Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Interview
Tom Isaksen, Senior Character Artist chats with CodeBros at rAge 2016
During our chat with Tom, he told us that he has been working with Compute Graphics since the early 90’s, which has lead him to be heavily involved with many of the exceptionally large and very popular titles we have all come to know and love. Tom is a very down to earth and passionate individual who literally oozes inspiration for the Graphics industry, which can be seen in his work throughout his career and personal interests.
When asked about his inspirations, he quite easily answered with, “I have good days and bad days, but I brush the root off and get to work easily, because I love the responsibilities that I am given by the studio”.
He also added that Ubisoft Paris, where he is stationed has a very serious approach to quality presentation and has a very strict push in the “zero compromise” direction when it comes to making sure that the end consumers, being us gamers, enjoy each title visually, to the maximum. He also told us that this attitude produces an environment of productivity among the different development teams, and assists in making sure that communication between everyone is a prioritized focus, especially during the scheduled DevTeam sessions with the Head Art Director, ensuring that the themes follow through seamlessly from code to art.
[miptheme_quote author=”said Tom, with a grin” style=”pull-left”]Quite honestly, Character designs are never really finished, but eventually I need to step back and say that enough is enough, otherwise I will keep tweaking till the day before the final compile or the title.[/miptheme_quote]When asked about the size of the Art Development Team, we were surprised to hear that the individuals that make such rich textures for us to enjoy, generally consist of around 6 to 7 artists, with an average of 3 artists focusing on one specific section, like Characters, Environments or even the Tactical Gear. We thought it would be good to ask about the attention to detail in the modelling process, so Tom explained that the reference material is very important to the teams. In Wildlands, they sent a team to Bolivia to experience and research the area, when it came to the weapons, they often called in Army Specialists to come and demonstrate well known Tactical Gear brands to accurately replicate official gear in the game modelling process.
Tom has been working on Wildlands for the past 4 years, so with this we concluded the serious side of the interview, and you can rest assured that while playing Wildlands, you will be playing a very accurate representation of what it would be like in Bolivia.
A day in the life of Tom Isaksen
Tom wakes up nice and early to catch the Metro to work. Once he steps into the office, he heads straight to grab a well needed cup of coffee and enjoys drinking it while reading articles online about the latest developments in the video gaming world. When that cup of coffee is empty, he picks up from where he left off the day before, whether he was busy with texturing and vertex poly rebuilds or clay molding or rendering. Tom then generally tests the completed work in-game to see if he is satisfied. The working aspect then goes through a rinse and repeat cycle from 9am till about 6pm.
Tom has a personal portfolio of what he designs during his spare time, which can be seen on his website Character Ink.. We asked him who his favorite villain was in the Star Wars Universe, and he very proudly declared that it was Darth Vader (instantly gaining Tom 1 Million legend points with me). Take a look at his incredible Darth Vader render here, titled, “Rise my friend.