How did you get your start in the game industry?Yancy Young: I attended a little college you probably heard of: Kansas State University? The WILDCATS? I spent a lot of time getting rejected by the art program. When they let me in for a probationary term, I signed up for a class called “Intro to 3D” (shout out to my instructor Dane Webster!). It turns out that, while I was terrible at oil painting, I could easily model the rotary assembly of a UH-60 Blackhawk in 3D, and I fell in love with 3D modeling. One of my instructors had a previous student by the name of Craig Goodman. Craig came out to KSU to give a talk on game development—something most people weren't familiar with back then. Craig's presentation was amazing. He spoke about building worlds, compressing textures, and sleeping under your desk. That’s when I knew I had found what I was looking for.
Dane made sure I met Craig since I wasn’t as outgoing or as mouthy as I am now, and he encouraged me to apply for an internship the following year. With a couple of semesters left, I scrapped my previous senior thesis and switched my focus to designing art for a video game. It had something to do with Archangel from the X-Men, and I remember thinking it would be crazy not to make this game. So anyway, my buddy helped me cut down my portfolio to the bone. It was painful because I thought everything was magnificent. Friends are there to tell you the truth. I sent off my portfolio and an embarrassingly over-confident cover letter (sorry, Chad), and after a few phone interviews, I got the internship! I moved to California with my best buddy and worked hard to prove myself. This was when Resistance: Fall of Man was deep in production and I spent all of my internship building environment assets. Thankfully, Insomniac offered to hire me afterward. I’ve been here for 14 years and still love coming to work every day! I love Insomniac because here you’re a member of a family. We work extremely hard as one unit to make amazing things.
Hailed by PC Gamer as arguably “the best VR game of 2019,” Stormland lets you explore, climb, and fly through an expansive android civilization with open-world elements.Mike and I were caretakers of the game pillars and worked with everyone on the team to steer Stormland towards fun and innovation at all times.
What role did you play in the development of Stormland?YY: Currently, I'm the Lead VFX Artist at our North Carolina studio. However, since Stormland has a smaller dev team than something like Marvel’s Spider-Man, many of us wear multiple hats. For Stormland, I managed concept, VFX, lighting, and character, and my partner in crime Jason Anderson managed the environment team. Additionally, I assisted the marketing team with the art direction for some of our marketing materials. On any given day, I’m making visual effects, prepping the schedule, talking with outsource teams, and ensuring my teammates have everything they need. Luckily for me, we have an amazing art team that is always on point, tackling challenges, and willing to solve tough production problems.
The Rise of Oculus Rift. You’ve probably already heard the story, but in the 2010s, Oculus VR, a start-up company decided to release a Kickstarter project for their Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles. Little known to them, the device kickstarted the industry of virtual reality again.
What’s your favorite part of the game and why?
YY: I'm a stealth guy, so while the game has a lot of awesome things going on, I think my favorite part is strategizing how to handle dangerous Tempest combat sequences. We have a really cool array of enemy types from short-range Assault Troopers that can close the distance with shotguns, to long-range sniper enemies that blend into the world. The situation when approaching Tempest enemies both in and out of their strongholds is not always what it seems. Players will need to use all of their robotic senses to ensure they’re ready when the bullets start to fly!Thanks for the interview, Yancy! We’re sure you’ve whetted the appetite of your fellow stealth fans.Pre-order Stormland today to snag some limited edition Oculus Home statues and prepare to #ReclaimYourWorld on November 14.
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Samsung Is Going All In. Samsung is one of the leading companies in the virtual reality space. Years of research into virtual reality are finally paying off for the company. At virtual reality conventions, Samsung's products are often regarded as one of the most popular, based on feedback from attendees. Currently, the Samsung Gear VR is the most popular virtual reality headset on the market. Things in the market might change in a few years, but for now Samsung is in the lead.