In this edition of Meet the Team, we'd like to introduce you to Roman Stepanov, an environment artist here at Cryptic. You know all that gorgeous foliage and expansive space you see in our screenshots? That's where Roman lives. Roman's been working on games since the turn of the century, and his experience lends a lot to the team here. Read on to learn more about him.
What do you do on Star Trek Online?
I'm an art lead for the Environment team. We make all the pretty pictures, and crazy worlds. Basically I work close with our art director to come up with ideas, guidelines for colors and styles for each world we are creating. Heís a very busy man, so there are times when I'm helping our awesome artists with critique and guiding them to take the space to the next level.
How long have you worked in gaming, and what did you do before Star Trek Online?
Iíve been making games since the year 2000. Before Star Trek Online, I worked on Champions Online, which was also a lot of fun and experience. And even before that I worked at Rainbow Studios in Phoenix, AZ. We made many, many off-road racing games.
Who is your favorite Star Trek character and why?
I have to go with Pavel Chekhov, and it's not because Im Russian. I grew up during the last days of the Soviet Union, so I know exactly what he means. Before I didnít know much about him, until I said "nuclear wessels" during the art school days. My American friends were cracking up and than explained to me why. We really cant pronounce the "V." I then watched a few movies and was instantly wowed. On top of that, heís one crazy character.
What is an interesting fact about you that players would be surprised to know?
Iíve never played a single MMO game in my life, but I love making them.
If you could choose to be an alien on Star Trek, which species would you want to be?
I really like the Devidians. Who doesnít want to be a soul stealing, time traveling, alien ghost?
Which is cooler: monkeys, robots, pirates or ninjas?
Definitely monkey ninjas. Combine the two, robots and pirates will have no chance at all.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into the gaming industry?
For artists I always recommend to get together and work on little projects. Be it a mod, or even an animated short. The amount of experience you will get is priceless. This also will give you an idea how to work with a team and as a team. Because you simply cant make it all by yourself. And never be afraid to take criticism about your work. There are so many tutorials for any software package that you can find online and there are even tutorials for traditional artists. Best part, a lot of them are for free. Join forums, be active, show off your work in progress, and never give up.
What was your first favorite videogame?
Man, this is a hard one. Back in the old days growing up in Russia, we had these awesome hand-held units. You would play as a wolf and catch chicken eggs falling down. There were only four ways of movement: left, right, up-left, and up-right. But it was the BEST THING EVER.
Is there anything you would like to add?
What is your favorite fire, and what is the least worst thing you donít want to hate about it? Im still learning English.
I definitely agree that the entire community should be appreciative of all of the work Roman has done so far, because the environments are some of my favorite parts about everything that has been released about the game so far simply because they are so breathtaking. This was another great interview, so thanks for posting this -- especially on the release date of the new movie!