My first post is going to be more of a post just for myself – my practice with the wordpress and its layouts. To be honest I never did have a blog of any kind (well, except for a “homepage” in early 00’s – with obligatory guestbook written in php, hobbies, ugly hover images for buttons etc. – but who didn’t own one at that time? 🙂 ), so I’m really inexperienced in that field and the beginning can be rough – especially that I was thinking about starting one for quite a long time.
That’s why I start from something relatively easy – just couple thoughts and a small gallery from my vacations – not much text for you to read or me to write, just lots of settings to fight with.
I got to visit Cuba for winter holidays 2013 – after just having shipped Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag two months ago. For everyone who doesn’t know the game (check it out!) – it takes place during the “golden age of piracy” in various cities and villages set in Caribbean Sea, including Spanish-era Cuban Havana. So I spent over a year of my life (after joining Ubisoft Montreal) trying to help to create technology to depict realistically something I got to see in real life afterwards – which I find quite ironic. 🙂
Anyway, the visit itself was really interesting experience. I won’t bore you to death with something that you can find way more competent people writing about. But personally I found travelling through this island interesting due to three aspects.
First of all, I was really surprised by similarities it bears with early 90’s Eastern Europe and Poland in particular (where I come from) and in general its communistic architecture, social structure or commercial organisation that was still present in European post-communistic period. Even some cars like old Fiat 125/126p or Ladas are the ones that were a common dream of 70s/80s Polish family – that’s not something you can read about in travel guides written for English-speaking people. And looking how country dynamically changes I think that it will probably fade away in couple years, so if I think it’s worth hurrying up to still “experience” it.
Secondly, I expected architectural and cultural variety, but still it was an amazing experience – colonialism and Spanish era, African influences, native Caribbean culture, modernism and art-deco, revolution and Soviet-bloc influences… all create really unique and vivid mixture that you want to immerse in.
Last but not least and from the perspective of a graphics programmer I was pleasantly surprised by variety of landscapes (from jungles that you travel through in Russian old trucks, sandy beautiful beaches, rocky mountains full of extremely dense foliage to colourful colonial towns) and weather changes. I am quite proud how Ubisoft teams (scattered around the world) captured it accurately – for 6 platforms, even for older consoles (and developing a launch title for next generation consoles!) and without any physically-based or even HDR/gamma-correct lighting pipeline. I think that all of our artists did really great job and the art direction was really accurate.
Just a couple of photos from my vacations. It was visually really inspiring experience, so I hope you will enjoy some of those and maybe it will inspire you as well.