Team Interview – Game Artist! Injured vet finds healing in digital art and basketball

Dave Desjardins, Afghanistan 2003
Dave Desjardins, Afghanistan 2003
Dave Desjardins
Dave Desjardins

Dave Desjardins, Afghanistan 2003


What do highland fencing & 17th century musketry have in common with designing video games? Not a whole lot, unless you’re the guy in the kilt.

A 15-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who served multiple tours in Afghanistan and the Balkans, Dave Desjardins never expected to be part of a team developing a video game. Now he’s a 2D/3D concept artist and military advisor for Cold Furnace Studios.

Atrocity: Field of Hands is an action/shooter game that throws the player directly into the chaos of an armed conflict, and it’s based on a real historical event. Dave has direct combat experience that makes him uniquely positioned to create the realistic artwork that will guarantee the game’s authenticity.

“From military equipment to environmentals, we’re creating a game that’s totally grounded in reality,” Dave said in a recent interview.

Dave also has a real penchant for military history, and teaches both highland fencing and 17th century musketry. He isn’t actually of Scottish descent (he’s French-Indian), and the muskets really do fire.

This Ottawa native is also busy training for the Invictus Games as a member of Team Canada, which Toronto is hosting in September 2017. Founded by Prince Harry in 2014, the games involve athletes, either military or veterans, from 17 different countries who have suffered some sort of injury, physical or otherwise, as a result of their service. Dave is the team mentor for the wheelchair basketball team.

Serving 5 years as an artilleryman and 10 as a member of the military police, Dave was released with physical injuries that left him in a wheelchair. He started playing wheelchair basketball through Soldier On, a Canadian Armed Forces program that promotes rehabilitation for veterans through sports.

“It’s been really instrumental in my rehab, both physically and mentally,” he said.

The artwork has been therapeutic too.

David Desjardins


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