Train2Game News: Sleeping Dogs art director on getting into the industry

Sleeping Dogs art director Josh Lee recently featured in a United Front Games ‘meet the team’ interview and offered his take on getting into the industry, revealing he started in fine art.

“I’m kind of old school. There are a lot of schools now that didn’t exist at the time that offer these opportunities… I was born and raised in Montreal, I studied painting and drawing at Concordia in Fine Arts.”  said Lee.

“From there, I was trying to figure out how to make a living, and I ended up moving into the Film Animation department. Subsequently, I worked in traditional animation for a number of years doing frame-by-frame animation. At the time, over 15 years ago, you could feel a shift in the industry.” he continued, adding that adding 3D skills was an important element in getting into games.

“Things were moving more digitally, so I started taking 3D courses to balance my traditional arts background with more CG tools. After a few years working in traditional animation, I ended up in a CG house in Montreal called 4-elements that was affiliated with Softimage.”

“We did trailers for games, special effects, CG for commercials, any number of things a small startup would do. That was my first exposure to the production side of games. When that company closed temporarily, I had an opportunity at EA.” Lee added.

It’s an interview that’s sure to be interesting to Train2Game students, as Lee discusses what his role as art director involves, life at United Front, and of course, Sleeping Dogs. Read it here.

Be sure to keep reading The Train2Game Blog for advice from professionals about getting into the industry, while we’ll also keep you up to date with the latest Sleeping Dogs news.

What are your thoughts on Lee’s route into the industry?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: United Front on the vast research behind Sleeping Dogs

Game designers researching Sleeping Dogs at United Front Games have done so by taking newspaper cuttings, looking at films and taking 40,000 reference photos of Hong Kong.

“We took 35,000 to 40,000 reference photos and hour upon hour of video footage, but it’s not a street for street depiction. It was important for us to capture the essence of city. Lots of the landmarks are there, many of the names are similar yet, first and foremost, we wanted to make that space fun to navigate around.”  Executive producer Stephen van der Mescht told PlayStation Blog.

The United Front Games man went on to discuss how important it is for them to show the life of an undercover cop to Sleeping Dogs players.

“Well, the plot was built from scratch but we were heavily influenced by a lot of references. Look at movies like The Departed and Donnie Brasco – they both had an element of truth in them, which came from the stories they discovered by talking to people who were actually in those situations.” he continued.

“The important thing for us to get across was that dual world of a cop pretending to be a gangster, and the stresses that come with that, of having to live this lie.” van der Mescht continued, adding that while the plot of Sleeping Dogs, it’s influenced by a lot of their research.

“In terms of specifics, we referenced a lot of Triad crimes using newspaper cuttings. The game follows this guy becoming more intertwined with this world and we see his morality line get blurred. So yes, there are direct references to stories we discovered from the research we did.” said the executive producer.

Read the full interview, Sleeping Dogs And Telling Stories Through Games over at the PlayStation Blog. It’s likely to be interesting reading for anyone on a Train2Game course, especially game designers.

There’s more about Sleeping Dogs here on The Train2Game Blog, while you can also keep reading for the latest news from its publisher, Square Enix, here.

What are your thoughts on the research United Front are putting into Sleeping Dogs?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: Play Sleeping Dogs and meet its producer at Square Enix on Thursday

Train2Game students can get hands on with Sleeping Dogs and take part in a roundtable discussion with United Front Games producer Dan Sochan at a special event on Thursday 24th May.

Sleeping Dogs is an open world crime title in which you play an undercover Hong Kong cop. It was formerly known as True Crime: Hong Kong.

The free Sleeping Dogs community day takes place at the Square Enix headquarters in Wimbledon, South West London, with the opportunity to book a place in one of three timeslots that range from late afternoon to early evening.

Not only will it be great to see an upcoming game before everyone else, but the expertise of Sleeping Dogs producer Dan Sochan could be useful to any Train2Game students that manage to speak with him.

There are full details on how to book your place at the Sleeping Dogs community day on the Square Enix Blog.

Will you be attempting to go to this event? What are your thoughts on the upcoming Sleeping Dogs?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Trainn2Game forum.