Meet The Developer – Jessica Horton

Today, we’re going to talk with Jessi, a member of our art team located at our Tacoma office. We reached out to ask her to share a little bit about who she is and what she does here at IllFonic.

Hi Jessi! Could you introduce yourself and tell us what you do at IllFonic?

I’m Jessi, and I work as an environment artist on Predator: Hunting Grounds. 

Was working in video games something you’ve always wanted to do, or was it something you pivoted towards later on?

I have always loved video games, but I had a hard time deciding what to do with my life and originally went to school for biology and technical theatre. After being told I would have to be stuck to a rigid schedule of classes for 6 years, and realizing I wasn’t happy, I dropped out and changed my major to art, with a concentration in interactive design. From there I got into actually making games, and enjoyed it enough to pursue it as a career. 

What’s been the coolest thing you’ve worked on professionally? 

I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects, with Blacklight: Retribution and Predator: Hunting Grounds, have been the most interesting so far. Blacklight because of the setting and effects involved, and Predator because it’s the Predator.

What’s the best part about helping bring a game to life?

Probably knowing that I contributed to something that others enjoy. 

(Predator: Hunting Grounds - Backwater) Jessi’s work includes placing foliage and polishing up areas of the Jungles in Predator: Hunting Grounds to make the maps feel vibrant and immersive.

You said earlier that you have always loved video games, so what was the first console and game you really played?

My first console was the NES, and I think it might be a tie between Mario and Ninja Turtles for most played game. 

And are there any games that you have spent just way too much time playing? 

Probably Borderlands, or Warframe. Both are games I can go back to and enjoy for hours at a time, or for just a short while when I have the time. 

Do you have any hobbies outside of gaming?

I have too many really. I like to doodle and paint, read, make random crafty things, make chocolates and candies, as well as cook and bake. Really anything to keep me busy. 

When working with art, what is your favorite medium?

My favorite medium changes from time to time. I like digital in that it’s much easier to fix mistakes, but when I take a break from 3D modeling I am currently a big fan of watercolors, ink and fine line pens. 

When you’re working in digital, what kind of tools do you like to use?

Generally I use Autodesk Maya, ZBrush, Substance Painter and Unreal’s built in tools.

(Predator: Hunting Grounds - Overgrowth) In Overgrowth, every area that the player runs through has some of Jessi’s personal touch to it

What’s your favorite thing about working at IllFonic?

It’s a pretty laid back and open place to work. It isn’t unusual to have a discussion about what we are working on, processes we are using and even day to day whatever with anyone from a fellow artist all the way up to Chuck. You never have to worry about asking a question or giving a suggestion, which isn’t always the norm elsewhere.

Has the working from home experience impacted your work? How do you feel about it?

Working from home hasn’t really impacted me too much in terms of my work. If anything I work more than I probably would otherwise because it is easy enough to get up and get right to work. A big upside is I get to hang out with my dogs while I am working. There is usually one under my desk on my feet and another close by, and when I need a mental break they are there for immediate cuddles.