Final Fantasy XIV’s Tatsuya Okahisa on technical art design and live-service MMOs

You have to want it.

Do you know what a technical artist does in an MMO? If you responded by scrunching your face up and muttering “art… stuff?” that’s fine, you don’t need to feel bad, it’s not a field a lot of people know much about. So we can be thankful that Final Fantasy XIV‘s latest internal interview puff piece looks at lead technical artist Tatsuya Okahisa and explains what his job actually entails and how it contributes to making the game the best it can be.

The short version is that Okahisa’s job revolves around making sure that art assets scale appropriately for different races and models, that animations play correctly and sync up, and that all the art assets made for the game play nice with one another. He shares stories like making sure that the game’s swimming animations used the correct reference points for characters in the water, since the default setup scaled height relative to a character’s feet which totally submerged Lalafell and left Roegadyn looking like they were half-flying. It’s a fascinating piece, and it also has an excellent quote for development in general:

Because FFXIV is an online game with periodic updates, you can’t just create something then forget about it once it’s complete.

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