This is the translated interview done with Kanno, feel free to repost it wherever you want, if you want you can credit us by linking this page.
The work of Game Artist is very complex, is a figure that encompasses a wide range of skills, from the design and production of 3D models to animations, in Hypixel Studios there are many artists but one of them is our compatriot: Kanno, we decided to interview him by asking questions from the community. But before getting started we would like to thank, first of all the interviewee for having dedicated the time to satisfy the huge curiosity of the community, then we would like to thank Hypixel Studios for dedicating and granting us the time to carry out this interview, and finally a special mention goes out to Chris and BuddhaCat for helping Kanno answer the questions. But let's continue with the interview...
1. How do you feel working at Hypixel Studios?
I feel good, I have bonded a lot with some coworkers with whom I have worked closely since I joined Hypixel Studios. It was especially nice meeting in person during that meeting whose group photo you saw!
2. Do you often use the offices? Or do you work more remotely? Have you ever visited them?
Most of the studio works remotely! It was the philosophy even before the pandemic forced us to work remotely and it is one of the values of Hypixel Studios! I was there about a year ago for a week, to meet and work with the colleagues I now work with every day! The studios are for us a meeting point where we can work together!
3. Are you also in the photo with all the employees?
I'm there too, but I won't tell you where!
It was a great experience meeting most of my colleagues all together and being able to talk to anyone at any time of day! Normally with some of the colleagues we have few shared hours in our working schedule due to the great geographical distance.
4. Other than working, do you meet/talk with the colleagues to spend leisure time together? And if so, do you occasionally play Hytale?
Many of us share a passion for video games! They are an easy way for us to meet remotely and to share our passion for the franchises we love the most!
Hytale is still in development; rather than playing we do the so-called "playtests", where a number of people try out the game mechanics and share their opinion about them!
5. Do you like Minecraft? How did you discover it?
I discovered it a long time ago haha! Some friends at school introduced me to it. Since then I have first managed servers and created games, and then joined a studio called GamemodeOne, with which I had the honor of developing official games for Minecraft with our IPs and third party IPs including games for the anniversaries of Sonic and PacMan.
6. How did you join Hypixel Studios? Has it been difficult? And what prompted you to apply for this job?
After the experience with the GamemodeOne guys, I wanted to be able to give my contribution to make a videogame that gives more creative freedom to those who, like me, love to mod and develop games. That's why I joined Hypixel Studios as a 3D Animator!
7. How did you feel when Hypixel Studios hired you? Are you happy to work there? Do you like Hytale?
I can say I was there when Hytale was introduced to the world…at least by liking the trailer! The Hytale trailer impressed me with the animations! My style in the games I developed in Minecraft was initially very inspired by the animations seen in the Hytale trailer! Since then I've developed my own animation style and I'm happy to be able to work on Hytale today with the people who inspired me!
8. What do you think of today's gaming industry? Do you like working in this field? What's your favorite video game?
Since I can remember I have always developed games, since I was a child. I grew up with videogames and I'm happy to be working in this industry today! It's not perfect (after all, nothing is) and there are so many things I'd like to see change over the years, but it's the field I belive I belong to. I only have one game that I'm emotionally attached to: Pokémon Pearl. While it wasn't my first game in the franchise, it was the first I lost days on.
9. What do you think of the international Hytale community? Do you know the Italian community? What do you think? Do you follow any channel about Hytale?
I think all the communities that have built up around this game before it even came out are amazing. I love how every time some new information is shown you all get together to analyze it in detail (too much haha), and I often found myself reading, watching and listening to content created by the community.
10. Do you also take community feedback into consideration to make the game better?
Lots of fan-art and community content is created every day. There is seriously a world of content, speculation and opinions that are always very interesting to hear! Many of these contents are also shared in a dedicated chat where we can all read them!
11. What is it like working with Riot? Does it support you in your work?
It's amazing! (Although I personally haven't had much direct contact or interaction with them) We operate independently. However, Riot Games is very supportive of what we are doing at Hypixel!
12. Where do you get inspiration for the creatures in Hytale? Do you take inspiration from movies, comics, etc... or do you just rely on your imagination?
I like to think that developing a game it's a process that should be done together when you are working in a group. When it comes to bringing new ideas, everyone shares their opinion, artistic sensibilities and inspiration. Often you end up putting all the inputs together and you no longer recognize where one person's idea begins and the other's ends! We all come from different places and cultures, and Hytale is the result of this.
13. When you work on creatures/animations/textures do you usually proceed in order of theme or do you advance in a different order?
Developing a game is a particular process. Often we find ourselves working on things not in a linear way! It is a continuous iteration process. By trying the different areas and mechanics of the game we try to understand what we can add or improve.
14. How long does it take you to create a new creature/animation? Does each game-artist work on his creatures or do you work together?
Working in a team is essential! It allows you to critically observe your work from different angles: it would be difficult to do it yourself! How much time it takes to create an idea/model/animation varies from situation to situation and depends not only on the complexity but also and above all on the amount of iterations needed to make the most of what we create.
15. What program do you recommend for someone who wants to start making models and animations?
Can I only recommend one? o.o”
It always depends on why you want to learn a new program! My "go-to" for those who want to start is Blockbench, for ease of use and the community of creators and the professionals behind it! I've been working on it for years and have also created different community events. It's free and it's much more streamlined than most standard programs! If you want something more robust and standard Blender has become much more stable and easy to use in recent years! It's always free, but it takes a little longer to understand how to use it! An instrument doesn't make the artist though! No matter which tool you choose, what you learn can be applied across different software and tools!
16. What is your favorite creature in Hytale?
The Kweebecs! I know, I'm simple and I like plants! Just give me a plant to make me happy! …recently though I have developed a liking to the Trorks!
[no, I won't tell you why, I'll leave you with a cliffhanger]
17. How would you describe your work environment in three words? We sense an atmosphere that feels like home, can you tell us about it?
Working from home…yes, I definitely feel like home. In all seriousness, the work environment is intriguing, stimulating and engaging. Having colleagues from all over the world, it's nice to interact with different cultures, broadening the horizons of what the concept of home atmosphere can be.
18. What did you study to become a Game Artist? You are in a dynamic environment that many young people see as a goal to reach. What would you recommend to a person who wants to take his first steps in the gaming industry as a Game Artist?
I studied mechatronics…so not something very close to art or video games. Thinking back to when I was trying to get into this industry: I feel like it's extremely difficult to find a clear path into the gaming industry even though making games has become more accessible. Extending the question to other areas in the video game sector (artists, designers, engineers, etc.), the advice I can give you is to try to create some content and post the result on the internet! Even comparing myself to people I've worked with, this seems to be the best suggestion for those who want to start. Posting your progress on the internet allows you to get feedback from those with more experience and knowledge as well as being able to make yourself known and create a network of contacts!
19. Can you tell us an anecdote about your work?
I'm a fan of games with good lore. I love to speculate and think about world building and how stories can go forward. When I was hired, a meeting was scheduled to talk about the lore of the game. When I found out I panicked and started feeling guilty for being curious and wanting to know everything! While it's perfectly normal for us developers to be informed of the lore/context of the game, for some reason I hadn't thought of that until then! Haha Anyway I'm sure you will really like the story once you know more about it!
20. What music do you listen to to energize you while you work? Do you have any favorite artists/playlists?
I like too many genres and artists to mention them all. I listen to music most of my time when I'm awake. A category of genres that I always return to periodically is Japanese music [J-Music] (J-Pop, J-rock, Videogames, …) for their great variety in rhythms and musical experimentation. If you like this genre (or are even just curious) I'll leave you here some artists that I recently found myself listening to for a long time: KANKAN(缶缶) [not to be confused with the American rapper of the same name], MAISONdes, Kei Sugawara, Nagumoyuuki, YASOBI. I also recommend Krisena (or KrisenaComposes), a Norwegian composer whose music is inspired by a Japanese band called Sound Horizon! Truly a great composer, I love most of his compositions
(I hope I have linked to the right artists)
And this was the last question for Kanno!