As a man of many hidden talents, whether he is transforming his van into a DIY camper, or using his self-taught environmental artist skills to digitally improve their upcoming first-person shooter ‘Squad' - we caught up with Offworld Industries’ Tristan Mills to find out how he getting on at PLATF9RM Hove.
Where did your journey with Offworld Industries begin?
I was jobless and living at home, trying to build a new skill after dropping out of doing physics at university. Through a serendipitous contact, I was approached to work on the commercial successor to a popular modification of Battlefield 2. Having played this altered game in my teen years, and considering I was not looking for a job at this point - I was still working on my portfolio - this was an extremely exciting opportunity. I'd spent the last several years working jobs I hated, and suddenly I'd made it.
What element of the games are you tasked on developing and what part do you enjoy working on the most?
I work as an environment artist, which means I create the visuals for the areas of play, telling stories and crafting atmospheres in doing so. The part I enjoy the most is the fusion of artistic and technical challenges, and collaborating with my colleagues to solve them. Breaking down objects, even mundane ones, into what defines how they appear is another thing I love doing - because it makes me more aware of the beauty of the world around us.
What makes your upcoming game ‘Squad’ stand out above the rest?
‘Squad’ is a large scale combined arms multiplayer first-person shooter emphasizing combat realism through communication, team play, emphasizing strong squad cohesion mechanics as well as larger-scale coordination, tactics and planning. Think more realistic than other shooters, more fun than military simulators! The areas of play are very large, up to 4km², which is a constant technical challenge for us to create.
What drew you to PLATF9RM and how do you feel you have settled in over the past few months?
Initially, I was just looking for somewhere to work that wasn't my bedroom. The PLATF9RM space looked visually attractive, but what sold it to me was the team here. From day one they were helpful, friendly and accommodating. The working environment here is very pleasant, and there is nothing better than meeting all the dogs that people bring in! I'd say I've settled in well, everyone is so friendly, I just need to get some of my colleagues here too!
If we could run a PLATF9RM Social on your chosen theme, what would it be?
Our game ‘Squad’ of course! I'd want to see everyone in full military gear. Faction is the guest's choice.
Are you excited to use the brand new Ground Floor at Hove Town Hall?
Yup! I hear there will be showers, so I'd definitely feel more comfortable cycling into work.
What’s your favourite game from your childhood?
Fallout 3. I love the 1950's styling, the image of the idyllic "American Dream" destroyed by the nuclear war that overshadowed the period. Exploring the derelict buildings and piecing together the last trivial matters of the occupant before the bombs hit was of particular fondness to me - eventually sparking a general interest in urban exploration.
Any secret talents or skills you’re willing to share?
I'm currently converting my van in a camper, so I've picked up plenty of practical skills doing that. I wouldn't say my abilities amount to talent though!
What is the most ‘Hove actually’ thing you’ve ever seen?
I'm not sure if it can be said to be distinctly "Hove, actually", but one of my favourite anecdotes from the area comes courtesy of a man I'd briefly spoken to while I was working on my van. He excitedly reapproached me later in the day, clearly drunk, proclaiming "I just nicked this fish! And this whisky! Want to do some shots with me?" I had to point out to him that I was currently wielding a power tool.
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