Table Top Tanks Interview With Will Harbison

Thanks to Will Harbison for participating in my (first!) G+ Hangout On Air interview
 

While looking up posts on Google+ for the PlayStation Vita game Table Top Tanks, I noticed a couple of posts from a man by the name of Will Harbison. In one of them, he mentions that he was involved in the creation of the game. I had to talk with him. Turns out, he is an established artist in the gaming industry. He agreed to do an interview, and suggested we do a Hangout On Air. Take a look at our discussion about his involvement with the explosive little AR game, Table Top Tanks. I know I had a great time speaking with him.

Yes, you will notice: I completely blew off his astounding achievement: almost 25 years in the games industry! This was accidental, but don’t worry. He has agreed to do another interview, as I’m sure I’m not the only one interested in his thoughts on gaming and the direction he has been a part of.

For those that would like to read the contents of the interview, please look below.

Game-Modo: Alright! We’ve got here, Will Harbison – a person that has worked on some games that we at Game-Modo are interested in, and I’d like to hear more from him about what he’s done, and what he is currently involved with. So, if you could Will, please give me a little bit of a short biography of what you’ve done with video games and what you’re currently involved with.

Will Harbison: Right, well, next year will be my 25th year in the games industry as an artist. I’ve worked for various companies. I’ve worked for myself as a contractor. I’ve worked with people like Sony, Disney, Nintendo, Sega, a lot of the big company names.

GM: And one in game in particular I’d like to ask you about is the recent PlayStation Vita game, Table Top Tanks. What exactly did you do with that?
 
WH: I was brought on board basically to do the modeling of the tanks and the various assets that are in the game, so I didn’t model jets or the cargo planes, but to build the tanks, the bases, targets, the guns, various other things, as well. Some things that actually I started building and we had to take out because, the producer didn’t like it or wanted some sort of changes. I did quite a lot of model building and quite a lot of it didn’t make it into the game.
 
GM: So when you worked on the game doing a lot of modeling, did the augmented reality come into play, or was that something that was done after your input or separately from any of your involvement?
 
WH: I did all of my work on Photoshop and 3d Studio Max, but we would have our own development kit connected to our PC, so whenever we made any changes to models we could actually create a build of the Vita and see the changes pretty much straight away on the machine and check and see if it was all working.
 
GM: Well that’s fun, so you got to see how everything worked as you worked on it. Now that the game has been released for the Vita, what are you most pleased with that you have contributed to the game, and with the game in general?
 
WH: Well I think it’s quite a good game, and I think it’s an interesting game as well for people that haven’t used the augmented reality before. I’m not sure that the games that the three games that came out really utilized it as well as we did? So I think that it’s probably – I’ve never modeled anything like tanks before, so that was of course fun for me. All the other assets, were all nicely designed by Alex, Alex Richards, who was like the lead artist there. And there was a good relationship there and we got along well so it was a good place to work and theyre a good team.
 
GM: Yeah, I’ve enjoyed the game a lot I played through all the challenges, and I’m a sucker for a fun tank game and it’s definitely a fun little game to have on the Vita and a great way to be introduced to the augmented reality.
 
WH: Have you tried it in multiplayer yet?
 
GM: No, I haven’t gotten a chance to do that yet. I want to; that’s the one part I haven’t tried.
 
WH: It’s pretty fun, when we tried it when we had four players on the game at once – it can get pretty hectic.
 
GM: Oh, I bet. Yeah, with all the different things you can do, I’m sure throwing an air strike at someone, I’m sure with multiple people involved can definitely put a wrench in their gears.
 
WH: Oh yeah, and obviously dependent on what sort of game you play, whether it’s Capture the Flag or any others, but Capture the Flag can get really infuriating if somebody keeps sending air strikes down or when they go invisible or send the other players’ controls going in the opposite direction. It’s pretty fun when you play on multiplayer.
 
GM: I just I get frustrated whenever the computer throws the reverse controls at me, so I could only imagine how tough it would be with several other people around involved in a game, and thinking you have an edge on them only for your ups to be down and – it’s crazy.
 
WH: Oh yeah, it was fun – we had a bit of fun playtesting that.
 
GM: Well great, yeah, so I’m glad to be able to speak with someone that’s had such an involvement in a game that I’ve enjoyed. Aside from Table Top Tanks, what else are you currently working on?
 
WH: Well, I can’t really say much about what I’m working on at the moment, I’m afraid .
 
GM: Of course, yeah, well any possible addition to any current games that have been announced, anything you can allude to, or any other things you know will be safe to say that most people don’t know about?
 
WH: I’m not really sure, we may do some DLC for Table Top Tanks, we’re not entirely sure yet. So we may do another kind of tank pack?
 
GM: Well that’s good!
 
WH: Um, but I don’t really know about that yet.
 
GM: Yeah, I know the toy tanks pack came out, and while that one looks good I would like to see something else, maybe – I definitely like what you’re saying, maybe an additional tanks pack or some more to the game.
 
WH: Yeah, well we have thrown some ideas around for more tank packs and we’ve not actually settled on particular ones yet. We’ve got a few ideas about what we may add to the game.
 
 
GM: Good, yeah well if you could give them my suggestion I’d say more challenges. I had a fun time with those.
 
WH: Oh, more challenges, yeah. Well I’m not sure, I don’t know if we can actually add challenges to the game, but I’ll pass that on .
 
GM: Yeah, well even if I can just play them in a different way, like you said with tanks, that would be fun too. So I definitely would like to hear more from you. If you could keep me in the loop if there’s anything else going on that you’re able to tell me about, aside from that, I’m glad to hear you’ve had a hand in a game I’ve had such fun with and I thank you for the time you’ve given to me to speak with you.
 
WH: Oh, this is not a problem. It’s been an experience, I’m glad it finally works.
*He meant the G+ hangout, but as you can tell, we got it working – from “across the pond”, no less!
 
GM: Oh yeah; it’s a great little game and I hope to hear more about the game, and like I said be sure to let us all know if and when you guys come with any ideas for additional content to Table Top Tanks. And let me know if you have any other thing in the works that you can tell me about.
 
WH: Well I’ll certainly do that. As I’m able to, I’ll let you know.
 
GM: Good, well thanks a lot and thanks for your time!
 
WH: No problem!
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