Developer Interview: Tartankiwi

In the second edition of our bi-weekly developer interview, our awesome community team took some time to sit down with Daniel Humpage, otherwise known as Tartankiwi – Creative & Art Director for Galaxy in Turmoil.

dan1

(Pictured Above: Tartankiwi)

 

Tartankiwi, who are you?

I’m a concept artist, voice actor and traditional actor based in New Zealand.

 

That’s quite a healthy range there, do you actively use all those skills in your work at Frontwire?

At this current time a lot of concept art is being pumped into the project. So being the Creative Director, I have my hands full right now.

 

One of our Discord fans, GermanTacos, requested we ask if you have any plans to voice a character yourself?

I would be open to the idea. If my voice fits a certain character, then I would love voice said character. Voice acting will be discussed officially at a later date, though.

 

As of right now, you’re in charge of the artistic direction of the game. What would you say is the greatest influence/inspiration towards the aesthetic you’re pursuing with Galaxy in Turmoil?

Cyberpunk, high-sci-fi with fantasy elements. We’re also looking at Word War 1 and 2 for subtle inspiration.

 

 danart2(Boba Fett – Credit : Tartankiwi)

 

On a scale from 1-10, how excited would you say you are for the project? And how much work do you put into it?

Is that even a question? 10! I’m super excited about this project. I’m excited to bring gameplay that’s fun, intuitive and action-packed. The kind of gameplay that’s been missing for around, hmm… 11 years, give or take. As well as creating interesting characters, level design and a story I think you’ll all love. We’re making it for ourselves just as much as we’re making it for you guys, the fans.

As for how much time I put into the project, as much as I can, really. I believe the same goes for everyone else working on Galaxy in Turmoil.

 

Now that we have a rough idea of what you do at Frontwire Studios, let’s dig a bit more into who you are. Tell us a bit about yourself..

Alrighty. I’ve been in the game development business since I was 11 years old, believe it or not. My father alongside 4 friends started a game development company. Because of this, I was able to see the inner workings of a game developer company at a very young age. Even back then I knew this is the profession I wanted to take up later in my life.
Over the years, I developed my artistic skills particularly around character design throughout high school. I was told by many teachers that I’d fail school and have no job, unable to enter college or live properly if I didn’t focus on what was perceived to be a normal education.
I moved to a somewhat experimental school aiming to cater to the learning needs of the profession you wanted to follow. This built up my confidence immensely.


During my time there, I organised a meeting with Sir Richard Taylor to pitch one of my original IPs. He was rather chuffed with what I showed him that day, which solidified the fact that I was going into media in a big way. This is going to happen, I just have to put in the work to see it through.
I submitted my works to a college of animation and game art and was instantly accepted. I’m currently going through a level 6 course for advanced animation. After that, it will be 2 years of game development. That is, if I don’t get pulled out of college by means of game development work.

I’ve done concept art for various projects before. However, I am under their respective Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to not talk about said project until they have gone public. As for voice acting work, it has been a constant for me from short animations to game projects. Now, I work at Frontwire Studios with dedicated, energetic co-workers on Galaxy in Turmoil.

 

danart6(Captain Phasma – Credit : Tartankiwi)

 

Now, uh… this is a bit embarrassing to ask, but one of our fans, Mr. Pood, requested that we enquire if you’re a boy or a girl? Because well… nobody knows…

Oh haha! I can assure you, I’m a guy. XD

 

Well, that clears that up! Out of curiosity, I’d like to ask what type of tools you use for your work on Galaxy in Turmoil?

I use Photoshop for 2D artwork, Zbrush for sculpted concept work, After Effects for animation and Audition for audio. As for hardware, I use an Intuos Pro Large tablet.

 

Do you take Rule 34 requests?

Haha no.

 

Dang it…  Okay, as we all know, Frontwire Studios made a drastic change recently by pivoting away from Star Wars. How do you feel about that? If you could’ve chosen, would you rather Galaxy in Turmoil be in its own universe or would you prefer to have stuck to Star Wars?

There are pros and cons to both.

Pros for Star Wars:

 

  • It’s motherf*ckin’ Star Wars hell yeah!
  • Existing universe we can draw from to create content.
  • We’re all very passionate about the franchise.

 

Cons for Star Wars:

 

  • Restricted freedom to create new content
  • We had to be careful how we approached almost every aspect of the game.

 

Pros for original IP:

 

  • We get to create our own universe! This is amazing for the creative teams as they get to exercise their creative muscle.
  • We don’t need to worry about a C&D phew!
  • Easter eggs, easter eggs, easter eggs!
  • Character design is fun as hell.
  • Seeing concept art and 3D assets being made is so awesome.

 

Cons for original IP:

 

  • Aw man but … but Star Wars!
  • We have A LOT of content to create.Neato!
  • The workload has quadrupled, we’ve also had to open new teams for things we didn’t need to focus on before.

 

All in all, I’m 50/50 I don’t mind what we work on so long as we make a freaking awesome game.

 

danart4(Maori- Credit : Tartankiwi)

 

What’s your favorite type of Tic Tac, and have you ever got one stuck in your nose? I know I have.

Hasn’t everyone at some point? It was a dark time. On the plus side, I smelt pure mint for a week.

 

We’ve got a question from Discord fan CT-6827 Alfonso. What process do you go through to grab the many wandering creative minds of the concept artist to produce a coherent tone and atmosphere to the artwork for Galaxy in Turmoil?

Communication.  Reference imagery, key words, color maps, documented briefs on the style of characters, landscapes architecture and more. As well as constant feedback and critique.

 

It would seem it’s a very highly organised process then.

Yes, it is. We also have weekly voice chat room meetings to go over everything that happened last week, any problems we may have encountered, how we can tackle them and what we need to focus on for the coming week/month.

Taking a page from the Agile philosophy.

 

Of all the things you’ve had to design for Galaxy in Turmoil thus far, which ones are you most excited/enthusiastic about?

The main character for single player, as well as the Allied races faction.

danart7(Wonder Woman – Credit : Tartankiwi)

 

Okay. To cap it off, I’d like to do a flash round of questions from fans. What is your favorite colour? (MasterFerret1)

Shit, I hope I don’t get cast into a crevasse for answering incorrectly. Mahogany. It’s such an artist answer, lol.

 

Question from George Lucas’ Double Chin: What are the mythological influences of the design in the game? – (Editors note: Yes, that’s the name of a Discord member)

Currently, we’re looking into all mythological creatures. There will be a mythical Norse influence in there for some races whereas there will be a more Greek influence for others. Possibly even Maori, as that is a somewhat untapped gold mine of myths.

 

That’s certainly very interesting to hear! About 50 people asked some variant of “When will the alpha come out? Can I play it?!”  So uh… if you’d like to answer that.

“When it’s ready”

 

Good answer! Now, Discord user Numailia has a dead serious question, which I want you to answer honestly. Are you a master memester?

Oh jeez. Meme Baron class, medium rung.

danart1(Snow Elf – Credit : Tartankiwi)

 

As the leader of the creative team, you must have an eye for design. This has Discord user LazyTurtle wondering, what’s your preferred choice of lightsaber hilt?

Well, I am more one for practicality. A phrik-based hilt with a crossguard made out of cortosis or at least plated with it.

 

Would you like to quickly grab a pic for reference?

I’d have to draw it. The closest you’ll come across is a variant of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber but with a metal or cortosis cross guard (it’d short circuit incoming lightsaber blades).

 

…And to finish it off, we have a rather personal request from Discord fan GermanTacos: “Will you Father my children?”

I guess I’d protect them from a rogue Anakin Skywalker.

 

So is that a yes? I’m sure Ms. GermanTacos will be very pleased to hear that!

That’s a tentative. I’ll definitely send Christmas cards.

danart3(Deadpool – Credit : Tartankiwi)

Thanks for reading! Be sure to keep an eye on the Frontwire blog for our next developer interview!
-The Frontwire Community Team
<3 Lex & EvoSteven

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