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Interview: Bill Tiller (english)

del 27 Luglio 2006
Interview: Bill Tiller (english)

A cura di Adriano Bizzoco

GENERAL

D: Hi Bill, it's an honour for us. Could you tell us something about you, and Autumn Moon Entertainment, your brand new team?


R: My name is Bill Tiller and I’m 38 years old. I live in California with my wife and family. I’ve been an artist practically all my life, since I was a kid. I’m a big fan of horror movies, science fiction, fantasy, and that sort of thing. I’m also a big fan of games and used to played tons and tons of Dungeons and Dragons. I was always the DM and always making my own games. When I got a computer back in 1982, I started programming my own games. So in a sense, I’ve been an artist and game maker for a long time.

In 1988, I got accepted to California Institute of the Arts, which is a great school. They accepted people based on their artistic ability not their grades, which really helped me because I didn’t have great grades. I wasn’t very good at studying. I joined the character animation program there. That was great because it was taught by real Disney animators and artists that worked in the field. Some of my teachers are well-known names in the animation industry today, like the late, great Joe Ranft, Mike Giammo, and Chris Buck, the director of Tarzan. A lot of my classmates are now movie directors in the animation industry. So that was a very, very influential period in my life where I just learned how to make animated movies, how to tell visual stories, and how to be a much better artist. After that part of my education was done, I got a second part to my education working at LucasArts. I got there and learned about computer games, computer game production, how to make adventure games - comedy adventure games, serious adventure games. I learned form the likes of Brian Moriarty, Bill Eaken, Anson Jew, Hal Barwood, Steve Purcell, Collette Michaud, Larry Ahern and Jonathan Ackley. Just endless and talented people. By making these games, I learned what to do and what not to do and how to make a good LucasArts-style adventure game.

Adventure games combine everything I like all into one. I like animated movies, Disney movies. I love illustrations, especially the Hildebrandt brothers, and fantasy illustrations. And I really like computer games. I’ve been playing adventure games since Zork, The Dark Crystal Adventure, and Leisure Suit Larry.

So, I worked at LucasArts for about nine years. I worked on a few adventure games: The Dig, under both Brian Moriarty and then Sean Clark, Curse of Monkey Island; the more action based game, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine. And I worked on an earlier version of Full Throttle 2 which was going to be an action adventure called Full Throttle 2: Payback. That project was scrapped and later a new version, Full Throttle 2: Hell on Wheels was released. So once LucasArts stopped making adventure games, I left the company only to find most of the game industry doing sequels and licensed products, rather than original titles. I’ve had this idea for doing A Vampyre Story since 1995 and there didn’t seem to be any companies out there that I wanted to work for that would do it. So I decided to form my own company and make the game myself.

My team is made up of mostly former LucasArts people and industry vets. My lead programmer is Aaron St. John, who was a game designer at Monolith in Seattle and a programmer and now he’s formed his own company, Golden Goose Games. They’ll be doing our engine for us and helping with game design. Our lead artist is Bill Eaken and he’s famous for working on Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - he was the lead artist on that. He was also the original lead artist on The Dig while working with Brian Moriarty and he did the backgrounds for Secret of Monkey Island. He and I will be doing the backgrounds. We got Paul Mica to design a lot of our characters. Paul Mica worked at LucasArts for a long time and also worked at Pixar doing character design. He’s done a great job. Anson Jew is our storyboard artist and he will be doing some character designs too. He worked at LucasArts on the Monkey Island games, the Fate of Atlantis, Curse of Monkey Island. He’s a great animator, great storyboard artist and very good character designer.

Craig Rundels will be doing character models and he’s done some excellent ones for us already. We also have Dave Harris helping with writing and game design. He also worked at LucasAts. My wife, Amy Tiller, was a Production Coordinator at LucasArts and has been helping with the production of this game. Tony Burquez, who did the Yoda’s Helpdesk is doing our web site. That’s our team for now. We’re doing pre-production work right now so we’re not fully staffed. We’re probably going to use former LucasArts people for sound editing and voice track. We’ll be hiring more animators and modelers in the future. We’ll have our full team of about 10 people in the next few months.


A VAMPYRE STORY

D: We have just learned that A Vampyre Story will be published worldwide. Could you introduce us in the game world and atmosphere and especially Mona, the main character?

R: Well the game world is a cartoony, fantastic version of eastern European areas like Transylvania that were the basis for a lot of movies like Frankenstein and Dracula, especially a lot of movies in the 1940s and 1950s. But it’s more whimsical, more colorful. It’s creepy, but harmlessly scary - sort of like Nightmare Before Christmas. Kind of a creepy location but kind of fun. The characters in the world are all good people, just extremely flawed which makes things interesting and sometimes very funny. The game takes place in the country of Draxylvania, which is a fictitional version of Transylvania. It has a lot of monsters, superstition, black magic, gypsies and that sort of thing. Draxylvania is in the mountains and has beautiful Romanian architecture and village settings and castles. It’s a fun place to explore and adventure. The main character you play in the game is Mona de Lafite. She is a young 18 year old (or at least when she died she was 18 years old) opera singer who was about to graduate from a prestigious opera academy in Paris when she caught the attention of an obsessed vampire lover who seduced her, kidnapped her, and turned her into a vampire. He now keeps her captive in Castle Warg which is on an island in the middle of a lake.

Mona is a very determined but very naive, proper woman who doesn’t want to be a vampire. She doesn’t want to be evil, doesn’t want to do anything evil. All she wants to do is get back home and pursue her very promising career as an opera singer. She wants to be on stage. She wants to perform and she wants to sing. She really doesn’t care anything about vampires or werewolves or anything like that. All she knows is that some sort of curse has been cast on her and now she has some weird magical powers. Shrowdy, her vampire master, has control over her and keeps her captive. She’s very depressed and unhappy and doesn’t want to be here. She’s very lonely and her only friend is a bat named Froderick that she helped out. Now they are friends and keep each other company. So when she finally gets an opportunity to escape, she immediately takes it and the game picks up right there.

She isn’t the smartest, most clever woman in the world at all. In fact she’s not interested in reading books or studying. But what she is interested in, is doing anything and everything she needs to do in order to succeded and escape Shrowdy’s castle and Draxylvania. That’s the goal of A Vampyre Story - for Mona to escape Draxylvania and get to Paris. And she’ll do anything she needs to accomplish that. She’s a very proper, polite woman of Parisian society. She’s very nice and wants to do good and wants to help people out. But if they cross her, a little bit of the dark side of her that’s now a vampire will pop up and you’ll see the more aggressive and scary side of her appear. It’s doesn’t happen that often. She doesn’t want to do it. But it happens on rare occasion. She has a sense that she possesses some new powers and feels she should try to use them for good. She doesn’t want to drink anyone’s blood, but she’ll do it if she has to. She’ll never do it to kill them. She’ll never purposefully kill anybody. But the Fates and villains conspire against her and she gets sucked into a bigger story and a bigger plot and does her best to get through it and do the right thing.

D: What kind of gameplay we'll find in a Vampyre Story? Can we expect an old style adventure game (a Monkey Island 3 interface, perhaps?) or something different? In which way the fact that Mona is a vampire could influence the overall experience?

R: Yes, the game will be very much like Monkey Island 3, very much like a LucasArts adventure game. The big difference will be that Mona is a vampire and she has vampire powers. She starts off naive about her vampire powers. She only starts off with the first power of turning into a bat. Later she learns how to bite necks and drain people’s blood. In the sequel we’re hoping to expand her powers even more to weather control and hypnotism. But right now in this game, she’ll start off with the ability to turn into a bat and later will drain people of blood to the point where they pass out. But on the other side, she is a vampire and has vampire restrictions. She can’t cross running water which keeps her trapped in Castle Warg, which is on an island in a lake. She can’t go near a religious cross, she can’t go near garlic, she can’t go into a house unless she’s invited into it. She has to sleep in a coffin at night and the coffin has to be filled with dirt from her grave. And she has to drink blood. Even though Mona has extra powers that help solve puzzles, she has more puzzles to solve because she’s a vampire and has a lot more restrictions.

The puzzles will be very similar to Curse of Monkey Island. There will be a few arcade puzzles, not too many. It’s not an action game so Mona won’t be doing any jumping or shooting or leaping or anythiing like that. She’ll be solving puzzles. There will be a lot of dialogue puzzles, quests, helping people out, getting involved in a lot of things, lots of exploration and that sort of puzzle stuff that anybody who’s a fan of LucasArts adventure games should expect.

D: Ok, Bill Tiller is the lead project of A Vampyre Story and this is a proof of quality. But, other than that why a customer should buy a Vampyre Story? What are his peculiarities?

R: Because there haven’t been any games that I’m aware of that are comedy, animated adventures where one person plays a vampire. There are action games or serious games but nothing like this that I’m aware of. So I think people should buy it not only for the art, obviously, but also for the story. They should buy it for the story, the humor and for the puzzles. The overall experience is going to be very enjoyable. The atmosphere is going to be nice. The music will be nice. You’re going to explore the really cool, fantastical environment of Draxylvania which is set in a gothic horror genre that a lot of people like.

But it’s done in a very whimsical and fantastical way, sort of like Nightmare Before Christmas. So I think people should buy the game if they’re interested in a character that has so many odds stacked against her and so many things working against her and she overcomes them to escape. It’s an interesting escape story and the character is very determined. You really feel for her. You want to root for her. And it’s also kind of fun to be a vampire and have vampire powers and explore a very fun, cool environment and be in a cool horror story plot. It’s going to have a lot of funny jokes, a lot of homages as well as puns. It will make fun of a lot of horror film genres as well as adventure game genres and other things. It should be a very entertaining game.

D: You have just signed a publishing agreement with Crimson Cow. How they persuade you to accept their offer (expecially after the awful Bad Brain experience) and what was the importance to have Bill Tiller as a leader to find the money a team needs?

R: Crimson Cow was in contact with us for a long time. Shortly after they found out that Bad Brain Entertainment and Autumn Moon were not going to be working together, they got in touch with us. We discussed the project, where it was going to go, how much money we were going to need. We negotiated for several months. Other publishers came in and were also interested. We were talking with them but ultimately we decided to go with Crimson Cow. We liked the deal they put together, we liked the feel of the company and the people we would be working with. We liked how they worked and what they wanted to see in the game. So we really felt strongly that of the several publishers we were talking to, they would be the best fit for us. They’ve been very easy to work with, very helpful, very encouraging. So we’re really happy with Crimson Cow and definitely feel like we made a good decision.

The Bad Brain experience was actually a good experience, I think. It helped me learn a lot about dealing with publishers and what to expect, especially European and German publishers. A lot of people think it was an awful experience. It was tough, for sure. But what I learned is what I really needed out of a publisher. Bad Brain did a lot of good things. They promoted the game and were 100% behind it. But they were doing other things that I didn’t feel comfortable with. So it helped me figure out what I really needed out of a publisher. It was a learning experience. It’s like going to school. You figure out what you like by doing your homework and working, making mistakes and then learning from those mistakes. So Bad Brain was a very good learning experience for us.

The fact that I was painting the backgrounds had a lot to do with the popularity of the game with fans and publishers because I think people could see the quality of the game. It gave a good sense of what the game was going to be about. It was going to be beautiful, it was going to be kind of funny and cartoony and eccentric. It just looks like, to me anyway, a fun place to explore. That’s what I wanted. I wanted to make a project that took place in an environment that I was going to walk around in a lot and enjoy looking at and being immersed in that environment. Monkey Island games and Indiana Jones games did that for me so I wanted to do the same thing, except in the horror genre. So I think a lot of publishers and adventure game fans really looked at the art and got a sense of what kind of game we were going to make. I think it had a lot of influence in how successful we were in finding a publisher.

D: It's certainly not easy to pass from The Dig's space setting to the totally different Monkey Island's piratesque feel. Now you have to deal with the vampire theme. How the idea of this kind of game come out in your minds, were you inspired from famous films, books or something else?

R: Going from The Dig to Monkey Island was tough, yes. It took a while to do it because I was in the mindset of being very realistic with the painting and with doing that kind of impressionistic colors to suddenly going cartoony. But once the ball was rolling with that cartoony style for Monkey Island I felt like it was easy, it was fun. But yeah, it did take a while to do that. With this game it’s very similar to Monkey Island as far as the art style. We’re basically drawing the same shapes, the only difference is we’re at a higher resolution. We’re 24-bit color instead of 8-bit. It’s higher res and we’re not using any pencil outlines. We’re going to paint without it. The characters aren’t going to have a cartoony outline. We feel that if we’re going to have 3D characters we should have a 3D feel to the environment. We also wanted to have an illustrative feel, similar to what you see in a Disney 2D movie or you see in a fantasy illustration.

As for where I got the idea for the game... well, I’m a big horror fan. My birthday is the day after Halloween. I was born after midnight on Halloween, so I like to consider Halloween night as my birthday. I love Halloween and anything to do with Halloween. It’s my favorite time of year. I love horror movies and monsters and that sort of thing. It was right up my alley. The way I came up with this particular story, I was on vacation in the Caribbean just before I started working on Curse of Monkey Island. I went to the Caribbean on purpose because I wanted to do a little research about it for Monkey Island. While I was on the deck of the cruise ship, I had a sketch book and started sketching up characters for fun. One of the characters I sketched up was Mona and this bat and these other monsters. I was kind of drawing them with an ink pen. One of my favorite artists is Edward Gorey and so I was trying to draw an Edward Gorey meets Disney kind of style. Edward Gorey does ink drawings of these kind of gothic horror comedy, dark humor characters. So I was kind of doing my own version of what a female vampire would look like, but I wanted to exaggerate it a little more than he did. So that’s how I came up with Mona. I named her Mona de Lafite and named her bat Froderick because that was the name that Igor had given to Frederick Frankenstein in the movie Young Frankenstein, so it was a little homage to that moive. But really I was inspired by Edward Gorey and those black and white horror movies done by Universal Studios back in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Movies like Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, Frankenstein, House of Frankenstein, that sort of thing. Also, I love comedy horror. I was a big fan of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. And I was a HUGE fan of Young Frankenstein. I just love that movie to death. I love Mel Brooks’ movies. What I loved about Young Frankenstein is that it was not making fun of the horror genre at all, it was having fun with it. It was an homage to it. You could tell Mel Brooks just loved all those aspects of those gothic horror movies – the fog, the lightning, the big castle. And the lighting – he shot the whole movie in black and white. It’s just a great movie. It’s funny and it’s a great homage to the gothic horror genre. So that was the big inspiration for me. Edward Gorey drawings, old horror movies, and Young Frankenstein.


D: When a videogame has a long development time (not for your fault, obviously) some problems tends to arise. Have you ever thought to give up with the game?

R: The game was never in full production so we have not run into any typical production problems. The only problem we’ve had is in trying to get money for the game. I was trying to get funding for my adventure game the same way a mainstream game developer would, and that was a mistake. Also, I was doing it the way an American developer would do it, which is to create a demo and pitch it to publishers who then pay you money to make the game. So I had a big learning curve on how to seek funding and how European publishers did business. We always had a lot of interest from publishers but they wanted a mostly finished product to buy from us. What we needed was money up front to make the game and that’s why it took so long.

But I never thought of giving up. There were times that I was depressed, I thought, “Oh, we’re never going to do this”. But I would just look at the game and I was confident that it was something people wanted. Fan reaction was very positive. People sent very positive emails. I never got a single negative email saying, “This game sucks. Don’t make it. Give up.” So I just kept plugging away and felt that somebody eventually would do this. Maybe we would have to change the budget or change things around, but eventually somebody would want to publish this game. Because there are too many people out there that want this game and are really looking forward to it. So thanks to the fans, I never gave up.

D: Can we expect a worldwide localization for the game? We are obviously interested to an italian version.

R: Since my role is just in creating the English language version, I’m not able to say for certain which languages the game will be in. Crimson Cow will be handling localization for other languages. I’m sure there will be German, French, and Italian language versions and other languages as well. They’ll want to get this game out to as many people as possible but I don’t have the details on that. Kai Fiebig of Crimson Cow should be able to fill you in more on what their plans are.

ADVENTURE'S WORLD

D: Speaking about adventures in general, we could say that lots of things are changed from the glorious era of The Dig and Monkey Island 3. Do you like any of the adventures of the last few years? Have you spotted some innovations or new ideas to revitalize this kind of games?

R: Yeah, there have been a lot of good adventure games in the last few years. Not as many as I’d like, but there have been good ones. Bone is a good game - Bone 2, especially. Siberia – I just loved Siberia. It was one of my favorite games. Runaway, the Westerner, all those are really great games. And I really love the retro feel to the first Tony Tough game. As far as innovation, I don’t know if adventure games really need innovation. They’re kind of good the way they are. Sometimes we try and mess around with the interface but I have to say that good, old-fashioned point and click works for me. Sometimes people get a little too cute with the interface. I don’t think you need to. There are a few things they’ve added that I think are cool. If you just tell a good story, have good art, good writing, good puzzles, I don’t think adventure games need to change or evolve into any other direction. They are what they are. And what they are is great. I don’t see the need to change them in a radical way.


D: In the last few years the adventure's developers seems to be in love with action sequences (fight, stealth ecc.). These bits are often criticized by a large part of the community. How do you feel about this changes? Do you like them or do you think they could “modify” the graphical adventure how we know them?

R: I like action games that have adventure elements in them but I am not a big fan of adventure games that have lots and lots of action. Adventure games are about being clever and solving problems without action but by using your brain. It’s nice to break up puzzles once in a while with a little arcade action or a littlle mini game. I think that’s fun. We had that in Curse of Monkey Island with the ship sailing part. We wanted to have the player portray a pirate and part of that is to sail a ship. And it was a nice break. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea so we allowed the player to skip over that part if they wanted to. Same thing with A Vampyre Story. We’re going to have a few mini games or action sequences. They won’t be that hard and you can skip over them if you want to. They won’t be a major part of the game at all, maybe 5-10%.

Why do I think publishers do that? Maybe they think the game will sell better if there’s more action. Maybe that’s true. I don’t know. I don’t want to do that. I want the game to be about solving puzzles, talking to peple, learning about the plot, seeing what you can use to help overcome a problem. Stories about great heroes don’t always focus just on the fighting. Ulysses was a great fighter but he also used his brain. Adventure games focus on that aspect of heroism, the part about being clever, not the part about being a good shot or an excellent swordsman. You know, Mona’s not a big fighter. She’s not Lara Croft. She doesn’t do a lot of action. She’s going to solve puzzles by being clever and thinking and being persistent and talking people into things or persuading them.

D: So, what are the goals to reach to improve the genre? What's your “utopistic” idea for an adventure game?

R: I don’t know if we need to improve the genre. I think it’s good enough as it is. I think the thing that needs to be improved is the quality that goes into the genre. The games have to be made about subject matters that people care about and are going to find interesting. As Tim Schaffer says, games are wish fulfillments. So we have to make games and subject matters that we like and about charaacters we would enjoy being for several hours. And I think the stories have to be good. They have to be engaging and interesting and complex and take nice twists and turns, be unpredictable and ever-changing. I think we have to put a lot of emphasis on the writing in adventure games. The writing is very, very important. I think adventure games that are humorous have an advantage over serious ones in that you can really pack in a lot more entertainment value in them. Dialogue choices in a serious game aren’t all that entertaining. In a funny game, you have five or six funny lines to choose from. They’re all funny to read, they’re all entertaining. So I think you have a bit of an advantage there. I remember talking to Ron Gilbert about that. He agrees. He thinks that comedy adventrue games really make the best adventure games.

Games also have to be good looking. You have to put some quality art in them and work really hard on them. You have to have decent animation in them. You don’t have to have the greatest animation in the world, but it has to be decent. You have to have interesting looking characters and really good writing. And the puzzles have to be fairly logical so people won’t get too frustrated or mad at the game. But they also have to be clever, intriguing, and have part of the story integrated into it. I don’t think the adventure game genre needs revitalization. I think we need to seek out more quality writers and creative people to work on them. We need to point out that these can be very rewarding projects to work on. They’re very much like movies, like animated movies. They’re very fun and unique to work on. There are fun and challenging problems that need to be solved when making an adventure game that you don’t have when writing a book or doing an animated movie. So I think we just need to have more people who have a lot of talent work on adventure games and that alone will revitalize them. And that’s what we’re hoping to do here. I’ve got some pretty talented people who could be working on movies or mainstream games but have chosen to work on this game because they like the concept. So hopefully that will show up in the game and hopefully people who haven’t played adventure games before will say, “That’s something I want to play. That’s something I want to experience and be entertained by.” That’s our goal with this project.

ABOUT MONKEY ISLAND

D: Your name is obviously connected to the Monkey Island series. Now, it's definitely not your matter, but what do you think about the future of our friend Guybrush? Will we see a fifth episode?

R: I’d love to work on another Monkey Island game. I still catch myself buying books or magazines that have Monkey Island style references in them. Or if I find a book that has great Caribbean architecture in it or has this great ship in it, I’ll buy it and think, “Oh, that would be great for a Monkey Island sequel.” And I’ve come up with a bunch of stories in my head for Monkey Island sequels. I’d love to do them. Currently, LucasArts doesn’t seem to be selling any of their intellectual properties to outside companies. It makes me sad and I’m hoping that changes in the future because I’d like to see those franchises, like Full Throttle, Monkey Island, and Grim Fandango kept alive. But I don’t think we’ll be seeing a Monkey Island sequel any time soon. The pirate genre is fun and maybe someone will make an original pirate adventure game in the future, not based on Monkey Island. But unfortunately, Guybrush doesn’t seem to have much of a future at the moment.

D: Talking about Monkey Island, after the wonderful Curse, in EFMI lots of changes were introduced (graphic and plot) and they were generally blamed by fans. What do you think about it?

R: Yeah, I agree. Escape from Monkey Island was done by two project leaders who had their own take on Monkey Island. They made it a little more about the anachronistic humor and less about pirates, which is a perfectly fine choice. When we were working on Curse of Monkey Island we wanted a lot of pirate stuff in the game. We wanted you to be able to do everything a pirate does; steal treasure, have duels and swordfighting, raid other ships and that sort of thing. Escape from Monkey Island went in a different direction. I think they were very ambitious in what they were trying to do. In some cases maybe their production tried to over-reach a little bit. They had a lot of backgrounds to do, a lot of rendering to do. They went with 3D and real 3D environments. So they couldn’t spend as much time working on each environment like we did on Curse of Monkey Island. But on the other hand, they had a lot more camera angles and flexibility within the environment. So there was a trade-off there. They had a different take on the art direction and character design. It was a wholly different crew, I think maybe only one or two people who worked on the previous game worked on Escape from Monkey Island. I do think ultimately it was probably the wrong direction to go in as far as the art was concerned. I think Monkey Island fans expect very detailed, very lush and fantastic environments and I think they were a little disappointed in the look. The reason I think it was a mistake to go in that direction with the art is because I think adventure games are all about the environment. They’re not about the animation or the character model design as much. They’re about the environment. The environment is the gameplay. You look around the environment, you search, you explore, you try to find solutions to a puzzle hidden within the environment. Since the characters stay within those environments for very long periods of time, the player stares at the same background for minutes, if not hours on end. So you have to have a very intriguing, beautiful, interesting, engaging environment to make an enjoyable adventure game. If it’s a bland, simple environment, players get visually bored and they don’t want to stay in the environment as much. So it’s not as fulfilling of an entertainment experience. I think ultimately that’s what hurt the look of the game. As far as the story’s concerned, I still think the story is pretty good. It’s fairly funny. They didn’t have as much of the humor come from the characters and their motivations. I still think it’s a good game but I think there were a few big mistakes made early on that prevented it from being as successful as the previous three games had been.



THE FUTURE

D: What are the steps to start an adventure game production and what are the most difficult problems to overcome?

R: First, you write the story, then you write the puzzles for the story. Before you do the storyboards, you make a production plan. You have to figure out if you can afford to do all the things you came up with in your production design. Nine times out of ten, you can’t. So you start slashing and cutting and burning until you think you’ve got something that’s manageable. Then you storyboard it. That way you save money. You don’t do all these storyboards for something you’re going to cut anyway. After that’s done, you have to make sure your engine pipeline works. If you’re going to do 3D models you have to do a test, a 3D demo, to make sure that it works. You make a character and make sure it can do everything in the game it’s supposed to do.

You make tools that help the scriptors and artists make sure all that stuff gets into the game. You set up a system of organization – how things are named, how things are going to be put in the game and in what order. Then you start making the actual assets. When they’re done, you put them in the game and test them to make sure they’re good. The biggest problem is coordinating all of that. Generally, the hardest thing to deal with is animation. Animation is the toughest thing. The environments are easy. The game design is easy, the voice is easy. The creative part is hard on those but the actual production is easy. But the 3D animations, it’s very, very complex to get it to look right. That’s something you have to work and work on. Unique situations and unique problems pop up all the time. So animation, in my opinion and experience, is the hardest part of making adventure games.

D: Have you some other projects in your mind at the moment? Will you stay faithful to the 2d background and 3d characters technique or perhaps in the future do you feel that the full 3D could be a possible solution?

R: Yeah, I have a lot of games in mind. I have ten or twelve adventure games in my head that I’ve already written treatments for. Some of them have character designs and backgrounds and environments already designed for them. So yeah, we have plenty of games that we want to do and many of them are pretty far down the pipeline as far as pre-production is concerned.

So far our plan is to stay true to the 2D backgrounds and 3D characters. I like 2D backgrounds, I think you have the most flexibility with 2D backgrounds. I think production-wise it’s the fastest way to go. I think fans like it. I like it. I’m just a big fan of illustration. I think it’s the best way to make the environments interesting. Like I said before in a previous question, you gotta have really interesting environments. It’s tough to render and model all those details in a 3D environment. It’s a lot of work. So I think in 2D you have the power, flexibility, and production time on your side. So we’re going to stick with 2D backgrounds.

We’re going to have as much 3D in them as possible so it doesn’t feel static. So the camera will move around quite a bit, we’ll have paralaxing and 3D objects in there. We want to make it as lively an environment as possible. That’s what we like about 3D. We like 3D water, 3D effects, 3D paralaxing, 3D field of focus effects, all those things. We just love the flexibility of 3D. So we’re going to continue to use 3D characters and have as much 2D backgrounds as possible. I doubt we’ll ever do a game that’s fully 3D. I just don’t think adventure games need fully 3D environments to be good. If we ever did a role playing game, sure. We’d probably go full 3D. But since we are doing adventure games right now, we’re going to stick with 2D.

D: All our community wants to thank you for the time you spent for the interview. Good luck for A Vampyre Story and your next projects. Would you like to say something to italian fans?

R: Yeah, thanks for hanging in there! I’m sorry it took so long for us to get our funding. We were totally inexperienced with the business aspect of it. We’ve been through a lot of tough, roller coaster experiences. I think we’re pretty seasoned in it now. We’ve got a really good team and I think we’re going to make the Italian fans a good game, a game they’ve been wanting since the hay day of LucasArts. Because that’s the kind of game I want to make. I want to make a LucasArts type adventure game but with new stories, new characters. I want it to be funny, make it beautiful, just a joy to play. Even when the game is done, you go back and just want to explore the environment. I want to make a game that people really look forward to playing. I’m going to do my best. I want to say thank you to all the fans. All your support really helped out, helped us to sign a deal and find a publisher and kept us going. It really kept us going through the hard times. So I want to thank them for all their support! I’m looking forward to making a really good game for you guys. Thank you so much!


A huge thank you, dear Bill (and Amy) for your infinite kindness. And thanks to Sideup that wrote this interview and to all the friends from our forum, which have made the questions to Mr Tiller. But, let me say a special "thank you" to Diduz for his unbelievable Lucasartsian wisdom and for his wonderful translation of this excellent interview.

 

Info Requisiti
Generale
Sviluppatore: Autumn Moon Entertainment
Publisher: Crimson Cow
Distributore: Multiplayer.it Edizioni
Data Rilascio: 30/07/2009
Piattaforma: PC
Caratteristiche
Genere: Cartoon/Commedia
Grafica: 2.5D
Visuale: Terza Persona
Controllo: Mouse
Doppiaggio: Inglese
Sottotitoli: Italiano
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