ffxivtips : Official Final Fantasy XV Blog: Staff interview! Environment artist Sasaki-san Pt. II

ffxivtips : Official Final Fantasy XV Blog: Staff interview! Environment artist Sasaki-san Pt. II

As promised, Square Enix has updated the official Final Fantasy XV blog with its latest post – concluding the two part interview with environment artist Hiromitsu Sasaki.

This time, Square Enix Europe has taken it upon themselves to provide us with an official translation. As we posted a summary of the first part the other day, we’ve gathered the new bits of information – including a look at location hunting – for you below.

Location hunting

  • Sasaki

Our location hunting is slightly different to when a TV series would look for places to film. There are broadly two types we do.

These are when the objective is to experience something and when we go to collect design reference resources, and the rocky one was of the latter type. Talking about taking pictures for design resources, recently we often use a method called photo scanning that lets you create a 3D model from a photograph. It requires photo data from all angles and thus consumes an incredible amount of memory; probably over 10 times what it would to produce the same in-game object on a PS3. Incidentally, the reasons why we go out of our way to do location hunting and collect data is because it is actually quicker to use real rocks to get the data and it obviously improves the final quality as well.

  • Taji

It looks like it takes a lot of time to go out on location hunts but is that not the case then?

  • Sasaki

If you gather information before heading out and are clear on what data you want then it does not take all that much time. For example, something that would take 3 days’ worth of work at my desk can be done in half a day with a location hunt and would not incur the same costs.

  • Taji

So location hunting improves the quality and does not cost time or money? I guess there is no reason not to do it eh?!

So for the rock we saw on Twitter, did you have an image in your head when you started?

  • Sasaki

That’s right. The one I found was quite close to the rock I had drawn in my head. We endeavor to keep the costs down while creating high quality game worlds that feel even more real through collecting good resources like that rock.

  • Taji

So even one rock takes a lot of effort then!

  • Sasaki

That’s true. We really take care with the history and story behind each area, with all the rocks and wildflowers etc. For FFXV we started creating the world terrain from the continental level, with the mountain ranges and the flow of the rivers etc. and have polished it to a level where each region and location actually has its own unique climate and topography.

  • Taji

So creating on the continental level… does that mean that the world of FFXV has seen things like tectonic plate shifting over many centuries like on Earth?

  • Sasaki

That’s exactly right. So we don’t just plonk down the assets that we photographed on our location hunts willy-nilly, and actually consider the right geographical situations to use them in, looking at how this continent would have been in a certain way in the distant past and how that would make this particular piece of ground form in a certain way or things like that.

  • Taji

Things in the natural world really do change a lot depending on the environment you find them in don’t they?

All the rock information that our followers posted on Twitter also shows the unique characteristics of those locations.

  • Sasaki

The team looked at all the rock references that people sent in and got very enthusiastic about it. There were some places we learned about for the first time and it was all really useful reference info for us. As we are now in the final stages of development we don’t go on many location hunts at the moment, but if we can find good leads on reference data, not just for rocks but for anything, then we will always go out and photograph it.

sasakisanThanks to everyone for sharing your rock information with us!

  • Taji

As community manager I would like to go on a location hunt too and let all the fans out there know about all the info we gather first hand. So to finish off I would like to hear a comment from one of the people who read this blog.

Comment

  • Sasaki

Thank you for all your support everyone. We don’t get many opportunities to show people what goes on behind the scenes in game development, so I am happy that people can see it and that they show an interest in what we do.

  • Taji

Thank you very much. Do you have anything else you would like to say?

  • Sasaki

Well… Let me tell everyone about the similarities between weight training and game creation?

  • Taji

!? Now you mention it a lot of the FFXV development staff are pretty beefy aren’t they?…

  • Sasaki

I spoke to Mr. Tabata about this too and there really is a parallel there! It might get a bit longwinded but are you ok with me explaining it here?

  • Taji

Mr. Tabata thinks so too? I have to hear this! But unfortunately we have run out of time for today. So sorry, but please could you tell us next time when we get another opportunity to speak. (LoL) If all the fans want to hear about it then we will put something solid on the plan! Thank you for your time today!

So that was environment artist Sasaki Hiromitsu!

The next update will fall on February 25th and feature an interview with Kawaguchi-san, who is in charge of FFXV‘s 2D designs for unnamed non-playable characters.

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