Community Spotlight: Polycount

Polycount has been home to a large number of video game artists, both professional and amateur, since 1998. Like Shacknews, Polycount has deep...

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Polycount has been home to a large number of video game artists, both professional and amateur, since 1998. Like Shacknews, Polycount has deep roots in Quake. The site was once known as Q2PMP, an outlet for fans to create and show off Quake 2 skins. Since then, Polycount has grown to nearly 45,000 members and encompasses all aspects of game art (3D, 2D, concept, animation, and FX) across a full range of platforms. Adam (familiar to Shackers as eonix) has frequented Polycount since his high school days in 1999. Now known as Shacker eonix, He now runs Polycount along with Drew "r13" Risch, and Polycount's team of editors and moderators. While the administration has changed, Polycount's dedication to cultivating a generation of video game artists has not. Adam's portfolio includes Stacked, The Outfit, Wolfenstein, Ghostbusters, Army of Two: 40th Day, Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising, and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. He is currently working on Splinter Cell: Blacklist as a level artist. While his personal portfolio increases with each passing day, one of Adam's biggest contributions is to Team Fortress 2. Polycount was at the ground floor of the Mann-conomy Update that saw TF2 move to the highly successful microtransaction model. Polycount accompanied the game's landscape shift by holding a contest for artists to design hats and weapons for what would be known as the Polycount Pack. "I headed up the entire project, while working with Robin and the rest of the TF2 team on ironing out the details for the contest," said Adam. "The Mann-conomy Update and the idea of in-store purchasable items entirely fell on Valve. The Polycount Pack was a fantastic way to kickstart that idea and it was a great opportunity for us to gain publicity with launching an update to our site, as the contest and the update to Polycount launched around the same time."

Polycount member Vonwilbur's Costanza Complex for TF2

The contest was a huge success for both Valve and Polycount. TF2 players still get frequent usage from many of the Polycount Pack items, including the Soldier's Black Box rocket launcher, the Sniper's Bushwhacka kukri, and the Pyro's Degreaser flamethrower. Since the Polycount Pack's release, Polycount's TF2 forums have seen a jump in visitors and members. "As it stands right now, our TF2-dedicated forum thread is our most populated thread on the entire site," said Adam. "Needless to say, the contest brought in an incredible amount of new talent to Polycount, of which were people creating 3D art for the first time -- and for their favorite game, it seems. Since I, myself, am a huge TF2 fan, seeing those two worlds collide has been very exciting. I love seeing people excited over ideas then executing on them successfully. Right now, I am loving Vonwilbur's 'the Costanza Complex'." I asked Adam for some of the best 3D art he's seen in the Polycount forums over the last couple of years, to which he replied that they're far too numerous to list. Fortunately, those interested in seeing some of the best of Polycount's work can check out their weekly recaps. As for what the forum's members are working on, Adam notes that Polycount's presence can be found everywhere. "Our members come from virtually every studio making videogames right now, and we have a ton of indie developers posting at Polycount," said Adam. "From the big hitters like Valve, id, Epic, Naughty Dog, DICE, Capcom, and all the major publishers, to the smaller teams like Nimblebit, whose Tiny Tower was Apple's iPhone Game of the Year for 2011. One of my favorite teams posting on Polycount right now are the guys making 'the Other Brothers'. I'm a huge fan of old school LucasArts games -- the artwork in them was inspiring. Watching The Other Brothers' development over time has been a mix of nostalgia and awe -- and a bit of jealousy."

Greentooth shows up in the game Brink

Polycount members have shown an affinity for their community, as evident through a story that Adam told on Chatty about finding Polycount's longtime unofficial mascot, Greentooth, on a front-page Reddit story. "Reddit is part of my morning routine," Adam explained, "so needless to say it was quite the surprise to see Greentooth up on the front page. Having said that, it's been no secret to our community that he's been secretly placed in many of today's biggest games. We never did any sort of 'call to arms' asking artists to drop him in the games they are working on. It's just something that took off on its own, and once we started sharing pictures of 'sightings' in games, it took off like wildfire." So what's next for eonix? "I'm always working on new things for Polycount and I am hoping to announce a few big things very soon," he said. "As for my own personal projects, I've got one on the go right now that I can't wait to share with Polycount. It just needs a bit more progress to be made before I'd like to share it."
Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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From The Chatty

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    August 16, 2012 9:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Community Spotlight: Polycount.

    Polycount has been home to a large number of video game artists, both professional and amateur, since 1998. Like Shacknews, Polycount has deep...

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      August 16, 2012 9:30 AM

      very cool! grats Adam :) Yay greentooth.

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      August 16, 2012 9:41 AM

      Thanks to eonix for taking the time for the interview.

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      August 16, 2012 10:17 AM

      Hey, fantastic write-up.

      To clarify - our entire team helped with the TF2 contest, it was just me from Polycount + Valve. The moderators and editors were also there to make sure I didn't stumble over my own feet trying to get this thing going. It would have been a mess without their help. <3

      Thanks for this.

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      August 16, 2012 10:18 AM

      Awesome stuff guys really like the article has a lot of meat to it, also congrats eonix sounds like you have a real cool job :) hope greentooth continues to do good and your project is cool.

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        August 16, 2012 10:21 AM

        I think you particular will enjoy what I'm currently working on in my spare time. It's an art project completely, but I know you like big sexy game related things so I am hoping you'll dig it.

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          August 16, 2012 12:27 PM

          AHhhhh! very cool am looking forward to it :)

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      August 16, 2012 10:28 AM

      Nice article. I really am liking these community spotlights.

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      August 16, 2012 11:02 AM

      A visit to Q2PMP used to be part of my daily routine. I should see if I can find some of those old models and fire the game up again.

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      August 16, 2012 11:14 AM

      Thanks a bunch for everything, eonix!

      And as a quick aside, how awesome does that Costanza Complex look? Anyone else really hoping that this makes it into the game?

      "It's a game about nothing! Every game's doing something! We'll have nothing!"

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        August 16, 2012 11:37 AM

        Sent you an SM the other day, hoping to hear back from you ;)

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        August 16, 2012 12:31 PM

        :) I hope so, Seinfeld was a legacy nothing will match it, I hope one day there is blu ray box set I know there is a DVD for like $190 or something I should really get it.

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      August 16, 2012 1:19 PM

      Yay Adam! I visit Polycount every day. I've been visiting it since the quake 3 skins.

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      August 16, 2012 2:36 PM

      eonix I wanna know what stuff you worked on after blacklist comes out!

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      August 16, 2012 3:16 PM

      This was a great article! Thanks Keef.

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        August 16, 2012 6:35 PM

        Ozzie did the article and interview. I just coordinate and act important ...

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      August 16, 2012 8:58 PM

      Great job eonix!

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      August 16, 2012 8:59 PM

      And he's Canadian!

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        August 16, 2012 10:06 PM

        Just when I thought he was starting to sound like a cool guy...