Inside the Vault: Daniel Lee

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Since we’re actively looking for interns, I thought we’d do our next Q&A with a former art intern, Daniel Lee. Dan was part of the Oblivion intern class who helped us down the final stretch. Our games are big so we rely on the extra manpower that interns provide. Dan is now a full time artist, working on Fallout 3.

What’s your job at Bethesda?

I’m an Environment Artist. Since I’ve been here I’ve made models varying from teal mushroom trees to utility poles and electricity pylons. Or as Mr. Todd Howard once said “things that reach into the sky”. In addition to that I will also handle some of the fonts used throughout our games.

What other games have you worked on?

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and the Shivering Isles expansion are my only two shipped titles.

What is the best part about being an artist? The worst part?

The best part would be being able to directly affect the look of the game (hopefully in a positive way). The worst parts would be the hours I put in and those days when the creative juices just aren’t flowing.

How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?

I was hired directly from my internship here about 9 months before Oblivion shipped. I have two pieces of advice for anyone looking to “break-in”. First, get any experience you can, even if you can’t get an internship, there are lots of homebrew projects out there that need help. This will help you hone your skills and get your feet wet with working with a team of people. You will also forge connections which leads into my second tip. As common sense as it may be, I cannot stress the importance of networking enough. The industry is very competitive and knowing the right people can keep your resume from getting lost in the sea of applicants and give you a head’s up about upcoming openings.

What is it like working there?

The people are great and it’s quite an opportunity to be able to work on AAA titles. Plus, working underground means that we’ll be shielded from the brunt of a nuclear blast.

How many games do you own, including game systems? What was the first system you ever owned?

I own 782 games, two NES’s, a Super NES, a Genesis with Sega CD and 32X attatchments, a Sega Nomad, a GameBoy Pocket, a Sega Saturn with VCD card, two Nintendo64s, five Dreamcasts, two PlayStation 2s, two Gamecubes (both with Broadband Adapters and one with a GameBoy Player, a GameBoyAdvance Sp, a Nintendo Ds, a Nintendo DS Lite, two Xbox 360s, a Wii, and a PC. I tried to put that in chronological order based on memory, apologize if I’m wrong. My first game console was the classic Nintendo Entertainment System.


What would you say is your personal favorite game of all time?

Wow, that’s a hard one. I’m going to cheat and pick two: Mega Man 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Who made you those awesome Mega Man cupcakes for your birthday?

My awesome girlfriend Natalie.

Any other hobbies and interests? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Well, with so many video games to play, long hours at work, doing art on my own time, AND having a girlfriend, I have very little time to do much else. When that does occur though I’ll use that time to study some Japanese. I also used to be quite fond of rock climbing, though I haven’t done it in years.

Reader Comments

  1. recurring theme from these awesome interviews: LONG HOURS.

    not that it’s a surprise to anyone who’s followed game-dev from the outside looking in (like me). as a corporate IT/programmer dude with a penchant for creative writing, i’ve pondered numerous times trying to break into writing for game devs. but hooooooo-boy, those hours! not sure my wife and kid would like that too much. sacrifices, i guess, right?

  2. You’re still a nerd man! Just found this on here when I was killing time at work. Finally, someone who beats me on game consoles!

    Say hey to Ryan for me!


  3. Why do you guys NEVER ask if the guys played the orginal Fallout 1 and 2? I mean, why is it so hard? Please, include this question on the next interviews. Thanks.