I'm Chandana Ekanayake, Art Director at Uber Entertainment. People that know me call me Eka. It was 12 years ago in October 1996 that I started as an artist at Bethesda Softworks. Earlier that year I worked out of a house with several other guys at a startup CG studio. We pretty much took on anything that paid the bills, from architectural renderings, interactive virtual flythroughs to rendered game cinematics. I was working 80+ hours a week; learning modeling, animation, motion graphics, editing; and whatever else I could get my hands on. It was an intense crash course in CG production and those memories and the time we had as a small group I still treasure to this day. Even though we were pretty naive about the business and production practices, our hunger for knowledge (and just general hunger ) kept us going until Bethesda brought us in as full-time employees.
Since that time I've worked with both small teams and very large teams on a variety of projects and genres. What drew me to Uber was the collection of talent and the opportunity to work on a project from the ground up with a small focused team. I'm about to start on my third week and already we have a fun playable game that we playtest daily. I've been replacing the early prototype assets with more presentable temp assets that will be iterated on and turned into shippable quality. At the same time we're establishing the world, themes, mood and fleshing out gameplay mechanics which translates well into figuring out an aesthetic direction for the game.
I've been thinking a lot about how to stand out in the current and future marketplace. What is the style and the visual hook? How do we differentiate ourselves from the competition? What are the current trends and how will that change over the course of the project when we ship?