Stephen Dalzell

Stephen joined the team as Senior Artist back in December 2016. His career took many interesting turns before he decided to follow his biggest passions – art and games. We chatted about his career, his influences, and what he’s looking forward to next!

  • Role Senior Artist/ 3D Generalist 
  • Location Nottingham
  • Joined the industry  2011
  • Number of games 8 plus unreleased
  • Superpower 3D Modelling / Optimization
  • Kryptonite Animation
  • Favourite Colour Green
  • Favourite Software Substance Painter
  • Game that changed you Street Fighter 2
  • Rock / paper / scissors Janken the Great

What attracted you to working in games?

I have been employed in so many diverse jobs, but it was during my time working at casinos around the world I found that I  just wasn’t happy in a dead end job (although I  enjoyed travelling and met my wife) I wanted to find a way of combining some of my passions. With a love of creating art, playing modern/retro video games and watching movies I wanted more of a self rewarding career, I decided to try my luck in the games industry.

How did you get into the industry?

With the financial help of my wife’s Mum I took  a private course in London “Maya Comprehensive for games” at Escape Studios (I did pay her the money back honest) 🙂  I learnt the basics and landed a three month placement at Rare studios LTD.  When this ended I enrolled on a degree in a “Video games and Animation course” at the University of Derby where I built upon and expanded my skills, before starting my first permanent role at Zootfly in Slovenia.

How is it different now from when you joined?

I would say that now it’s more accessible. When I first joined the biz 😛 software cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds and was generally accessed by  modders of games or fanatics. But now game engines, such as Unreal or Unity, open up opportunities to anyone with a passion for games, art or programming. With Blender and monthly subscription based softwares, the potential talent pool has increased, meaning the industry has gone from strength to strength. 

What's your proudest achievement?

I would say leaving a steady reliable profession to chase my dreams to work in the games industry at 33 years of age. I’m not going to lie, it was hard work at times I thought I was wasting my time. But stuck at it and I’m still in the job of my dreams.

What led you to join MPG?

My wife moved to Nottingham to study so it was initially because I wanted to move to the same area to be with her. When I started at the company the team was quite small. Everyone working there was extremely talented and had a strong passion for working on games, they were also really friendly so I found it easy to slot in as part of the team. Even though the company size has increased rapidly, and is still growing fast to this day, I still feel as appreciated now as I did when I first joined.

What game do you wish you'd worked on and why?

There’re so many great games to choose from. This is a hard question because I have enjoyed playing so many modern and retro games. Maybe something like Goldeneye. I do enjoy single player games but have fonder memories playing multiplayer games.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

It would be working alongside the Legendary Limitless Luscious Lorne Lanning that made quite an influential impact on my career early on by helping me realise what type of artist I wanted to become. But the true answer should really be my wife. There was a conversion I had with her that pushed me into pursuing and eventually joining the games industry.

What changes would you like to see in the industry?

Things I would like to see:

More diversity in games and games studios

The end of crunch – a problem that plagues some developers, leading to games being rushed at the last minute impacting quality.

Finally something I don’t want to lose, is physical ownership of games. Because of my love for retro games, I like having something you can physically hold. I see offers online for games but deliberately hold off purchasing them until I can get a physical copy.

What are you looking forward to?

Going for a drink in a pub on a Friday after work 🙁

How has the pandemic changed the way you work?

The company has always welcomed the idea of working from home if needed this is something that I did occasionally do so I already had a set up I was comfortable with, I just miss the banter and everyone’s beautiful faces 😛

Wayne Manor aka Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, UK