Rare Life: Principal Artist Bryan Smith

A new entry in Rare’s ‘Rare Life’ series was posted today featuring one of their veteran employees Bryan Smith, a principal artist who mainly works on game environments. Here’s a portion of the Rare interview with the remaining available on Rare’s official website

Rare: Which Rare games have you worked on, and what’s been your biggest achievement?

Bryan: I’ve worked on Diddy Kong Racing, Jet Force Gemini, Mickey’s Speedway USA, Conker: Live & Reloaded, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, and all three Kinect Sports games. I think one of my biggest achievements was helping to get the events that took place in the Flame Stadium in Kinect Sports running at 60 frames per second. We were used to creating graphics to run at 30 FPS, which meant each frame had to render in 33 milliseconds. To run at 60 FPS, each frame must render in just 17 milliseconds. To make things even more challenging, the Kinect camera also used some of the processing power of the Xbox GPU. This all meant that in order to achieve 60 FPS we had to consider and optimise just about every single aspect of the environment. It was very rewarding when we managed to achieve this and still retain an environment that looked great.

Rare: How has the role of a 3D artist changed in the time that you’re been at Rare?

Bryan: When I first started in this role we had to be very flexible in the tasks that we’d undertake. The teams simply weren’t big enough for people to have specialised roles. We had to be jacks of all trades, which could be very rewarding but also quite challenging.

On Jet Force Gemini I modelled environments and props, set up lighting, made skyboxes, created effects and animated cutscenes. Now that games and team sizes are much larger there are good reasons for people to have more specialised roles, allowing people to become experts. There are so many tools and so much knowledge and skill required to make a modern blockbuster game that it would be almost impossible for one person to be able to fulfil so many functions. We even have an artist who is rapidly gaining a reputation for being the go-to expert in creating rock formations!