Hey, Stan. Please, tell us a bit about yourself...
Hi, I'm Stan and I've been with Bohemia Interactive Amsterdam as Junior Artist for almost two years now. Before applying to Bohemia I studied International Game Architecture & Development in Breda, the Netherlands. I was a casual player of the Arma franchise for years and even worked on my own Cessna Caravan airplane mod for some time. I never got around to finishing that, but when I saw an open position at Bohemia Interactive to work on Arma 3 I could not resist. My first project within the company was Arma 3 Laws of War and I think it will forever be one of the most meaningful projects I've worked on. Right now, I'm working on Arma 3 Contact and enjoying it very much.
Can you tell us a random fact about yourself...
During my studies I specialized in the creation of digital heritage reconstructions by working together closely with archaeologists and museum curators. My graduation project was a virtual reality reconstruction of a 17th century Dutch East Indiaman merchant vessel, explore-able with Unreal Engine. After graduating, I worked as freelancer on several international museum exhibits that featured ancient Rome and the history of Sicily and its surrounding waters.
What was your first positive interaction with video games, that you can remember?
As a young kiddo in elementary school, both my parents worked so during the midday break I had to stay over at school with some other kids. At the improvised school day care we had these old DOS machines with the tile-based puzzle game Supaplex. I had a lot of fun playing it and learnt that some things (like gaming) can help us to feel more comfortable or more at home in unfamiliar environments.
And your most memorable video game moment?
Probably the Jita summer riots of 2011 in the Science-fiction MMO EVE Online. Up till that point I had seen the EVE community do incredible things already. Like forming alliances consisting of thousands of pilots and the politics and drama surrounding them. What I had not seen, however, was thousands of players getting together in major trading hubs and protest controversial micro transactions. In addition to the in-game riots, a lot of people canceled their subscriptions, forcing the developer to change the course of development. As someone who is really interested in the interaction between players and developers this surely was a memorable moment!
What's your all-time favourite video game? And what sort of game do you like to play generally?
My favourite video game genre is Massive Multiplayer Online. Somehow I keep getting dragged into them and I always try to partake in events that require teamwork. I almost exclusively play support roles in these games, for example I like to protect, heal or boost my teammates during intense fights against AI or other player teams. I think it's amazing what players can achieve if they work together passionately.
What’s the worst — or most memorable — bug you’ve come across in a video game?
For me, the most memorable bug is an Arma 3 glitch that sometimes even haunts our own developers. Some creators and players of Arma 3 mods are also familiar with the phenomena. We refer to it as the Treeple, or Tree People. The glitch occurs when dark forces invade our game engine, turning our game characters into horrible abominations with long stretched arms and claw-like fingers. If you think the Slender Man is scary then wait until you see the Treeple.
What's your favourite movie, TV show, and/or book?
And your go-to music playlist is...?
As a Junior Artist, can you tell us more about the role you play in creating Contact and the process of how you work day-to-day within Arma 3 and Bohemia Interactive? (@thebuckfastwine)
As an Artist working on Arma 3 Contact, I spend most of my time designing and creating our new in-game assets and the promotional material shown on the Arma 3 Contact Steam page and website. My most important game asset was the Spectrum Device — a scientific instrument used to analyze and interact with the electromagnetic spectrum. I worked together with our Senior Designer, Karel Mořický, the mastermind of the electromagnetic spectrum functionality. With Karel's input I created various 2D sketches and 3D model prototypes of the device. After nailing down the visual design I continued by creating game quality models, textures and materials eventually leading to the current state of Spectrum Device.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring game artists? Any necessary skills? (@Arma3Aegis)
Of course it's great to have epic 3D modeling or texturing skills, but a big part of our job is to complement the ideas of our designers and then visualize them. So I've learnt that a good back and forth between artist and designers can really increase the quality of our final art assets as well as speed up asset production. Creating art assets is a very time-consuming process and a misunderstanding can be very costly if certain steps have to be re-done differently. So I think language skills are actually very important for an artist to possess. However, language barriers sometimes exist between co-workers of different nationalities. Luckily, we have another communication tool at our disposal: the ability to create drawings, renderings, illustrations, etc. — ways to convey our ideas and feedback without relying on language too much. While working with our artists in Thailand, most of my feedback on art assets was supported by screenshots with doodles on them on what I would like to see differently; it worked really well and I think it's a good habit to get into!
What do you enjoy about your job, and game development in general?
Personally, I like the variety of my tasks. The variety of in-game objects I get to work on keeps things interesting. Sometimes I'm asked to create a very straightforward object like a simple prop that we're all familiar with; this could take a day or so. But when creating something like the Spectrum Device — a key asset in Contact — then we'll spend weeks to get it right. And in addition to 3D models and textures, I also get to work on logo designs, screenshot compositions and other miscellaneous 2D art assets.
Is there anything else you're currently working on in your spare time?
I have some unfinished boxes of Warhammer 40K models laying around at home as well as a half-built wooden miniature Virginia Sloop. But in terms of 3D art... not so much. When I'm home I try to do things I can't do at work, like exercising at the gym and playing video games.
To finish, tell us one of Stan's Top Tips...
For the modders out there creating the most kick-ass content: The foundation of an efficient, optimized game asset is careful planning. Take the time to think your design through, continuously ask yourself questions like: What can I do to increase the performance of this asset without affecting visual quality too much.
Our next Featured Bohemian is right around the corner, so keep an eye on our social media pages for the latest updates. But until then, feel free to learn more about working at Bohemia Interactive by checking out our Careers Page – we may just have the perfect job opening for you. Until next time...