all, can you all introduce yourself and give us
a bit of insight into your history in the gaming
Bob: Hi, I’m Bob Donatucci
and the Senior Environment Artist on Indiana Jones
and the Emperor’s Tomb. I’ve been
in the industry for over 10 years now. Breaking
away from the traditional Architecture I studied
in Canada and Rome Italy, I work at the Collective
and have conceptualized and created Environments
for such titles as 'Aeon Flux', 'Deep Space Nine:
The Fallen', 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Indiana
Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb'.
Nick: My name is
Nick Parde and I am a Designer here at The Collective.
Games I have worked on (besides Indy: ET), include:
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (– The Collective,
2002), 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The
Fallen' (PC – The Collective, 2000) and
'Nerf Arena Blast' (PC – Visionary Media,
Fred: Hi there.
The names Fred Corchero, the position on IJET
is Combat Scripter\Designer. I’ve been in
the industry for nearly a decade and I’m
David: I'm David.
I've been around for a few years. I've made some
Brian: My name
is Brian Horton, I’ve been in the industry
for 9 years and have worked at Disney Interactive,
DreamWorks Interactive/EA and my home is now at
the Collective. I have shipped about 9 games and
I was the Lead artist for the last two, Clive
Barker’s 'Undying' and 'Indiana Jones and
the Emperor’s Tomb'.
Paul: Paul (Grim)
Lee; animator -- I started out as a level designer.
Then moved on to making 3D character models and
general 3D work. Then ended up specializing in
3D animation when I arrived at the Collective.
How did you all
react when you found out that LucasArts wanted
you to create their next Indiana Jones game?
Bob: I think I
rubbed my chin and mumble something like "And
the museum, the museum gets the Ark when we're
Nick: I was very
excited, as I would consider myself a big fan
of the films, because I could see the huge potential
in having us develop an action game based on Indiana
Jones, especially if we kept the combat similar
to how it was handled in Buffy (which we did).
Fred: I felt as
if the camera came on and someone shouted, "Action!"
David: I joined
the project later on, but I know The Collective
Brian: I joined
this company because of it. I was the first member
of the team and I couldn’t be more excited
to work on what has been my favorite movie series
of all time.
Paul: Yo Bammm!!!
How many times did
you watch the Indiana Jones trilogy during the
production of "Indiana Jones and the Emperor's
Indy in Tux concept art.
I was already extremely familiar with the trilogy
well before this project, having seen each of
these movies dozens of times. I suspect I’ve
seen 'Raiders' close to 100 times for sure. But
during production I suppose I must have watched
the trilogy a least another half dozen times…
sometimes analyzing particular parts and other
times just enjoying the ride.
Nick: I personally
only watched the films a couple of times during
production, but I know many of the members of
the team watched them many times.
Fred: Just once
all the way through. I’ve seen it enough
times prior to the project to have it in memory.
Of course during the project I studied frame by
frame, critical segments of Indy’s fighting
David: Bob hogged
Brian: About 5-6
What were your main source
of inspiration apart from the Indiana Jones movies?
and Travel. The Environments were such that I
really wanted to give them a richness they deserved.
I found myself exploring works from the Romantic
Age of Victorian Classicism and concentrating
on the works of the Orientalism painters such
as David Roberts who drew and painted many Egyptian
ruins during a time when Europe was fascinated
with exotic lands. I also dug through many of
my own personal photos that I had taken over the
years during my travels through Europe. A trip
to 'Adventure Land' in Disneyland also aided in
capturing the Ceylon mission, where I was able
to get a lot of reference photos to keep in pace
with the "Ruins in the Jungle" theme.
While the internet also provided many examples
of the 30’s era, I did in fact refer to
TheRaider.net for it’s wonderful assemblage
of Influence materials on Indiana Jones…
Thank You… Along with a deep appreciation
for old films and Architecture, perhaps one of
my two favorite inspirations were for the Prague
mission. For the interiors I wanted an ominous
feel to the place that reflected the menacingly
huge exterior, so I drew my inspiration from the
lonely Castle "Xanadu" in 'Citizen Kane'…
I even went to Hearst Castle just north of here
to gather texture reference for some of the garish
embellishment seen in Prague castle. For the Exterior
I drew inspiration from the Canadian Parliament
buildings (in Ottawa – which is where I’m
from) which share the same period of Architectural
construction….those who are familiar with
the main center block of these building will notice
the muse of it’s Peace Tower.
action/adventure games mostly.
Fred: My main inspiration
from non-Indy sources were old action movies that
were created before the current martial arts trend.
The 80s we’re the golden age of movie brawling.
Schwarzenegger in 'Commando' is a prime example
of a similar brawling style.
David: Mostly Chinese
Brian: Golden age
illustrators like Dead Cornwell, and Howard Pyle
were constantly on my mind when I was designing
the characters. Classic Disney films were my inspiration
for the environments. Strong colors palettes that
establish mood and emotion.
Which is your favorite Indiana Jones film?
Bob: 'Raiders'… "Nothing
else comes close"
of the Lost Ark' (the original, and still the
Fred: Hands down,
'Temple of Doom'. My favorite scene of all the
movies is when Indy enters the mine where the
children are captive near the end of the movie.
All you hear is a couple of meaty "thwacks!"
before a guard goes sliding past the camera. For
some reason that scene sings to me.
by far, it has everything I like about the series.
Paul: 'Temple of
Bob, I have read somewhere that you have
a nice collection of Indy memorable. Did having
such a collection help in creating this game?
Bob: Without a doubt, having
such a huge number of books and images helped
me and the rest of the art department… I
always knew it would come in handy some day.
'Emperor’s Tomb' features The Collective's
proprietary 3D engine that was also used for 'Buffy
the Vampire Slayer'. How much alike are 'Emperor’s
Tomb' and 'Vampire Slayer'?
Nick: Really, the
only similarities that Buffy and Indy share, in
gameplay, are the hand-to-hand combat engine.
Even that had been hand tailored to suit a more
"Indy-like" fighting style
How much was Lucasfilm involved in the
development of the story/game content?
Jim Tso: Lucasfilm
read the initial story concept and approved it.
What was the most difficult
aspect of creating the most convincing Indy possible?
The streets of Hong
Kong, chase location.
For me the most difficult aspect had to be setting
up his combat moves while being true to Indy’s
particular fighting style.
the high action pace of the films was a huge challenge,
especially the chase sequences. Essentially our
engine was geared toward 3rd person combat and
navigation since it was built for 'Buffy the Vampire
Slayer'. This was a fantastic foundation for us
to work with, but we did not have the tools we
needed to recreate the signature chase sequences.
We spent many months adding the chase tech to
our engine to accommodate these sequences. It
was very challenging, but we’re happy with
Did you use real people their faces to
model for the other key characters in the game?
Mei Ying concept art.
Most of the characters in 'Emperor’s Tomb'
were created from scratch, so we’d make
maquettes for the main characters like Von Beck,
Mei Ying, and Marshall Kai. Characters like Wu
Han were created looking at photographs and reconstructing
the look of his face with photo source and painting.
I didn’t have any good shots of him so it
was mostly a painting job. Indy was a combination
of photo source and painting as well, I didn’t
want a lot of lighting in the texture map since
the model was so detailed. Every other character
was created from scratch, mostly painted with
some photo source to keep the style consistent.
The movement of the characters
in 'Emperor's Tomb' is very smooth and realistic.
A big improvement compared to 'Indiana Jones and
the Infernal Machine'. How did you achieve that?
Fred: Teamwork. Paul Lee did
amazing work on the animation side while I scripted
and tweaked each individual move. Through designing
the mechanics and implementation, a harmony was
achieved that now resonates in the finished game.
Paul: A lot of
revisions were required to build visual-credibility.
Animations looked a lot different from the program
that we've used. Therefore, some hacks and a lot
of exaggerations had to be incorporated into the
A detail that everybody
loves is the way that Indy can loose his fedora
in combat and can pick it up again. Who's idea
Fred: I’m not actually
sure whose idea it was originally though I do
agree that the overall effect was pretty fun.
a Environment Artist do exactly and how is the
relationship between an Environment Artist and
a Level Designer?
Both Environment Artists and Level Designers are
involved with the creation of Levels. The relationship
between EA and LD is crucial to the success of
any map. Where the EA concentrates on the visuals,
the LD concentrates on the actual gameplay of
the mission. The efforts of both EA and LD will
in fact have an impact the other.
An Environment Artist is in many
ways a sort of Level Designer. What sets him apart
from the LD is that he concentrates primarily
of the Aesthetics.
He is responsible for the early concepts (dictated
by the story and mission plan), the general layout
(working closely with the LD) and then all of
the Textures (creation and application), Detailed
sections, Embellishment, Lighting, Fog, and much
of the FX such as Fire and Waterfalls. Anything
Art related is for the EA.
The LD deals primarily with the
actual game play such as Mechanics, Enemy placement,
Character AI, Tweaking jump distances, Collision,
Movers, etc… Anything Gameplay related is
the job of the LD. That said, the LD also pays
close attention to the look of the map to ensure
it’s visual appeal and will address these
issues at times along the way.
There is in fact a lot of overlap
here and the rapport between EA and LD can be
very intense and rewarding.
To what extent
did the locations need to be researched. Or were
they mainly plucked form the designers imaginations?
Bob: Each and every
Location in IJET was thoroughly researched. Even
relevant paintings, sculptures, items, and terrain
were carefully considered after extensive research
to ensure a certain degree of authenticity. We
even got some of the Chinese programmers here
to make sure that our Chinese signage in Hong
Kong was actually correct.
Can you explain
which steps need to be taken to build a level,
beginning from ideas to a completely finished
Possessed Traid Grunt.
Each level begins with research material (images,
Then Landmark illustrations are created to get
a mood and atmosphere for the level.
Then a layout for the level is drawn out identifying
the main areas of focus (puzzles, brawls, traps,
navigation, and celebrated spaces).
Then Concept drawings and sketches are made to
flesh out the design.
Texture sets are created in the flavor of the
The Level is then blocked out and slowly evolves
while being handled by the LD and EA… back
Gameplay and Aesthetics is the main importance.
While the Gameplay evolves, the Textures, Lighting
and FX are brought into the mix.
Collision is checked by the LD and the Level is
It goes something like that.
How difficult is it to
build a location for a fast-paced game that must
also contain a fair amount of puzzle’s and
Nick: Not too difficult.
The hardest part is trying to keep the game fair
to the player (as much as possible) while still
keeping the game interesting so the player wants
to continue to play, and see the next sections.
Which of the 10 locations
was the most difficult and/or fun to design?
Bob: I have
to say that there is a lot going on in Prague
than most people realize… It was a great
challenge and a level dear to my heart.
Nick: I had a lot of fun working
on the Ceylon levels. They were used as a training
area, of sorts, but I think they had a lot of
varied gameplay in them, and had a definite "lost
in the depths of a jungle" feel to them.
David: The Netherworld
was probably the most fun. As for difficult, I
suppose the Emperor's Tomb itself. History assumes
what might be buried with Qin, so the challenge
was to create something that borderline fantasy
and actual Chinese history. I think the result
is a nice melange.
Which of the levels is
your favorite and why?
In the early days of IJET we discussed many possible
locations. I had always wanted to see Indy in
a more European setting like Prague. I really
pushed for this location and was so happy to have
it in the game. It was a wonderful locale because
it had a colder feel than the Asian locales. By
existing in cool blue washes, it really accentuated
the beautiful warm reds, and gold tones of the
Orient in latter levels.
Nick: I think the
Prague mission is my favorite, mostly because
of the "grand" feel of the castle, and
the feeling that Indy is sneaking around, trying
to find these items to solve this large puzzle
that ties it all together. All the missions, though,
have their own "unique" feel, and are
fun/interesting in their own way.
partial to the Hong Kong bar fight. This level
gave a good old fashion bar brawl… with
It truly feels like the opening of 'Raiders'...
Were there any ideas
for the game that didn't make it in the end?
Jim Tso: Originally,
Abner Ravenwood was going to be in the game as
a partner for Indy but it proved to be too unwieldy.
Were there any thoughts
of making a multiplayer version of the game? Although
everyone would want to be indy!
Jim Tso: No, it
was always intended as a single player game.
Are there any in-jokes
hidden in 'Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb'
you can hint us about?
Fred: … …
::grin:: No comment!
David: I knew we
were forgetting something...
Whom of you wore a Fedora during the production
of the game?
Fred: Bob. Or as
I have come to know him by, Encyclopedia Indiana.
Which of the older Indiana Jones video
games is your favorite?
Bob: 'Temple of
Doom' Coin-op… I loved that midi soundtrack.
Jones and the Fate of Atlantis' (boo-yay!)
Fred: I love the
old 'Temple of Doom' game though it’s been
years since I’ve reveled in that wonderful
David: The old
coin-op Temple of Doom, of course.
Jones’ Greatest Adventures' for SNES, I
just picked it up and it rules!
Thank you all for spending
time with us. We wish you all the best.
Nick: Sure, no
Fred: No sweat.
Catch ya later!