On December, 5th a new element, the ArtQA, was added to the Lesta Studio Art Department’s work flow. The idea of creating a structure that would consult artists and secure the historical accuracy of the models and their technical and technological parameters, was not a new one. In fact, it was derived from our Kiev colleagues in Рersha Studio.
The first lead of the department was Urmas Laul. Currently he occupies the position of leading project engineer, in charge of the so-called “paperships”, the vessels that never hit the waters and existed only as drafts or sketches. Urmas once worked as a chief constructor in a Marine Engineering Bureau and possesses huge experience in civilian shipbuilding. Together with the head of the Art Department, Vladimir Gremistkiy, they both became teachers for all the young ArtQA specialists. A major part of our team had never dealt with the shipbuilding industry; that’s why we had to devote a lot of time and efforts to get up to speed.
The process of learning was ceaseless. We constantly ran into something new to soak and get used to. It was a hard time both mentally and physically and initially, there might have been a hint of antipathy between artists and the newbies from ArtQA.
Every department has its own specifics. In the case of the ArtQA, this is represented by the fact that not all people have a clue what our mission is. People tend to defend their works from criticism, often in spite of constructive arguments, yet criticism is one of the main tools of ArtQA specialists. You should also understand that our criticism exists for the sake of our mutual project. This is why we even came up with our own proverb: “It’s nothing personal, just ArtQA”.
As time passed, we got more and more experienced and the department also expanded. Currently there are seven people working for it. The specialization of ArtQA is pretty narrow, we aren’t responsible for LODS, props airplanes or anything like that. Our subjects are simply the ships and their equipment.
Let me discourage you from thinking that 7 people is an excessive number for this job. Ships are very complex objects that demand a lot of attention. Normally, a destroyer requires up to 40 hours of quality checks. In the case of an aircraft carrier, this term extends to between 55 and 60 hours.
The whole process is split into 5 parts:
1. Initial setup checks. This section involves the examination of drafts and seeing if features are accurately arranged.
2. Hull checks. This stage includes consistency checks between the model’s hull design and historical sources.
3. Examination of settings. This part involves checks for consistency between reference data and current settings, elements and mechanisms.
4. Next is the examination of miscellaneous objects. This part includes checks of various equipment arrangements based on the reference data.
5. The examination of texture aspects. Here we examine the display accuracy for various technical elements on our ship models like portholes, rivets, electrical wiring etc.
Basically this is the sequence that a ship goes through when it is handed over to our department in order to be checked. Frequently, some of the checks are performed simultaneously or, vice versa, split into several parts. For instance, stages 3 and 4 are checked at the same time as they are mutually dependent. Texture quality checks are usually fragmented, as separate hull accuracy checks save a lot of time for the next steps. Usually ArtQA specialists check each step twice. In a case where three or more checks are needed, the situation becomes subject to an “investigation” aimed at removing such necessities in the future.
The ArtQA department secures the highest quality of our ships. There is anecdotal evidence that we’re infected by an incurable sickness called “perfectionism”, though, in our case, this is more a normal state than some sort of deviation. This how we work – keeping the quality ultimate. You may see the motto that we stick to in the “Mission” section on our portal: “We deliver legendary online games. Globally. With passion.” This approach allows us to always keep ahead of the game.
The battle for quality begins right at the moment when we get the task to check an item. It involves the mind and habits of the artist himself. Controlling production levels and securing this tradition are the most important aspects of our duty and the shortest way to a disciplined work ethic.
It should be noted that this approach is very effective. The minimization of errors during the production process saves us a lot of time.
Of course some collisions between artists and ArtQA specialists are inevitable but are successfully overcome due to our mutual efforts. Realizing common problems and looking for solutions helps us to interact constructively. Having a common goal and desire to make a quality product will surely deal with any sort of troubles that are in our way.
Essentially we stick to two concepts in our job:
“Diligence and vitality”
Thanks for reading!
PS. Do not be afraid to make some mistakes, we will keep you in check.