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Seeing the World from the Third Dimension

Jeff Jonas demonstrates his skills as a 3D sculptor. 

Hey! I’m Jeff Jonas, Senior Artist on H1Z1.  My job is to make stuff for the world in 3D.  These things are called props, and they include static items, vehicles, and occasionally a structure.  We use a number of tools to do this, but mostly I work in Maya for 3D work.  I use Photoshop, nDo, and dDo for my textures.  The process is usually similar from object to object. Some things are simple; some are complex. Agility is the key. You don’t always know what will come along next, or what ominous thing lurks around the corner. 

-First things first. The place gets a name and then a sign. They tell you to STOP at the crossroads! But, no, are you crazy? Don’t stop!!! There are more, there will be many more, more signs…they will keep coming at you like zombies in the night.

-Of course they will need a road; it will be straight at first, next all the sections and curves, and finally an intersection. At first the road leads nowhere, then as assets arrive, the world takes on a sense of place, a foreboding deserted desolate place. 

 -The places need stuff inside.  Furniture and lamps, light switches and vents, all the little things that make a room a cozy place to lie down and curl up into the fetal position and hide behind.

-Then they need a car to get to these places of refuge.  So we build a car and I mess it up to look like it has been sitting around in the mud for a while.  

-Something bad happened inside this OffRoader. Best not to know the details, as long as it still drives.

-The Police Car can be used for nefarious or righteous work. But it’s always best to lie in wait.  We took a high-res model and reduced it for the game.  It is still one of our more expensive models in terms of poly count. But when you turn on the sirens, the zombies will come …

-Then we need other places to drive to. The big box store Supermarket was a challenge because I rarely make structures.  But it was relatively straightforward.  The main issue involved a store load of props that flesh out such a building.  A seemingly never-ending variety of shelves and signs and scales and meat cutters fill out the interior.  However, I am amused that they accepted my name suggestion for the store.  The store itself is a kind of fortress refuge from the storm, if you can clear out the zombies or bears.

Every day I need to be prepared for the next thing hiding in the back warehouse… agility and planning ahead for the next encounter with some object or vehicle.

-Making the electric guitar for John Roy was a meaningful task.  John is somebody I have worked with for over 20 years.   When John suddenly passed away, we decided to put in something that would honor him.  He was a gifted musician so I decided to make a guitar for him.  We turned it into a tribute object in the Roy-O-Line gas station that John initially created in our initial energetic development frenzy.  I hope it is a worthy tribute, and I hope that H1Z1 is hugely popular and that guitar that gently weeps will linger a long time.

-So that’s what I do… I jump from thing to thing, like a fireman in some sort of way. When we need something added I run toward that fire and attempt to put it out.  As I said, agility - I need to stay on my toes.  I don’t know where the next fire will break out, or what the next piece of candy in the box will be. But what I do know is that if it is a box of candy in H1Z1 and its sitting on a counter top… it’s probably a trap.

-Jeff Jonas