Live Story: Character Concept Art & Background

When playing a game, you come across all kinds of characters and enemies with unique designs and features that tie them into the story and their environment. This week, we spoke with Chris Borden from our team at Outhouse and artist Grant Gossler about the background of some of the characters you will encounter in our upcoming release, ‘The Ancient Remains’, and give you a sneak peek at some of the concept art.

With the first chapter of our game being based in an ancient temple, our first set of characters are based on Egyptian mythology. While there have been many interpretations of characters such as Anubis and the Sphinx, working with artist Grant Gossler helped the team bring their vision to life. When asked how to make an original looking character from something that has been reimagined time and time again, Gossler said it is about using recognizable traits for each character while adding new and interesting details. He explained about the character Anubis, saying he was trying to give him a primal, underdeveloped human feel while still staying true to the legend itself.

Check out the art below to see what you might run into while exploring the temple along with background information on the character that helped drive the design.

Ammit is a female demon made up of the 3 largest man-eating animals known to ancient Egyptians- the lion, hippopotamus, and crocodile. She lived near the scales of justice in the underworld and devoured the hearts of the impure.

The Sphinx is said to be the guardian of gateways. Men have been driven to madness trying to solve the sphinx’s riddles.

Ancient Egyptians worshiped snakes, especially the Cobra. The Naga were servants of the gods. These deities have been summoned by priests as servants to help guard the temple. They are very clever and strong.


Lector Priests were extremely intelligent and powerful. The Gods granted them the ability to practice magic and perform rituals.

In ancient times, Faceless Temple Guards were warriors and protectors of the pharaohs, known for their loyalty, strength and bravery… but nothing more. The lack of the face symbolizes that most warriors live and die anonymously.

Anubis ushered the dead to be judged at the scale of justice. When talking with Gossler, he said he used chains on the arms to help show scale. The chains are a standard size ahuman would interact with, but on Anubis’s arms they look thin and string like showing just how large he is.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks coming in the new year!

Live Story: Meet Liz

Ever wonder who is behind our blog posts? Liz George is our Community & Content Manager and our final team member profile for our Outhouse Live Story. She not only runs our blog, she does marketing, community management, and partners with Bethany to provide support on our social media channels.

Outhouse Games: Let’s start at the beginning. When did you start working at Outhouse Games?

Liz George: I started with Outhouse in January this year working with the team to help manage the community and the content we create for the company.

OH: Can you tell us about the experience of getting this job and what it is like to see the company grow?

LG: I actually asked for my job. I wanted to work in games and wanted to find a good company to give my spare time to, so I reached out to Bethany and ended up meeting with her, Chris and Phil for lunch. We met at IgnitionINK and hit it off and here we are. I have community and content management background and wanted to put that experience to work in the game industry. It has been really exciting watching the company grow and I’ve been able to learn and do so much that without this, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do so. This year has been such a busy and amazing year, I’m really grateful to be on such an awesome team.

OH: What made you want to work in gaming?

LG: I love games. I grew up fighting for my turn on the NES with my brothers and the only game they would let me play was Super Mario 2. Being able to play as Peach and be one of the stronger characters in the game left a bigger impression that I thought it did. I never thought I could work in gaming, because I’m not an artist or developer, but every company needs marketing and community management, so I can work closely with something I love doing something I’m good at. It is a win-win.

OH: Can you tell us what a day in the life of a Content & Community Manager is like?

LG: It is a bit all over the place, but my work is primarily project based. I like to review what projects and tasks are on my plate, make a list, and then tackle it. I like the variety, one day I can be working on a blog post and the next day on the website. The job is really creative, I can come up with content concepts that we use on the blog and social media, brainstorm ways to engage our community, and just really be different in the ways we can talk about the company and our games. It is such a good outlet, the team gives me a lot of freedom and their trust, and that feels fantastic, and I think that shows in my work.

OH: What programs and tools do you use every day?

LG: Slack for talking with the team, Grammarly to catch the little errors I might miss, Photoshop to create and edit visual assets, WordPress for the website and blog, and just a plain old web browser to get where I need to go!

OH: Can you tell us about your desk setup?

LG: My desk is portable, it is in my backpack. When I am set up at, I have my MacBook, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a bunch of knick-knacks. However, one of the things I love about this job is that I can pack up my computer and go work somewhere. I find I work better somewhere with a cup of coffee and music playing than being in an office.

OH: What are you working on right now for our latest VR title?

LG: Right now, I’m working with Chris to talk about updating the website to start marketing for the game. Last week, we reviewed different layouts and ideas about how to promote the game. It is pretty neat to start marketing something like this from scratch.

OH: Can you tell us anything really fun or unique about our upcoming title?

LG: Last week, I was able to bring in my bow and arrow for the team to use. What was really cool was when I first tried to play with the bow and arrow mechanic in the game, it felt really natural for me. I was super impressed that it was so smooth and that it felt so accurate. The stuff our team builds always impresses me.

OH: What has been the most challenging part of your job now that you are creating things for a VR game?

LG: Before Outhouse changed its focus to VR, I didn’t really know much about VR. It has been really interesting learning about all the different products and games out there, and then seeing what we are making. Learning the new technology and then writing about it has been a challenge, but I’ve found it fun and now I’m excited to see what happens in the industry and how it changes the gaming industry.

OH: What is something that you have learned from working with VR?

LG: I’ve learned just how long this technology has been in the making. I remember hearing about the Virtual Boy, but VR always seemed like some kind of fad that never took off. Now, we are seeing the idea of VR and the technology finally match up and it seems to have come out of nowhere overnight, but that isn’t the case. There has been so much research and work done before now and I think that is what is going to make VR really stay in the market and change gaming.

OH: Any advice for someone wanting to get into the gaming industry and do a job like yours?

LG: Find what you are good at, and be the best at it. Like I said before, gaming companies aren’t just looking for artists and developers, they need everything else a standard company would need from HR to marketing. If you love what you do and add an additional passion like gaming to it, you really have an unstoppable combination. So I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t get discouraged because you can’t do the typical gaming job, figure out what you are good at. Work jobs that will give you those skills, even if they aren’t in gaming, you are still developing those essential skills that can be applied to a future role in the industry.

Live Story: Meet Pam

Every studio needs a great Developer, and that is where Pam comes in. In our latest installment of our Outhouse Live Story, we introduce you to the talented Pam Werrell.

Outhouse Games: Thanks, Pam for talking with us today! Let’s start at the beginning. When did you start working at Outhouse Games?

Pam Werrell: January 2016.

OH: Can you tell us about the experience of getting this job and what it is like to see the company grow?

PW: Programming games is a dream come true. One of the best days of my life was when Chris called to say I got the job. It has been awesome watching the company grow. It is amazing to see how many years Phil and Chris have invested in order to get the company off the ground along with the respect they’ve earned in the game community.

OH: What made you want to work in gaming?

PW: Atari Computer camp and programming games on TI-99A as a kid. Games like King’s Quest and people like Roberta Williams were the inspiration of wanting to develop games.

OH: Can you tell us what a day in the life of a Developer is like?

PW: The day starts off with hardware setup and check, finding pen and paper, opening text editor and trying to remember where I left off the day before. From there each day is different because each day brings new problems to solve or old ones to fix.

OH: What programs and tools do you use every day?

PW: Paper, graph paper preferred. Pen, Sublime Text editor, Unity, Searching docs.unity3d.com and stackoverflow.com.

OH: Can you tell us about your desk setup?

PW: Exercise ball chair great for bouncing on when thinking and limits carpal tunnel. Paper, paper and more paper. 2 VR headsets and 2 controllers, 2 monitors, one keyboard, one mouse. Lots of cords. Water. Disinfecting Wipes. Small piece of something to manipulate while thinking, current item is a twist tie.

 

Pam's desk here at Outhouse.

Pam’s desk here at Outhouse.

 

OH: What are you working on right now for our latest VR title?

PW: Just finished fire arrows and will be starting dwindling/refilling oil supply for torches and lamps.

OH: Can you tell us anything really fun or unique about our upcoming title?

PW: Juggling objects in VR. One day I will be able to do it.

OH: What has been the most challenging part of your job now that you are creating things for a VR game?

PW: Working with the hardware to make it feel and work like you were actually present in the game.

OH: What is something that you have learned from working with VR?

PW: The new headsets no longer make you motion sickness when you follow some basis guidelines about framerates and how the camera moves versus player’s movement.

OH: What do you like about working with VR?

PW: Holodeck technology is finally being realized.

OH: Any advice for someone wanting to get into the gaming industry and do a job like yours?

PW: Logic, logic, logic – very problem comes down to answering what needs to happen when and what if this happens. What are the responses and how do they interrelate and how is that different for different people. Constantly getting input from as many people as possible is necessary. The logic that makes sense to you does not necessarily make sense to another person. No one person can do development it takes a team of people to make it great.

Live Story: Outhouse Levels Up at OrlandoiX

It has been a very eventful few weeks for Outhouse Games. Last weekend we were at OrlandoiX showing off our latest game, ‘The Ancient Remains’ to attendees. We attended OiX last year, but this year we wanted to create an interactive exhibit to bring people in and give us feedback about our game. We upgraded our standard booth with a new backdrop, two TVs to display active gameplay, an iPad kiosk for surveys, along with a computer to run the VR station with the HTC Vive. “We really wanted the space to feel open,” said Chris Borden, co-founder and business manager, “Phil and I spent a lot of time designing the layout so that we could interact with people more directly instead of over a table.” The layout of the booth was extremely important for the VR experience, as there had to be plenty of room, but also because the team had to get close to attendees to put the VR gear on them. Chris explained why so much thought went into the layout. “The team had to build a level of trust with each person because we were essentially blindfolding them. We wanted them to be comfortable and feel like they were being taken care of while playing the game.”

 

Attendees experiencing our game in our booth during OrlandoiX

Attendees experiencing our game in our booth during OrlandoiX

 

Our mission during the event was to gather information on how we could make the game better and feel more immersive. We did this by collecting survey information, but also by watching the players interact with the game. A great example of this is the wand in the demo. The wand shoots fireballs by pressing the trigger on the controller. However, the team noticed that a lot of people were flourishing the wand and were trying to flick it in order for the fireball to come out. “This isn’t something I would have thought of and didn’t think it would end up being such a thing, but when you watch people do it over and over and over, that means the game has to change,” said Chris. Overall, the feedback was fantastic, especially on the bow and arrow mechanic. In the demo, you were able to use a wand, torch, and a bow and arrow. We wanted to make sure these mechanics felt natural to the player, especially since VR is still a new experience to many people. “We are not only teaching them how to use a bow and arrow in the game, we are also teaching them how to move in a VR environment altogether,” Chris explained, “we are focusing on the quality of gameplay, not quantity. We really want to lessen complication and just allow the player to play.” Quality is a high priority for our team. We spent real time on each mechanic. A month was spent on the bow and arrow mechanic and a few weeks on the fireball and wand. The plan has been to focus on each system individually and think them through all the way to the end, so the player can pick up a controller regardless of having any experience playing a VR game, and have it feel natural and give a positive experience.

 

OiX attendee checks out our bow and arrow mechanic

OiX attendee checks out our bow and arrow mechanic

 

The biggest surprise of the event was the team winning ‘Best in Show’ for our VR title. When we asked Chris about winning the award, he said “It was awesome, I felt honored. I was very appreciative and proud of our team and the hard work we put into the booth.” This is the first big award for the game studio and it means a lot to the team. “It means we are on the right track, we are doing the right thing and it feels great to be recognized for it,” said Bethany Borden, our Sound Designer & Composer.

 

Chris accepting our ‘Best in Show’ award at OrlandoiX

 

The next steps after sharing the demo is to take time and really dig into the data and feedback we got not only from OiX, but from the other events we have been attending. From there, the team will tackle any changes and start adding more features, characters, real-time lighting, additional sound elements, and polish existing systems. “We heard from people who played the demo that they thought it was a finished game when it is far from finished,” said Chris, “what we have looks good, but we want to work on what we have to make it look even better.”

 

Our amazing team, from L to R – Matt, Adam, Pam, Liz, Phil, Chris, and Bethany

 

Stay tuned for our next Live Story where we introduce another member of our amazing team, Pam!

Live Story: Outhouse Gets Out of the Studio

Outhouse Games has had a lot of opportunities these past few weeks to get out of the studio and go to some great conferences not only to get the word out about our newest VR title, ‘The Ancient Remains’, but to also do what we do better. Right now, we are currently at OrlandoiX with a live demo of our game, but at the end of September part of our team headed to the other coast to attend GameSoundCon. Our Sound Designer & Composer, Bethany Borden along side our Co-Founder, Chris Borden, headed out to Los Angeles to take in as much as possible about game sound and design.

Bethany and Chris aboard their flight to LA

Bethany and Chris aboard their flight to LA

We sat down with Bethany to chat with her about the conference and what the team took away from the experience. When asked about the conference itself, Bethany explained that “industry professionals give presentations and sit on panels that educate our community in things like workflow, great tools, techniques, tips, and tried and true practices.” She explained how the conference offered multiple tracks and it worked to her and Chris’s benefit.  The team divided the panels by their expertise so they could attend as much of the conference as possible without getting overwhelmed or miss something they wanted to attend. “Chris mainly went to the VR focused classes, and I went to the Pro Track sessions, which had a variety of musical and technical presentations” Bethany said while sharing their strategy. “Chris has the ability to understand a lot more at the technical sessions, when I can go to the music sessions and understand them.”

One of the big reasons for taking this trip was education. With so much information being shared in such a specific area of game creation, there were a lot of opportunities for the team to find real ways to improve their skills and our game currently in development. “I learned some great techniques for recording voiceover for video games, particularly for VR, such as recording actors in ensembles instead of separately, rigging 2 microphones on the actors’ heads to allow them to physically act out their lines while saying them so the sound is captured accurately, and to be careful how close or far away actors are from the microphone.” By learning these new techniques along with others from the conference, Bethany is excited to apply them as our game continues to down its path of development.

Bethany with Sandy Schnieders during a panel at GameSoundCon

Bethany with Sandy Schnieders during a panel at GameSoundCon

A panel that engaged the team was ‘Beyond Wild Hunt Musical Evolution of The Witcher Series’, which Bethany said personally inspired ideas for ‘The Ancient Remains’. “The composer wrote a simple child’s rhyme song, which was used in the game sung by children, but this also became a theme for the game music and was used in a dark and sinister way. I absolutely loved that idea and wrote a rhyme on the plane ride home, which I’ve since written music to. I plan to record some of the music next week at UCF!”

Needless to say, the conference had a lot of great information to offer both Chris and Bethany and we are excited to see how it impacts and improves our current project.

Bethany offered the best advice she took away from the conference:

  1. “Consistently do things that scare the shit out of you!” -Michael Bross
  2. “Don’t give up. Never give up.” -Stephan Schutze
  3. “It’s okay to make mistakes.” -Adam Gubman
  4. “Find a mentor.” -Caron Weidner
  5. “Be so good that you can’t be ignored.” -Steve Martin

Stay tuned for our next Live Story, where we recap the amazing happenings from OrlandoiX!

 

 

Live Story: Meet Adam

It is time to meet another member of our team in our latest installment of our Live Story. Up next is our awesome 3D Modeler & Texture Artist, Adam Flores!

Outhouse Games: It is your turn for a profile, Adam! To get started, lets talk about how you came to Outhouse Games. When did you start working with us?

Adam Flores: I started working remotely in Novemeber 2015 and started working in office in January 2016.

OG: Can you tell us about the experience of getting this job and what it is like to see the company grow?

AF: Getting the job was awesome! Watching the company grow has been a great experience. I didn’t really know how much went into a small business like this, but seeing how hard Chris and Phil work to keep work coming in is very inspiring.

OG: What made you want to work in gaming?

AF: I can’t really say it was one particular game or experience, but I’ve always loved the art in video games. Knowing that someone would play something that I had a part in making gives me a sense of joy. Hopefully I can inspire someone else to get into gaming through the artwork we create.

OG: Can you tell us what a day in the life of a 3D Molder & Texture Artist artist is like? (

AF: That’s my primary role, but on a day to day to basis it can change. Working in a small studio like this is great because I can do many different things. I’ve had to rig and do some minor animation, very minor. I’ve done a little shader writing, very little, and even a little bit of scripting.

OG: What programs and tools do you use every day?

AF: MODO, Photoshop, Zbrush, and Unity are the primary programs.  Every once in awhile I’ll use After Effects.

OG: Can you tell us about your desk setup?

AF: Currently it’s mess but it has my essentials, a Wacom tablet for texturing and sculpting, and a VR headset to test see how a scene looks in VR.  Also it’s littered with toys.

 

A quick shot of Adam's desk

A quick shot of Adam’s desk

 

OG: What are you working on right now for our latest VR title?

AF: I’ve just recently finished a snake and some broken statues, but today I’m going to be doing some particle effects for the magic elements of the game.  

OG: Can you tell us anything really fun or unique about our upcoming title?

AF: Right now I really love the destructible physics in the game and I’m looking forward to when we implement the magical abilities.

OG: What has been the most challenging part of your job now that you are creating things for a VR game?

AF: Making everything look good and keep the frame rate high. Oh yeah, fire…. Making realistic looking fire that doesn’t look flat has been a fun challenge.

 

Adam hard at work on Bash the Vote 2016

Adam hard at work on Bash the Vote 2016

 

OG: What is something that you have learned from working with VR?

AF: There are so many factors to making a good experience that it’s hard to limit it to just one thing. Your scale is definitely a crucial portion of VR. Being a bit too tall or too short in VR can make the whole thing seem off.

OG: What do you like about working with VR?

AF: Seeing everything we’ve created come together is probably my favorite. The lighting, the interactions, and the sound immersing you in a world you helped create is very satisfying.

OG: Any advice for someone wanting to get into the gaming industry and do a job like yours?

AF: If you want to be modeler/ texture artist, you have to practice those skills everyday. Find something you like and recreate it, then do it again, but faster and better. Never limit yourself to one thing though, at small studios it’s good to be a little knowledgeable of the other things that go into making a game. You don’t have to know everything, but at least be willing to learn and step out of your comfort zone. I didn’t really think I’d enjoy shader writing or particle effects, but it’s been amazing seeing something I’ve created in a virtual world.


Connect with Adam

 

Live Story: Sneak Peek of ‘The Ancient Remains’

Right now our team is at the Melrose Center in the Downtown Orlando Public Library sharing a demo of our newest title, The Ancient Remains. But don’t worry, we have some great things to show you from the demo right here in our Live Story!

Top down view of the demo

The demo takes place in the first chapter of our game within a temple inspired by ancient Egypt. There are 5 rooms the player can explore, the Starting Area, Treasure Room, Burial Room, Embalming Room, and finally the Shooting Gallery. The player can explore freely, as this demo does not include monster encounters, but they will be able to get a feel for the environment through the art, design, and sound.

After the player gets their bearings in the Starting Area, they can begin moving through the world to the different rooms. Our team has taken their time to design every part of the temple down to they pillars you see throughout the rooms.

Closeup of the pillars within the temple

Closeup of the pillars within the temple

Each room has something different to offer. The Treasure Room has just that, treasure. The player can check out different ancient artifacts along with lots and lots of gold items. Moving into the Burial and Embalming Rooms, there are tables, tools, scrolls and tablets. One of the most interesting items in these rooms are the canopic jars. These jars were used during the mummification process and were used to store the internal organs of the person being mummified.

Canopic jars located in the Burial and Embalming Rooms

Moving through these rooms, the demo ends in the final area, the Shooting Room. This area is where the player test out our archery gameplay. Phil Bias, our Project Manager and Co-Founder, is really interested in what players have to say about the Shooting Room in the demo. “I’m looking forward to hearing the feedback from the demo so we can keep improving the bow and arrow functionality.”

The demo is making more than one stop for players to get a sneak peek of the game. This coming week the team will be heading to the University of Central Florida. Our Sound Designer & Composer, Bethany Borden, is collaborating with Thad Anderson to create original music for the game. Anderson is a teacher of percussion, music composition, and music technology at the university. Borden and Anderson will be showing the demo to UCF music students who will be assisting by actually playing the music for the game. Having them see and experience the demo will help the students get a feel for the game and environment, this will assist them with understanding the music they are playing. The team hopes to start recording the music with the UCF team starting in the fall.

Stay tuned until next week where we will be sharing more of our Live Story about our upcoming game and our amazing team.

Live Story: 4 Things to Think About When Managing a Project

Being a product manager can bring up a lot of unexpected obstacles when directing diverse teams working together to achieve the same goal. Phil Bias, our resident project manager, has a lot of experience not only working with our team here at Outhouse, but also with our latest client project that took him to Dubai. We sat down with Phil to talk about his job and some tips for project managers that he has learned while in this role.

 

Expect Delays

When working on a project, everyone wants to meet expectations and deadlines. However, the best-laid plans sometimes have unexpected delays. There will be times a project will go longer than anticipated for any number of reasons. Phil recently experienced delays on a project with a client and their team. “Always have a backup plan, then have a backup for that backup” says Phil, “you have to make changes to your original plan and that can be frustrating, but your goal is to complete the project.” Delays can cause you to work more hours, even extending the length of a project by a few days. The key is to know your end goal, understand that problems can arise, and be flexible enough to change your plan and timeline in order to complete the project.

 

Be Flexible

Project managers have to handle new obstacles and have to work to overcome them and find new solutions. Not only do they have to be flexible when it comes to delays in the schedule, they have to understand that things don’t always go according to the original plan. There are times that your project plan can be completely different from when you started to the point of completion. Anything from electrical issues to the weather can cause an issue and an entire new solution needs to be made. This is where the project manager has to change plans on the fly to keep the work moving. Flexibility is extremely important because without it, the project can suffer potentially making it unsuccessful.

 

Know Your Team

When working with your own team, it is a bit easier as you know how they work and can plan accordingly. However, when working with clients or on other projects, you will have to work with teams that you don’t know and in turn don’t know you. Knowing who you are working with will help your project go more smoothly and help you navigate obstacles easier when they do arise. This is especially true when you are working with other cultures. “Different people and cultures have a different way of life and work pace,” says Phil who recently worked with a team in Dubai, “you need to make adjustments when there are cultural differences that impact how people work.” Take the time to know your team, their culture, their work pace, and their expectations of the project. Phil says that an important key of working with any team is to be respectful of its individuals, but also be a leader and stay firm in order to keep the project moving.

 

Communication is Key

Working with your own team or remotely with a client has a lot of room for error, so communication is extremely important. “Don’t hide problems that come up. Tell them what issues you are dealing with, and keep the client and your team updated on the status of the project.” However, Phil does caution against too much communication. “Share important milestones and updates, but there is such a thing as too much communication.” Find a balance where you are keeping the important people in the loop and moving the project forward without emailing every five minutes.

 


Join us next week for our Live Story when we share some exciting new information regarding our latest game along with some cool technology that we are using.

Live Story: Week 8 – Meet Matt

Next up in our Live Story series is an introduction to our 3d Animator & Artist, Matt Graham. Matt brings our characters and environments to life with his modeling, texturing, and rigging skills. His talents also include foam sword fighting and puppy wrangling.

Outhouse Games: Thanks, Matt for chatting with us today! So lets start at the beginning, when did you start working at Outhouse Games?

Matt Graham: I started at Outhouse on October 21st, 2015.

OG: Can you tell us about the experience of getting this job and what it is like to see the company grow?

MG: It was very rewarding to finally be hired by Outhouse. It took about 5 years from the time that I first started working and learning 3D to when I landed my first job. It took a lot of hard work so finally getting hired was very validating and exciting. It’s also very cool to see how the projects we are working on and the focus of the company has evolved over the last year. Being part of a company diving head first into a new field such as VR is great.

OG: What made you want to work in gaming?

MG: It was after I graduated college, I realized I had a degree in a field I was not so passionate about. I ended up working some jobs I hated, and some jobs that were just ok. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that can say I love my job, I’m excited to go in, and I am NOT just working for the weekend. I have always played video games and like most people I had no idea what actually went into creating them. It was during this time period that I was asked if I could do anything, what would it be. Making games was the answer. So I took that first step and started pursuing 3D at a small school up in New York. It’s all about taking that first step and now a couple years later I’m making a living creating games.

OG: Can you tell us what a day in the life of a Animator/3D Artist is like?

MG: Being a generalist, I have a lot of different jobs when it comes to production and it all depends on what the project is. One day I could be modeling and texturing characters, environments or props. The next day I could be rigging up characters to they can be animated. Or I might be animating and bringing the characters we make to life. It’s fun to switch it up.

OG: What programs and tools do you use every day?

MG: I use MODO for modeling, rigging and animation, Photoshop for texturing, and ZBrush for digital sculpting.

OG: Can you tell us about your desk setup?

MG: Well my desk on any given day is a mess. But I have the basics. Dual monitors, mouse and keyboard, and a drawing tablet. I also have a small fan, very exciting stuff. And I sit on a big exercise ball so bouncing around throughout the day only adds to the excitement. I am also penned in with my dog so he doesn’t tear the office to the ground.

 

Matt on the left at his desk in our new office

Matt on the left at his desk in our new office


OG:
That is right! We hear you have an assistant around the office, care to share about that?

MG: Yes he isn’t very helpful though. He ends up just sleeping all day in the office or trying to sneak away to eat garbage. I think he might be let go soon… He’s a Welsh Corgi pupper named Bronson. He’s almost 3 months old. Some of his hobbies include chewing on furniture, chewing on hands and feet, and generally anything chewing related. I’ve always loved that breed. I have been saying I was going to get a corgi since I was in college, so I finally did it.

 

Bronson posing for his headshot

Bronson posing for his headshot

 

OG: What inspires you? Your job is very creative, how do you keep motivated and where do you find your inspiration?

MG: As an aspiring animator you can really find inspiration anywhere. A cool thing about getting into animation is you really start to be more observant of everything around you. You start to break down what the body does when it moves, how people and animals of different shapes and sizes move. Sometimes finding inspiration is as easy as seeing a really cool pose and wanting to build an animation around it. It’s also fun seeing how different poses or facial expressions convey so much information and character. What keeps me motivated is one day being able to work on the types of games that I like to play. I will be playing a game like Dark Souls 3 and I’ll see an awesome attack move from some badass enemy and it just adds so much to the experience. Even after graduating school I’ve continued to take classes like iAnimate, and right now I’m doing private tutoring. Plus, animation is just fun to do so it’s definitely not a chore to sit down and work on something new.

OG: What are you working on right now for our latest VR title?

MG: Right now we are working on getting a lot of the modeling and texturing for the games environment done. So right now I am working on finalizing room structures, making pillars and different structural props, and working on some of the more unique hero props.

OG: Can you tell us anything really fun or unique about our upcoming title?

MG: Without giving too much away, I am really excited about some of the characters we have in the works. I think we’ve come up with some really cool and twisted takes on some of the creatures of lore that a lot of people are already familiar with, but may not have seen like this. I think people are really going to dig what they see.

OG: What has been the most challenging part of your job now that you are creating things for a VR game?

MG: Too be honest, my part hasn’t changed much. Still pretty much the same workflow, just making it as efficient as possible. Reducing texture sizes and draw calls and making sure the geo isn’t crazy dense.

OG: What is something that you have learned from working with VR?

MG: I’ve learned just how much putting yourself into a VR environment can really affect your sense of reality. It’s pretty crazy. For example, there is a VR experience on Oculus where a T-Rex comes walking down the hall and gets face to face with you. Of course I’m standing here and I’m telling myself, “of course there isn’t a T-Rex walking up on me”. But as he gets closer your brain starts to have a real reaction and a little bit of panic sets in. On a weird level your brain truly thinks you’re there, even when you consciously know you aren’t. It’s so weird but very cool.

OG: What do you like about working with VR?

MG: It is very cool knowing that all the stuff we are creating is going to end up being a world that people can experience. They are going to be standing and looking around in a structure that we made. And they are going to come face to face with monsters and creatures that we have brought to life. Not just seeing them on a screen, but stuck in a room with them.

OG: Any advice for someone wanting to get into the gaming industry and do a job like yours?

MG: I have two pieces of advice:

  1. If you are interested in 3D or games, it’s all about taking that first step and starting to pursue it. Whether that be downloading a student version of Maya and just getting into the program, watching tutorials online, or going back to school.  Once you get into it, keep working and keep improving. Don’t get to a level that you think is what will get you a job. Be constantly striving to improve your work, get feedback on your work from people better than you, and continually develop your artistic eye.
  2.  When trying to get that first job it is really helpful to know people in the industry. That doesn’t mean going to an event and right off the bat telling people you want a job and start handing out cards. Being able to approach someone, even in the industry, and just having a conversation is a great way to leave an impression. Being the person who came up and had a memorable and fun conversation about games you like or any other similar interests, will leave a better impression than the person who walked up, handed a card and basically asked for a job. Getting that first job takes time. Getting to know the people you potentially want to work with and showing you’re someone that they would want to work with goes a long way.

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