In spring 2003 I finally got a paying job as an artist at a game development studio - Drago Entertainment. I wasn't being paid overly well but it was my first job. Whilst working there I learnt a lot as you do when you finally stop working on your pet projects at home but to deadlines and with other professionals who can teach you things. Initially we were working on an action RPG under the working title Witch Hunter - that never got finished or released. It's always a pity but I've learned it's sadly quite common in our industry. To the right is the fist model I have ever made in a professional capacity for a video game.
I was doing mostly low-poly models and textures although at one point I remember I was assigned together with a concept artist to design some oriental location with a story around it. Sometimes the job would involve doing some level-design as the assets were usually big chunks of the level - sometimes whole buildings including mazes and multi-storey buildings.
The game itself was a fairly straightforward action RPG with a TPP camera - a little similar to the company previous title Cold Zero. Tech reuse is a given in gamedev. The setting was pretty generic medieval fantasy and the story didn't really have a chance to get nailed down properly. The camera wasn't attached to the character and was pretty high up, although that kept changing quite often - I still remember roofs becoming more or less important depending on the allowed camera angle but regardless of their prominence on the screen when outside the building when you stepped inside the roof and top floors would fade out to reveal the layout of the house from the top. This gave the game a more tactical feel to it. It was pretty fun to play and even more fun to work on.
I've worked on it quite extensively but at the time I didn't think of keeping track of the assets I make in order to use them later in a portfolio so I don't really have many renders from it. For similar reasons I have almost no screenshots because I didn't think of taking any at the time and now for all I know the project doesn't even exist any more. This one tiny screenshot is from the company's website.
An interesting issue came up a little later when it was decided to start making assets more modular. I'm particularly fond of constant meetings but those were quite interesting and gave birth to some pretty good ideas about textures. We're talking about old days here, when multitexturing was still a novelty and memory constraints were a huge issue. The devised method had textures tile in complex ways with parts of itself so you could randomise the tiling and cover large areas with good density without visible repetition (remember: no multitexturing, no detail textures or any fancy tech was available at that point).
In the end the project was put on indefinite hold whilst the company changed production to a paid for title - Oil Tycoon 2.