QD & ME – ARMELLE BAUER – ANIMATION ENGINEER
Quantic Dream: Please introduce yourself! What’s your name, where are you from, and what is your role at QD?
Hi, my name is Armelle Bauer, I am an Animation Engineer. I was born and raised in the verdant Doubs department in eastern France, although I moved around France a lot for my studies.
QD: How did you come to work in the video games industry? Was it a lifelong dream, or did you luckily stumble into it?
By chance, I would say, but I think that talking about the path that brought me here will be more interesting in my case. A long, long time ago – in high school – I don’t remember how or why I decided to work in IT, but I wanted to be a developer. So, I did a science degree, and then, instead of going to an engineering school, I wanted to go to university. I did a Bachelor’s degree in computer science to start building my knowledge. As I have a strong taste for cinema and computer graphics, I went to Strasbourg in the east part of France to continue my studies in computer science, particularly in everything related to images. During my Master’s degree, I learned the basics of drawing curves and volumes on the screen, how light works, etc. My desire to learn then led me to Grenoble in the southeast part of France for a thesis. That’s where I started working on the great subject of animation! I also developed a real passion for anatomy. The link? My thesis subject was the creation of an anatomical mirror: we see ourselves in real-time, we can move and observe how the different anatomical entities (muscles, bones, organs) move and deform.
From there, I entered the world of work. First, for a while, I worked in a very ambitious start-up that developed a real-time tool for cinema. And then was Quantic Dream, my first video game studio. I chose it because I wanted to work on real-time technologies. I was looking for a company with a large R&D team to continue working on animation-related issues. In one year, I have already learned a lot about this subject. It is a great experience that I highly recommend!
QD: Let’s talk about your job at Quantic Dream! Could you elaborate more on your role, and the role of your team?
The Game Logic team’s role is to provide technical solutions on a wide range of subjects such as physics, gameplay, and animation. These solutions meet the needs of artists and allow them to express their creativity by exploiting the potential of the tools offered to create our games.
Among all these subjects, I am part of a small group working on the bricks related to animation, especially locomotion. For example, I worked on the technical bricks used for the Motion Kits, which the artists use to define a character’s behaviour according to its actions; for example, making the character walk in a certain way if he is injured or tired. I also worked on algorithms in conjunction with the Artificial Intelligence team to allow non-playable characters to arrive at a specific location while ensuring a set of constraints such as posture or arrival speed. In video games, the limitations and technical needs related to animation are numerous. There are still a lot of subjects to deal with, a lot of ideas to develop, and that’s what makes this job exciting every day.
QD: Tell us more about the members of your team. Any fun story to share?
I haven’t been at the studio very long, but my impression is of a group of talented people who are very knowledgeable about their subjects. Everyone is open to discussing their job and their passions. It’s a very stimulating work environment that helps to evolve and grow. For the anecdotes, you’ll have to come back in a few years ^^
QD: Can you describe to us a typical day for you? Does a typical day even exist for you?
In the end, I often do the same thing: we are given a problem to solve, we find algorithms to solve it, we implement them, and then we check that they correct the problem in all cases or that they don’t create another one. Then we have a coffee and start again! All of this is complemented by a lot of very enriching discussions. The exciting part is that the problems to be dealt with are always different. Finding solutions to problems or new needs and continuing to learn are the two things that motivate me most and make this job exciting.
QD: What are your external inspirations that are reflected in your job?
In computer science, things evolve very quickly; it is essential to always look at what others are doing to see the possibilities and not be outdated. In order not to remain stuck in my ways, I also take part in code competitions from time to time. I am constantly learning and improving.
QD: Be careful, BIG question… What are your favourite games?
I’m more of a board game person, but I would say Alice: Madness Returns or Dishonored. I first look for a visual universe and interesting settings when I start a game.
QD: Tell us more about your hobbies outside of work.
Difficult question! I’m one of those people who never have time to do everything they want because there are so many things that interest them. I like to garden, cook, go to the museum, the cinema, go swimming, diving, walk… I do aquatic biology in my spare time to feed my passion for natural sciences and enjoy my dives.
QD: All right! What does your perfect Friday night look like?
Being a homebody, I would say a good meal, a book, and a cup of tea in front of the fireplace. A good evening to rest from the week and start the weekend well.
QD: Do you have a message for our readers?
It is essential to have goals in life and to keep moving forward to achieve them, even if they seem unattainable. And when it is challenging to keep going, it is sometimes crucial to look back. Memento mori.
QD: Final question! Chocolate cake or Fruit pie?
Fruit pie, without hesitation; there are so many fruits and many ways to mix them that you could easily eat a different one every day.