A Brief History of Me

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Kephras, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. This is not your typical 'intro' thread. I doubt many people actually care what my favorite color or food is, or whether I like autumn or spring better. No, my friends, this is self-examination - who I am, where I've been, and a little of why I am as I am today.

    It's hard to point to a "beginning," since the internet has changed and grown so much over the years, but perhaps the best place to start would be in 2003, with the Morrowind modding community. Most of you here know me as Kephras (or just Keph), but for most people I go by Kieve - for Elder Scrolls fans, that might ring a bell or two.
    Morrowind gave me my first taste of real 3D work, and in the course of a couple years I learned the ins & outs of texturing, UVW mapping, rigging, and even a bit of animating. While I wouldn't say I was ever popular or famous, my Void Gear and White Senche mods were fairly well received. I had plans eventually to tie the two mods together into a larger quest / storyline, but life interfered and my motivation dried up. Eventually, I fell out of the modding scene there altogether.

    The experience was not wasted, however. Through the suggestion of a friend, I happened across PlaneShift, an open-source MMO in need of all manner of artists and asset-creators. While the graphics and gameplay were a decade behind other MMOs even then, it was a chance for me to try my skills in a somewhat more "professional" setting. In the span of a couple weeks, I created two new skins for the "enkidukai," the cat-race of the game, allowing them to make five of the six clans playable. My favorite work was the texturing for the female enki's plate armor - no simple task, given that the UVW map was poorly scaled for different sections of the model, not to mention stretching and warping in the map itself.
    Sadly, PlaneShift's development suffered from a great deal of internal friction, due in no small part to its leadership. When our Art Department leadership went AWOL for a time, asset creation ground to a halt - in their absence, I took it on myself to keep the gears turning, requesting higher levels of access to the task system and doing what I could to reach out to anyone still associated with that wing of development. Eventually, the internal issues wore me down as well, and I took my leave of the place.

    From there, I joined the MMO Perfect World, under the name Kephras, and discovered a new-found love for machinima. I hadn't forgotten the skills I'd learned with Morrowind models, but PWI's 'cinematic mode' allowed me to do things in-game that I'd never considered possible before. When they held their first-ever Video Contest, I went straight to work planning, filming, and editing - then fretted weeks away while the community managers reached a decision. I'd hoped my entry would be good enough to place, as the prize on offer was "any mount of your choice," including ones unreleased in the western "International" version. When the winners were finally announced however, nothing could've prepared me for the shock.
    My video had won 1st place.
    Shortly afterwards, my first "Asylum" video made their front news page as well, and all but sealed my place in the PWI community as "the video guy." The vast portion of my youtube views and subscribers all stem from that bit of success, particularly for the Asylum shorts.
    Unfortunately, PWI had an ugly side as well - F2P MMOs are known for exploitative cash-shop practices, and this one was a worse offender than most. After a new community manager took over, and made "lying straight-faced to players" an art form, I bitterly called them out on it (along with dozens of others), and Kephras of Heaven's Tear was perma-banned from the forums. I remained in-game for a while, and on the boards under other aliases, but the damage was done. PWI's short-sightedness and mismanagement was too much to tolerate.

    When I left PWI for Lord of the Rings Online, I'd thought to take my video-making with me, but sadly, LOTRO lacked the cinematic features that made filming enjoyable. I spent most of my time simply playing the game with friends and ignoring the community at large. It did, however, have its uses. And when I grew weary of LOTRO, TERA was right there to pick up the slack. To this day I'd still say it has the best combat of any MMO available - even if it lacked in pretty much everything else.

    Which brings us largely to the present day - joining EMC, becoming a contributor here, and doing side-duty modding for FTL and running spam control on the forums (whenever possible - as of this writing they're being a little fussy).
    And for all this time, I've noticed something interesting. No matter which community I set paw in, I seem to leave an impression - a person of note, respected by most, and often in some kind of leadership capacity. I tend not to think too highly of myself, as my real-life fortunes have been anything but, yet I can't help seeing the pattern develop.

    Obviously I've left out some bits here and there for brevity, but that's me in a nutshell, EMC. I don't do "AMA's" but you're welcome to question anything on the table here, past or present.
  2. Wow! I wasn't aware of your designing history. Keep up the good work!
  3. So what's your favorite color? Favorite food? Do you like autumn or spring better?

    Sorry, I had to do it. :D
  4. As a guy who IS making his own video game currently, why have you not grouped with someone on an independent project to help create assets? The skills you have listed here would make you more than qualified to be an asset director for even larger independent projects, and it seems wasted to have to put so much effort into something that is not... yours. I know that line may seem confusing, but instead of 'contributing', it should be 'This art stuff here was all managed by Kieve, this is his credit'. I like to think I know my way around some 3D modeling, rigging, and UVMapping, but I am far from as seasoned as it seems you are.

    Someone with your composure (as a guy who has also spent a large amount of time on various community boards) is usually found to have leadership roles in many areas, so that does not surprise me. The drive you have to always be original, and that your voice IS heard, no matter what, is valued everywhere, no matter the setting (even if it goes under appreciated by some). I will say that I am always surprised by the talents you show, because it always seems like there is more! Like a good book, the 'Story and Talents of Kephras' is a real page turner, because something new is always presented, and its always interesting.
  5. So.... Are you really a tiger?
    Is your Chinese Horoscope sign a tiger?
    Is your western horoscope sign a leo?
    Does one of your middle names include 'Leo'?
    Do you roar when you get excited?
    ShelLuser, Kephras and HylianNinja like this.
  6. ... I dont know why.. but that made me laugh.. and I will admit.. it was too hard.
  7. Smartarse. Best Minecraft Servers
    -The blood of the innocent. In a pinch, a good steak with mushrooms will work too.
    -Autumn. Leaves in Pennsylvania are amazing during the fall.

    -Most of the time. Human when I have to be, though.
    -Pig, actually. And Sagittarius. I don't put much stock in astrology though.
    -Neither IRL birthname, nor my pseudonym. For Kieve R. Svetnikov, the R is simply an initial.
    -No but I have been known to purr on occasion.

    Some time after leaving PlaneShift, the internal issues shattered a great deal of the remaining development team. Those who left attempted to form Tempest In The Aether, a 1899-steampunk space MMO. I was invited to participate for the reasons described above, mainly focusing my ideas towards automata as a race, and smaller robots such as junkyard mobs and player companions. The clockwork "watch-spider" is by far the best thing to come out of it.
    I left that for a couple of reasons, primarily because I didn't feel like significant progress was being made.
    I'm also a slave to my own muse / inspiration and have a nasty habit of perpetually leaving projects unfinished when that inspiration dries up. Several mods, a somewhat shoddy webcomic, a few half-finished novels, and New Atlantia are all fine examples of that unfortunate aspect.

    I suppose in that respect I would be better in a management role than attempting to create assets myself - I know the work involved, but there are plenty of better artists out there whose motivation won't fail them when they truly need it.
  8. khixan, Kephras and Torian42 like this.
  9. It seems I omitted a few more things from the 3D/texturing end.
    I'd forgotten about the time spent on Freespace 2 modding, and work prior to that on a hovertank concept.
    Gallery link for the curious - the title references the original intent of that folder, which was going to be a model of a silly Bionicle creation I scrapped together.
  10. All this and a Writer none the less... Keep up the awesomeness Keph!
    Kephras likes this.
  11. Jack of all trades, master of none.
    If I could have a custom forum title, it'd be "Creative Hack" - usually what I fill in for occupation on most forums.
    Palmsugar likes this.
  12. Wow, you are so inspirational! :)
    Kephras likes this.
  13. Keph is my role model :D
  14. I'm giving this a poke because yes the thread is old, but that doesn't mean I don't welcome questions and commentary anyway :)
  15. Keph is still my role model.
    OrangeDuck607, ShelLuser and Kephras like this.
  16. I don't know if you're being serious or not, but it amuses me greatly either way. ;)
    ShelLuser and BlackKnight1021 like this.
  17. I find this really funny - not because there's anything funny about the post, but just that I closed a tab about five seconds ago on which I was doing some hardcore stalking on you-- I mean, uh, research. Yes, research is the word.
    ShelLuser, OrangeDuck607 and khixan like this.
  18. Great to hear about the real you. :)
    quiltingnanny likes this.
  19. Should I be concerned by this...? Because suddenly I am concerned.

    You'll find the "real" me isn't much different from ... me? I try not to draw those kind of distinctions, it just confuses people. Then they go around looking for my evil twin and get all mixed up.
    cadenman2002 likes this.
  20. Sometimes a thread needs to be poked, no matter its age. And some people can make that distinction. I for one am very glad that you did.

    I really enjoyed reading this because to some extend I can heavily relate to it. And yes, you most certainly leave an impression on this place. I remember it like yesterday; when a comment I wrote got me a nice compliment from you. Which struck me a little by surprise and caught my attention (which is when I started to look you up a bit). But I also remember the several comments other players gave me about your comment :) Some of that was shared in private, and I have my own strict policies about that, but comments in likes of "wow, Kephras complimented you?".

    So yes, questions!

    What software do you use, and out of curiosity: have you ever heard of Daz3D (Daz Studio) /Bryce? Opinions?

    Have you ever looked back (say after 6 months or so) to see how they were doing? Also... The impossible question, but I know you well enough to realize that I can ask it and get an honest, maybe slightly biased, answer: do you feel that ban you got was deserved or... As in: did you push the envelope a little bit too hard or was it simply done because of what you did and represented (as I call it: damage control. If you gather a bit of followers then this also brings some responsibilities with them IMO. Because some of your actions could have consequences beyond your control, and I think that you need to keep that in mind. Especially within situations which you might not like.)?

    I ask for a reason obviously. Lets say that I did just that some time ago: looked back at some of my past and well, it only saddened me. Because I know there's so much potential (alas: offtopic on my part!).

    So yeah..

    Well, I have to admit: this sure explains your interest in the Skyrim thread which we have here. And honestly: this makes me appreciate your likes on my post in that thread even more! I never knew you had this big of a history with those communities. But then again: I played Skyrim on the PS3 which pretty much makes it a stand alone effort.

    Thanks for the bump!
    Kephras likes this.