Welcome back to our Developer Spotlight. Today we’re chatting to Euan McKay, who tells us all about his role as Technical Artist, adventures in tree cutting and attracting unwanted attention from the realm wildlife.
Q: What is your name and job title?
A: Euan McKay, Technical Artist
Q: When did you join Inflexion Games?
A: March 2022
Q: What was your background before Inflexion?
A: All sorts of stuff! I did environment/technical art at Improbable, working on “Scavengers”, “ScavLab” and even a bit on the “OtherSide”. I’ve also done a bit of character and vehicle work for “Planetside 2” by Daybreak Games, which was really fun.
Q: Tell us what you do on Nightingale?
A: I’m part of the technical art team; so I help build tools to help us make content for the game faster, and work on the procedural generation side of things!
Q: What was the last game you played?
A: Genshin Impact. I don’t play a huge amount of it, but I like hopping into its updates to explore the maps. The care and detail put into its environment is awesome, especially on the limited hardware of mobile.
Q: What excites you most about working on Nightingale?
A: Everything! The lore and history, and just general vibe of the game is really cool. It has been awesome to see how much thought and care the team have put into this game and world. It’s also been really incredible to be part of the realm generation team. There’s just something exciting about being able to procedurally generate realms; I still find it wild to be able to venture into new realms that non one else has ever seen, all built from an algorithm.
Q: Can you give an example of something you’ve contributed to Nightingale that you’re most proud of?
A: I’m quite proud of my tree cutter, even if it’s a little mundane. Players can chop down any tree in Nightingale, and supporting this feature on all our trees needs a lot of assets, so we needed an automated process to support this. It ended up being really interesting to build a tool that would automatically generate the assets needed as there were a lot of weird edge cases and surprisingly tough problems that sprung out of what seems really simple!
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your role working on Nightingale?
A: Probably time zones. I’m based in the UK whilst most of the team is based in Canada – so coffee and making sure meetings are at a “normal” time is important! (Also the software I use to procedurally generate things needs a lot of math, but that’s a less exciting answer).
Q: What are you going to be working on in the coming weeks/months for the game?
A: I’m currently working on a really cool tool to help designers and artists author structures to place in encounters. The tool takes existing work done for the player-facing structure system and repurposes it to help the devs build 90% of a building faster, letting artists have more time to add personal touches and storytelling to buildings you may encounter in the realms. This is just for structures in encounters though, players will still have to cut down trees to build their own estate.
Q: Tell us an interesting experience you’ve had whilst playing the game.
A: One of the first times I played Nightingale there was meant to be a nice stroll from the portal to the place we had to build a camp. I got lost and ran into spiders, running away from them I ran into a bear, and running from the spiders and bear I ended up running into more creatures, and so on. By the end I must have had a whole menagerie of angry woodland creatures chasing after me.
Q: You’re lost in the Fae Realms. What is the one item you need to survive?
A: Some good comfy shoes. I reckon I’d be on my feet a lot. Gathering your own food and making a fire is something I can do but I don’t fancy my hand at turning boar hides into a good pair of trainers…seems like a hassle.
We hope you enjoyed this Developer Spotlight: Euan McKay. If you would like to see other Developer Spotlights check out our coverage of Wyatt fleming.