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Art Director of Shadow of War Shares His Experience and Challenges of the Project

Matthew Allen, technical art director Monolith, gave an interview about his experience working on Middle-earth: Shadow of War. He loves working on shaders and he works on it a bit too much. That’s when he thought of something that changed everything he works for.

Allen created a bit of bottleneck in his work routine. He focused himself for working on game shaders for Shadow of War. Since he loved writing codes he couldn’t devote enough time to his other duties to pace up the production. Then to solve that issue, he removed the bottleneck himself.

He met a girl who also liked working on shaders. So he immediately hired her and started focusing on other tasks of Shadow of War, such as the synchronization of 40,000 dialogue lines with facial animations of orcs. The girl he hired wrote almost all the shaders in the game.

Allen believed that  people make break through and revelations by pushing their boundaries. Even if it’s making themselves obsolete. The game’s project wouldn’t have been completed in due time if he had not hired that lady staff for coding shaders.

Since he was now having extra time when he stopped working on shaders only, he utilized the remaining time to work on other areas of the game that badly needed improvements. If he was still doing shaders in middle-earth Shadow of War, those crucial areas of programming would have suffered quality and pacing issues.

He also talked about how shifting of responsibilities is crucial to success since you’re not stuck on the same problem and looking for new problems to solve. He was given this advice by Samantha Ryan from WB games, when he asked her, laughingly, when will he be fired?

He concluded the interview saying always look for new problems and look for people to help you solve them.  The whole point of the job is constantly solving problems, the same we did in Shadow of War, so every day you can sort of learn something new, solve a new problem.”