Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Interview Part 11: Long Live the Gene - Against All Ods.

And with us we have markbilly, also famous as Mark Richards, creator of the long-awaited Longevity Gene. An interview, I've found very interesting awaits you. May you see it.

1) Do you have a favourite AGS game? Or a non AGS game?

I don't finish many adventure games because I'm rubbish at them, so this should be fairly easy. For AGS it is definitely going to be the Ben and Dan games but I have a particular fondness for Shifter's Box and the most recent Ben Jordan (I was rather late to discover them). As for non-AGS, my favourite adventure is Beneath a Steel Sky and the one title that really solidified my love for gaming was Knights of the Old Republic.

2) How do you feel about releasing your first AGS game ASFAIK (Wall-E) and winning the MAGS as well?

It was a great feeling to actually release a game! I have been sitting on a project for ages, only showing it to a few people and so it was great to 'finish' a project and get some real feedback. Wall-E has a special connection to me anyway, because I originally made it for my girlfriend as a present, so that made sharing it with everyone even better. Winning MAGS was a nice bonus, I was really happy as there were some great games submitted that month.

3) When you first started posting artwork from a game you were working on, that being Longevity Gene, you said you didn't like the graphics, and you felt you needed some help. What really helped you into keeping the project and tutoring yourself?

I had no intention of ditching the project and I suppose the thread was a desperate plea for people to persuade me to carry on. After getting some feedback I went and re-drew a couple of backgrounds and posted them up on the Zombie Cow forum. What I had overlooked was lighting and, after some examples and little tutorial from a couple of the members (CaptainBinky & MashPotato) got that sorted and the rest is history, I suppose.

4) Tell us a bit about the game's production. How it reached here, and where did it actually start from.

Well, this latest version with the updated graphics started just under two years ago. The project is a lot older than that, though. It started off about five years ago as an idea for a text adventure and it had a totally different story. In fact, it has only been called The Longevity Gene for the last two years, before that (as the text adventure) it was called Tractus, which is was crap name frankly. Over those three years it developed into the game you see in this thread and ended up being called Planet 49 and of course later changed to the title I have now.

As for right now, the first part is playable from beginning to end and I'm just going through the stage of adding in all the gaps I left as I went along. Which takes longer than you might think!

5) What length is the game going to be?

The first part is a medium length game. The second part will probably be a little longer. I'm waiting on a secret play tester at the moment actually, so I will have a better idea then.

6) I've had this idea for a long time, but what role did Ben and Dan play in the Longevity Gene? Don't hide it from me, I can scent it.

I've talked about Dan's early role before in an article I did for HardyDev. The game, in its many forms, has always been present on both the Zombie Cow forum and its predecessor the Gibbage forum, both run by Dan and in some part Ben as well. Recently, I have sent builds to Ben and Dan throughout development for feedback. I just trust their judgment, I suppose. They've both always been really kind, even when I was a lot younger and more annoying.

7) Tell us a bit about the members of the Longevity Gene so far.

The cast? Or the crew? I'm not telling you about the cast, sorry! On the crew there is me, Matthew Brown and Peter Faizey. Matthew is doing the sound and Peter does the music. I wrote a little about Matthew in the game's production thread but Peter is one hundred percent not a gamer, so I don't think you'll ever see him on the forum.

8) Who is the real Mark Richards? What is his life like? Hobbies, Jobs, Girlfriends, Plans on taking over the world?

I'm a uni student, barely. I ended up doing a degree that didn't really suit me so I spend most of my time distracting myself. I make films, again with Peter and a couple of other friends. My other hobbies aren't really hobbies, though. I am interested in politics and secular issues and a member of the Labour Party in the UK. Half of my Twitter updates are about politics, actually!

I have a wonderful long term girlfriend, Maria and I work in a supermarket during term, so I think I tick all those boxes!

Oh and I'm building an anti-matter death ray in my garden.

9) What is the main plot of Longevity Gene affected and inspired by (movies, books, tv series, music, novels)

I wanted to make a game after playing Beneath a Steel Sky, so that is a major inspiration and I got my love of choices in games from Knights of the Old Republic. There are a few Blade Runner references in the game and the whole project is in the spirit of classic sci-fi. If I was OK with using unoriginal music in games, I'd definitely have The Great Gig in the Sky as the end credits music.


  1. The 'thread you see above' that I refer to is this one: http://tinyurl.com/333n2l3

    Just thought I'd clear that up! ;)

  2. Almost half the picture is cropped by the limits of the blog content area.

  3. Uhm, hey, quick question, where can I download AGS?
    The site and the forums are both offline... I'd apreciate if somebody uploaded the latest windows version to rapidshare or megaupload.

  4. Another good interview. I've been away for a month or else I would have commented sooner. Looking forward to the next one.


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