Interview #2 (September 26, 1998)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
The second of our interviews with Secret Ops team members, this time with senior graphic designer/technical art advisor Damon Waldrip... read on!
What type of art do you do?design, concept drawings, 3d modeling & texturing (both cinematic & game art), lighting, animation, pretty much everything. in the world of computer games, an artist has to be a kind of jack of trades. however, each of us has our specialties. mine are two: one is modeling, the other is more on the technical side, working closely with the programmers to ensure that the art is well and properly integrated into the game engine.What exactly is involved in creating a new spacecraft?at first, making many sketches to come up with a look that works. then, perhaps a 3d mockup. then a final drawing. then, generally, a cinematic model is built: a high-detail 3d spline model with high-detail textures. then the game art is built. this involves building some polygonal versions somewhat simpler than the heavily detailed cinematic version, using the cinematic model as a template. rendered images of the cinematic model are used for textures. there are usually several details levels which must be built. (these save processor time by swapping out as the camera moves closer to, or farther from the ship). then, damaged art must be made for when the ship or its component parts blow up. then, collision extents must be built. (these are simpler polygonal approximations of the ship, used for collision detection.)Is there any particular inspiration for your WC art?it varies. anything. everything. plants, animals, microscopic critters, all of nature, cars, buildings, and even other spacecraft. imagine that.Have you ever designed things that don't quite make it into the final game?oh yes. ouch. not even funny. but, thankfully, this happens far less often with experience.

Original update published on September 26, 1998
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