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    Announcing the approach of the biggest game art contest in the world.
    Starts February 20, 2009.


    CGSociety :: Special Feature
    29 January 2009, by Fred Hultqvist

    Histories of the Wars
    Dominance War began four years ago as a friendly themed art competition between the game artists of the online communities CGChat/RealtimeCG and Polycount. Fred Hultqvist, the contest founder, describes it as a ‘game-like experience’ itself. Artists have two months to pick a competing forum to represent, and create the best entry they can. Artists strive to be the best on their team forum, and then to be the best in the entire collective community. “Originally, I wanted to make a large competition where everyone could enter, receive advice, and have fun,’ Hultqvist explains. “Plus, the thought of going head to head with another forum was a seriously cool idea. A system that allowed artists to enter a main event but still work within their favorite community needed to be devised.” Filtered through this feature are some of the images submitted for Dominance War III. Feast on them and gather your inspiration.
    Caption: Gorvarr
    Forum user name: SoggyClog
    Full name: Tamas Szathmary
    Nationality: Canadian
    Forum Team: CGSociety.org
    Website: www.rustwork.net

    Comments:
    My goal was to create a powerful looking character with a wide, sturdy silhouette. After a few concepts I decided to go with a more human look, with the final design being heavily influenced by Vikings and the gods of Greek mythology.
    Caption: Skyggen
    Forum Name: Albers
    Full Name: Justin Albers
    Nationality: American
    Forum Team: GameArtisans
    Website: www.justinalbers.com

    Comments:
    I really enjoy painting and designing with vegetation and organic shapes and I loved the idea of nature overcoming a mechanical menace. Not only did I want the composition to invoke that idea but also the color palette as well, with the character and environment all being very vivid greens and browns and the machine being a cold, lifeless steel blue.
    “Every website involved has their own version of a game art competition,” 3DTotal moderator DJ Hancock and Dominance War Veteran observes, “Gathering those respective competitions to create one big one just feels right.” Dominance War I, completed in March 2006, was won by Vitaliy Naymushin, representing Polycount.com.

    “I think my name definitely got put on the map,” Naymushin, now employed at Id Software (creators of Doom and Quake franchises) says, “Dominance War really put some air back in Polycount’s sails. Everyone needed something new to be excited about…I think it built some healthy rivalry. It’s a good competition and it’s going to get bigger every year!”
     
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  • Dominance War IV
    Anticipation for the launch of a yearly event grows as we near the starting mark for Dominance War IV. Dominance War is a truly unique game art challenge. It is the only event of its kind to bring together famous forums to compete for world champion standings in an Olympic-like setting.

    In Dominance War, artists are the athletes and online forums are their countries. It is a place that fosters the sharing of ideas and techniques and helps artists acquire new skills and new methods to achieve spectacular things. Each year, the thoughts of artists across the globe are depicted with truly imaginative art and starting this February 20th 2009, an unprecedented 12 art forums, seven languages, and over 50 nationalities will take part in the largest war in the series - Dominance War IV.
    Image Title: Fire Snake
    Full Name: Cheng, Yuan-Chang
    Forum Name: andy6308aaa
    Nationality: Chinese
    Team: CGSociety.org

    Comments:
    The idea behind my entry was to depict a sorcerer with great elemental powers and who resonated a strong sense of evil. For this reason, I combined giant snakes and fire elements into one single character.
    Image Title: Nizie
    Forum Name: managa
    Full Name: Dae Hoon Lee
    Team: CGLand.com
    Nationality: Korean
    Website: www.managa.name

    Comments:
    With the combination of the five living beasts that rule over the ocean, there were many fun elements that I could use to generate an explosive image.
     
    Why enter Dominance War IV?
    Aside from US10,000+ in cash prizes? Another benefit of entering a competition of this caliber comes with the global recognition attained. Winners will be interviewed in magazines, featured in live galleries, receive great prizes, get fantastic resumé highlights, and will be regarded as heroes by their chosen home forums for many years to come. However, let’s not discount what non-champions will get.

    Dominance War is about giving everyone a place to learn new and innovative methods, create a fantastic portfolio piece, make friendships, find motivation, and showcase talents to the world. Even if an entry is not the best, each and every artist will take home knowledge that helps future careers. In the end, all the time invested in Dominance War is invaluable time invested in one’s self, one’s art and one’s talents. Win or loose, prizes or no prizes, there is a little something to be had for everyone.
     
    Caption: Hivier
    Forum Name: nJoo
    Full Name: Andrew Hou
    Team Name: CGSociety.org
    Nationality: Chinese Canadian
    Website: www.njoo.deviantart.com/gallery

    Comments:
    When I decided to join DW III, I had no thought of reaching top 20, or even top 50, I just wanted to take part in the event, and paint along with other artists. Through this event, I had a lot of fun, and learned a lot from everyone that participated.
     
    Epic Main Challenge
    The main challenge is like previous Dominance Wars. It is a character-based competition with game-like polygon budgets, texture budgets and a storyline. When the rules are revealed on March 12th, if artists have not already chosen a forum to represent, they must do so now. Unlike mini challenges, artists must create their own personal 3D or 2D WIP threads on their selected forums.

    Everyone has eight weeks to post mandatory WIP updates and everyone is encouraged to help others with friendly suggestions and critiques. Before the challenge ends, artists must submit their final entries into the DW system and when judging is complete and the war is over, this year’s World Champions and the winning forums they represent are revealed in June 2009.
     
    Caption: The VARLACH
    Forum name: rollin
    Full name: Till Maginot
    Nationality: German
    Team: Polycount
    Website: http://till.maginot.eu

    Comments:
    I don't have any secret techniques in my magic hat for creating some crazy fantastic stuff. I generally make random sketches, choose the most confusing looking ones, and then make them even more crazy. My sources of inspiration include - Vega from Street Fighter, pantomimes and knight's armours.
     

    A few tips

    • Always look carefully at the rules and ask questions if you don’t understand something.

    • Make sure you love and take pride in the concept/idea you create. The concept should be something that will captivate you throughout the comp. If you love your idea, regardless of what happens around you, this will pull you through all difficult times.

    • It might be tempting to create an entry that pushes or bends the rules, but if you look at previous champions, they are all perfect examples of the topics they represent. In 2006, rawkstar’s entry, General Crom, was a perfect War General. In 2007, Team Bigun’s entry was a fantastic Shadow type character perfectly equipped for mass extermination. In 2008, parkparkin’s 3d final looked like a perfect War Lord with a highly magical weapon and JerryJ’s 2d queen-like creation, flying impervious to all attacks, was perfect for destroying all opposition.

    • Pace yourself. Don’t leave everything to the last minute. If you can't keep a schedule then pace yourself according to another artist in the competition. If he/she finishes a head over the weekend, finish yours!

    • Leave enough time at the end for a great presentation. A bad presentation can easily kill two months of hard work. Judges don’t see the hard work put into progress threads. They only see final images. If the presentation of the first image, winning pose, is bad, they will immediately skip to the next finalist.

    • Don’t hide your character under too many effects. Each character should be able to stand proudly by itself. The winning pose is about showing your character in a simple natural setting. If your entry is hidden, it looks like your entry has something to hide and will in turn be skipped.
     
    Image Title: Ramzes
    Forum Name: bulgarov
    Full Name: Vitaly Bulgarov
    Nationality: Moldova
    Team: 3Dtotal.com
    Website: www.bulgarov.com

    Comments:
    This character was inspired by music such as Nile and Xcentric Noizz. One of the principal ideas was to make a heavy-weapon character that could take part in a shooter-game in "Deathmatch" mode.

    Caption: Sifaster Yilin
    Forum Name: warmhearted
    Full Name: Ruidan Lv
    Nationality: Chinese
    Forum Team: HXSD.com.cn

    Comments:
    Creating this game art entry has been a great personal accomplishment that I thoroughly enjoyed. Dominance War is an international game art challenge and a lot of professional CG artists from around the world takes part and exhibits their art.
    Dominance War IV - What’s coming?
    Mystery in the final hour of tension, a twist at the turn of an era, Dominance War has always been about making an imaginative environment where artists are free to explore. Yes, there will always be rules in any given competition, but in this event, it's all about options.

    In Dominance War IV, artists are able to choose a character type, what they carry and the attack methods he or she employs. Because of this, artists are able to individualize their characters to their own personal tastes and as a result, each entry is assured to stand out amongst others. What these new options are and how they can be used to create a fabulous entry. When the official rules are released, everything will be revealed.

    Many grand things are arriving in Dominance War IV. An original story line, new mini challenges, additional sponsors, world renowned judges, further teams, extra languages, upgraded entry system, and a lot more. Each year, with support and suggestions from our community, DW improves for everyone so artists can always expect great things!

    Many preparations are being made. First and foremost, we are looking into partnerships with schools and their 3D classrooms. We hope to offer students the exposure they need to get them the jobs they always longed for. Additionally, we are going to expand the Dominance War movement with an informal gallery showcase in GDC 2009.

    We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our artists and our great supporting sponsors, so we always look for additional ways in which we can promote them. It is our hopes that through various galleries, viewers around the world, in various nationalities, will become more aware of how truly great it is to be a game artist.

     
    Caption: KAOS
    Forum Name: peppi
    Full Name: Peter Boehme
    Nationality: German
    Team: Polycount.com
    Website: www.peterboehme.com

    Comments:
    For a Character Artist, Dominance War is without a doubt the climax of the year. On no other occasion will there be as many ambitious and fiercely polished creations take shape at the same time, a good portion of them being of higher quality than retail game content.
     

    How it works
    As Dominance War IV approaches, two types of events will unfold. Two quick-paced DW Mini Challenges with the first starting February 20th 2009, and an Epic Main Challenge that begins March 12th 2009.

    Mini Challenges
    Mini Challenges are small single thread based competitions with easy topics and small polygon budgets. They are very intense as they only last for 9 days. Examples of topics include: creating a cartoon character, a small object, a weapon etc.

    To join, you must

    1. Select and represent 1 of 12 forums engaged in Dominance War IV. Once a forum has been chosen, you cannot change forums until Dominance War V, 2010.

    2. After the rules have been revealed and read, post your "mandatory" work in progress (WIP) shots in a single 3D and 2D thread within your selected forum. All artists must post their WIP art in the same thread on the same forum.

    3. Before the challenge ends, submit your final entry into the DW entry system.

    4. When all entries are in a four day public voting process begins.

    5. When voting is over, the best five artists from each forum move into the final professional judging stage and both Epic Main and Mini Challenge World Champions are announced in June 2009.
     
    Caption: Kong Lau
    Forum Name: Josh Singh
    Full Name: Josh Singh
    Nationality: American
    Forum Team: GameArtisans.org
    Website: www.joshsingh.net

    Comments:
    Dominance War III was a great learning experience. I had such a great time making my entry titled “Kong Lau.” I was inspired by the classic Monkey God myths of the east as well as my favorite Hindu God, Hanuman. I wanted to take those ideas and combine them with the themes of the Dominance War contest and see what I could get.
     
    Advice for people entering
    If this is your first time entering Dominance War, I would suggest that extra care be given to the rules and options of Dominance War IV. If we use last year’s rules as an example, if you choose to create a warlord character with a powerful fire element sword, don't make him blue, dressed in a robe, and casting spells. Try to make the best entry possible with the options you choose. Dominance War IV options can easily be incorporated into your entry and they are an absolute must-see during judging.

    Although dominance war is a fairly open competition, an epic series with a three-year history is always a little daunting to first time participants. Fortunately, there are plenty of moderators and artists who are always happy and willing to help fellow artists get started.
     
    Caption: Magma Reflux
    Forum Name: muppet man
    Full Name: Chris Moffitt
    Nationality: American
    Team: GameArtisans.org
    Website: www.chrismoffitt.com

    Comments:
    It was such a great way to grow as an artist. I really appreciated the forums and having constant feedback throughout the process. It's good to get fresh eyes on your work. The deadline pushed me to really manage my time and forced me to take a lot of shortcuts.
     
    Final notes
    We will always be online to encourage and help artists in the coming months ahead. If you are an artist thinking about joining in on the fun, we look forward to seeing you in Dominance War IV.

    From the Dominance War team, we wish everyone good luck and we hope you enjoy this year’s epic event! See you on the forums! -- Dominance War IV organizer, Fred Hultqvist.


    Related links:
    Dominance War IV
    CGSociety story on Dominance War III
    Dominance War IV CGTalk threads

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