Wilfried Mallet, Technical Director at Spiders.
What was your career like before you started working in your current position at Spiders?
I began the way you might expect with an IT Engineering Degree, and even if I have always been a passionate fan of video games, I hadn’t even dreamed it would be a possible career path. I did apply to Ubisoft once out of university, just to try and see. I ended up working there a few years, and discovered a fascinating craft.
I then went on to join Monte Cristo, to experience life in a much smaller studio. It was all hustle and bustle, but I learned tons, and worked on a number of different projects.
And right after that the opportunity to create Spiders came along – a call to adventure. With part of the team working on the last game I developed there (Silverfall), we decided to build our own studio to develop our favorite type of games: RPGs.
What motivates you for this job?
What I’ve always enjoyed about this job is the constant evolution. It keeps me going every day. The hardware improves with every console generation, the tools offer more and more possibilities, and the list goes on… It’s a sector where you can never ever sit on your laurels. You have to permanently be on the look out for new tech solutions, pushing the engines to their limits. It is fascinating and absorbing.
Do you have any anecdotes from your time spent developing video games?
A few years back we noticed a bug in our animation system when a character wasn’t animated. The effect was incredibly violent, the head or the bust started spinning on itself like a diabolical top. It was kind of eerie and we felt bad seeing this poor character tortured like that.
In the end we decided not to correct the bug, and it’s still hiding in the game. We discovered that it was a great way to detect a missing animation in the game. The bug is now working for us!
Your proudest moment?
I can’t think of any one moment in particular but more the body of work crafted at Spiders and on our engine, the Silk Engine. We were able to put together a truly talented team of programmers to soup it up part by part over the course of developing our projects, and it’s impressive. To tell the truth, I’m still surprised every day by the possibilities we have now compared to our extremely modest beginnings with “Faery: Legends of Avalon”. We’ve come a long way.
Can you tell us something you personally felt about GreedFall?
I think what I like most about Greedfall is that after so many years spent wandering the oppressive and covered cities of Mars: War Logs and The Technomancer, we can finally take a breath of fresh air!
That is in fact one of our most important technical challenges on this project: the change of scale and environment compared to our last projects. We are ambitious, with vast zones and a full open sky. This meant we had to make profound changes in the engine and beef up our tools, and the artists took advantage of them every day when they built the environment of the isle in GreedFall.