Larian Studios about Divine Divinity
When did you start working at Larian and how did you end up there ?
I started at Larian in July 97 — that was just when the first title LED Wars was being finished. Larian had put an ad saying they were looking for developers on Usenet, and after a few emails I was invited for a little chat. Now the story that you really need to be able to show some accomplishments to get into the industry is actually true; in my case it was some sort of bizarre-physics 640×480 side-scrolling pacman clone that I demonstrated on my 486 that did the trick.
How is Divinity getting along and what’s the hardest thing to program on it ?
The hardest part imho is that if you’re developing something really new, which is not a clone or “based on..” title, you’re going to have to iterate. A *lot*. I totally lost count on how many renderers, user interfaces, magic spells, music systems, tools and whatnot that I wrote that turned out to be either just totally crap, doing the wrong thing, or just not felt “right” (the latter especially for the user interface). So you end up throwing most of your code away and starting all over again. And again, and again. It gets tiring after a while 🙂 Fortunately, sooner or later this ends, and you get a code base that stabilises — the GUI gets finished, the renderer is fixed, the effects get a certain consistency, and so on. That’s where we are now with Divinity, and that’s good because it removes a lot of uncertainty. A lot of the game is getting set in stone, so the places where the work is being done is basically in putting in “more of the same” : more effects, more graphics, more sounds, more NPCs, more story. This is of course really nice to watch : each day there are less bugs and crashes, and more game and contents, so step by step it’s transforming more from a half-assed research thing into a real, finished game.
What would you like to do most when Divinity is done ?
Write even more code, ofcourse ! 🙂 Like I mentioned above, huge projects like an RPG are a lot of the same work over a large period of time. To prevent going crazy or terminally bored, almost everybody automatically takes interest in some side projects, just for some day-to-day variation. In my case, this meant research into shaders, Q3 BSP/Maps/MD3s, portal engines, terrain rendering, physics/kinematics, etc. I’m looking particularly forward to combining all that new stuff into one really kick ass engine that we can use in our future projects, one that’ll hopefully make Q3A look like a 16 color space invaders (well, maybe not, but a bit of ambition never hurt anyone 😉 )
What’s your own favorite game and why ?
Quake3:Arena 😉 Because I’m basically too stupid to understand anything more complicated. Plus, after a day of programming you really don’t want to spend your free time remembering statistics, computer attack patterns, or other stuff that requires more than 3 braincells.. Which basically rules out RPGs, strategy games, adventures, flightsims, etc 😉
Hey, and Quake just rules.
What is the thing you’re looking forward to aside from the release of Divinity ?
The feedback on Divinity. We have more hooks for modifications of the game than Q3A and UT together, so I’m curious to see what people will do with the story, the graphics, sounds, spells, dialogues, or whatever, once it’s out.. that should be really interesting.
Impressions on E3 ?
Dunno, never been there. The European version though (ECTS) is like one big fair, except it’s full of hot babes instead of kids. Pretty cool, but also kind of useless for developers (I mean the show, not the babes)