Sketchtalk: Toco Games

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Today I talk to David Hagemann from Toco Games. His work is among my favorite low poly art here on Sketchfab and it was a pleasure to learn more about him!

Stylized Fantasy World by TocoGamescom on Sketchfab

Could you introduce yourself to our readers: Who are you and where are you from?

My name is David Hagemann, I’m 29 years old and I’m a all-round game developer. I come from Germany and live in a city called Essen (not to be mistaken for the German word for eating).

Can you tell us about what aspects of 3D you specialize in?

I can hardly say that I’m specialized in any aspect of 3D but I’m pretty much doing everything 3D for games nowadays. That reaches from low poly to high poly hard surface modeling and sculpting over texturing to animation. In the past I also worked for a TV/Film company and worked among other things on virtual studios.

How did you first get started? What was that ‘I want to do this’ moment?

I was always fascinated by everything 3D when I was a kid. Back then when geometry for a nose in a video game was groundbreaking and Jurassic Park (1993) shook hollywood with its CGI. After my graphics design education I got a job at very small company which had specialized in internet games and they just got into making 3D web games which was pretty special at that time. That was my first real contact with making 3D art and I quickly knew that is just what I want to do.

Smashies – Fantasy Cereals by TocoGamescom on Sketchfab

Do you have any academic training or are you self-taught?

I got a basic graphics/media design education but nothing that taught me 3D art. I learned low poly modeling, texturing and animation at that first job thanks to Tomasz Piasecki who was the artist there who taught me all those basics. Later I got hungry for more, I got into sculpting and hard surface modeling which I mostly taught myself by doing while also getting inspired by all those amazing artists over at the Polycount forum and other 3D art websites.

Tell us a little bit more about your workflow/process?

Since I’m pretty much a all-rounder that varies a lot. But overall I love to keep a organic creative workflow. I like to play a lot with shapes while blocking in geometry in 3Ds Max while in Zbrush I use the DynaMesh feature a lot to be as little constrained as possible. But I also worked often as a 3D freelancer for games and did a lot of 3D art based on concepts. That approach of staying true to a concept has its on charm.

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What project(s) are you working on right now?

I released my game Last Knight not too long ago on Steam and I’m still working on updates for it now and then. It is a cartoony fantasy action game with wacky humor. It features lots of sculpted 3D and hard surface modeled assets but also interesting stylized low poly art.

I also recently participated in the 7DFPS game jam where you had to make a “first person shooter” in just 7 days. Out of it came a game called Shootmephrenia where you have to shoot yourself which is much harder then it sounds.

Also recently made is Where Is My Hammer for the Indies VS PewDiePie game jam. That game is basically a little sandbox game made in just 2 days where everything of the world can be smashed to pieces and you happen to have a hammer.

Can you talk a little bit in detail about your favorite model you currently have posted on Sketchfab?

That would be the Stylized Fantasy World, it is a version of the low poly stylized world of Last Knight. In Last Knight it servers as a randomly generated 3D map that can be rotated around and lets you choose the next environment area you want to go/play. It also shows traders, treasures and the rare wonders of the world. I basically used the same pre rendered triangle tiles of the game and made this big world chunk out of it which you can then fly around through Sketchfab. The same assets have been also used for the intro trailer:

What would be your personal advice to someone getting started in 3D?

Start small! 3D is a huge field and you can quickly become overwhelmed especially when you use a 3D program like 3DsMax that has literally hundreds of buttons and settings. There are smaller programs like Silo which will get you all you need for modeling. Start with low poly modeling and simple objects and then go from there. A background in traditional art definitely helps especially when you get to characters.

What are your thoughts on 3D printing, Are/Do you plan to work with it?

I think 3D printing is amazing but I did not get around of buying a 3D printer myself yet. Mostly because the quality of customer grade Printers still varies immensely and there seem to improvements and lower prices every time I look around.

How did you come across Sketchfab and how does it helped with your project(s)?

I first heard of Sketchfab on Polycount when it still was pretty new but it was only later that I got around of really using it to showcase my work. I think it is a awesome for showing parts of my games in a unique way and it is really the best way to show 3D art. It requires some extra work with export, import and setting up materials but usually that is totally worth it. For Shootmephrenia I made this little scene which shows the concept of the game very straightforward while also showing the different cameras with the annotations.

Shootmephrenia Scene by TocoGamescom on Sketchfab

What inspires you?

Everything that catches my eye really. There is a lot of great 3D stuff that I see on Polycount and recently lots of unique game art through Twitter. I love unique styles and experimental 3D art.

That was great, thanks David!

You can find Toco Games on www.tocogames.com and follow them on Twitter via @tocogamescom.

– Bart

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