- Tell us a little about yourself, what have you accomplished in life?
Well, lets see...I got my education and degree from Art Center College of Design in transportation design, tried to do the freelance thing for about a year, then signed on to Interplay to work for an old boss of mine, Ali Atabek, whom I worked for at Mindcraft Software a few years earlier. I did concept design and 2D (i.e. DPaint!) art at Interplay for about 2 1/2 years then I went over to South Park studios and have been on the animated TV show ever since. I work in the storyboard/character/background and prop design dept.. We create all the visuals for the show. The variety of work and the pace at which we operate is much more compatible with my creative style, video games just take too long... heh I've also been actively working freelance doing everything from product design to conceptual work in film/TV and (of course) video games. I'm also pursuing photography a little more seriously as possibility for profession.
- What are your favorite computer games/board games and why?
That's a BIG list....um here are a few: Battlefield 2 , Counterstrike, Half Life 1&2, the original Ultimas 1-4,FarCry, Guitar Hero 1&2, Star Wars Galaxies (canceling soon tho, bummed), City of Heroes/Villains (also getting out), Gran Turismo 1-4, Iko, Shadow of the Colossus, um....geez, I really cant think of all the games I've enjoyed playing. I have a tendency to pick games that I refer to as "transportational" in that they take you away to imagined spaces and do so with convincing graphics, design, and sound...I lean towards games with a more of a realistic appeal, not too many cute, cartoony titles...except maybe PaRappa. Really looking forward to the MMO Age of Conan. I nostalgically yearn to play paper-n-pencil games like D&D, Star Frontiers, Champions...but I honestly think it just wouldn't be the same experience as when I was younger.
- What hobbies do you have besides computer games?
Um...I enjoy drawing, traveling/road trips, photography, buying and reading books, snowboarding, rollerblading, driving and working on my cars (road racing and drag racing), airsoft (sorta like paintball), listening to music, going out to eat...I've been spending less and less time playing computer games lately as all my other hobbies (and work) take me away from the games..another sad but inevitable consequence of age.
- What are your favorite bands/artists (music) ?
Another HUGE list...let's just say I own and enjoy music in ALL genres (jazz, blues, rock, hip/hop, country, world...) except top 40, any post 2002-or-so hip hop/rap, any of that new angry Emo/Death/Goth demon voice rock stuff...Most Rap-rock....I'll just say I went to see Wolfmother for my birthday, just bought the "Conan the Barbarian" soundtrack and a CD with whaling songs and sea shanties and Im really looking forward to the next Bryan Ferry concert coming to LA. I really love music in the way it can "transport" my imagination to another place/time or just revisit a long lost memory, so it can really help when I'm drawing.
- Tell us a little about your role in the making of Fallout 1/2/3 (Van Buren)/Tactics ?
On Fallout 1 (and to a lesser extent, 2) I was strictly involved in the conceptual design of the look and feel, particularly the user interface. The team already had an idea of using retro-atom age imagery and objects, so I kept my concepts in that vein. I really wanted the interface to look and function like a "real" device, so I researched and imagined it to be like some computer or car stereo with a removable face plate but with 1950' vacuum tubes, bakelite plastics and glass CRT's. I also came up with the idea that the maps would be from found objects like postcards and period signage picked up from the sands of the desert. Unfortunately while I was concepting for Fallout, the majority of my time was as concept/2D for M.A.X. Mechanized Assault and eXploration (and later M.A.X. 2). I also did concept art for Shattered Steel, a few Star Trek titles, and quite a few of Interplay's other games and didn't spend as much time on Fallout as I would have wanted. I like to work in a lot of different capacities, but I think I might have spread myself too thin then.
- What's your favourite Fallout memory?
Like I mentioned before, I didn't spend enough time with the Fallout team to generate many "memories", but I do remember getting pretty excited when I saw some of the 3D artist's first couple of passes at the TV style "guts" of the interface and animations of the interface functionality in ALIAS....It was EXACTLY like I imagined it...they did a fantastic job.
- What specifically inspired Fallout for you? What were the biggest influences?
Urban and Sub-urban America of the 40'-50's....the cars, the signage, the art, the architecture...all of it. I already had a few books with photos and documentation of the period. Also the comic books "Big Guy and Rusty, the Boy Robot" and "Mister X" by Dean Motter help with the machinery and the mood.
- Pop Culture played a big role in Fallout, what pop culture influences you?
I have a profound attraction to modernist furniture and architecture of the 20'-60's, the Tiki/Polynesian pop of the 50's-60's. Disneyland. Vintage automobiles/hotrods...RAT FINK....amateur photography pre-80's. I'm sort of caught up in the imagery and sights from an era that was on it's way out just as I was arriving.
- How was it to be a part of the Fallout team?
Wish I could really say, I was on the other side of the building No, but the times I did meet with Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky and few others of the team, it was always great to collaborate and bat ideas around. It also kept the development progress as a pleasant surprise for me.
- Were there things that you wished you had added to either Fallouts?
I wish I had been on the project's ground floor...to really establish and ground the look-n-feel and continue that work through to the end, of pre-production anyways.
- What were you favourite places in fallout and why?
I didn't exactly play the game (shame on me :-[ ) but i did like the design and final illustration of the Vault map that Leonard and I did...came out real retro-sweet.
- What is your hope for future Fallout games? Would you like to be a part of a future Fo team?
That's tough....I'm so detached from the game. Probably a return to the visual core, the retro-aesthetic of the original Fallout. I heard/read that subsequent titles started to drift from the original visually. If I could contribute in any future Fallout projects, it would have to be with the original team (Tim,Leonard,Jason) heading up the project....that's the only way I see it working and remaining a cohesive vision.
- Who would you bring with you in a future Fallout team and why?
See question 12...
- In your opinion, what are the key ingredients that every RPG should have?
Fun, lots of fantastic graphics, cool places to visit, interesting NPCs to interact with, deep and involving music/sounds, and more FUN!!! Right? Should be that easy... I mean really, it's all about having a brilliant time while at the machine. It should be deep enough for the hardcore gamer, and simple enough for the casual player. Action packed, grand, EPIC, yet full of subtle beauty. On the other hand, I wish, and this is totally my personal taste, that RPG developers would investigate genres other than the sword and sorcery, kill the dragon stuff. I know it's super popular and it does very well financially, but to me I think it's kind of played-out. Probably why I liked the idea when I got the call to work on Fallout.
- Where do you see computer RPGs going?
Up and up! Deeper, more fantastical worlds...ever more beautiful graphics, real world physics....the whole shebang. Maybe even an AI as complex or spontaneous as a "flesh" opponent. I really think the future in RPG, MMORPG and just computer games in general is that it will transcend the experience that was once provided for by movies...well most movies anyways. It's happening to me already. I go to maybe 6-8 films a year while easily spending more time on video games.
- How does the fan base hinder/help the projects that you've worked on?
Working on a TV show with a very vocal and varied fan base, you get to see both sides of the coin (or maybe SWORD is the better metaphor). Many fans want to revisit old jokes, catch phrases or characters time and time again...with no room for innovation or progress. Worse yet, the fan that requests to hybridize your concept (put some Matrix,Star Wars, SG-1 reference in) because they think it would be "cool" regardless of story or plot..Yet you have to sprinkle in some of that "old magic" to keep them happy and laughing (and ultimately paying the bills)...so I suppose the same would be for video games, give em something new and different, with a little bit something old mixed in.. Thankfully, I just listen to my art director/ inner voice and work from there.
- When planning the story how do you go through the process of integrating themes and story with the constraints on software?
Heh, that's one of the reasons I'm happily in concept development....hardware constraints aren't my problem. I get a request or imagine something, draw it out..and if the team wants to use it, they hustle to figure out how....ive tried drawing in polygons, let's just say it wern't pretty.
- If you could make any computer game that you wanted, which would it be and why?
I've always wanted to see/work on a game about "The Shadow" pulp/comics/radio...or some 40's detective noir...big fan of the Neuromancer book (I remember the Apple game), so a game that fleshes that world out..maybe an Ninja/Shogun period epic...an action game based on Asian/African/Aboriginal mythologies. I'm not sure, I just want to be involved in projects different than what has been.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully I'm still on this planet, making stuff that people will enjoy.
- Any last word to the Fallout fan base?
Thanks for reading! Thanks for playing!
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