So what exactly does the Technical Artist team do?
We’re sort of in the middle of everything – the gearbox in the middle of the company. We work with the math guys, the engineers, the artists, the animators, the sound designers, everyone. We’re basically there to make sure that our games meet the technical requirements given to us by our clients – whether that’s Bally, IGT, or whomever.
What would some of those requirements be?
Slots are essentially weak computers without lots of memory or processing power, so we need to optimize our games so that they still look and sound amazing while being able to run on these cheap machines. For example, an animator might come up with lots of fancy, elaborate animations that look great but won’t run on a slot machine, so we figure out ways to keep as many of those visual flourishes as possible while minimizing their impact on the machine. Same with the sound guys; we find out when and how they want sounds to play, and we work with them and the engineers to make sure their original ideas make it into the final product.
What is the process of optimization and searching for bugs like?
Basically, we review the builds we get on a machine, and play them to make sure the known issues were resolved and no new ones have popped up. When we know it’s ready, we have producers, art directors, sound guys – everyone comes and plays and looks and listens.
Do you work on one or multiple games at a time?
We work on all the games as they’re made. Other departments finish a game, send it off, and then they’re done, whereas the TAs might go back and forth for months with the engineers polishing the product. Even when everything is done and the game is sent to the client, the TAs are still not even close to being finished because then we’re going back and forth with the clients. It’s the nature of the beast; we are in constant contact with the client, because we have to make sure they have the content they need in the format they need it in.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part is all the problem solving I get to do. I love trying to figure out how to optimize the games so they look and sound exactly the same but run as needed.