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  • Interviews and Storytelling: Jake Holden

     

    [TRACK 1]

    TONY WRIGHT:

    You’ve…..Jake, you’ve just finished a degree.  What was that degree in?

     

    JAKE HOLDEN:

    It was in Computer Games Art.

     

    TW:

    Computer Games Art.

     

    JH:

    Yeah.

     

    TW:

    So what did that actually entail then?

     

    JH:

    As you can imagine it was like the art side of things as like, did little or almost nothing to do with the kind of science and the maths behind what was going on, including AI and things like that, and….it was mainly just the pictures really; it was about the visuals, but….you’re asked to think and be interested in games and interested in all aspects of games, so from the design and light implementation, light concepting, the art…..I am interested in the science behind it as well but I don’t want to specialise in it and the future of games I suppose.

     

    TW:

    Right. So basically you’ve studied like the rendering of images in a way and different ways to make an object; say you had a ball and you wanted it to look smooth or shiny or rough or….things dripping on it, so you’d learn all the different technical aspects of how to reproduce those effects

     

    JH:

    Yeah, I suppose within….within the software there’s quite a lot of…..technical knowledge that you have to know about, but really it comes down to….we do a lot of traditional art as well although it’s optional, but….yeah kind of going to the life drawing classes and learning like…..how to replicate texture in a drawing or on…on the computer, it’s just about observation at the end of the day.

     

    TW:

    Right.  So…..using modern technology to create……effects…..well, that would be produced in other ways shall we say.

     

    JH:

    Yeah, and the big one for…..because I’m mainly interested in character development and design, and there’s a software called Zedbrush and it’s like using…..sculpting with clay but it’s like digital clay, so as you use your tablet with the pen and you stroke on it, it’s like adding layers or subtracting layers of clay and you can…..because….it’s digital you can go in and there’s like almost anything about the detail, you can get right down to the skin pores and stuff; it kind of makes some things very easy like that and….I’m amazed at the people who do it hands on with like clay sometimes, these little clay figurines that’s just got amazing amounts of detail on there, but you know, that’s all about their kind of dexterity and just like the finesse, like really skilful, and it takes some of that away but you can push it even further with the digital stuff I suppose; you can take detail to another level, you know, if you want to

     

    TW:

    So where do you think this will take you?  What kind of work of job will you get out of this?

     

    JH:

    I’m really interested in like…..I don’t like games as a means of kind of escaping the real world; I want games to…..to help promote what we actually have around us and to engage with like our natural surroundings…..still trying to figure out how….how it’s gonna happen, but…..my brother’s doing some interesting things in Newcastle and trying to get people….I think with the GPS thing in conjunction with like….like social interaction and game interaction, and getting people to meet each other face to face which is what a lot of games take away from, you know, a gaming experience, you get people sat in their room and they might meet people on-line but they might be chatting on their microphone and texting each other, but…..you know, as humans we have so much more senses you know, we can smell and we can like….we can taste and touch and to bring that into a kind of….a context where games and interactivity are being held together, and you’re exploring….exploring the world around you and finding…finding out new places and kind of the magic of the world through the magic of technology I suppose, yeah.

     

    TW:

    So would you want to work for a company or….set up your own kind of projects the way that Simon has?

     

    JH:

    Yeah, the idea….next year I want to try and start up my own company with a few of my post graduate friends and….see how that goes, but I would….I’d love to work for a couple of companies that you know, are involved in the games industry;  some kind of the indie developers, because even to work for some of the games that inspired me to do what I do today, even though they’re kind of commercial companies some of them, the…..the artists they have there, they’re incredibly talented and you know, they get told what to do by the publishers and sometimes it is…..it’s a very commercial kind of world and it can take a lot of the…..the kind of magic out of it, but the amount of like skills that you just learn from being in that environment with those people who just….

     

    TW:

    So you’d look at it from the creative aspect of learning things rather than looking at the ethical aspect of what the company was actually doing?

     

    JH

    Yeah, I mean I’d have to, I couldn’t…..especially for on-line I would not….I wouldn’t work for an on-line games company that was just about you know, subscriptions and getting as many people to learn a game as possible when that’s all that’s ……like this never ending game.  I’m really interested in stories in games as well and that’s why I want to promote people’s stories through interacting with games, but….they have these games where it’s like never ending, it’s just infinite and I think it’s a scam really because they can be addictive and….I don’t know, I don’t think it’s productive, I don’t think you learn about yourself and where you lie in the world, you just get drawn into…..this other world, and you know, you kind of meet people out there and they do have like their positive points definitely, but I wouldn’t….morally, I wouldn’t work for one of those companies.

     

    TW:

    Right.  Were you born in Hebden Bridge?

     

    JH:

    Yeah I was born and raised here.

     

    TW:

    And you went away…what, was it to Newcastle to study?

     

    JH:

    Middlesbrough.

     

    TW:

    Middlesbrough, right – get it right!  So now that you’re back here, are you thinking of staying here or….to get your ideas going and develop what you wanna do, do you think you’d have to go somewhere else?

     

    JH:

    Yeah….growing up in Hebden Bridge definitely….not sure……like coming back, especially from Middlesbrough which is like ex industrial town and it’s got not a very big kind of natural….no natural kind of surroundings and…..I don’t know…..that affects the pupil and stuff, but coming back here I realised that Hebden is a beautiful place but again growing up here, it’s got a strange like stigma to me; it’s like the…..the comfort of being home and being in this very like familiar place with….the kind of community and knowing…..knowing the people around here….I don’t know, it doesn’t…I feel like I need to move on and move out, and be inspired by other places and maybe come back to Hebden Bridge when I’m…..when I’m a bit older, but yeah, I think I want to keep that motivation of moving forward and moving on; I think….there are times when you’re kind of anchored in a certain place and you know, you kind of grow there and change but I don’t feel like there’s…..much room for kind of change in Hebden Bridge.

     

    TW:

    So I mean has Hebden Bridge changed from when you were a little lad to….you’re growing up now, I mean that will be twenty-odd years won’t it?

     

    JH:

    Yeah.

     

    TW:

    How has that change happened now….for you?

     

    JH:

    Yeah for me……I…it’s funny cos obviously you see the people that you grew up with and it’s really good, I like to see the people that move on and the people that have moved out and gone to university, or whatever, and moved to cities….and…..moved round the world…….but…..yeah it’s kind of sad to see those people, familiar faces that you grew up with and…I don’t know….they’re just in a job that you know they’re…..they’re not really passionate about or they’re….they’re taking a lot of drugs or….drinking far too much and….yeah, kind of stuck in the kind of comforts of this small…..small town kind of syndrome……for me, yeah, I like to try and keep….I don’t know….the sense of community because Hebden’s growing and there’s more money, it’s like…it’s becoming a bit more stretched I think and it has got a lot going on and it’s still got that diversity……don’t know, but I think everyone can kind of help to inject a bit of like life and colour into…..everyone’s lives

     

    TW:

    I mean if you’re into….you know, community, and community is basically people interacting and if that’s becoming less then you need more people to interact for it to go a little bit back to what it was, so….you have to just be here to do that sort of thing don’t you

     

    JH:

    Yeah

     

    TW:

    So, there’s two ways of looking at it I suppose from that point of view.  Anyway that’s all I wanted to ask about really, unless there’s anything else you wanted to say that I haven’t asked about.

     

    JH:

    No, that’s it.

     

    TW:

    Okay well we’ll stop that then.  Thank you very much

     

    JH:

    Okay.

     

    TW:

    Both of you.

     

    JH:

    Cheers.

     

    [END OF TRACK 1]

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Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

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