Joining us with a creak of brass hinge, a squeak of polished damascus Blücher upon sanded stone floor and the confident flap of an ankle-length angora gaberdine from the splendid teak chifforobe that dominated the Eastern entrance lobby of the marble North Hall comes Tim. Formed through the tried and tested lost wax casting process, Tim previously worked at BioWare upon such titles as Mass Effect, and now makes Art gush from the taps of the Splash Damage Art Bath.
Aside from each and every manner and type of artistic endeavour, Tim's hobbies include playing racing demon, actually racing demons, arcing through the sky like one of them new-fangled swans and teaching marmosets to hum. He's upwards and above and beyond, and while most of us make do with an industry average chalk mark, has his very own Plimsoll line.
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 Tim does, how he ended up at Splash Damage, and more.
What do you do at Splash Damage?
My responsibilities include directing the art team, creating character art (when I have time), attending meetings and trying to avoid drinking the Coca Cola that calls to me so sweetly from the company's fridges.
Why did you want to work in the games industry and how did you get started?
I was lured into the games industry after discovering custom player models and the secrets behind their creation! I was studying at University and playing plenty of Quake 3, in a clan though also on public servers and I was really amazed to see Homer Simpson and Bender from Futurama fragging each other in death matches. Armed with the knowledge that other players were building their own content, I set out determined to find tutorials and through a combination of dumb luck and sheer determination practised until I reached a level that made me sit up and think "I could do this for a living!"
After that, it was all down hill - I landed a job in the industry working as a character artist and I've been making games ever since.
What other games have you worked on?
Prior to working at Splash Damage I was most recently to be found in frozen tundra of Canada. Bioware is a seldom glimpsed studio, in a location so remote only the highest level DM's can journey there. It was there that I worked as a Senior Character Artist on Mass Effect, working extensively with the Digital Actors team to ensure that our talking heads would meet expectations. I also got work on a range of character costumes, armour and the player's ship, the Normandy.
Previous titles I worked on were games such as Call of Cthulhu, an interesting blend of first person shooter and survival horror that never quite hit the mark with its intended audience. I had great times working on the monsters and other characters for the game and I lived to tell the tale!
When you were working on Mass Effect, how many revisions did a character like John Shepard go through?
Well, part of the fun of an RPG is that you can create a custom character, so in a way all the work for the custom characters is work on Shepard! :) I guess John Shepard went through quite a few revisions, conceptually as well as facially. The armour he was wearing was the first thing to be locked down and later a male model was hired to provide real life references of what the face should look like. In total there were 3 big revisions of the character, but numerous tweaking took place between those revisions.
Why did you join Splash Damage?
I joined Splash Damage as I was a big fan of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars looked like a lot of fun to make from a character art perspective. Cyborgs and future soldiers are the staple diet of many an aspiring artist and Splash Damage's work with id Software suggested that I might find people with similar art tastes at the company.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part of my job is making things. There really isn't anything better for me at work than sitting down with a great concept and spending time realising that in 3D. The worst part has to be the times when I'm not making art, when all the content is locked down before a game ships and there's nothing you can do to change it, even though if you could only tweak those few pixels it would be so much better for it! (hah)
What types of games do you like, and what's your favorite game of all time?
I like games in general, rather than just specific genres. The only games I don't really like are racing ones.. the idea of driving around a track and racking up better speeds each time is alien to me. It's hard to comment on my favourite game of all time, but I think Resident Evil 4 is a definite contender. Can't beat those horror games.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
When I'm not at work I enjoy the typical stuff, like watching bad horror films, eating pizza and spending time with wife who begrudgingly watches the bad horror films with me. I also do a lot of art work in my spare time, creating personal art and pushing myself to keep learning. Occasionally I venture to the gym or go running, however this often conflicts with my pizza eating/horror film watching schedule, meaning the former will take precedence.