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Bill Tiller Chat '07 Monkey Island and the Bad Brain debacle...

<Bill Tiller> oh by the way I was the 2nd highest bidder on the back cover of MI on Ebay [Steve Purcell sold the back cover painting of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge on eBay, early 2007]
<Bill Tiller> I went as high as 3,000
<Udvarnoky> Wow.
<Skyfox> dollars?!?!
<Skyfox> wow
<joshi> what did it sell for?
<Bill Tiller> I was goign to put it on my credit card
<Bill Tiller> I think 4,000
<joshi> wow
<Bill Tiller> trust me I wanted it that badly
<Gabez> It would have been nice to have
<Bill Tiller> it is awesome
<Skyfox> who did that art?
<Bill Tiller> steve purcell
<joshi> would have been great to have... would have made a swell gift too
<Udvarnoky> I really want that Maniac Mansion painting Steve Purcell showed off a coupleyears back.
<Bill Tiller> hmm don't recall that one
<manny_c44> Can't you just ring up Purcell and commision a work or something?
<Bill Tiller> I did but he is way too busy with kids and Pixar
<Bill Tiller> funny thing is we asked him to do the CMI cover
<Bill Tiller> but he refused because he said Larry and I should do it because we would do a better job at representing the game- so that was a cool compliment
<Bill Tiller> at first we were bummed
<Bill Tiller> but after he explained that he really liked what we were doing and wanted to see what we would do with the cover it was cool
<joshi> i wonder what it would have looked like had purcell done it
<Bill Tiller> Larry drew the cover and I painted it, though I'm ok with it- not great but not bad at all

<Bill Tiller> I could do a better job now I think

<Skyfox> looking back bill, is there anything you would have changed about the look of CMI?
<Bill Tiller> hmm
<Bill Tiller> good question
<Bill Tiller> yes
<Bill Tiller> there are a lot touch ups I would have done
<Bill Tiller> and I know photoshop WAY better now
56] <Bill Tiller> so I would have made it look better but the basic style I wouldn't have chnaged
<Bill Tiller> well whenever I look at it I see flaws and mistakes that for some reason I didn't catch then and I want to go in fix them now
<Bill Tiller> so nothing in particluar would I have changed in a big way, I think over all another pass at all the background art is what I'd like to do
<Murray-Mint> CMI's artwork was superb
<manny_c44> yeah it really looks incredible
<Bill Tiller> thanks
<Udvarnoky> The thing that blows me away about CMI is that it really can't age. If it was made today I don't know how it would look any different.
<Bill Tiller> right that is the power of animation!
<Bill Tiller> I learned that at Cal Arts form my first mentor
<Bill Tiller> he said you can't catch anyone really watching a lot of movied form the 30's ot 40's
<Bill Tiller> but Animation form that era is timeless
<Bill Tiller> 2d aniamtion looks good if done well in every decade
<manny_c44> I watch movies from that era all of the time =(
<Bill Tiller> I do too but they aren't watched by most people like Snow White of Cibnderelea, or Petrer Pan or 101 Dalmations, all those movies will be watched for hundreds of years to come and will be just as enjoyable and they translate across time very well
<Haggis> Gertie the Dinosaur hasn't aged too well though

<Bill Tiller> right it has to be done well

<manny_c44> Speaking of animation, have you watched the Triplettes of Belleville?
<Bill Tiller> I have watch ToB

<Bill Tiller> It is great movie- loved it

<nn4m3> just curious, was there any CMI scene that was particularly difficult or challenging to put it on paper?
<Bill Tiller> gosh, I don't recall any one being harder than the other
<Bill Tiller> the hardest part was really developing a style Larry liked
<Bill Tiller> it took three months to just dvelop the style
<Bill Tiller> in the end I think it was not exactly his vision, but it was close and it made Jonathan happy as well
<Bill Tiller> Jonathan wanted to have a more disney style
<Bill Tiller> Larry wanted a much more edgey and weird and exagerated style
<Bill Tiller> so in the end the CMI style is one I felt was good compromise- new but grounded in traditional illustration
<nn4m3> three months.. wow, that must have been a challenge
<Bill Tiller> yes it was- a bit frustrating as well- but I knew we would get it and I didn't feel the time was wasted at all. I needed that time to transit from the DIG style to this new style
<Bill Tiller> it was tougher on the animators because they really, really wanted the disney look to the characters and Larry really, really, didn't
<Bill Tiller> so those guys resisted Larry more then I did
<Bill Tiller> I was the Art diretcor on the Dig, but I just picked up where Bill Eaken wore off
<Bill Tiller> But now that I have total freedom it is both scary but very liberating too

<Bill Tiller> I havr no one to blame but myself if something looks bad

<joshi> how would you class the art style of AVS?
<Bill Tiller> CMI with darker colors, and no black outline
<Gabez> And no curly clouds? ~
<Bill Tiller> no
<Bill Tiller> too CMI related
<Bill Tiller> If I didd Monkey Island 5 or another pirate game I might, but in AVS I wanted clouds that fitted the feel of the local, so we have clouds that looks wispy but have scary gothic horror shapes to them
<Bill Tiller> They kept the curly clouds in EMI [Escape from Monkey Island] because I told them that they better
<Bill Tiller> the ONLY peice advive the EMI art team took from me
<Skyfox> go bill!!
<neon_git> You weren't wrong there bill
<emmarrr> How sad. I'm pretty sure EMI would have been a whole lot better had they listened to you.
<Bill Tiller> they ignored the rest and told point blank they didn't really want my advice
<Bill Tiller> I agree
<Bill Tiller> but they wanted to do their own thing and not fall into a mold that Larry, Jonthan and I had created
<Bill Tiller> they wanted to make their own version of Monkey Island
<Bill Tiller> I think that was a mistake on their part but on the other hand I can understand it comepletly
<Bill Tiller> But you can do new things just for the sake of being new, but it may not be better
<emmarrr> It was like atmosphere free.
<emmarrr> I just value atmosphere in a game.
<Bill Tiller> I do too
<Bill Tiller> it isn't a ugly game at all, it just could have been better
<Bill Tiller> there were some really good artist on it for sure- some friends of mine
<Bill Tiller> and they admit that they think it could have been better
<Bill Tiller> to be a good art director I think your backgrounds HAS to be in illustration, preferbaly landscapes or environment art
<emmarrr> Monkey Island, I felt, always benefitted from 2D over 3D.
<Bill Tiller> I think a 3d MI would have been fine, but their decsison to go with low res texture and low res models I think hurt the look
<Gabez> I think Mi5 would look really good if it was done now

<Bill Tiller> Yes Mi 5 would look great if done now- the technology of creating the art is much faster and better now so there really wouldn't be any reason why it couldn't look good

<Skyfox> EMI was very funny I thought though
<Bill Tiller> It was a mixed bag for me
<Bill Tiller> some of it was good, some just kind of flat
<emmarrr> "Worse than Hitler!!!!"
<Bill Tiller> EMI is not worse than Hitler- no one is. LOL
<emmarrr> Ok ok! On par!
<emmarrr> In gaming terms, maybe!

<emmarrr> I'm just a hard lady to please. ¬

<Gabez> You and Ron need to buy the rights back

<Bill Tiller> Ron told me his plot for MI3 and it would be hilarious, though I swore not to reveal it. Sorry. But I hope he gets to do the next one

<joshi> As for art, with these types of games where the backgrounds are static, would you suggest 2D art via something like photoshop over 3d modelling and rendering of backgrounds?
<Bill Tiller> Wel 2d gets you better results in less time
<Bill Tiller> but you are limited to left right up down camera movement
<joshi> that's fair, I know in the latest Broken sword games the camera was a lot more dynamic, but in something like grim fandango or emi the camera was completely stationary and it still worked well
<Bill Tiller> In AVS the camera will be just left right an dup down, but in AVS we wnat to have it move in and out a bit more
<Bill Tiller> and other games we will wnat to keep the 2d look but free up the camera even more

<Bill Tiller> you don't need a ton of camera movement for an adventure game, but a free camera allows you to use more movie like camera tricks and editing to enhance the look of the game and help tell the story

<salty-horse> will AVS be digitally distributed?
<Bill Tiller> I think ultimaly it will be but I think after the CD is in the store for a few months
<Bill Tiller> no final deal is signed but all the online distributors have been contacted but I can't say more than that

<Bill Tiller> but I am sure it will

<Haggis> any news on the limited edition? )
<Bill Tiller> Yes I think Crimson Cow will do special editions, but no final plans have been made, but we have talked about it
<Zaarin> hmmm, I hope the limited edition comes with soundtrack CD then.. )
<Twilo> and a resin model of a Big Daddy
<Haggis> and I want a map of Draxsylvania with it as well )
<Haggis> and a book with concept art
<ZombieAtPlay> and a dvd of the fmv
<emmarrr> a tshirt!
<queztone> and a lifesized Elaine Marley!
<Bill Tiller> A Map oif Draxsylvania would be great
<Bill Tiller> I have a rough one, but I need ot make a goo done

<Bill Tiller> also AVS could be a series too, it is set up to so that if people want to follow the adventure of MonaDe Lafitte beyond game 3 we can do it

<Gabez> Are you happy with Crimson Cow as your main publisher?
<Gabez> Because you had a tough time with publishers at the start...!
<Bill Tiller> So far they have given us a good amount of freedom and have been very generous so yes they have been a dream publisher compared to the norm- dones't mean we haven't had problems, but they are very reasonable and we understand each really well now and work all our issues out pretty quick
<Bill Tiller> I think the biggest isues was the scope of the game in the begining
<Bill Tiller> We over deisgned the game on purpose so we could just keep the good ideas and weeds out the 'so so' ideas
<Bill Tiller> problem was we both felt almosy all the ideas were good
<Bill Tiller> and we were having hard time cutting the game down
<Bill Tiller> so they wanted all the ideas and so did we but we didn't have the budget
<Bill Tiller> so we decided to put some of the good ideas into the sequel and I think that was a perfect solution
<Bill Tiller> I am really happy with that because cutting all those cool locations and ideas was a REAL bummer
<Bill Tiller> so now we get to do them ALL!
<joshi> that's cool
<neon_git> Everyone wins!

<Bill Tiller> yep

<Udvarnoky> So, uh, what exactly happened with Bad Brain?
<Bill Tiller> Bad Brain was the first company to commit to paying for the whole game
<Bill Tiller> we had other company's commit to parts of the game and pay just for their territory
<Bill Tiller> but we wanted to deal with a publisher not 6-8
<Bill Tiller> so bad brain wanted to buy the exclusive rights for the world wide dirtibution
<Bill Tiller> problem was he never signed the contract
<Bill Tiller> so after a while we decide to move on
<Bill Tiller> I'm not sure he had all the money to pay for the full game
<Bill Tiller> and he needed more time to get it
<Bill Tiller> He wanted to buy a game to help raise money
<Bill Tiller> I suggested sam and max freelance police
<Bill Tiller> I said call LuacsArts maybe they will sell it to you because it is partially finished
<Bill Tiller> I had no idea he would go public with talking to lucas
<Bill Tiller> I didn't think it was wise

<Bill Tiller> so after a time we decided it propably wasn't going to work out so we moved on

<Gabez> Did you think he [Wolfgang, Bad Brain's head] was simmilar to David Brent?
<Bill Tiller> LOL
<Bill Tiller> I love the office

<Bill Tiller> the UK one not US one

<Udvarnoky> Yeah bad brain has become mixnmojo's unofficial punching bag
<Gabez> With LucasArts being our official one ¬¬
<Bill Tiller> well I don't think Wolfgang knew what he was getting into
<Bill Tiller> he didn't know the Adventure game community as well as he should or I don't think he would have done some of the things he did
<Bill Tiller> I do think he was genuinely interested in making a game company and genuinely wanted to make a good games
<Bill Tiller> I just think he got too focused on trying to promote himslef and his company and not enough on making games themselevs
<Bill Tiller> I felt it would have been wiser for him to let the quality of his games speak for themselevs
<neon_git> It's quite sad when you put it like that
<Thrik> I take it the company went belly-up? http//
<Bill Tiller> I think so
<Udvarnoky> I remember one time he had a team list for one his games and one of the name's said "Maybe Hal Barwood"
<Bill Tiller> That was odd about Hal.
<Bill Tiller> Again I suggested he contact some old Luacs Arts designers to help with his new games, Hal was one of them
<Bill Tiller> Hall talked to him and thought he was bit out of his league and had some ideas that wouldn't be all that original and might not sell, but Hall was interestyed in helping out

<Bill Tiller> but wolfgang never called hime back

<salty-horse> Bill Tiller, think you can convince lucasarts to put the old adventure games back on store shelves (some are available in europe, but not the old games)
<Bill Tiller> I have talked to two people kind of high up Luacs Arts to tell them to rerelease the old games on the DS
<Bill Tiller> so far no luck
<Zaarin> Monkey Island with those high-res scans they showed on the site a while ago would be nice.. )
<Bill Tiller> I did rescan MI marker backgrounds in high res and they actaully didn't look good at all belive it or not
<Bill Tiller> the problem was that all the flaws and mistakes and rough marker lines showed up in highres and it made it look noisey and messy
<Bill Tiller> I think they look good in low res because all those rough elements don't show up or get blurred out
<Bill Tiller> Monkey Island 2 was all marker
<Bill Tiller> Monkey Island 1 was done with dpaint and amouse
<Bill Tiller> Monkey Island 2 was markers on marker paper with some dpaint touch up
<manny_c44> Were those about the size of a postcard...or am I imagining that?
<Bill Tiller> no they were a bit bigger than that
<Bill Tiller> about 8 inches across and five high
<Bill Tiller> they look great in real life but the scanns just picked up alll the rough flaws
<Bill Tiller> I think they did the art based on the fact it was going to be low res so that is whay they wouldn't look good in highres
<Bill Tiller> I think if they were going to do it high res they would have done it on bigger paper
<Udvarnoky> Still though those original paintings look fantastic.
<Bill Tiller> steve and Peter chan did an awesome job, in fact I thought that for Monkey Island 3 we would just copy that style
<Bill Tiller> Peter chan worked on almost all Luacs Arts games and has moved on to movies but still works with Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert

<Bill Tiller> I would love working with peter and some day we might

<Bill Tiller> I doubt Lucas Arts would post the Monkey Island art on the internet because right now they wnat to focus on the future and forget about their past which I understand but don't full agree with
<Bill Tiller> it's like they look at their legacy as baggage rather than a foundation to be proud of and to build on
<Gabez> Yeah, it's a shame
<Udvarnoky> Yeah it's a shame.
<Thrik> Yeah it's crazy

<Thrik> lol

<Murray-Mint> I want Grim Frandango with the slight interface tweaks of EMI :)
<Murray-Mint> Or in fact, Grim, with point and click :)

<Bill Tiller> GRIM point an click wopuld be perfect!

<ZombieAtPlay> So Bill, How often do you come to
<Thrik> Do you like it and go there a lot?
<Bill Tiller> I come to mix'n'mojo in waves
<Bill Tiller> there's times for a few weeks I am there all the time and then I can go a few months not at all

<Bill Tiller> so I'm not a steady visitor, but I do check it quite a bit

<manny_c44> Bill I read on some MI site (probably the SCUMM Bar) that you wouldn't mind people emailing you for illustration critiques, does that offer still stand?
<Bill Tiller> yes and no
<Bill Tiller> I don't type all that fats so it take sup a lot of time
<Bill Tiller> I'd rather record it as wav file
<Bill Tiller> easier ro speak than write for me, but yeah I would
<Bill Tiller> send it it to Bill Tiller[at]amegames[dot]com

<Twilo> hold on, let me log in my spam bot to get a copy of that

<Murray-Mint> Also <a href="http//">[Link to an emulation of the 'Dial a Pirate' rotating card]</a>
<Gabez> Oh never seen the Monkey Island 2 one
<Bill Tiller> both are cool
<Bill Tiller> I like the Monkey Island 1 one better
<Bill Tiller> We were talking about doing on for AVS though there isn't really much need
<Bill Tiller> haven't rules it out though
<queztone> you mean digitally?
<Bill Tiller> no in the box
<Bill Tiller> it might be part of a special version or something
<Bill Tiller> if we don't do it for AVS 1 I'd like to do it for AVS 2 just for fun
<joshi> it would be nice, so many games come with nothing but the games in the box these days
<Bill Tiller> yes I like getting stuff in a box like that
<queztone> yeah =] feels like the old days
<Bill Tiller> I miss the adventurer [a magazine that used to come with LucasArts games]

<Bill Tiller> Crimson Cow wanted to do it but I think we might do it for a special version... not sure yet but it is an idea that was propsoed- it may not happen for various reasons

Article image

<Bill Tiller> ok well my kids wnat to go see a movie
<Bill Tiller> any last questions Monkey Island or A Vampye Story related?
<Skyfox> ok Bill!
<Skyfox> erm...
<joshi> that's it

  • +Skyfox thinks
    <emmarrr> Laters Bill. Thanks for coming.
    <Udvarnoky> Thanks for your time, Bill!
    <nn4m3> thanks for the time Bill.
    <Gabez> Yeah, thanks a lot!
    <Bill Tiller> Sure no problem it was fun
    <queztone> thanks for coming by Bill! ) really do come by and join us again when you have time, informal fun! =]
    <Murray-Mint> thanks Bill, it's been great!
    <Skyfox> Looking forward to the new game!
    <Haggis> thank you, Bill!
    <Gabez> It's been fantastic talking to you
    <Bill Tiller> I figure I better do these because I hardly ever have time to update the web site
    <Udvarnoky> Heh.
    <Skyfox> you've given us good info )
    <queztone> =]
    <joshi> thanks a lot Bill, for answering most of my questions, was truly enlightening
    <ZombieAtPlay> AVS will rock!
    <manny_c44> Thanks Bill!
    <Udvarnoky> You just tell us when to pre-order.
    <salty-horse> thanks!
    <Zaarin> Thanks Bill!
    <joshi> s'been great
    <neon_git> Cheers bill
    <Bill Tiller> I hope if we get to do two games we can fianlly afford an in house web deisgner and web master so it can be updated as regularly as Tim [Schafer] updates his
    <Bill Tiller> you are very welcome and thanks for inviting me.
    <Gabez> )
    <queztone> =] feel free to drop in anytime!
    <Haggis> in the meantime, just read The Pumpkin Post P [/blatantplug]
    <manny_c44> We love you BilL!
    <joshi> i'm sure we wish you all the success with AVS and future incarnations
    <Bill Tiller> I'll do it anytime you want.
    <neon_git> I think we all hope you do games
    <Gabez> Yep, looking forward to the game
    <Bill Tiller> love you too- in a Platonic way.
    <Gabez> Best of luck finishing it
    <Bill Tiller> bye
    <queztone> lol
    <manny_c44> =)
    <emmarrr> Haha.
    <Gabez> Bye bye!
    <queztone> baibai!
    <joshi> ta
  • +Bill Tiller ( Quit (Quit:)
    <ZombieAtPlay> wow... THE Bill Tiller!!
    <Gabez> Aaw
    <Murray-Mint> What a nice man
    <Gabez> That was lovely
    <joshi> ... now what?
    <Skyfox> Bill rules D
    <emmarrr> Damn. I forgot to ask if he'd adopt me.
    <Haggis> now we all go home
    <manny_c44> =(
    <ZombieAtPlay> Haha
    <emmarrr> I'm sure everyone wants a 5 year old red haired bassist to adopt.
    <Gabez> Now we all play Quake
    <joshi> I'm already home!

    <queztone> are we going to do karaoke now?