This week we’re joined by Christina Andriano, our lead artist and a designer at Petricore. She’s a multi-talented individual who always insures our
projects look amazing!
Q: Let’s start with some easy questions. What’s your Favorite Color?
A: Uh, dang *chuckles*…. Blue, or a lime green, depends on what it’s for.
Q :When did you start playing games?
A: My first game I owned was Donkey Kong 64 because that came with the N64 bundle back in 99. But I played Final Fantasy 9, Zelda and games on my friends NES before that.
Q:What kind of games do you play or enjoy the most?
A: *Chuckles* Anything but shooters. I like action games, adventure games, rhythm games, puzzle games: like Phoenix Wright and all that kind of stuff. JRPG’s too, yeah, basically I can go from Kingdom Hearts to God of War and I’m totally fine with it. Oh yeah and any board games, I love those.
Q: At what point in your life did you want to pursue a career in games?
A: I always loved drawing. Ever since elementary school I’ve been always doodling stuff; I’ve had plenty of sketch books that I filled. After that I would constantly bounce between drawing and playing games. Eventually my friend and I went on RP forums where we’d make all these stories, I thought “Oh hey! I can draw those!” so I started to draw out all these characters and it was a very fun thing to do! But I also had an interest in detective work: investigating crime scenes and all that. Since my High school didn’t really offer anything tech related it was hard to get into development. Originally I had achieved a bachelors in Criminal Justice and I did find it very fascinating but I realized that I’d be better fit to pursue games and so I went to Becker, which was kind of a big step from my home in NJ.
Q: What classes did you take at Becker that helped you be an artist?
A: The game art classes were really nice, some classes allowed you to choose what your final project was which was nice because I chose to do character art or something I wanted to study more. There was also a Life Drawing course (Neimi you’re the man 😉 ) because it’s human anatomy which is important and you get the real deal. Also the 3D modeling classes with Maya and Zbrush were new and exciting to me because I get to try modeling the character’s I drew. I tried pushing some of my concepts to 3D and I learned certain things don’t look right functionally. Programs like those are expensive to get on your own so being able to use them in college was a major help.
Then of course there’s Live Studio, a class I took repeatedly at Becker College, which was supervised my Monty Sharma, Managing Director of MassDigi. It was a major help, just being put to work on a project as a team was a very exciting experience.
Q: How’d you meet the Team?
A: Most of the team I met in Live Studio. Chris I met because all the transfers that year were put in the same building so a group of us had a little bit of an indie developer group going. Chris told me to join Live Studio and I talked to Monty Sharma about it and he let me in, that was Fall semester of my Senior year. I worked with the release team first but as soon as Cat Tsunami was looking for more art I was all “Oooh! Pick me!” I became lead artist the following semester for Cat Tsunami and that’s where I started to really get to know Ryan, who was the producer. Oliver and Spav were in that class too but we all shared a VR class as well. We all ended up living in the same wing of Spruce hall so eventually we got to hanging out. Chris lived across the hall and Ryan and Spav lived below us.
Q: When did Ryan approach you about Petricore?
A: So I was back home for (I’m pretty sure) Spring Break and get a call from Ryan. After the initial greetings he asks “What are you doing after graduation?” to which I told him “I’m not really sure. Why? What are you asking me?” He told me he was thinking about starting something and if I was interested in joining it. He left it somewhat vague I wanted to know more details before I committed. We ended up having Wednesday night meetings where Ryan gave us all the important details about the company and somewhere along the way we decided it was gonna be a thing. We lined up our first project and got to work before we even graduated.
Q: What were your big concerns going into it?
A: New companies are always an risk, and since I was way up here away from family I had to figure out housing and money to affording living outta state for a company that might not even make money. As horrible as “in it for the money” sounds I needed to think about getting and paying for an apartment, paying for utilities, food and all that other stuff all within in a few months. I did think about going remote but it’s not the best to get a foundation going since being closer lets me talk to everyone faster.
Q: What’s it like working with clients?
A: It’s nice working with different people and having interactions with them on what they want. Because they imagine one thing, you imagine another and I think “Oh, well you’re not a games studio so you see this differently than I do”. It’s a nice mix. It’s also challenging because with visual media they look at it and they can tell if they like it or not in about a second.
Q: How is it working as an artist?
A: Hard, a lot of pressure on you. People generally won’t pick up a game that they don’t like visually unless otherwise recommended. Some might stay for the game play even if the visuals aren’t the greatest but initially choosing a game they’ll pick it up based on aesthetics. There’s millions of games out there and you can’t play em all so you’ll pick one that graphically appeals to you. I’m also the only artist. Larger companies have a someone who’s dedicated as a character artist, 3D artist, environmental artist, UI and so on but since it’s just me I’m trying to be at least decent at everything. I don’t have the time to focus on just one thing. I do use a lot of references though to make up for it.
Q: What’s the most exciting part of working at Petricore.
A: Going to events and seeing people enjoying what you made. We have people come up to our booths and they’re like “Oh hey, you people! You guys made Lotto’ Boxes, I really like it!” and I just think ‘we just launched that and people are already enjoying it, that’s great!’ It’s really exciting. Other studios are getting to know us too. The other day someone told me that, I think it was, Harmonix was talking about our PAX East booth! I just think it’s really neat that we’re a startup and no one knew our name a year ago and now people are talking about when they saw us at events. Being recognized after being so young is a nice boost. Speaking of, PAX was a ton of fun being an exhibitor! We showed off an in-development game, Traveling Merchant, and during the demo your character was a woman. Someone specifically pointed out to us she really appreciated that I choose to put a woman as the main character.
Q: What kinda games do you want to see at Petricore?
A: I’d like to see PC or Console games. I really want to work on a “horizontal game”! *chuckles* Making UI for vertical screen drives me crazy sometimes, haha! I think that showing off a game with controllers would be a much more engaging experience than Ipads, and that would be a ton of fun to show off at events like PAX East. I think much later down the line I’d love to work on a story driven game, I’m sure everyone’s dream is working on something like a big “final fantasy” title. For me there would be monster design, character design, the overall fantasy world stuff going on, it would just be a lot of fun.
Q: What are you most excited for at Petricore? And any goals for yourself?
A: I’m just looking forward to people getting to know us, besides the people in the Massachusetts area. Once people start saying “Hey Petricore’s a thing” and look forward to what me create, it’ll be a really “Wow!” moment. Or if we make a game, that people see is a Petricore game and think “Hey, I want that!”
Short term goal would be the boring ol’ “self improvement”.
Q: Final and hardest question. Kirk or Picard? (Christina’s a big Star Trek Fan)
A: DAAAAAAANG!! That’s like choosing Generations or the original series! Ummm… Data!