In the follow-up to the first part of our recent Inside Crytek Interview, Technical Artist on Ryse, Sascha Herfort, answers your questions about his day-to-day work.
Nice interview! Do you have a website or portfolio for us to check out?
Not anymore unfortunately. But I’m planning to build an up-to-date portfolio after Ryse, containing my work from Crysis 2 and Ryse. Besides that I recently gave some workshops at Siggraph and they’re also available on our website. If you’re into making games, go check them out on our presentation page.
What exactly is a “technical” artist and what other things – besides cinematics – does a technical artist get involved with?
We sometimes jokingly call ourselves “Digital Janitors”, because a big part of the job is fixing things. :) Half the time, Technical Artists bridge the gap between Programmers, particularly R&D, and Artists. This involves co-developing and testing new technology, trouble-shooting technical issues and developing tools and asset-pipelines. A Tech Artist needs to constantly educate himself about his company’s engine and the evolving tech of the industry. The other big responsibility is building and maintaining technically complex art assets, animations or effects for the game. This includes character rigs, physics setups, destruction set-pieces, but also special effects like making aliens explode with the microwave gun in Crysis 2.
How did you get assigned to Ryse? Did you work on another project before?
Before Ryse, I shipped Crysis 2. I created the character destruction system for our aliens, helped with the look-development of the aliens – specifically the jelly material – and in the end worked on a number of destruction set-pieces for our cinematics. Besides being a Digital Janitor of course! After Crysis 2, I wanted to work on a different kind of game and joined the Ryse project. I wish I could talk more about why Ryse is so awesome – but you’ll all see for yourself soon.
You mentioned that you like travelling, but how is Frankfurt as a city to work in? How is the video game industry there?
I’m originally from Berlin, so moving to Frankfurt was difficult for me, considering that it’s a much smaller city with a less omnipresent subculture. However it did grow on me and nowadays I know where cool things are happening. Also I really appreciate the compactness – you can bike anywhere within 15 minutes! People from outside of Europe really appreciate its central position and international airport – a hundred Euros buys you a plane ticket to every major city in Europe. The videogame industry in Germany is less AAA-oriented than in other countries, but because the rest of Europe is so close and Frankfurt is a very international city, there’s a lot of exchange between countries, both in knowledge and employees. Enough of the pitch – come work here already!