Joining us from Australia comes Ben, Splash Damage's very first proper Antipod. Ben has been in his second year at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Canberra, but threw the whole thing in to drink deep and sweet from the foaming brew that is the Damage that is Splash.
Ben's hobbies include drawing, painting, rock climbing, climb drawing, cave painting, rocking and panting, rocking and rolling and pawing. He has admitted to riding ostriches and pigs and eating kangaroo, although almost always after they're dead. No, he doesn't ride the ostriches and pigs after they're, no, that's right, yes, no, yes, yes, the kangaroos are dead and yes, that's right. Good, glad we cleared that up. Ben is hundreds of miles long, heavily sedimented and has worked as a stunt double for the Orinoco and Darling Rivers.
Things You Were Too Afraid To Ask...
Every once in a while, we interrogate one of our own and put their answers up for all the world to see. Read on to find out more about what Ben does, how he ended up at Splash Damage, and more.
What do you do at Splash Damage?
I'm a Character Artist, which means I model and texture the in-game character assets for the game.
Why did you want to work in the games industry and how did you get started?
As a kid the two most regular things I did was play games and draw. I soon realised I could combine my passion for both and discovered 3DS MAX. I initially tried to learn it myself and discovered that that wasn't working so I enrolled in a course at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Canberra, Australia which dealt specifically in getting into the games/film industry as a 3D artist. I studied for 1 year there and was supposed to finish the second year of the course when I applied for a job at Splash Damage as a 3D artist.
Do you have any tips for people wanting to break in?
You have got to have passion and love games if you want to work in this industry. If you want to be an artist but you don't like playing games then this business is not for you. Practice, practice and practice some more. Learn as much as you can about the industry and above all else be persistent. Become a member of the online gaming community and get your name out there. Post your work on forums regularly and get constructive feedback. Always keep improving your skills in your spare time and keep up to date with the latest games technology. Presentation is key to a good portfolio.
Which part of your work on Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars are you most proud of?
The GDF characters are my favourite because I was responsible for modelling and texturing them. They were the first characters I did for an official game title hence why I am proud of them.
How did you end up at Splash Damage?
I applied to an online ad as a 3D artist and did an art test and was accepted. Splash Damage was my first break into the industry and I have been with the company for over 5 years now.
What is it like to work at Splash Damage?
It's great! I feel privileged to work with very skilled people who take pride in their work and everyone is always striving to improve their skills and make the games that much
better. I like how people here focus on quality over quantity.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
Best: 10am work-time starts, modeling cool characters, lunch-time/after-work gaming, pastry Fridays.
Worst: Our small team means we have to work more productively, and sometimes have to spend time modeling rather mundane gear.
What was your first gaming experience?
Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
What types of games do you like, and what's your favorite game of all time?
I primarily like First Person Shooter games. I am more of a PC gamer than console. My favourite game of all time has to be Call of Duty 4 - I loved the single player experience and also played countless hours of online multiplayer.
What's the meaning behind your nickname?
From what I vaguely remember there was a renaissance artist whose last name was Mantegna. I rearranged the wording a little bit and replaced the ‘n’ with an ‘r’ and Mantegra was born. I don’t know why I eventually ended up with it, I just thought it sounded cool at the time.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
Lately I have been doing a lot of personal work. I always try to find the time to improve my skills and I also just enjoy creating stuff. I play lots of games and also try to keep
myself in good shape.
If you have any questions you'd like to ask Ben, feel free to post them in the comments below. Our forum-trained tapirs will try to answer as many of them as possible.