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Ask Hal

Author Topic: Ask Hal  (Read 19517 times)

jbaudrand

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2009, 05:56:46 PM »
 :) Silverbeard: I think we are all doing this dream on this forum...


ridethelightning87

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2009, 09:21:59 PM »
Have you asked him the questions yet??

its been like 1-2 months now :p

Mark

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2009, 01:55:01 AM »
No, been too busy - sorry. His details are on my friends ruined laptop too, said friend is too far away for me to repair laptop for a fortnight or so - but there will be a nice fresh Hal interview sometime through this year. Therefore, keep writing questions :)
Mark "Mods" Lovegrove


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subspark

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2009, 01:24:41 AM »
I've got a couple of questions Mark.
I'll list them below my greeting to him:

Quote
Greeting's Hal. I'm another great fan of your work. Rather uncanny, I actually thought I spotted you at E3's Developer Connection this year. Were you attending?
I've just a couple of technical questions about company growth and project management.

A) What were the logistics of running such a production under LucasArts at that time and did you learn anything valuable on that front that would still apply to modern development pipelines.

B) As a LucasArts employee, was it stressful to manage your game production due to the technical limitations of the 90's or was it more the politics involved at the time? Perhaps indeed both?

I'll slip one last one in, Hal. ;)
C) What would have made the development of FOA much easier on you personally and would we be able to apply that same 'something' to modern production practices. (And don't say money ;D ...LucasArts had plenty of it. My guess is they wouldn't allocate enough of it to richer IPs such as yours.)

Thanks for your time Hal. It was, and still is a pleasure to play your game when the mood is right. Take good care.
Warm Regards,
Paul Wilkinson.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 10:36:49 AM by subspark »

Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth - Indy is back!

dkh

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2009, 02:43:50 PM »
That should be FOA not FOY in question C there, I believe. ;)

subspark

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2009, 10:37:27 AM »
Well spotted Jan. Damn thats confusing!  ;)

Paul.

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Mark

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2009, 04:09:46 PM »
Cheers subspark!

All the questions in this thread are sent, so all that's left to do now is await a reply :)
Mark "Mods" Lovegrove


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Mark

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2009, 04:17:40 PM »
Just so you know, Mr Barwood let me know he will be answering the questions fairly soon!
Mark "Mods" Lovegrove


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miez

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2009, 02:21:20 AM »
So tell me again: WHY did I not make a list of questions? :-[

Mark

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2009, 02:12:04 AM »
I'm sure he'll be happy to respond to a few round-up questions, be quick though sir!!
Mark "Mods" Lovegrove


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Mark

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2009, 03:09:49 PM »
Here is the interview, as asked by you lot! I'll give this a page on the site as soon as I can :)

 >>>>>> START INTERVIEW >>>>>>

General
======
1. Firstly, what are you instantly reminded of, or what stands out for
you most whenever someone mentions "Fate of Atlantis"?


[HAL reply}--> how much fun it was to work on, and... how much fans seem
to like it.



2. How did you get picked up by LucasArts in 1990, and what prompted you
to move on in 2003?


[HAL reply]--> I knew, for almost ten years, that I wanted to make a
transition from movies to games.  Through George (an old friend from
film school days) I got to know a number of people at what was then
called Lucasfilm Games.  The Last Crusade game was a big hit, and the
company wanted to build a successor.  The problem was, the people
responsible, Noah Falstein, Ron Gilbert, and David Fox had other
projects on their minds.  So they thought, why not get Hal to do it?
That's my lucky break story.

As to leaving -- there's nothing like a flop to make everyone
re-evaluate one's career, and my last game at LucasArts, RTX Red Rock,
was indeed a flop.  Im still proud of it, but it made further work in
the company impossible.  Looking back, I wish I had popped my chute much
earlier.

3. What's your opinion about the last indiana Jones movie?

[HAL reply}--> sorry to be at odds with my old friends the moviemakers,
but I didn't care for it.  The subject could have been genuinely spooky,
and it was played for laughs.


4. Tell us how it felt to land a project leader position for the
official Indiana Jones computer game franchise back in the nineties.


[HAL reply]--> Well, following on from above, I was enormously excited
for the chance to work on a game professionally.  I am eternally
grateful to the guys who gave me my opportunity.


The Game
========
5. Were there any "role-models" for the characters used in the game? For
example, did you have an actor in mind when designing the one or the
other character?


[HAL reply]--> it helps, for internal communications purposes, to have
an actor everyone knows about for game roles, even when, as was the case
in the early nineties, the art cannot hope to render a good likeness.
In Sophia Hapgood's case, I thought Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was a
good model.  Um, Harrison Ford did okay for Jones himself.

6. Is it true that the background of the Azores was drawn after a photo
found in the National Geographic magazine?


[HAL reply]-->  Geez, I don't know.  Maybe.  We certainly did our
research on the visual look of all the exotic locations we included.


7. What was planned to happen in Cadiz and Leningrad (there are
hotspot-icons in the ressource file of Fate of Atlantis)?


[HAL reply]-->  well, you never know how long a game should be, and in
those days art was not that expensive, so we laid out a lot of stuff.
Leningrad is still in the game -- it's a library interior -- but Cadiz
[scratches head] I'm lost.  You've got to remember, this game is 20
years old.  I guess dementia is setting in sooner than I hoped.


8. What kind of puzzle had been planned for the room next to Sophia's
office, and why was it dropped?


[HAL reply]-->  in the early nineties we had company employees spend an
evening playing each of our games in an unfinished state, during which
they would offer critical feedback.  We learned that players were very
impatient to get our game moving, so we lost all sorts of material from
the beginning in order to speed things up.  But for the life of me, I
can't remember what we had in mind for Sophia's office.


The Project
========
9. What were the logistics of running such a production under LucasArts
at that time and did you learn anything valuable on that front that
would still apply to modern development pipelines.


[HAL reply]--> Indeed I did.  We were in the process of changing
distributors.  Lucasfilm Games was just then transitioning to LucasArts
-- that's why you see two logos on the box -- and that gave us a couple
of months to do nothing but swat bugs and polish it up.  Every game
needs and should have that grace period, when development is complete,
and all that's left is to file down the rough edges.  Few game companies
understand the importance, but once upon a time LucasArts knew, and
Blizzard still does.


10. As a LucasArts employee, was it stressful to manage your game
production due to the technical limitations of the 90's or was it more
the politics involved at the time? Perhaps indeed both?


[HAL reply]-->  The problem wasn't technical or political.  The problem
was experience.  We had an anemic staff with plenty of talent but, in
aggregate, not that much professional experience.  It was tough getting
our art crew organized, getting them up to speed, and tough, even then,
to get the resources I needed to finish the game.


11. What would have made the development of FOA much easier on you
personally and would we be able to apply that same 'something' to modern
production practices. (Not money......LucasArts had plenty of it. My
guess is they wouldn't allocate enough of it to richer IPs such as yours.)


[HAL reply]--> commmitment.  The company was getting cold feet as the
game progressed, and management was in upheaval.  I was at LucasArts for
13 years, and I worked for 10 different heads of the company in that
time.  So managerial confusion made life miserable.  It probably still
does.  Anyway, it was a shock to management when the game became a hit.

And Finally..
=========
12. If you have the chance to make another Indiana Jones adventure game,
would you do it and would it be in 2D?


[HAL reply]--> I'm not interested in doing any more Jones games, thanks
all the same.  Three's enough.  And I think, with a prominent franchise
like Jones, it's got to be 3D all the way.  Unless someone figures out
how to do a Paper Mario version.


13. Could you theoretically imagine to launch a new adventuregame-studio
with Ron Gilbert and Tim Schaefer or to work with them together on a new
adventure game in the future?


[HAL reply]-->  Well, they're great guys, immensely talented and witty,
and theoretically yes ... but practically, don't be silly.


14. Will you write a book based on your "400 Project"?

[HAL reply]-->  Afraid not.  When I write, it's games.  Maybe someday a
story in prose, but my contribution to the 400 Project is mostly just to
kick it off.


15. Any previously un-released infos on our favourite game, FoA? Say,
any trivia? Maybe even some previously unreleased un-used arts or
concept drawings?


[HAL reply]--> Unfortunately, this material is thoroughly mined.
Everything is already out there.  Wait, maybe one tiny thing.  Our
talented lead animator, Collette Michaud, couldn't develop a decent walk
cycle for Sophia.  So we videotaped Collette's own walk, projected the
frames on a light table, and she traced the cycle from that.  Early
motion capture!  Other than that, the best I can say is, the game is
back, buried in the Wii version of Staff of Kings, and downloadable from
Steam.

<<<<<< END INTERVIEW <<<<<<

Many thanks to Hal Barwood and everyone who contributed a question!
Mark "Mods" Lovegrove


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subspark

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2009, 02:33:36 AM »
Sounds, like a hardened soul. I hope his career is less stressful than it was in the past.

Paul.

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miez

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2009, 09:51:46 AM »
Really cool interview to read! Thanks for setting it up, Mark...

fandango

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2009, 04:19:10 PM »

7. What was planned to happen in Cadiz and Leningrad (there are
hotspot-icons in the ressource file of Fate of Atlantis)?

[HAL reply]-->  well, you never know how long a game should be, and in
those days art was not that expensive, so we laid out a lot of stuff.
Leningrad is still in the game -- it's a library interior -- but Cadiz
[scratches head] I'm lost.  You've got to remember, this game is 20
years old.  I guess dementia is setting in sooner than I hoped.


so, the library jones is crashing through in the pretitle sequence was meant to be in leningrad? or is there some other library in the game? or did hal mean a bit of program that was released, but is not accessible, like the room next to sophias office?
"Rubbish, Ravenwood's no Nazi!"


subspark

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Re: Ask Hal
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2009, 12:24:16 AM »
Leningrad was a separate room bundled with the game that was closed off to the player after the decision to shorten the game was made.

Cheers,
Paul.

Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth - Indy is back!