Meet Mareva Rousselle, our Lead Vehicle Artist!

How would you define the job of Vehicle Artist at KT?

As a Vehicle Artist, there are many different tasks depending on the project: we outsource vehicle modelling because we also have to manage a lot of things in-house: integrating vehicles into the engine, reworking cars (3D, materials, textures, etc.), customisation, livery, etc. We're always in contact with programmers, game designers, UI artists, etc.
As the cars are the heart of our games, we have to pay special attention to the details in order to offer the players the best possible result! 

Can you tell us more about your role in Kylotonn?

I'm Lead Vehicle Artist, so I look after the team that makes the vehicles. On the one hand, I manage the external people who model the cars, and on the other, the in-house team that does everything I mentioned earlier (touch-ups, customisation, engine integration, textures, etc.). I discuss and exchange ideas with the other departments to sort out any problems we may have. I also have to manage everyone's schedules. Unfortunately, I don't have much time to produce any more (I do it when I have a spare moment... but that's rare!).

Can you tell us about your background?

I did a baccalauréat S, then a bachelor's degree at the Haute École Albert Jacquard in Belgium. It's a graphics school where you can specialise in video games.
In 2014 during my 3rd year, I was taken on as an intern at Kylotonn as a level builder and...I never left!
I was an environment artist for a while, and as I really liked the pretty, clean models, and the precision required to make vehicles, I was able to evolve with time and practice. And my leads at the time were very supportive! 

What do you like the most about your job?

The right balance between the artistic and the technical! It's a lot of constraints, we always have to be very precise and we're not allowed to do anything "close to the mark". Firstly, for the pleasure of the player who will play with these vehicles, and secondly, as we work closely with the manufacturers, we must model their vehicles well!
And it's super rewarding to see the work that the whole team does at the front of the game. The car is the first thing you see, it's a very important thing and our fans will pay a lot of attention to it. So it requires a lot of precision. As a little anecdote, I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Tourist Trophy in the Isle of Man and I got to meet some of the players and drivers. It was really impressive to see some of the riders coming up to us and saying "I loved the game, can you put my bike in the game please"! It was crazy, and really rewarding!

What is your typical day?

As a Lead, you don't really have a 'typical day', because there are often questions or problems that come up in addition to the basic schedule. On the whole, every day I give feedback to the internal and external teams, I try to find solutions to the problems we've just discovered, I talk to the other divisions to find improvements to be made... and I have meetings!
I have fixed times that I reserve for myself, for example on Friday afternoons I always do an hour of testing the game we are working on at the moment.

What qualities do you consider indispensable for your job and for VA?

To be a lead as well as a Vehicle Artist, precision and attention to detail are paramount. On the artistic side, as I mentioned, we try to make the rendering as perfect as possible, both for the players and for the builders. On the technical side, we have to be very careful when integrating the vehicle into the game because there is a lot to do, and the slightest mistake can block the development work for several people and even several teams!
So, overall, it's a job that requires a lot of precision and, of course, good modelling skills. Even though some of the vehicle modelling is outsourced, we still have to do most of the work in-house. I would add that on the lead side in particular, you need (very) good organisational skills, good interpersonal skills and solid technical knowledge.

What was your favorite project to work on?

I think it's Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown, which I'm working on at the moment. I can't say too much about it of course, but it's exciting, ambitious, and modelling dream cars is really great as a Vehicle Artist!
Plus it's very different from other Kylotonn projects so it's very interesting to work on these things.

Any anecdotes you would like to share with us?

I have a little anecdote for the more knowledgeable of our games:
I'm in TT Isle of Man! In the sidecar DLC to be precise. We needed people to act as models for the photos of the fake sidecar drivers. So I'm the co-driver of Mike Cooper, who is also a former KT employee - I'm Sarah Laurent!

October 7, 2021