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Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

Jane Ng

Jane Ng

Environment artist (Firewatch)

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jane Ng. I am an environment artist for video games. I am currently working at the independent game studio Campo Santo, and we are creating our own first person narrative exploration mystery called Firewatch. Environment Artists are sometimes called World Builders, because that's what we do. I create all manner of 3D models, 2D textures, and lighting for various game worlds. Sometimes the worlds are rather photo realistic, sometimes they are very stylized.

These days I also help with customer support for our Campo Santo company store. We sell our own limited screen prints and other video game related merchandise.

What hardware do you use?

I do my work on a Windows 7 PC (core i5-4430, 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA GTX 660) with dual monitors, and just a normal mouse and keyboard. Most of the time I am wearing my Sennheiser RF wireless headphones so I can listen to music while I work. I have access to a Wacom Intuos tablet but I rarely use it these days. I use a webcam to join our perpetual Campo Santo Google Hangouts (so I can see and hear what's going on in the office) if I'm working from home.

At home I play games on my iPad Air, PS3, Xbox 360 and desktop Windows PC with a core i7-2600k, 8GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GTX 760. I might get a PS4 sometime soon.

And what software?

I primarily use Maya as my main 3D modeling package and Photoshop as my main 2D tool. I use Zbrush when I need to do more advanced 3D sculpting, and use XNormal for when I need to bake texture maps (diffuse, normal and ambient occlusion maps) from my high-res Zbrush sculpts. I recently started using Quixel Suite's NDO to generate normal maps from 2D textures I create from scratch in Photoshop. Once in a while I use World Machine to generate terrain assets.

The game I'm working on uses the Unity engine so I have that open all the time as well. As for Unity extensions, we main ones we use are Marmoset Skyshop, SECTR, Playmaker and Amplify Color. We also use Perforce as our version control software.

As for communications we use a web-based chat called Slack for work discussions (fully archived and searchable). We use the web-based Pivotal Tracker to manage our tasks. We have a perpetual Google Hangout to connect visually/audibly with folks who are offsite. We also use Dropbox to store and share files that for some reason or another are not on Perforce.

For company store management, we use Shopify to handle the store backend and Zendesk to handle customer support.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm not too far from my dream setup! It would be nice if our office was a little bigger so I could have a bit more desk space to put out the Wacom I never use, a tea pot perhaps. I would like a shelf next to my monitors to put up my art books and toys etc. Oh, maybe an office cat. I would really like to have an office cat that likes to sit in my lap.