a portfolio of the work of

Zach Tsiakalis-Brown

Early Digital Art

My early work was, frankly, appalling. All novice computer renderings look like garish corrupted plastic, and mine were no exception.

  (2012)  My very first animation created in Blender

(2012) My very first animation created in Blender

  (2012)  A character called Larry the Hairy Berry

(2012) A character called Larry the Hairy Berry

  (2012)  A rocket, because I love space

(2012) A rocket, because I love space

  (2012)  The same studio name that proudly (and more refinedly) sits on the homepage of this website!

(2012) The same studio name that proudly (and more refinedly) sits on the homepage of this website!


Recent Digital Art

  (2017)  A character named Wel

(2017) A character named Wel

  (2016)  A poster for my 2016 VR game,  Vertigo

(2016) A poster for my 2016 VR game, Vertigo

  (2017)  a zombie hand I textured for practice

(2017) a zombie hand I textured for practice

  (2017)  A character named Brian for the upcoming sequel,  Vertigo 2

(2017) A character named Brian for the upcoming sequel, Vertigo 2

(2017) Another Vertigo 2 cast member, the Grand Maharishi Ghronto


  (2017) A weapon design for  Vertigo 2:  the  Annihilator  Shotgun

(2017)A weapon design for Vertigo 2: the Annihilator Shotgun


So, if you weren't deterred by the grotesque snapshots of my baby steps in digital art, you can see how I have progressed exponentially over the years. 


But this is only one piece of my creative abilities. I consider myself, today, first and foremost a game developer. And as the leader of a tiny unprofessional team, I find myself applying a huge number of disciplines while working on my games. I am the artist, the programmer, the animator. I am the sound engineer and the composer of the soundtracks. I design levels, I write scripts, and I draw storyboards. There's nothing wrong with my teammates Errol and George, they are both excellent concept artists. I gladly juggle a hundred tasks, because it forces me to learn and expand and try new things. It's slow, very slow, but I am willing to put the time in.



Music Composition


I won't subject anyone to any of my early music, fortunately. Here's some recent songs that I've made for fun or for game projects. No need to listen to them all the way through.


Logically was the result of me playing with new software, Logic Pro. The song just kind of happened, and I like that about it.


Blueshift was written to be the theme of my game of the same name. It didn't end up fitting the game too well, but it's still a nice song.


This composition was just a sketch, which is why it's so short. I have never gotten a chance to finish it, but that's okay.


Origins is the massive opening score to the first level of Vertigo. It sends a message of darkness, mystery, and a vast unfriendly world.

And, of course, my studio theme song that goes with the logo.

Here's the video that goes with that


Another spooky Vertigo song, Event Horizon is the companion to Origins. I wrote them one after the other, but while Origins is played at the beginning of Vertigo, Event Horizon will play at the end of Vertigo 2. It brings together the finality and weight of the ending, and closes the mysteries that Origins opened.



Coding is more difficult to show off than art or music, so I'll just share some videos of projects I have worked on over the years. There are countless ones that would be impossible to list, but these are my favorite,



is a game I created for an event called Ludum Dare. Contestants have 48 hours to create a game completely from scratch (all art, code, sounds, etc) that complies with a rigid theme. The theme during the event I participated in was "running out of power."

Out of nearly a thousand entries from all over the world, I placed third overall. I placed second in the graphics category.

Below is a short video, and a link to the entry with more information (and a download, should you like to try it out).



Vertigo, as you may have gathered, is the virtual reality game Errol Bucy, George Eracleous, and I released in December of 2016. I published it on the digital marketplace Steam, and it has sold thousands of copies worldwide.

Of course, it was not a perfect game. It was made on a budget of effectively zero, by some teenagers. That being said, it has glowingly high reviews on steam and from formal reviewers, and I learned a huge amount from the experience. Additionally, the profits are helping fund the sequel, and I expect Vertigo 2 to far surpass the first.

Here is a review from a popular virtual reality youtuber


Atmospheric Modeling

I am a huge space nerd. The atmosphere of a planet is its most defining feature when seen from space, so it makes sense I want to render some pretty atmospheres.

Blender, the tool I use for 3D modeling and rendering, has a sophisticated rendering engine called Cycles. Cycles can realistically simulate millions of beams of light interacting with a scene. It can even, with enough tweaking and patience, simulate light scattering through an atmosphere. After doing research and plugging in scientifically accurate values for the atmosphere simulation, this is what I got.


I was very happy with how nice it looks. Since it's modeling the full atmosphere, you can even place the virtual camera inside the atmosphere and get this:

If you're not into computer graphics, this wouldn't seem like a big deal I suppose. But I find it incredibly exciting that computers can simulate something as large as the atmosphere and just spit out an image that looks just like our sky with no information except the mathematical definitions of the atmosphere. In fact, the input for Cycles to output this image is incredibly simple and can be seen here:


Once I had this perfected I moved on to attempting to create a real-time version of the atmosphere (this renderer takes hours to produce one image). I was unsuccessful in the end, but learned a lot about realtime rendering along the way.



If you are not familiar, a game company called Valve is working on next-generation virtual reality technology. Because I am, absurdly, among the more experienced VR developers (VR is so new), I did an internship/contract over last summer and worked on, among other things, refining virtual interaction by controllers that track your individual fingers - nicknamed "knuckles". I wrote a system that simulates each finger as a physics object in the virtual world, and makes interaction with complex shapes feel smooth. The culmination of this project was a demonstration scene that lets you perform a series of different interactions with a variety of objects.

I produced this video with Valve to show off how cool the knuckles are.

I also wrote detailed documentation on my interaction system, and shared the source so that other developers can benifit from the time I spend figuring it out.


This is getting very long. I'm gonna finish it off with some fun stuff.