Daniel Dociu is the chief art director of the Guild Wars developers ArenaNet, and one of the best concept artists in the business. I was delighted to see that my favourite blogger, Geoff Manaugh, has taken some time out to interview him.
BLDGBLOG: So how much description are you actually given? When someone comes to you and says, "I need a mine, or a mountain, or a medieval city" – how much detail do they really give before you have to start designing?
Dociu: That's about the amount of information I get.
Game designers lay things out according to approximate locations – this tribe goes here, this tribe goes there, we need a village here, we need an extra reason for a conflict along this line, or a natural barrier here, whether it's a river or a mountain, or we need an artificial barrier or a bridge. That's pretty much the level at which I prefer for them to give me input, and I take it from there.
BLDGBLOG, in case you're not familiar with it, is an admirably progressive architecture blog, which regularly touches on subjects such as science fiction landscapes and videogame architecture. A peerless read.