5/27/21 2:45 PM
Welcome to our Developer Spotlight. Today’s spotlight is on Chris Bishop. Learn how Chris got started as an artist in the game industry and how he landed the role of Senior Artist at Rogue Planet Games. Chris also provides some aspiring insight on the construction of your favorite weapons including the new NS Scorpion Rocket Launcher in PlanetSide 2!
Hi Chris! How did you become a professional artist in the games industry? Where did it all begin?
It started as both a love for games and a love for art. My family always had a home PC, and I have very early memories of watching my dad play Battlechess and Paperboy. This led to me modding art files and scripting different games I played, namely Ultima Online. I originally wanted to go to school for Animation or Computer Science, until I learned that the Art Institute offered courses on Game Art/Design.
During my last quarter of school, I landed an internship on PlanetSide 2. That internship turned into a contract position before leaving for another studio. After working on mobile games for a while, I came back to the PlanetSide Team to help with the Player Studio system, and I’ve been here ever since.
What were some of the first assignments you worked on in PlanetSide 2?
My very first tasks were minor props and pieces of character armor, but I remember my first big responsibility was to model the NS-11. It was needed for a promo with Gamestop, which I thought was so cool. It has ended up being an old favorite in PlanetSide 2 and I love that!
What is your favorite PlanetSide 2 creation?
Over the years I have worked on so many different assets. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what I even did a few months back. But I recently got to model the Colossus Tank. Not only was it a fun model to make, but over the years it always lurked in the files. I was so excited when I found out it was finally going in-game. We spiced it up with the deploy mechanic and giant laser, making it look and sound incredible in-game. That asset was fun to create and only got cooler as it progressed through FX and Audio.
As an artist, what inspirations do you tap into when designing for PlanetSide 2?
As I grew up, I was big into Star Wars, Total Annihilation, StarCraft, Halo. Definitely staples of the sci-fi genre. But these days I feel like there are so many ripe resources for references. You can visit ArtStation and look up incredibly talented artists or games for inspiration. I often go down Pinterest rabbit holes where I can scroll for hours collecting badass references from across the internet.
I have been lucky to work at a studio where I am regularly inspired by my peers. That is a big deal.
How was the NS Scorpion Rocket Launcher originally envisioned and designed as we see it today?
We knew we wanted to do a throwback weapon, with new gameplay mechanics. But I had never actually heard of the NS Scorpion. The visuals and the mechanics were totally new to me. It was a fun challenge to translate the old visuals into a modern look, with an attempt to keep some of the vintage vibes. I think it’s just as unique in PS2 as it was in PS1, which isn’t easy to do with the number of weapons we have.
What are some of the challenges and learnings on designing for a first-person shooter game?
You always have to be considering what the player’s camera is going to be looking at, that’s step one. But PlanetSide 2 is very special because of its scale, so you are constantly critiquing your work on a micro and macro level. Oftentimes our engagement ranges are much further than your typical FPS game, so every silhouette needs to feel unique up close and at a distance.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists interested in working in the games industry?
There are so many amazing free resources out there. Free software is more powerful than ever. Anyone can get started from watching YouTube videos. If you feel it’s a worthy investment for yourself, purchase a few tutorials.
And try to always be practicing, even if what you create isn’t any good. Try to keep in mind that artists in the game industry are pouring weeks and months of time into what they’re creating. Nothing is achieved overnight.
Stay tuned for further Developer Spotlights, soldier!
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