Thursday, October 22, 2009

Interview Part 6: Nikolas

1)How did you find AGS? I mean as a musician it's not the first place you'd visit on the internet.

Back in 2003/4 I was in the army (it's compulsory in Greece, as you very well know) and I had tons of time to spare. So I started trying to find older games to play on a very old computer in the camp. I found underdogs, then abandonia and finally I spotted "Cirque du Zale" by Kinoko. I fell in love with this game, based on an pretty much abandoned genre, thus I decided to visit AGS forums and attempt to contact Kinoko, in order to work on her next game (Gift of Aldora, never to be completed I think).

My very first post was greeted by Don the barbarian, who welcomed me in such a nice manner, that I decided to stick around and make the AGS forums my homepage (until today).

2)You have any favorite AGS games or any AGS games in production, you can't wait for ?(apart from Resonance :D

Resonance... DITR, ATOTK, etc... No kidding.

I think that 'The Forgotten Element' could be great, but all 3 of us have been working on different projects for a long time, so I can't tell what the future will hold for the completion of that game.

Legend of the lost lagoon, although probably not to be completed either...

Picaroon and anything by Ben, ProgZmax, Vince and others who I trust blindly!

3) From the very first moment I do recall seeing your name in these forums, it's highly weird how you've managed to work on games, that eventually ended up a huge success (Tales of Two Kingdoms, Linus Bruckman). How do you manage to select games that have success written all over them?

Why on earth is that weird? As it appears I'm capable of making the 'right' choices!

In all honesty I try to get as much information as I can before I say yes to any project, so I try to pick where I work for. I, no longer have the time to work on freeware games, sadly, but still on commercial games I've had to say no, only because there were things I would do hugely different, or the inexperience of the dev team was a problem. With a publisher these things tend to dissappear, but also the freedom in composing.

4) I'm not really into music ways the way you are, but where do you compose all that music into? A personal studio?

In the music world it's called a 'project studio'. It's exactly a studio for personal use. Recently I've managed to get a grand to build a normal studio, so now I have my own acousticaly treated space, where my monitors, amps, microphohes, computers, etc are.

But my music is 95% computer based. I use samples, since it would be impossible for indie budgets to fund a normal orchestral recording, and the computer is the heart of my studio. Only very recently I got some high quality preamps and mics, in which case I can start recording live instruments, voice, and do custom sfx. Resonance has a huge bump upwards in the quality of audio (especially the sfx).

5) We all know that you've now been hired by VinceXII to compose for Resonance, care to tell us more on what style of music should we expect or at least what you're aiming for?

It's a rather weird mix of aesthetics. The story is based on 4 different characters, so I tried to give each character their own aesthetics and motifs. It's worked so far and I have to admit that it doesn't sound disjoined!

There are orchestral tracks, dissonant tracks, electronic ones, more pop/rock oriented and even some solo piano in there...

6) From all your collaborations (even non-AGS games) is there one (if any) you could separate from the others?

Apart from Vince, with whom our love is a public secret :P ?

There is Alkis; We're good friends now and see each other as frequent as we can and our other obligations permit! I value him greatly as a person, as a writer, and as a collaborator.

Actually now that I think about it, pretty much all the people I've worked with, I've become friends. Vince, Alkis, Peeter (ATOTK), Rebecca (Kinoko), etc...

I'd also seperate a non AGS game, from a negative point of view however. The specs and whole concept seemed to be going very well, and the team even got requests from publishers, but they decided to pretty much abandon it and abandon all hope for further fame and fortune! This was one experience I try to stay away from, from thereon.

7) What's with that signature of yours (quoting a reply from Emerald to you) ? Meaning what's the story behind it.

I actually don't remember exactly what happened, but it does appear that I was being a little 'smart' to Emerald and he decided to tell me off. Instead of being frustrated and flame back, as I would normally do, I took it the light way and put the quote in my signature, so it would never go away.

8 ) How hard is to have a family and have AGS developers on your back as well, apart from your other projects...?

It used to be hard, since there was no money coming in and it was quite frustrating to try and explain to a wife and two kids, why you have to work late, talk through MSN/Skype and other details.

Recently it got a lot easier, since it became apparent that even playtesting is a part of working in games and this has been accepted, thankfully.

Now, it just feels normal. After all, since I'm no longer doing freeware games, it's a part of my daily job (my income is 90% based on composing) and there's no need for even an excuse to work... on your daily job! ;)

Definitely a very interesting interview with Nikolas..(mind the love affair with VinceXII!!)

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