Breaking in steps out onto the mound this week, checks the signals and tries to slip some splitters past Javier, a Technical Artist/Rigger here at Bungie. Turns out our stuff was lousy and he hit everything we threw his way straight out of the park. If you're looking to break into the industry and ultimately land a spot on Bungie's roster, give Javier's question and answer a thorough read before you get fired up and take the field.
Q. Who are you and what do you do?
A. My name is Javier and I am a Technical Artist/Rigger in the Bungie TechArt Empire. The Technical Artist discipline in general involves supporting artists by developing custom tools and processes/pipelines in DCC packages (Maya, Max, Motion builder, et cetera) using scripting languages such as MEL, MAXScript, and Python. As a rigger, my responsibilities involve creating control rigs for characters and other animatable objects in the game that enable animators to bring them to life, as well as helping define the process of developing our characters.
I also run day to day operations in our new state of the art motion capture studio. This involves working with our in-game and cinematic animators and/or external actors to capture character performances and motions and then transferring those motions and performances onto our characters.
Q. What kind of hobbies do you transfer into your own, personal day to day operation?
A. These days I would say my hobbies are playing games, training my dog, driving (fast), music, movies, and of course continuing developing knowledge and skills to push me forward in my field.
Q. Imagine that you're twelve years old and complete this sentence: When I grow up, I want to be a…
A. ...fighter pilot, pro baseball player, race car driver? Although medicine or law were more in line with what was thought to be real careers for my parents. After my perfect vision didn’t pan out, I had to put the fighter pilot idea behind me. Growing up I was always interested in technology, interactive experiences, and games. Back then video games were not work, they were fun or hobbies. My parents and family see things much differently now.
Q. How did your High School Guidance Counselors see things? Did they administer any tests to try and figure it out for you?
A. I don’t remember getting any real advice during those years, or taking any kind of aptitude test. But I would say that around that point in my life, most were advising for me to get my stuff together, stop chasing girls, stay away from trouble (it likes to follow me) and most importantly…finish school! I was always bright in school, took part in band, baseball, football, and track. but outside of school…well things weren’t all peachy.
Q. So, did you take the advice, finish school, and go on to earn a college degree?
A. Yes, I started out at Valencia Community College and earned my A.A. degree, then moved on to the University of Central Florida where I earned a B.A. in Digital Media. I focused on the Internet and Interactive Systems track. This degree track had more flexibility in classes. Some of the subjects covered in classes attended were E-commerce, game design, 3D modeling and animation, web design, digital audio, video editing and programming. During this time, I ended up mostly focusing on the game development side and 3D art and animation.
Shortly after graduating, I began my tenure at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, seeking a master’s degree in Entertainment technology. It was here where I developed and refined more of my technical skills as well as really learned about the challenges and inner workings of game development and the game industry in general. This program took a real world approach to working in interdisciplinary teams on projects that produced artifacts that are intended to entertain, inform, inspire, or otherwise affect an audience/guest/player/participant.
Q. And how did that lead you to Bungie?
A. Well, I started my career at Crystal Dynamics working on a couple projects, one being Tomb Raider: Underworld. During my time there, I worked with someone who would later leave to work for Bungie that contacted me down the line about possibly filling an open role within the Bungie Tech Art Empire. Being fan of the games, as well as the company, I was obviously interested and before I knew it I was talking to Tech Art members and Human Resources.
Q. Did you bring any tools to the interview?
A. I surprisingly didn’t bring anything other than some paper, pens, resumes and the knowledge in my head. I did however previously share an online portfolio with some of the tech art members prior to coming to the interview.
Q. What about after the interview? Was there anything that stuck with you about the process overall?
A. The interview process here at Bungie was definitely the most brutal I have encountered. It was an all day interview and even my lunch was spent with great food surrounded by hard stares into my soul and questions. This of course was expected and is part of what makes Bungie great.
Q. Describe what it’s like to work at Bungie.
A. It’s like being part of an all-star team where everyday someone steps up to the plate, grabs and rubs clay on their hands, squeezes the bat and stares at the challenges, then points the bat towards left field and cracks one over the wall.
Q. Any advice for aspiring applicants looking to fill out the team's roster and take a few swings at the plate?
A. Work hard, learn about the structure and roles related to game development, the company and how they come together, bring your A game, be confident, honest and yourself. Evaluate the work and company the same way they will evaluate you. Some people don’t fit a team the same way some teams don’t fit a person. Think hard about and be ready to communicate what you can bring and how you can fit into the team.
You are competing with the best.
Thanks to Javier for stepping up to the plate and bringing his A game to his Q&A session. We hope you've analyzed his swing and can apply some of his technique to your own quest for employment in the gaming industry. Speaking of which, if you're ready to work hard, learn about structure and roles, and compete with the best, check out our Jobs page
. We're hiring.