Items tagged with 'Alex Evans'
A little while back Deviant Art ran a swishy contest to create some stupendous LittleBigPlanet art pieces, and we totally missed the end of it… Browse through the entries and you’ll discover a real treasure trove of amazing LBP imagery, and the winners are just super duper! Great work deviant arters, lots of <3 from everyone at Mm.
Seeing as it’s the second anniversary of LittleBigPlanet’s release this week, we thought we’d finally get around to publishing the final two chapters written for the History of Mm section of this very website.
These final chapters are more about the development of LittleBigPlanet than they are about the company forming, as we hear from Alex Evans about how the game started to take shape and become the game we all know and love today.
“Before we put layer restrictions in we had some awesome levels, but the camera was massively zoomed out, with wild camera zones. It was 3D, and deep, but it felt slow, and you never connected with sackboy because he was only four pixels high. “
“So superficially, even though when you watch the old videos it feels much bigger and more epic, to play it was far less fun. There was no character customisation, and the levels were realllly hard.”
“Making and designing them was absolutely jedi mind trick, because it was so unconstrained. You spent hours with Auto Z” [the thing that makes sackboy automatically change layers when you jump.]
“People complain now… You think it’s a bit tricksy now, but in that version you could just jump and Sackboy would go wooooosh and fly 100 meters back to the nearest block. So building levels was really hard.”
Over on Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, there’s a rather in depth technical jargon filled interview with your friend and mine, Alex Evans. And when I say Jargon filled, i mean it.
I hate anything, as a matter of taste, that operates at the ‘per object’ level, or has arbitrary limits like ‘oh you can have two hero lights and then the rest is baked into an SH probe’ or ‘oh we’ll just lightmap everything’.
If you speak Alex Evans, then why not head over and read the full interview!
When we launched this new web site type place into your life a few months ago, we also published a couple of history articles looking back at the beginnings of Mm and of LittleBigPlanet, which we put together by trapping Alex Evans in a room with a tape recorder, shouting “Go!” and then sitting back for a few hours. This of course means that we are relying on Alex’s notoriously twisted memory, and should take it all with a pinch of nutmeg: we already found out one thing was a total lie, but the rest seems to be quite true!
The first couple of chapters looked at the founding of the studio, pitching the game to Sony, and building the team up. We left it on a cliffhanger of sorts…. which we will now continue with Chapter 3: Building the game. If you haven’t read the other parts, then I recommend you do so immediately. No not later, now, just do it!
After a fairly intense six months, the small gang of Molecules had been given the green light from Sony to go into full production. Up until now the company had been formed entirely of Lionhead leavers and friends, but now there was a game to make, and some money to make it with, so Media Molecule started to grow.
They advertised, interviewed, hired, all whilst continuing to work on the game…
“It was a weird one, we’d hired key people, but we were all working on such independent things. We didn’t really work together, we discussed together, but there was so much to do that we just… well I could work on a 3D engine, but there was no hope of it integrating with Dave at that stage, Dave was working on a level editor… the PC editor was one of the first things that was made - post green light, we very much focussed on creative tools.”
Whilst tidying this morning, Mags the
Mechanic Accountant stumbled upon a rather cool thing in the filing cabinet: a little flyer which was used around the time we were first pitching LittleBigPlanet to Sony.
The flyer pointed to a website containing the now semi-famous Mr Yellow Head prototype video, a high res PDF of the above flyer, and this scary animated gif that Alex made (shift+refresh it to see it animate) .
In related news, our resident IT magician Paul handed me a big pile of DVDs the other day containing various videos of LittlebigPlanet’s past. I’m not sure what’s on them all yet, but if they’re good, hopefully we can work out some way of sharing some of them with you guys!
The headline says it all, it’s good when that happens isn’t it? Our beloved hat lover Alex was interviewed by the team at GI.biz whilst at the Nordic Game conference recently, where he talked all things LittleBigPlanet, check it out!
A number of key industry figures have said to me that they considered LittleBigPlanet to be possibly the most important title released in 2008 – not based on sales, but because of what it represented for user-generated content. What are your thoughts on that?
Alex Evans: Well, that’s amazing. I remember when we first revealed it at a GDC, we got Peter Molyneux in as an old friend to play it, to see what he thought, and his reaction was: “It’s too ambitious,” which was an enormous compliment, coming from him…
To hear things like that, that it’s important, it’s really good. Post-release it was really interesting because we’d never run a community before, and the industry is changing really fast. The way you do post-release, the way you do add-ons and the way you maintain your community… the MMO guys have got it down, I think – we could learn from them.
I was actually talking to the Sony guys a lot after release, saying that I’d love to look at the way we treat LBP as an MMO. It’s not an MMO at all, and so people were a bit confused, asking me if it was going to become an MMO… I said that almost every game has to be supported with that kind of service mentality, so lots of stuff that I’m working on personally at the moment is geared to that mentality.
The way we’ve structured the team – because everybody at Media Molecule is still doing LBP – we very consciously decided to stick to a focus. Within that we’ve divided it up, and we’ve got all these different features cooking, and we decide very late how they get released and what channel they’re released through.
What I love about the way LBP was received by the industry – but also the players – is that you can jump into it at different levels. You can just play it, and enjoy that side of it, or you can look at it as a platform for expressing yourself.
We haven’t succeeded everywhere, but we’ve definitely tried to do a lot.
Following last week’s dress-up Friday, speculation around Alex Evans’ hat collection has exploded.
New evidence has surfaced today which suggests that Alex’s collection of hats, which is well known across the games industry, has expanded to include a Ted Baker ‘Havlock‘ Straw Trilby.
The ‘Havlock‘ Straw Trilby is listed as being a “dandy paper hat, with contrast tape and stud detailing” and will “look fresh for spring“; a comment which many will find hard to deny.
Alex was first spotted with the hat in a Wagamama restaurant, pictured above, where onlooker Robin Debson said “This hat is like a dream, completely surpassing anything we’ve seen before“.
Alex declined to comment on his latest hat.
Anyone planning to attend Nordic Game next week? If so, perhaps you’ll be interested to know that Alex Evans will be talking there.
Creative Gaming: Lessons Learned from the Making of LBP
From character customization to full game creation, side feature to game-defining genre, User Generated Content gives players a greater investment in your game. In this talk Alex will investigate the technical and design ramifications of building a creative game, with examples from LittleBigPlanet.
His talk takes place at 10am next wednesday, and you can also look forward to a few interviews with him appearing on the internets soon afterwards.