Critical Studies… Looking at job requirements!

Neversoft Entertainment, located in Woodland Hills, CA, is currently seeking experienced Environment Artists (Mid-Senior Level) to work on our new FPS. If you can build and texture awe inspiring environments, and have a passion for creating game art, then we are looking for you.

· Model, texture, and light realistic looking 3D environments.
· Work closely with a level designer/builder as a team to plan and execute the creation of a level.
· Must have proven track record in creating art for striking levels using proprietary tools such as Max, Maya, Radiant, Unreal, or similar.
· Must have technical art skills required for creating optimized and efficient levels (memory and texture limitations, streaming, visibility, etc).
· Proven track record shipping AAA games

· A strong passion for and experience with First Person Shooters
· At least 3 years of console game experience modeling, texturing and lighting environments.
· Previous experience working on action shooter games is highly preferred.
· Be able to show previous examples of level texture painting and modeling.
· Background or education in architecture or traditional art (texturing, drawing).
· In-depth experience using 3D applications for modeling and texturing (3DS Max preferred).
· Drawing and conceptual art skills are a plus.
· MOD Community experience is a plus.

lol no.

I’ve never really done environment art but it’s always been the art that I’ve been draw to and inspired by most. I have no specific plans for what route I wish to go down, and this is such a tough aspect of game art, but it’s definitely my favourite. This is the first advertisement I was drawn to when I was looking online for one to analyse against my own skills. This is going to be depressing…

Hard skills required;

  • 3ds Max knowledge with modelling, lighting, and texturing realistically. My knowledge of 3ds Max is extremely limited but I’m learning to use it and slowly developing knowledge of it. Currently only with low-poly models and not at all of environments. Realism is however the aim of the course and so something I will improve on.
  • MUST have a proven track record in creating art for levels using eg. 3ds Max, Maya, Radiant, Unreal. In depth experience using 3D apps for modelling and texturing- Max preferred. Nope, no track record! Indeed, it is a given that I will have to spend many years working my way up the industry ladder in small jobs before I am remotely suitable for such a high-end job working in AAA games. On the bright side I’m working in 3ds Max rather than Maya, and will hopefully have good knowledge to take into the industry with me by the end of my time at uni. A proven track record shipping AAA games is something that is extremely difficult to work your way into and you have to be good- really good. I’m not good. It takes a lot of time and experience.
  • MUST have technical art skills required for creating optimised and efficient levels (memory and texture limitations, streaming, visibility). Drawing and conceptual skills ARE A PLUS.Technical art skills are something I will be building on in my time of learning at DMU, but a lot of additional work outside of class is going to be required. Honestly, I have very little clue about the text in brackets and what it really means. This says a lot about my lack of knowledge about game art and what it involves. Research needs to be done! It’s important here to note that conceptual skills are something that is not required, though when people think ‘game art’, concepting is often the first thing that comes to mind. I think I need to spend some time looking into the different aspects of game art more in depth beyond black and white ‘3D’ and ‘2D’ aspects.
  • At LEAST 3 years of console experience modelling, texturing etc. Previous experience on action shooters is HIGHLY PREFERRED. (Note FPSs are still required) That’s a lot of experience! Like I said above, the key is experience and knowledge, which I will lack for many many years as I weedle my way into the games industry. Action shooter experience is preferred, but not a necessity which opens the gate a little bit. Nevertheless, the word ‘highly’ suggests that this is probably a necessity rather than preference.
  • Background or education in traditional art/architecture. Many people don’t believe that traditional art is important, and they just need digital art. Admittedly I feel really under pressure to get up to scratch with my digital painting, and neglect my traditional art background which I really need and would love to work on. Drawing skills are essential, and I feel really glad that my course promotes this so much and we don’t have to focus on annoying aspects like animation. I’d love to get more practise but there are only so many hours in  the day. In fact, I believe when I graduate I will simply get a 5 day a week job in a cafe or something and literally spend every free hour of my day working my ass off to get better; until I’m good enough to fit into the industry, because I won’t be when I graduate. I accept that and don’t let it get me down [too much].

Soft skills required;

  • Working closely with a level designer/builder as a team. Team work, team work, team work!! This is the real keystone for working in the games industry. People don’t make games on their own; you work alongside a big team of people with different ideas, attitudes, personalities, and opinions, and you have to deal with that well. This means being able to LISTEN and TAKE INSTRUCTIONS, or you will fail. You need to be open minded and creative with what you do with those instructions. Something else that my tutors like to hammer into us is the ability we need to ‘bounce back’ from being told our work is crap, or it’s being scrapped, or we’re fired. I have had some experience working in groups and often have found myself as the said group’s leader. My experience working in these groups has made me dislike it to a point because I’ve been put in charge of individuals with little motivation or interest in the subject. There is only so far you can go to motivate people who genuinely don’t wish to be there unfortunately, and it led to much frustration and weight being carried on my shoulders. I feel that working with a team of people who share passion like my own would be an amazing experience though, and I would love to work in such a team. I’m hoping that the group projects set during uni will be full of inspiring debate and people that can be motivated to create something awesome. I think I have potential to be a great team player, but with a group project coming up in the very near future, there’s only one way to find out! I also believe it would be interesting to try working as a team leader and as a member working under a team leader, to see what role I work best with and am suited to. It would be an interesting way to see how I will fare in the future.
  • A strong passion for FPSs. Well I definitely have passion for what I do! Unfortunately it sounds like for this application, knowledge of guns and warfare may be required which can then be put into game. I definitely haven’t played enough FPSs for this, but perhaps it would be possible to play on the key word, ‘passion’, during a job application.
  • MOD Community experience is a plus. Modding… yeah… Never tried it. It is something that would give you a head-start against the many other applicants you are competing with though, and perhaps something I should learn more about. Definitely the modelling side of it would be really fun to make an asset work and look right in an existing game, and it would be an incredible learning experience. Additionally it would be important to work with others in the modding community, building team skills.

Looking at this job advert has reinforced a lot of what I already thought about the world of games. Many game companies are very close-minded about what they want, accepting those who have already worked on AAA titles and who have experience…

So you're telling me I have to get experience before i get experience? - So you're telling me I have to get experience before i get experience?  Annoyed Frodo

It’s sad really, as there are so many great potentials out there who would do a better job than those who have the experience, I believe. There are ways of getting ‘experience’ but these are often menial such as internships or small repetitive jobs re-texturing things and the likes.

This project provided an important insight into what I need to work out and wider knowledge I need to gain such as modding, better traditional skills, and technical terms. I definitely have a lot of work to do over the course of uni and the years to follow, but there is still hope yet. Looking at job ads is definitely an important learning experience.

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