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Success Story: Rhodri Thomas

Continuing our series Success Story, I had the pleasure of talking to Rod, a talented MA student alumni, who recently got a job at Flix Interactive as a Junior Artist.

What course did you study?

MA Game Art

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working for Flix Interactive working on Zombie Army 4, it’s kind of like Left for Dead with lots of killing zombies on your way to kill zombie Hitler and save the world. Set in the 1940s with a kind of classic horror film aesthetic, it’s totally mad really. I didn’t know it was what I’d be working on at the time I applied but it’s a whole lot of fun.

What work are you most proud of working on and was/is your most notable achievement?

Honestly most of the time once I’ve finished a piece of work I feel like its the best thing I’ve done so far, which I suppose is a good thing as it means I’m improving so probably my latest Zbrush work. Otherwise, I really enjoyed a fire elemental that I did on commission a year or so ago as it was at a time that I was just getting confident in Zbrush and getting really good results.

My most notable achievement would probably be getting hired, it’s great to feel good about your work and even better when other people appreciate it too but being told your work is at a professional level and to be able to make a living out of it means a lot to me. Worth the effort!

If you had to sum up your time at Escape Studios in one word, what would it be and why?

I would probably have to say ‘saturated’, weird choice of word I know. There are just so many talented people at Escape and an endless well of knowledge to draw from that you really feel saturated in all things 3D art, its inescapable and invaluable. People are always working around you, guest speakers are coming and going, you can’t even go down the pub without seeing someone you know and chatting about games. It’s an ideal environment.

What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in Games?

Studying taught me to organise myself, that your fellow students are an invaluable resource and that hard work pays off if you keep at it and work hard. In industry I learned a lot about how the process of making games is more complex than you might think, what you might be doing on a daily basis can change all the time, there area some seriously talented people in this industry and that for me, it really is a dream job.

What is your advice for those considering entering the industry?

Getting into the industry is difficult and requires a lot of hard work but it’s a rapidly growing industry and if you have the passion and put the time in there is a place for you. There’s a lot of advice out there but don’t get bogged down in the specifics. Don’t be discouraged and be proactive, talk to as many people as you can and listen to their advice and experience, always have a project on the go, always show how passionate you are about what you do and keep working on your skills.

What’s your favourite game and why?

I’m sure most people have a really hard time answering this and I’m no different, I don’t think I can just name one. The original Assassin’s Creed blew me away when I first played it with how amazing the environments looked and how you could climb and explore everything but AC: Black Flag knocked it out of the park with it’s take on treasure island and the massive, beautiful Caribbean for you to explore with a boat. Gorgeous and highly detailed, bustling dynamic environments and excellent storytelling.

To throw in some games that I think get less attention than they deserve, Blood Omen, Soul Reaver and Legacy of Kain are all set in the same universe with LOK being the finale that join the two games together. The voice acting, narration and story are fantastic, cool environments, unique mechanics and having the stories intertwine in the way they do with a mash-up finale game is genius.

And I have to mention The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim as I still play it, most recently in VR. It really gives you that feeling of constantly discovering new characters, items, spells, locations, secrets, it just feels endless and so rich with life. Plus the modding community might be the biggest and most passionate modders who ever lived, I wonder if i’ll ever stop playing it.

Huge thanks to Rod and Flix Interactive for the talk.

More about Rod: ArtStation – Rhodri Thomas

More about Flix Interactive: Flix Interactive

Games Art Tutor for the MA at Escape Studios. I have been teaching new creative talent for the past 10+ years, working worldwide at places including Alpha Channel and the University of Hertfordshire. I've also wrote numerous published books about Unreal Engine including; UDK Basics, Level Design and Documentation and UDK Games scenarios integration as well creating game assets for the next generation consoles such as the racing game ‘Pacer’.

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