Wes Abrams, aka abramsdesign, is a Diamond-level TurboSquid artist who is putting his extensive collection of high-quality, real-time models to work! Wes started selling models on TurboSquid in 2011. Now he and his three brothers Derek, David, and Jason Abrams have developed a charming indie video game for PC meant to immerse the player in the serene and often whimsical experience of mushroom hunting and nature photography.
The game is titled Morels: The Hunt and released on Steam on October 15th. All of the models used in the game are available for purchase on TurboSquid including this lovely collection of mushrooms, many camping essentials, and adorable, game-ready woodland creatures.
We sat down with Wes to talk about his experience creating models to sell and to use in his own game, and how that’s made him a more thoughtful stock artist.
TurboSquid: Thanks for sitting down with us, Wes. What enticed you to start modeling for TurboSquid back in 2011?
Wes Abrams: Well, at the beginning it was just for fun. I would upload a model here and there. Once my collection grew and I started to get more sales, I started to take things more seriously. I quickly realized this could be a source of income, and that was exciting.
TS: Is Morels: The Hunt your first game? When did you start developing?
WA: Yes, this is my first game. The idea for the game was there for years. There had been earlier mockups of the game years ago, but the actual development of the version you see now started about 2-3 years ago.
TS: Sounds like modeling came first for you. What inspired you do this project?
WA: This is the first time any of us have worked in game development. We just felt like this was a game that was missing out there. We wanted to create a relaxing game where you could enjoy nature, look for mushrooms, and take photos of wildlife around you without having to hunt something with a weapon.
TS: How was it working with family? Were there hijinks?
WA: There are four of us. We are all brothers. We were serious enough to stay on task and get the job done, but there was definitely some brotherly goofing around as you would expect. It made the whole experience that much better by being able to do it with my brothers who are also my best friends.
TS: Was it hard getting everyone on board with the idea?
WA: Not at all. My brothers and I loved morel mushroom hunting growing up. We still do it every year. One of the greatest things about mushroom hunting is just being out in nature. We take a lot of photos while we are hunting which is how the game came about. We wanted to create that feeling of being out in nature, mushroom hunting, and photographing the beautiful environment around you into a game.
TS: That sounds like a really personal project, yet you’re selling the assets you created for the game on TurboSquid. What led to that decision? Would you recommend other game developers do the same thing?
WA: We were just starting out and this was our first game. We were funding the game ourselves and had to be able to support our families at the same time until the game could generate some income. I needed income coming in if I were to be able to work on the game full-time. I decided to sell any models that I made for the game. It ended up being a great decision. For me, one of the hardest things about selling models was deciding what to model. This completely took that away. I had to make specific models for the game. I figured if we needed them then someone else would probably need them too. I would recommend other game developers do the same if it is an option for them.
TS: Were there new skills you had to pick up while developing the game that you didn’t have before?
WA: There were definitely a few new skills I had to pick up. Game development is a totally different environment. We used Unreal Engine to develop the game. None of us were programmers but their blueprint system made it possible for us to develop most of the game without coding. Blueprints, level design, and game artwork were a few skills that needed to be learned.
TS: How has this process informed how you model?
WA: The whole process has made me a better modeler. I was able to see what it was like for customers when they were using my models in game engines. I ended up making the switch to PBR which led to more 3D model sales. It gave me the skills to take advantage of TurboSquid’s StemCell program as well.
TS: Interesting! What benefits have you experienced since switching to PBR and producing StemCell models?
WA: The most obvious benefit is increased sales. My models that are StemCell certified get more views and sales than models that are not. It also has helped me be more prepared when bringing these models into the game engine while working on Morels. By modeling to TurboSquid’s CheckMate and StemCell standards the models were basically ready to be used in the game engine. It has made for a very smooth process.
TS: Any advice for artists who want to develop games or for developers who want to sell on TurboSquid?
WA: For artists [looking to be game developers] I would recommend using Unreal Engine and their blueprint system. It is perfect for artists who are not programmers. My advice is to be patient, like selling 3D models the whole process takes time.
For developers my advice is why not sell your 3D models on TurboSquid? It can help fund the game and be especially beneficial to developers just starting out with zero to no budget like us.
Wes Abrams is a game developer for Abrams Studios. Wes started selling 3D models on TurboSquid in 2011. He grew up in a small town in Northern Indiana. He and his brothers grew up playing video games. He is the lead developer on Abrams Studios video game Morels: The Hunt. Follow the game’s Twitter account, and buy it on Steam today.
Thanks for sharing your work, Wes! If you’re an artist who is interested in being featured on the TurboSquid blog, email our content team at marketing@TurboSquid.com.