Codemasters is a great example of the evolution so far it was founded by two brothers named Richard and David Darling it’s one of the oldest British studio’s surviving. Codemasters started off in the bedroom with just coders and they started to create simple puzzle solving games like the dizzy series. They then decided to work on bigger titles and created a game I loved called micro machines. Codemasters then created a cheat cartridge for the NES called the Game Genie it bought in large profits and more exposure. Codemasters now works on big titles and is now a top independent developer. It produces top quality racing games like Dirt 3, Grid and Formula 1. They also have produced shooters like Operation Flashpoint and Bodycount.
From just Coders creating games it has turned into teams of hundreds even thousands to create a game in the art department alone there are over 10 different named roles that I have come across, in each role you would have a number of people working together. I am leaning towards an environment artist but I think I could be quite flexible and could be seen in other roles if need be.
In company’s you will often see outsourcing, This is when assets briefs or other quantities get sent off to smaller companies to reproduce, duplicate or create the assets. Sometimes things are sent to other companies because the company can improve or enhance the game this is seen with blur studios. Blur studios created spectacular trailers for Bio Wares Star Wars: The Old Republic, Batman Arkham City made by Rocksteady and EA’s Mass effect 2. The trailers bought a lot of hype for the games but for me I was disappointed when I saw Star Wars: The Old Republic as the graphics did not come near to the trailers.
Being an environment artist you need to create inspiring environments that capture the imagination of the player. The responsibilities of an environment artist are to take the concept art that has been approved and portray and create it into 3D. To create UV maps and paint textures for geometry in the environment. An environment artist would also have to use lighting tools and collaborate with other artists.
Here is an outline for an Environment Artist at Rockstar North.
As an Environment artist you need to be very good at 3D modelling and the other topics highlighted because it is a crowded job title. At the moment Visual FX artists are a valuable commodity due to the lack of them at a high standard. UI artists are also in need as it is a very technical job, salary is normally higher in the job titles with less people going for them. Also have more experience means you can earn higher salaries.