HVS-Tony Intro Interview
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If you guys want, I did a small interview on the new HVS site.
You have to make an account to see it but some might find it interesting :)
The Conduit : IConradI--1977-7953-9169
Brawl FC: 1590-7662-7737
Please copy paste the interview please.
1. What is your role at High Voltage Software?
Im currently a primary animator on Conduit 2. I’m in charge of the FP stuff (first person animation and control feel) as well as the leviathan, single player cinemas and other enemy animation. The other animator on the team, Bill Eng, Is doing all the multiplayer animation as well as most of the enemy stuff and some boss stuff. Between just 2 animators, we are always super busy!
2. What made you go into the gaming industry?
Well, I always wanted to do something with special effects so right after graduating High-School (and skipping summer break) I went right into college. I learned all the aspects of 3d in college but because of one of my teachers, John Mclanikan (animation director: Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain), I fell in love with animation. I concentrated on animation and really geared my demo toward character animation. At my last semester, I went to Siggraph in LA and met Matt Corso, the art director of HVS. I figured, hey, I play a crap ton of games, and I love animation, so why not apply? I sent them a test and within a few months I was hired!
3. How many games have you worked on at High Voltage Software?
I was a primary animator on The Family Guy Video game, a PSP test game, Americas Army for the 360, Conduit and now Conduit 2. I also had a brief few week stint helping out on Bioshock 1 when Red Eye was working on it.
4. What has been your most proud achievement to date? (eg helping to build the best control customization seen in any FPS, etc etc)
My most proud? Probably just getting hired at HVS J Getting into the games industry is VERY hard, takes a lot of hard work and right timing. Usually, the average college will graduate anywhere from 20 to 70 students for game art and only about 2-3 of them will get hired. Not because there aren’t any jobs. Quite the contrary. It’s because the expected level of work for even entry level positions is very very high. Having IGN state that the control scheme in Conduit as one of the best they ever played with felt pretty good too J
5. What has been the most difficult task you've undergone?(eg the leviathan's animation)
Hmmm. Animation wise there has been a whole set of nightmares but stricky at HVS, I would say either the FP system in C1 or the Leviathan in C2. During Conduit 1, the amount of reworks and experiments we did on the FP system couldn’t be counted on 2 hands. Heck, couldn’t be counted on 6 hands J Because of the unique nature of the wii and the way our controls worked, the FP animations had to look good from all angles. For instance, I would get a reload working great, then someone would come in, change a bit of the controls, and look all the way to the upper left and BAM, you see inside Fords arm! It was crazy implementing the amount of camera cheats we did to get it to work from all angles.
C2’s most challenging thing so far, and I cant stress SO FAR enough, has been the Leviathan. He has been through about 4 rig iterations and he is using as many bones as you would see in any ps3/360 character. Getting worm animations to look right is hard enough. Adding the fact that hes in the water, and requires an AI is even harder. We didn’t use any type of crazy animation blending system due to the limited memory so all of his actions, even small ones that you would think would just “work” and blend, are all painstakingly hand done. He was a blast to work on (and still is) but took a long time. For all you animation nerds out there, he was a Spline IK based switching system with IK/FK switching and constrainable points. We couldn’t use traditional paths because of game play and we needed 100% full control over him at all times J
6. Which platform did you most enjoy working on?
Well that’s kind of an open question. Currently I LOVE working on the Wii because it’s a challenge especially when we do something animation wise that isn’t on other consoles and having to work within such a limit. Having these very tight memory constraints makes it a huge puzzle and a great challenge. Accomplishing something cool on the Wii just feels really good knowing that you did something that the system was never really designed to do animation or graphics wise.
As far as tools go. The 360 tools are fantastic and have great integration.
7. What three things in your mind make a perfect game?
Fun, Story, Graphics (im an artist so yes, I will buy a game if it looks good even if its not fun J)
8. What message do you have to those aiming for the same expertise as yourself?
Work harder then you have ever worked before! I tell teachers this all the time. To get into the art or animation aspect of video games, grades mean absolutely nothing. They all usually gasp at first when told this, but I explain it this way:
If you are a C student, you probably have little chance of getting hired. (There are of course exceptions like TD’s from Pixar without HS diplomas because they are so smart but that’s another subjectJ)
On the other side of things, there are straight A 4.0 students that still have little chance of getting into the industry. Just because you complete all of your assignments doesn’t mean they are good enough to get you a job. Employers want to see new fresh ideas, even in art, and that you can push yourself to new heights. The video game industry is a very literal industry. Meaning, its really down to the work you produce rather then the words on your resume. You can graduate from MIT and Harvard and if your actual animation skill on your demo reel isn’t up to professional level, that diploma and resume isn’t going to get you anywhere and is just a worthless as a blank piece of paper.
Now am I saying not to go to college? Heck no. I sure needed it because it was a great way to learn the software and get feedback from fellow students and teachers (not to mention putting deadlines/fires under my lazy college butt) But you cant go into it thinking the degree is going to get you a job. You need to use your time wisely in school and really work your butt off. About 80% of the work I did during college was outside of school refining my skills and pushing the assignments further even after they were turned in. Ill steal this quote from one of my good friends up at Raven software “pop in a video game, if you stuff doesn’t look like that, go back home and work on it till it does”
But, if you truly LOVE what you do and have a huge passion for it, this goes by super quick and before you know it your working in the industry shipping video games like the ones you saw in Best Buy when you were a kid going “wow, wouldn’t it be cool to work on something like that…..”
9. If you could have any gamer's wish come true, what would it be?
Depends on the wish J Mine would be to have video games be like the matrix. Plug me in and bam, im there!
hai hss t0ny ggs ystrday
What's with the random J's scattered around
Currently Playing: Modern Warfare Reflex
"What's with the random J's scattered around"
They were supposed to be exclamation points, but I guess those were too advanced for the site?
Conduit Friend Code: 3137-4338-7044
Yes, I have WiiSpeak.
Thanks for sharing man, quite an interesting read.
I'm curious, if the leviathan includes a PS360 number of bones, plus being in water, how is it that you guys were able to get it running well on the Wii hardware?
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