François-Xavier has worked for Nadeo for over ten years and is now a Lead Artist at the company. He was worked on both the TrackMania and ShootMania titles, creating many of the graphical assets you know and love. We had the chance to ask him some questions about his work, which you can find below.
Can you take us through your usual day?
7:00 Wake up – Prepare kids for school – Train
9:30 Coffee – Read Forums for bug reports and players feedback, or browse creations.
Then it varies a lot depending on the hour or day: Meetings, creating new graphical assets, optimizing or debugging existing ones, answering technical questions about graphical data production, etc. Coffee. Tweak the lighting, special effects or new engine features. Search internet for photos or references to help create realistic things. Coffee. Define Blocks Properties. Define a Block’s grammar (which block to make for a particular set in order to be able to “write” gameplay with it and combine it with other sets. For instance : Road’s Straight, Corner, Deadend, TShaped, Slopes, Bridges, Turbos). Coffee.
14:15 Coffee. Back to work. More Coffee.
19:50 Run to the train for home, and take care of the kids. 😛
What is your favorite kind of work?
Breaking a graphical concept into the grammar for a block.
What programs do you use the most?
3ds Max & Photoshop
What are some usual problems that you run into, and how do you fix them?
Block’s “crack”. The Blocks are produced separately and then placed next to each other in the editor. If they are not well connected some very little holes may appear between them, and you can see through them. To fix it you have to create them very carefully and precisely, and check all connections in 3dsMax.
How did you get into the game industry?
I started doing mods for games, then used that work as a portfolio. I went to a multimedia (IIM) school and knew people already in the industry. They helped me find my first job in the gaming industry.
What did you go to college for?
I first wanted to become veterinary, until I discovered how I love making game content (with the Doom editor on my room mate’s PC).