Thursday, 5 November 2009

Chris Walton answers questions!

Okay, so I completely forgot to post this up thanks to getting Borderlands and Tekken 6, but I e-mailed Chris Walton some questions and he answered them. He's an awesome guy and my favourite privateer staff member, so I really enjoyed reading the answers and communicating with him. Without further a do here are the questions and answers.

#1 We know that the Retribution Warjack designs evolved to their current state, but where was the starting point? If you had to break them down into 3 stages, how would you describe each?

Three stages…hmmm…denial, bargaining and acceptance are stages, right? Just kidding. Its hard to break down the design process in general, and the Myrmidon process is even more difficult to do that with. In the early stages; we had settled on a general shape – Matt wanted to see these big looming shoulders and he liked an idea I’d been playing with where we moved the head to the front of a prow-shaped torso – so many of the basic shapes flowed from there. I explored a lot of motifs for the Iosan ‘jacks; some drawings had them looking very knightly (almost Protectorate in appearance), some were based on organic designs where I was looking at whales and dolphins for inspiration, some were just these weird glass energy projector constructs - there were just a lot of paths that were walked down. A lot of the final designs have their roots in those exploratory drawings, though; so it was a real evolutionary process.

#2 Have you ever had a design you were unhappy with that turned into a model you loved or vice versa?

I think Wolf Lord Morraig falls into that category. After I’d drawn him, Matt was happy with the design but I just wasn’t sure I was sold. Honestly, I thought I’d slaughtered the drawing and that whatever poor bastard had to sculpt him would curse my name forever. Thankfully Steve Saunders dug deep and pulled out an amazing figure. I was blown away by that fig. I really thought it was all going to end in a train wreck and that I was driving the locomotive. Its always good to be proven wrong in those situations.

#3 What faction is your favourite and least favourite to design for?

I get asked this every so often, and I always have the same answer – I can’t really say. Each faction is a ton of fun to draw, and having a good variety of stuff to do ensures that I don’t end up bored.

#4 Have you ever designed a character or unit you were really fond of that got canned and if so could you tell us about it/them?

Not so much. With the amount of drawing that needs to get done, I try to keep myself focused on what needs to be produced for a book so there’s a little less blue-sky type drawing than you’d think. Now, there are directions that I go that we may not end up using, and anything that doesn’t make the cut for one project may be held onto and used at a latter time. Because of that, I really don’t share what’s been canned simply because it may be exactly what we need at a later date and its no good showing my poker hand.

#5 If you could design a faction just for your own enjoyment, what would the faction be and how would they play?

Wow, this is a seriously loaded question – any answer I give could be interpreted as that I’m working on a new faction. But, if I had my way…

Giants. They would play by kicking serious amounts of ass; all the time, every time. Just three or four giants and me on the other side of the table with a big grin would comprise an army. Unfortunately, with the sizes I’d want they would be unconscionably expensive to produce. I’m betting I’ll be waiting a long, long time for giants.

#6 Outside of Privateer games what other tabletop games and related things do you enjoy?

I’ve been a tabletop wargamer for a long time… I think 23-24 years now, and that’s not counting when I played Dungeons & Dragons in grammar school. I still game and paint when I can, but sadly I don’t have the time to devote to the hobby that I used to. Sigh. It sucks getting old.

#7 Most artists and companies tend to regard their art as "intellectual property" rather than some cool pictures people might enjoy viewing. You tend to post your art on Deviant Art and interact with the community going in the complete opposite direction, why did you decide to do this?

Well, Privateer Press certainly views all of its badass dudes, hot ladies, monstrous beasts and unstoppable robots as its intellectual property – I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. But the nice part about working at a company founded by an artist is that Matt encourages people to be proud of their work and share it with the public. Letting the community see my concept art or talking about what we do helps fire people’s imaginations and love of our games. That can never be a bad thing.

#8 Is it true Doug Seacat eats puppies to fuel his writing powers?

Yes. I can smell him grilling one down the hall and chuckling about it as we speak. It smells better than you’d think.

#9 How do you tend to react to the community feedback on models you've designed? As a designer it seems difficult to take feedback from such a large group of people and not feel personally attacked in some cases.

Anytime you put your work out there for the world to see, you have to be prepared for the fact that its just not going to speak to some people. Some individuals will love what you’ve done, while others will loath it. It’s the nature of the beast. Mostly, I just try to design in a way that makes me think “yeah, I want to paint that” or “man, this model will be cool”; if I can do that there should be people willing to jump aboard.

Negative feedback isn’t too hard to take when its provided in a useful and respectful tone. Someone who says that they “don’t like the wide areas and lack of surface detail” is much easier to listen to and take seriously than the guy who says “OMG TEH AR SUXXORZ!” Unfortunately the second category tends to be more prolific with their critique at times.

#10 Many people are hoping for a 5th Hordes faction and after hearing the Retribution were always planned for Warmachine, it seems likely Privateer have something already planned out, but I'm sure you can't tell us about that. So instead could you tell us about any new Gobber art you have worked on and give us any hints as to what us Gobber fans can look forward to in the future?

The last gobber I drew was for our Bodgers! games, so right now there isn’t much gobber art to give that isn’t out there. Watch, Matt will now wander over to my desk and tell me about the hundreds of gobbers that I’ll be drawing. That’s just how these things seem to run.

And that concludes the questions. Chris is an awesome guy and I'm really thankful for him for answering the questions. I'm going to try and get some more questions answered by various staff members and poke them a bit since I've read/heard a lot of interviews and never felt like questions I wanted answered ever got asked, so look forward to more in the future or me utterly failing!

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting and inspirational Interview mate! thanks a lot for sharing it with us!

    Cheers CJ