Living the dream.
An Australian content creator has done something that not many others have accomplished since the rise of video sites like YouTube. When Brad ‘Professor FatShady‘ Hill started producing tutorial videos for the Trials series many years ago, he had no idea that one day he would be a part of the development team in which he would be helping to create their latest game. Stevivor had the opportunity to speak to Hill about his journey and how it begun all those years back.
“In 2010 I started getting involved with the Trials community a bit more,” Hill said. “I did some work on a few secrets that were hidden within Trials HD. I’ve written articles and made videos about those riddles, and it was through that process that I met the developers and built the relationship through that avenue, while also being a very passionate fan.”
“Separate to that, where they almost kind of converge – one of my goals was to be the best at Trials on my friends list. When you play there is a leaderboard which makes it a competitive game, and once I started to get good that was my goal, to go through every single track and be the best on my friends list. And gradually my friends started reaching out and asking if I could teach them how to play.”
“At around 2011, I made some videos with my phone pointing at a computer screen and talking as I went through checkpoint by checkpoint, just teaching a friend of mine how to get through a track. And then about 6 months later I was approached by Ubisoft to make some videos. I already had this idea in my head about teaching people how to play the game, it was something that I was passionate about. I had learnt a lot about the game and I wanted to give that back to this amazing community, so I created the University of Trials which was in 2013,” Hill said.
“After a couple of years it was about October 2016 when Ubisoft said that they were working on this new project and wanted to know if I was interested in doing the tutorials. For me I wanted to teach people about the depth of the game and get them past that initial difficult phase so they can appreciate the rest of the game. My goal is to try and make more fans of Trials.”
With Ubisoft approaching Hill to work on the in-game tutorials for Trials Rising, he was given a lot of free space to create his vision of how those tracks would be presented within the game.
“I had a couple of months to think about it and formulate my own ideas and perspective,” Hill said. I looked at the previous games, I looked at other games, and I did a bit of research so that I had an idea of what I wanted to do.”
“I got to go to their studio for a week in late 2016 and meet with a few of the developers where I had a whole bunch of workshops. At the end of the week I had to pitch back to the development team about how I thought the tutorials should work in the game. I was given the green light because that is a direction that they wanted to head in. We then spent the past 2 years iterating on that, writing scripts, and designing the tracks.”
“I got to create the driving lines of the tracks, all of the gaps and the angles, the grading, the voice acting – it was obviously a team effort but they gave me a lot of control and ability to influence all of the way through. I really felt like part of the team, not just like a little novelty thing on the side – it was core to what they wanted to deliver.”
While Hill is based in Australia, the development team behind the Trials series RedLynx, resides out of Finland. We asked Hill how he goes about working with them considering they are on the other side of the world and he has other responsibilities to attend to.
“Logistically as a parent, and someone who works full-time, the only time that I get to do this apart from the odd day off work or taking leave, is really between the hours of 9pm and 1am,” Hill said.
“The time where I am normally gaming I had to stop a lot of that, but I’ve been working on this stuff when there have been deliverables. It’s really been about using that time so I can have Skype calls, and with video conferencing it has been fairly easy. I’ve also been to the studio in Helsinki now about 7 times – I think I’ve lost count.”
At this stage Hill has mostly wrapped up his work on Trials Rising. He doesn’t currently know if he’ll be brought back on for any post launch content, but Professor FatShady has plans to make his return to creating videos for his channel.
“I can say this honestly because I have zero visibility to what their plans are post launch,” Hill said. Our focus has just been to get to this point, I’ve not had a conversation with them about anything else. If something comes up then I am open to it.”
“But to segue to your other question, on my content creation side I’ve slowed down significantly over the last 12 months in particular. Simply because all of my available time has been working on this project. Now that my involvement has stopped I am starting to focus on the content creation side again. I’m already working on a number of things to schedule for when release happens.”
“I’ll go back to what my channel is known for, which is detailed tutorials on the harder tracks. I’ll be giving some behind the scenes looks of different events that I’ve been to, or a few videos which may not come out for a while that show my interactions with the development team. Another thing that I do is feature a lot of community content. I play other people’s tracks and highlight them to my audience. I really try to not only build a community around my content, but a community around the game to get people to enjoy it more.”