Thursday, September 17, 2009

Interview Part 1: McCarthy Chronicles

I've decided to go around interviewing AGSers as a new thingy. The first one, is Calin Leafsade, the man behind the McCarthy Chronicles!

Okay, then I'm starting with the questions:

0)So general info, favorite game genre, favorite game?

I dont really have a favourite genre of game. I try to treat each game on its merits and I can name games from all different genres that I love. If I were forced to choose at gunpoint however I would probably choose "Action Adventure".

My favourite game of all time is probably still the original Deus Ex. Just due to the fantastic blend of story and RPG elements. There is no point is Deus Ex where you feel you are wandering aimlessly. You always have an objective and its not always "shoot that thing until it stops moving".

1)About you now, is Calin Leafsade your real-life name?

Calin Leafshade is indeed my real name.. I was raised by elves.
No infact my name is Steve. Calin is a persona I've had for RPGs for many many years. I often use it for things since its surprisingly never taken and I abhor usernames with numbers in.

2) Since you're really a promising newcomer, I always wondered, how did find AGS as an engine, and what is your opinion on this community?

I discovered AGS by the usual route. Namely Yahtzee.
Up until that point I believed that polish was very important when delivering a gaming experience. Graphics were key in my eye.
I knew that they didnt 'make' a game but i thought that without good graphics a modern gamer just wouldn't appreciate the story that was trying to be told.
After playing 5DAS I discovered that it's perfectly possible to create a game in the modern gaming climate that can still appeal. I was genuinely frightened when the welder comes into the bathroom. The immersion of the game had completely got to me.
To contrast this I had recently been playing Deadspace for the Xbox 360 which is billed as 'terrifying' when the fact of the matter the only thing I felt when playing that was boredom. Shambling fleshy monsters in beautiful 1080p didnt scare me as much as a guy in a welders mask 30pixels high.. go figure.

As for the community I've been surprised at how helpful it is. Everyone seems willing to help and get involved whenever possible.. which is refreshing.

3)Ever made any other games (even on other engines), besides the one you're working on?

Other games? Hmm no not really. I had dabblings in various things (mostly the half life 2 engine) but I always wanted to create something special and i simply didnt (and still dont) have the artistic skills to pull something off in the 3d domain.. If something looks bad in 3D it REALLY looks bad.
I could have finished alot of those projects but I just wouldnt have been satisfied with the result and it would have been another mediocre map in a sea of mediocre maps.

4) You seem to give a lot of work and detail on the story side, even give more attention to the voice actors than anything else, why's that?

I've always been fascinated with video games as a method of telling a story. They have something unique which books and films can't capture. The pacing is all different. For example Final Fantasy VII takes around 30 hours or something to complete.. imagine a film that long.
I think with an adventure game the story is vital. If you dont have the story then its just a series of click click puzzles.. and whats the point in that?
As for the voice acting I'm still not 100% decided.
I think my particular game would work very very well with voice acting since the dialogue is all written in a very stylised, poetic manner. People dont really talk like my characters but its supposed to feel almost like a play. Even my rooms all look like stages.
I would really like a full cast of voice actors to really hammer home the interaction between the characters and convey their personalities more effectively.
However I'm not willing to compromise on the immersion. If I cant find a full cast that fits the bill perfectly, I will leave the voice acting out altogether.

5)Do you have any favorite books or AGS games? Has any one of those sort of "marked" your life in a certain way?

Favourite books? Easy. Clockwork Orange.. if they make a clockwork orange game I would walk through fire to buy it.
As for AGS games I'm a bit of a newbie. I've played all of yahtzees offerings but havent really had time to try anything else.
I find that comedy is very pervasive in the AGS community (largely influenced I imagine by the monkey island and Lucas Arts games) and comedy is not really what I want from a game most of the time.. unless its Portal.
Have any of them marked my life? I usually leave up to music and before you ask: David Bowie, Beth Orton, Nick Drake, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley.

6)Tell me a bit more about this game, how did you come up with it, who's doing the backgrounds (I'm guessing you), and why is it in episodic format?

My game is done entirely by me. With the exception of a single sprite which Babar did.. which also happens to be the best piece of art in the whole game.
As for the 'idea' for the game i'm not really sure where it came from.
But i didnt start with a character or a plot or anything like that. I started with a mood, an atmosphere. I wanted an excuse to write ridiculously over the top and extravagant dialogue. I wanted to make a game from a poem rather than a story.. if that makes any sense. Film Noir seemed like a good way to put that into practice.
I decided to do the game in episodic format simply so that I would be able to release sooner. I didnt want to get in a rut with a feature length game and never have anythign to show for it. Plus it allows me to receive feedback on previous episodes and improve the later ones.

7)Everyone that has seen the brilliance of your dialogs, even by those screenshots and really got excited for the game, even before you posted the second really cool drawn screen, is wondering, when is this game coming out?

Ah you're too kind. As McCarthy would say:

"Answers come like bubbles on a questioning breeze, scented lightly with the sweet smell of anticipation, before busting into oblivion never to be seen again"

Basically I havent got a f**%ing clue. When it's done.

See more of the game here, and just have a cool time watching the teaser trailer.

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