Updated: Feb 2, 2020
Dead Thread Games was thrilled when Sourabh Hamigi, a technical and lighting artist who works with Warner Brothers, joined the project. A photographer before he got involved with game development, Sourabh’s eye for detail and nuance allows him to make robust and intricate lighting systems that completely change the atmosphere of a game.
Dead Thread’s project is not Sourabh’s first experience working within the horror genre, however. He’s brought an invaluable catalogue of knowledge to the project and whether it’s creating shadows, developing dust particles, or reflections that bounce off of water puddles on the floor, Sourabh understands that lighting drastically impacts a player’s ability to be immersed in the terror that a horror game requires.
For him, lighting is fundamental to a person’s experience within a game, especially ones that rely on environment to convey narrative, tension and mood. “Lighting can make or break the look and feel of a game. The emotions and environmental storytelling all go hand in hand with lighting.”
However, Sourabh’s skills are not limited to lighting. A prime example of Sourabh’s impact on the project comes with the circular spline mesh generator tool that he made to automatically generate static meshes or blueprints around a defined circle.
The environment within We Went Back is comprised of a lunar base that is in the shape of a rotunda. Having the tool Sourabh developed allows the artists to populate the props and assets around this physical space.
The tool also lets those working with it the ability to have full use control over the radius, the number of points, and the type of meshes to spawn with. Adding jitter or distortion options adds randomness to the system and allows functionality to be tied to the construction script so the result is reflected in the real-time editor. Such tools have proved indispensable and has prevented a lot of the struggles that the team would have otherwise faced in dealing with such an environment.
In addition to his technical knowledge, for Dead Thread’s current project, Sourabh’s comprehension of both engineering and art pipelines have proved invaluable. When asked to consider what allows a lighting artist to work well within a development team, he quotes his belief that it’s indispensable to have a working vocabulary that can be used between departments. He acknowledges that this expertise is key to finding solutions, “A lighting artist needs to work with all other departments in the pipeline to make it work.”
When citing influences that have impacted his career, DOOM and Alien Isolation were mentioned as early inspirations. He also refers to movies and other artist’s work by breaking it apart and mimicking their techniques. This ensures that he is constantly pushing himself to improve and moving the level of quality forward on any project he is associated with.
Dead Thread Games is lucky to have Sourabh at the helm of these tools and priorities. When asked how he’ll know when We Went Back is a success, his response was immediate, “You know you’ve succeeded when the player has to always look over their shoulder while playing. It’s a feeling of horror.”