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d Ign? What were you do ng p or?
Tim Schaf I was a computer science majOt' at UC BerIIeley, but what twas re tty inl rested In was creallVe wnhng. t was dotng bolh by the lime t graduated (1989) and IUSI happened to see the JOb POS\Jng at LucasFilm Games They were Iooklng fO( prograrntnel'S who could wnle. What are the odds? TIming Is evtlfylhlng! If I hadn'l seen lhal job hst.ng, I would have ended
up a dat base engineer, I think.
Wh I brought you to psych c lIy rmed operatives nd the wortd of Psychon uts?
Before Beri< ey I was al UC Sant Cruz. here I took a class called the Psychology of Dreams. We read about many
d.fferent case studaes whete someone rs expenenclng a trauma in their realltfe.
nd would mantf t In their dreams as a monster or a scary anImal. They would
tl'8ll$loon .W()(Jd happentngs Into these
SUfT I or fantasy lmag In lheir heads And .1 seemed COOl 10 me to Imagine '"tet'llClIng with \hose surreal unages, but haVIng that mean something I. If you go .nsId someone's head, and you're hghllng
a ITIeI'IlOIY that petSOI'I has olth r mean first-grade teacher, then that's more lhan lust a regular foghl, We also studIed the evetyday transf()(lnatJons people m e .n I r dreams. Uke people who feel bad
bout \heir bodaes ohen dream aboul f»ung up old houses There as a study
of a W()(n8n who was depressed, and In her dreams lhere as thIS founlaln that kept pouong out waler that no one a
dnn ng. And It'S so cool that someone who's not a poet could create such a poetIC symbol In lheir head WIthout even Iryong! By gotng Into someone's head,
you can express \hatr personahtles with
a mtlhon 1.1l1e symbols like that and hopefully no one Will catCh you tryong to be symbolIC becausa they're too busy tryong to play the game, but thoy WIll PIck It up on a SUbconSCIOUS level. Also, I stol a lot of stuff from that movte Dreamscape
How bout Rn? Did he und rgo multiple Iteratlons or did he Just pop in there?
011, e ent through a 101 WIth Raz. You should (art dtreelO(! Seott [Campbell!
bout that. Originally, he vas named 0 rt, but there were legal problems WIth that
f'I8I1'I8. Also, the charaCler d tgn took a long lime. I re Iy Ioke how he ended up though. It was worth il But I'll leI Scali gIVe you tha del lis there.
Seo t Campbell, art dIrector In the beglnlllng. there was thaI kid from W Legends of Shoohn. But our kid's name was O'art.agnan. Tim's id was fO( hIm to be a tough hllle kid, very Intense, who ran a lay from hIS gypsy famtly in the CIrcuS
to be a Psychonaul. He was obsessed
Ilh the Psychonauts. So e looked at the ew Legends kid as that sort of grown-up, Intense kid InSptraloon. Many 01 the first drewlngs were kung lu-stylo WI h baggy cloth and shaved head WIth lhal hair
tuft. on top and napped hands and f t. Bul many paths were laken ... httle ntmal devol boy, mod Ouadrophenia kid, Harold and MlWdo kid, venous hats kid ... unlol e se led on 8 bog-headed. baggy--clothed gypsy kid WIth a tong Sloe no cap. We were salJSfied. We built hIm nd put him Into the game and moved forward WIth
the other Characters and gameplay. A$ lune went on, /ie reall1ed lhal hIS body and shape didn'llend rtself welt 10 II the acrobatICS we anted hIm to do. Plus, people weren'l reactIng amazIngly eU to
htm. A$ other Chatac:lers were crealed,
he became less chafismalic and less of
a lead character. Then we focus-grouped hIm. thiS sucked in a valuable wtry, People weren't into hun and thought he was a girt because of the long stocking cap. Also,
we dlSeOVer8d we couldn't usa the name O'artagnan becausa h had ready been used in a different game. So ... back to the draWing board. We tried another approach to making him more limber-looking, We also wanted him to look h e he idoliZed
the famous Psychonaut Sasha Neln, a James BondfsclenlJflC sort of character. So we dressed him hke Sasha In a lottie suit With a striped shirt and nice shoes. (We) combined this with this helmet
goggles that looked awesome on a few draWings and Aaz was born. And then we all got happy.
Thenk you, Seottl"m happy too. Okay, TIm, Do you pntpare somewhat of a sc...."p.y before emb rklng on a game this atOt'Y d ven?
Tim SChafer: Ifill up 8 paper- notebook with a klnd of stream-of-consclous gibberish mostly. It's important to get all the thoughts out of your head and onto paper-. It's also important for me to do lhat every day, becausa otherwise it's so easy to get out of the habit of moving forward with your creative Ideas. Then I use a
lot of SCfe8l'lpiay-like Ideas to organize \hose thoughts, I think about the Ihre&eel struClure. Where are the major pIol points? Where does the whole thing tum around and head off in a 0fNI dlrectlon? I think a lot about the protagonls1 and the antagon $I and the relationship they have and steps the hero has 10 go through and how to pace out lheir ups and downs, so h's kind of a roIlercoasIer with a big climax at the end, I make some vety exciting charts that have a lot of ovals and 8/TOWS and someUmes big xs, and then usualty end in a lot of question mar1Is.
Great dialogue and voIce actlng ...
We only use in-house talent for the scratCh dialog, while we're making the game.
But for the flnaI product. we use very experienced pros. Ther91s no replacement fO( a good actor. We cast from allover,
but most of the IIOioe talent Is down In
LA. so we fly clown there to record it all. Our IIOioe producer, KMs Brown, handles the casting, the unions, the recording
and editing, Then it took a whole team of internal people to organize and process
all 8,000 lines and get \hem working In
the game. Our star, R Horwitz. did
the voice fO( Invader Zlm. AIId we'/'8 a working with Nick Jameson, who has a mmlon different YOICeS and been in many LucasArts lit over the years. All of
the ac10rs are really fun to W()(k With in the StudIO. They're really energetic and
C(i live. Some day I'd lIke to start a game
by working with the act()(S, make \hem the first step In the creative process Instead of one of the last, Some day! When we were pitChing to 0fNI pubhshers this year, we almost signed with one big name publisher, but one of the thIngs they wanted to do was replace our ac10rs With celebnlies. Not because they didn't like the acting we had-they loved ii-but
bec8usa they wanted the names attached fO( matketing reasons. We didn't sign with them.
How dare you heve integrity In th • business ... What's the overell process like at Oou.bIe Fine? Do you go heavy des gn doc or just do lots of R&D and then dive In and build as you go?
I do what I think Is a complete design
doc In the begiMing. But we always
need much more, I tty to keep h current
for about half the project. But then the design splits up Into several different level design docs, collectible design docs, scripts, rembling email threads and whhe boards around the office that say "00 NOT ERASE" on them. Next time it's going to
be super-OIganlzed on the Intranet with a comprehensive wikl page. I swear.
But de nitely, I find it's hard to design on paper past a certain part. You really have to experience something in play
to really Infoon your design declsions, SomelJmes you have to just throw the thing up on the wall and see if it sticks. You have to pul il in the game and let everybody play it fO( a while before you know if you've made th ngs better 0( worse, AIId hopefully if it's bad, that's not n one of the builds you send to the publisher. And if you do, hopefully they understand that it's a W()(k In progress.
Psychonauts Is quite a departure
f()( you. Is your a m to lift hub-based platform ng out of the k1ddy pool for
the hundreds of thousands (present compeny Included) _aned on them who crave more than odd little boys nd mutated lInimals?
I realty lust wanted 10 make a game thaI I would lIke. I love Zeld and Mario, and
I wanted to make a whole world h e that. There Is a crazy, happy place I gel Into when I'm in the basement of Princess
Toadstool's castle that I can't ex , So
Apt 2005 025
How on Earth s Budc I going 10
hoenom thiS g me mto Ihe PS2, nd do you think .t wise Iter seeing what
h ppened to the likes of Ven and Sonic H roes? Aren't ome g mes better off
Xbox exclu lve? I me n, F ble
If nyone states they w. h Psychon ut wa laid out IIkeGTA. do we have perm. ron to schedule a lobotomy?
But. a.d out ,ust ke GTA 3, You can
dnve around and II hoo at and
- Exc pt for the hoo ers have ceo VIlli sqUltT • and
I tead 01 d ng, you are roIllIl9 around
on psychIC thought ba lOon, and d
01 ste I ng money you're dtgglng up
rrowhe ds Oh. and I should probably menhon that you can't bav th I sqUIrrels Gotla save somathlng tor he sequ I. you know!
026 Apt 2005
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