Hi there! Could you please tell us who you are and what do you do at MADFINGER Games?
- Hi, my name is Honza Zamazal, and I work at MADFINGER as Lead Artist for weapons, props, and in-game objects.
How would you describe your normal day at work? What are you mostly working on nowadays?
- I usually start the morning with a short sync meeting with the team about the task - what's already done, what's currently being worked on, and what's next.
- Then I focus on my tasks, which, at the moment, is mainly getting the Unreal workflow right and then prototyping the new project. That means finding suitable pipelines for how we're going to produce the assets I'm responsible for, what shaders we're going to use for them, and generally how to achieve the best quality with some reasonable workload.
What are the main tools you use for your work? What is the process behind turning a concept into a finished asset?
- As far as software goes, we use a few programs to create the models - primarily Autodesk 3ds Max and Pixologic ZBrush for the actual modelling and Substance 3D Painter for the textures.
- There are several ways to make a game asset, and determining the right one depends on several factors, from the purpose and use of the model, whether it will have unique textures or use shared texture sets, to the platform the game is planned for.
- For example, for weapons, props, and some environment objects we currently use a process where we first create what I call a semi-poly model, which is a model that has the right shapes and proportions so it can be used for in-game tests or animations, but it's not the final model for the game.
- This model is then used to create a low-poly model with UV mapping (layering the surface of the 3D model into a 2D surface for applying texture maps) and a high-poly model that has enough detail to serve as a source for creating texture maps.
What would you say is the most challenging part of your work? What obstacles do you have to overcome?
- It's probably the change of engine and platform. After all, after 8 years of working in Unity and producing games for mobile, Unreal and PC is a big difference from the sheer amount of assets we'll need, to actually creating them, as the quality required is now several times higher than previously on mobile.
- It's a lot of interesting and fun work, and as a bonus, you learn a lot of modern techniques on how to make AAA games today.
Since you're working in a game studio, are you also a gamer? Do you have any favorite games, both old and new?
- I don't have a preferred genre or game. I enjoy big story RPGs and series like Mass Effect, Witcher, Red Dead Redemption, and Assassins Creed, action-adventure games like Uncharted, Tomb Raider, and Last of Us, but I also like to play RTS games like Age of Empires. I often play some games just to see how they are designed. :)
And what about your time outside of work? Any hobbies or other interests?
- I try to spend my free time with my family and wife or friends. As far as hobbies go, I take care of my fish, assemble model airplanes, and I enjoy hiking in the countryside. Occasionally, I'm also able to spend a whole day watching some show or a documentary series (damn you Netflix!).
Thank you for the interview.