Name: Kevin Bjorke
Position: Senior Technical Artist
What was your first MMOG? What was your favorite?
Before there were proper MMOs, there were virtual worlds, and I was a wizard (a GM) on “The Palace” in the mid-90’s; a game that was created by my college roommate. And I was playing MUDs in the years before that.
How did you get involved with making games?
My career has bounced back and forth between games, TV, and feature films since my college days, often simultaneously (e.g., at Pixar I made both films and games). I paid for part of my schooling by making games for the Sinclair Spectrum (back in the day when one person could do it all!)
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far in the creation of Rift: Planes of Telara?
Since I write most of the shaders for effects, materials, characters, and skies, it means that my hand is on every pixel ! What’s cool to me, after consulting on many well-known games, is showing people that yes, beautiful pictures are important in MMO’s
Can you provide a sample of your work, assuming it can be released to the public? (A snippet of lore, a screenshot of a vista, maybe a screen or video of a game system, a UI element or a few lines of quest text; or if you’re brave enough a picture of your desk?)
Here’s a snip that defines how flowing lava solidifies into basalt as it cools:
float glowMask = specTex.a;
float heatMap = flowTex.a;
outColor.rgb *= heatMap; // cold lava = black rock
heatMap *= specTex.b;
float specular = specTex.r * materialSpecular.r * glowMask;
float3 innerGlow = saturate((heatMap*GlowStrength*3.0*IN.lava.r)-float3(0,1,2));
innerGlow *= (1.0 – glowMask);
Care to tease the fans with your favorite in-game moment?
I love moments of discovery. Some of the vistas you encounter when crossing over a hill from one zone in Rift to another are truly exciting, I just stop and stare at what our art department has achieved.