Has all of the art come out the way you wanted it to?
“Yes. The resources allowed the artists on this project I think are unprecedented. Our ability to interpret the game designers descriptions and hold fidelity from concept sketch through CG construction is amazing. Admittedly we are developing our process as the engineers re-fine their code. Every time they make even the slightest bit of improvement on their end we attempt to take advantage of what they are giving us. I have to give much credit to the way things look to our engineers. Without their work the artist’s work would have taken a severe hit.”
How long would it take to create a dinosaur’s skin?
“It depends on the complexity of the individual dinosaur. The Dinosaurs being a recognizable organic form and ones in which the audience is familiar with from the ‘Jurassic Park’ films makes it the single most complex thing an artists has to deal with on our project. We are faced with the difficult task of trying to meet the audience’s visual expectation they have gained from the film which had millions of dollars, a year plus of time and numerous high end computers to accomplish probably twenty minutes of dino animation. We are expected to meet that with a certain degree using a fraction of those resources for hours worth of real time game play. On average it takes about forty hours of a single artist’s time. Half of that time for the geometry and the other half for texture creation.”
Do all dinos have the same skin (all raptors use the same skin)? If not how do they differ?
“Here is where some of great things the game designers have done come in. Using the Ve-lociraptors as an example, the designers have called for three distinct ‘tribes’ of Raptors that exist on different parts of the island. Each tribe has slightly different AI and Physical charac-teristics. So you might have a tribe that lives in the semi-arid Plains area of the island, their skins should be rather light and unobtrusive in color to help them blend in. Their physical build may also be smaller than the other Raptor tribes. A Jungle Raptor might have stripes like a tiger to give it camouflage in the foliage. We also have difference in marking between male and female.”
Can this compare to your past job with Disney?
“In many respects, yes. The island of our game is very much an oversized theme park albeit digital in execution.”
What are some challenges you face as art director?
“Interpretation and integration. Correct interpretation of what the game designers want and its’ integration into what the engineers need is difficult. Though this is always a challenge on any project.”
What games have impressed you artistically?
“Beside our own? Of relative recent+Comanche3 and it’s Voxel technology is impressive within the eye of visual acuity and resolution. Fade to Black sticks with me because there was a style to it. I might not have done it that way but they decided to create a visual ver-nacular all their own. Most games look the way they because the technology allows the art-ists to create to a certain level. As the hardware and software that drives images to screen evolve so to does the amount of freedom an artists has to express themselves. It seems the Grail for technologists is for real-time photo realism. For artists the goal is freedom to not chose reality.”
What software are you using to create such detailed art?
“Adobe Photoshop and Painter to create the textures. 3d Studio Max is used for creation of meshes and application of textures. Regarding the amount of detail we are getting that’s the discretion of the artists themselves. A fine team.”
What kind of a mood are you trying to set on the island?
“We are pretty much slave to the designers. This is probably more their territory than anyone else’s. Attempting to answer for them + Overall + an inviting but mysterious sense of adven-ture. In detail the various areas will take the audience to an array of moods. The Forest is rather awe inspiring and foreboding. The Jungle is very mysterious. The Plains feel rather open and vulnerable. There are so many areas and areas within areas it’s a bit much to go into here. The Designers are great at filling the pages of each chapter of our world with invit-ing nooks you want to explore.”
What is the difference between Quake’s art and Trespasser’s art?
“Yeah, I guess this begs to be asked. It’s really all about available resources. The engineers just bent over backwards to get us everything possible today to work with. Our texture map sizes hence the amount of detail we could create has been enormous compared to other games. The fact we can do real time bump mapping has also been a tremendous boon to aiding the artists in making the world look as good as it does.”
In the end, when Trespasser is released, will it all pay off?
“I think it already has in several respects. Just having created the rendering engine for Tres-passer will elevate the quality marker for all subsequent real time games, at least for our own company if not the industry as a whole. Regarding the game playing and buying public, who knows. It’s always a guess. Personally it has been very rewarding working with and getting to know the people on the team. They are an amazing bunch of creative and dedicated indi-viduals. If not all a little crazy for being so ambitious.”