developer, a hobbyist or completely new to the development process. The addition of the Marketplace creates a great outlet for people to share their creations with the community.  I have been creating content with Unreal Engine since UnrealED 2.0, but I really started dedicating time to learning the tools with the release of UDK for Unreal Engine 3.

I am currently developing a First Person Sci-Fi Action Adventure game which I had started building with UDK and am now in the process of porting over to UE4 to continue development. My goal is to get a prototype up and running which can be utilized to get financial backing to complete the project.  Without UE4's flexible full-source subscription model, I don't know if this would have been possible.

About My Assets on Marketplace

When Epic first launched the Marketplace I knew that I wanted to create assets that I, myself, would have found useful when first starting out and I also wanted the assets to cover the essentials for just about any project.  That's why I chose to start by creating things like Master Materials, Textures, Street Signs, etc. that a developer would most likely have to create anyway but that could take days, weeks or even months away from their precious development time which could be better utilized for developing things like story, characters and game-play.

I currently have three asset packs on the Marketplace, and I have plans to submit more before the end of the year including a Real-World Measurement pack, a Container pack (crates, barrels, etc.), a Modular Pipe Pack, a pack containing various doors, a Graveyard pack and a full environment which I have been working on based on an Ancient Cistern.

A Few Parting Thoughts

Being able to dissect other people's work has been one of the best learning tools for me which is why I recommend to other content developers that they create their assets in such a way as to be easily dissected and understood by the people who buy them.  A lot of people who are going to buy the assets, if they're like me, aren't necessarily going to directly use them in their project, but they may want to see how they were created in order to create their own assets using a similar method tailored to their needs.

I am passionate about creating and storytelling through visual and interactive media. Eventually, I plan to completely focus my efforts on game design, game development, film writing, directing and producing. This is what I have wanted to do since I was a teenager; ultimately I would like to have my own all-encompassing entertainment company (video games, film and television). Right now, more than ever, with the improvements made in real-time rendering for video games and the ever-increasing use of CGI in movies, the game development and film development process is becoming so similar that I see the technology that powers both of them becoming one in the same within the next two to three iterations of real-time rendering technology. UE4 is currently, in my opinion, the closest to that achievement.  The convergence of real-time rendering and pre-rendered visual quality as well as the ease of use, modularity and robustness of the tool set are the main reasons I decided to invest my time learning UE4 over other offerings.

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