Tomas Hrebicek war so frei und hat sich die Zeit genommen, um mit Elizabeth von 2K über die Vielfalt seines Jobs zu reden.
Als Lead Animator ist er für sämtliche Animationen verantwortlich, die wir in Mafia 2 zu sehen bekommen werden. Da das Projekt allerdings zu groß für einen einzigen Animator ist, konzentriert er sich auf die Animationen in den Zwischenseqenzen.
Alltag gibt es bei seinem Job nicht, so Hrebicek. Das einzige war er regelmäßig macht, ist früh den PC anzuschalten. Den meisten Spaß bereitet ihm das editieren der Motion Capturing Aufnahmen und die Übertragung auf die Spielfiguren. Inspiration findet er beim schauen und analysieren von Gangsterfilmen.
Das ganze Interview findet ihr hier:
What is your role on the Mafia II team?
I work as a lead animator for Mafia II. At the very beginning, I was responsible for all the animations in the game, such as basic controls, in-game animations, and cutscenes. However, Mafia II is such a big project that it is just impossible for a single person to take care of all three disciplines. Therefore, I have focused solely on cutscenes and passed basic controls and in-game animations to other two senior animators in the team who lead their own animation sub-teams. Thanks to these reliable senior animators my workload has been very much reduced since and I can fully focus on creating the cutscenes and making them amazing.
What is your typical day like, being lead animator on Mafia II?
To be honest, there are no typical days at all. The only thing I do every day is that I come to work in the morning and turn my machine on. Then, my colleagues start coming to discuss various issues, planning, and game improvements. I also give feedback on other animators’ work… Simply put, it is never the same. Unfortunately, it is not that others assign tasks to me and I just complete them; I have to deal with a lot of things as they emerge and adjust my work to it. When I finally get some time, I deal with editing or with the MoCap.
What do you like most (and least) about your job?
The most interesting thing certainly is the creative part of my job, from directing the MoCap to editing cutscenes. In other words, it is creating something new and watching it grow. In order to do this, however, you have to plan a lot of things, create schedules and assign work to other animators, resolve lots of technical issues connected to the real-time limits of our cutscenes… And this is my least favorite thing. By far the worst part of my job is debugging cutscenes in the game. It just gets you down when you submit a cutscene in its final version, with everything fully working in the editor, only to find out that something is missing in the game, like a gun, or some character disappearing when he’s not supposed to.
How long have you been in gaming? What did you do before coming to 2K Czech?
I guess I started in 1998 so it has been some 11 years. I joined Illusion Softworks as an artist even before the development of Mafia I began. And before that? I used to work as a geodesist. True, it is not very close to the gaming industry, but there were lots of computers in the company so I had a chance to render my first CG attempts in the evenings there.
What’s your favorite game, to date? How about your favorite genre?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had time for playing games at all lately; everything is just about work, work, work, and my family. However, I enjoy games like Command and Conquer or games with multiplayer (good old Counter Strike or Team Fortress 2.) I feel a lot more adrenaline in my veins when playing against my friends than a single player game, where if I fail, I can restart without anyone knowing.
What’s the first game you ever played that really made an impact on how you view games or do your job?
When creating a game, I am influenced a lot more by movies than other games. I think presenting a story in movie-form is the most credible and absorbing medium, and this is why movies are the best inspiration and study material for me.
What is your inspiration when you work on Mafia II?
I am mainly inspired by gangster movies from which we learn about behavior of gangsters and atmosphere in general. Of course, there are lots of other movies, even of some other genres, that inspire us by their use of camera, editing, method of narration… It is important to analyze the movie that influenced you so you can figure out what exactly inspired you.