We’re back for another round of Inside Crytek: our very own interview series which features different members of the Crytek team. First you can get up close and personal with them, and afterwards you get to ask the questions!
To submit your own questions to this week’s interviewee, simply post them under the link to the article on our Facebook page, GFACE, Crydev, or MyCrysis. We will then forward the best and most original questions, and next week the answers will be posted online.
Today’s interview features Fábio M. Silva. Fábio has been at Crytek since May 2012. He currently works as an FX Artist on Ryse, and has previously been at Guerrilla Games (SCEE).
Why did you want to work in the games industry and how did you get started?
Since I was very little I have always been passionate about videogames, and I really wanted to make my own (for me it was a very good way of telling the stories I wanted to tell), so I started trying to make them. I learned a bit of programming, but what I connected with most was actually the visual part of making videogames, doing animations and models etc. So I started studying and developing my skills in several fields of CG. So today I’d say the one area I’m mostly developed in is character modeling and, of course, doing FX.
Because Crytek is one of, if not the best, videogame company in Europe, and probably the one that creates the best visuals in any of the games out there. Also, I was a really big fan of the first Far Cry when it came out; it was the best shooter I had played in a very long time. And then came Crysis, which became a graphics benchmark for many other companies in the world to test computers and graphics cards. So to sum up, Crytek was always high in my list of companies that I wanted to work for.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
Aside from blowing stuff up, which is awesomely cool, you also have the part where you get to meet your industry idols from time to time which is really cool; for instance, Jeff Chamberlain or Hideo Kojima. Another good thing is that CryENGINE is a blast to work with compared to other engines I have used.
On the downside, I’d say optimizing the game is the sad part about my job (or for any artist working in games). So sometimes you have to lower the quality of your work so it can run in real-time.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working on RYSE, and working closely with the level designers in order to create content that they require for each level, and also very closely to the technology team to ensure our FX tech meets our needs. The daily job of an FX artist consists of creating FX assets (such as fire, smoke, water etc), but also discussing all types of cool ideas that the designers would like to see in their levels, or directors would like to see that have never been seen in a game before, or that we as artists have never seen and that we think would be really cool – not just visually, but also in making new gameplay moments possible.
Our job is very technical, but we are still artists at our core, so we focus heavily on color, composition, and helping improve the mood of a specific environment or moment in the story that the director wants, and we try to spice it up with FX (subtle ones for instance) and try to blend everything together more nicely, so that the player feels more integrated with the game world and that it feels alive. Then we have the other part (more scientific and technical) of our job, which involves physics and particles. So in the end, it is a really good mix of a very intellectual job with some bursts of wildness as an artist or even maybe as digital pyromaniacs!
What music do you listen to at work?
I usually hear original soundtracks from movies, games or anime.
What inspires you in your work or in life?
I get inspired by a lot of stuff that comes from Japan, so it’s no wonder some of my heroes are Akira Toriyama or Hideo Kojima. Movies and other games are also amazing sources of inspiration, and sometimes, music itself is an awesome source.
What types of games do you like, and what is your favorite game of all time?
My favorite game of all time is Final Fantasy VII. Probably the game that made me want to work in videogames or learn CG, alongside the early titles from Blizzard Entertainment (WarCraft, Diablo, StarCraft). Following those, Final Fantasy VIII and X also are pretty high in the list (I’m an FF addict). I love so many games in so many different genres, so it’s really difficult to select just a few, but I’d like to highlight The Curse of Monkey Island, Quake II, Far Cry, L4D, Persona series, and C&C Series.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Playing games, pushing my personal art to the next level, and going out with the buddies from work. I also like to write novels or make short films.
Do you have any tips for people wanting to get started in the industry?
There’s a Shaolin saying that says: “One must face many hardships, before he can succeed.” It is so very true. I suffered a lot before being able to be where I am at the moment. So my advice is to never give up, never surrender, no matter how many years it might take!
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