We have recently spoiled you with countless releases and here is yet another one. Is it all too good to be true?
And indeed, there is a catch. You might have seen it coming?
I am looking back at a decade of modding Zoo Tycoon 2. When I started out back in 2007, people were just beginning to figure out how to edit models, point by point. Much has changed since. I have sought innovation and optimization in every corner of my workflow. Over the years, I have written thousands of lines of code to make ZT2 modding easier. Honestly, I don’t even want to remember how annoying and difficult it was in the beginning, when you had to watch out for so many pitfalls just to get one single project ingame. These days it is so much easier!
I’ve also had the great opportunity to work with many different, highly talented people. Most of my old designing pals have long moved on from the scene: German13, Longisquama, Snowleo, Eryel, Zerosvalmont, TR, Simba, BrownWolf, KH, harlequinz ego, Emilie and probably many more I forgot – those are just off the top of my head.
Due to time constraints and shifting interests, I have decided to join the ever-growing group of retired designers and end my designing career now. Believe me, this was not an easy decision. It was fueled, in part, by the Complete Collection project, as I spent my last two years of designing time almost exclusively polishing up old stuff. I still like modeling, texturing and animating, but I’m tired of the routines and limitations I have to go through to get my assets ingame. Yet I think the Complete Collection was worth it, as Aurora Designs’ whole catalogue really deserved to be up to date and optimized according to the latest standards. This mammoth project surely took its toll on me, but I carried through with the intention of resigning from designing afterwards.
But there were still a few unfinished things in my archives that I wanted to get out, such as the orangutan and the last Crocodylia animals. Those were quick ones.
With the recent release of the Complete Collection, the Radical Remake thylacine became my last remaining big unfinished project. I have never put so much time and energy into one thing. It started life in late 2014, and I recorded most of its creation process as an uncut “tutorial series”. (I’m sure you could learn something from the videos, IF you have the time to sit through hours and hours of it…)
Somewhere along the line, I was looking for resources on thylacine anatomy and eventually teamed up with leading thylacine experts Dr. Stephen Sleightholme and Dr. Cameron Campbell to ensure accuracy in all the details. Some of the animations I made found their way onto the thylacine museum as educational illustrations. Just like the chance of ever spotting a live thylacine are incredibly slim, it looks like you won’t ever see my thylacine animations in Zoo Tycoon 2. Quite fittingly, the museum now is the only place where you can admire my thylacine in its full custom-animations glory.
Render by Yukon & Hendrix
Even though the whole animation set may seem to be mostly done (it is not), I don’t see myself finishing it, dare say putting it ingame. But I still wanted to release the animal – so I decided to go for a compromise: You get the thylacine, but with its original BF animations. It’s better than nothing, but obviously far from perfect and certainly not what I had intended when I started the project.
On this note, one more nod to the late and legendary ZT1 designer taz, whose thylacine mod with beautifully animated sprites inspired me to learn designing and 3D graphics myself. RIP.
Well, now my archives are cleared safe for some embryonic ideas and I have no more unfinished projects left that one could call releaseworthy. I felt the thylacine would make for an ideal swan song, so this is it.
But enough of my lament. It turned out a lot more melancholic than I intended to, but hey, that’s the way it is.
For now, goodbye from myself. The team will carry on the torch and keep working towards the completion of Radical Remake!