Bring tea for the Tillerman 15 Jun, 2007, 23:18 / 5 comments

Pro-G have published a new interview with Bill Tiller. Here?s a quote:

Pro-G: What do you think of other recent adventure games, like the episodic Sam and Max or Bone? Are you a fan?

BT: Yes and no. I love the fact they are making comedic adventure games and they are doing a great job of promotion. But I wish the games were hand painted or like the ones Peter Chan, Bill Eaken, Steve Purcell and I did, or fully rendered like Grim Fandango was. I like that better than real time 3D environments. Their engine has really neat capabilities too.

Thanks to the giant, unblinking, lid-less eye of Ddrunkymonkey for the tip off!


  • scaryrobot on 20 Jun, 2007, 19:17…
    I totally agree with Mr. Tiller - I adore hand-drawn 2D backdrops in adventures ... even the more advanced 3D engines just don't seem to have that same immersion factor for me ... I think this is why for me, Grim Fandango and The Dig are works of art, and the new Sam and Max is just a game. A damn good one, but not the same ball park. When playing Grim, for example, I would frequently step into a new scene and actually think "wow". I don't think there have been many games since which have captured quite the same atmosphere.
  • scaryrobot on 20 Jun, 2007, 19:22…
    Oops- I missed out a big bit about how pre-rendered 3D is nice too. Hence the Grim reference. With 2D, I also actually liked the fact that the pixel-painted graphics were restricted in detail due to the low-res engines of the time... this sounds daft, but when you can see a cityscape vanishing into the distance or a group of people in the corner of the room, I like the fact that there's a little room for imagination.
  • BillTiller2 on 19 Jun, 2007, 04:02…
    Yes you could make a real time 3d game really nice if you had the right budget. Just look at all the current crop of next gen games. You are absolutely right. Real time 3d can look awesome. It just cost millions to develop the engine and then to make all the super high resolution graphics, pixel shaders, etc. I would love to make an adventure games with 20 million dollar budget using the new Unreal engine. But why do I need it in real time when I can paint it in 2d and have it look just as good? -Camera movement. The only reason to real time 3d environments is to have freedom of the camera.
    In real time 3d I can swing the camera and look in all directions. That is the whole point of real time 3d. It was games like Doom and Quake that pioneered real time 3d for shooters. I just don?t think you really need dynamic camera movement in an adventure games. I think pans, truck ins, close ups are probably good enough. Limited camera movement was great for Grim Fandango, Siberia and Runaway ? I didn?t miss being bale move the camera around all over the place. So it is just my preference. I?d like to see more hand painted, more high polygon, prerendered 3d backgrounds and environments in adventure games. I just think it looks better. Just an opinion. Other people have preferences for less detailed background and lost of dynamic camera movement. That is totally cool. As an artist I?m just attracted to cool, beautiful and imaginative art. Siberia and GrimFandango fit that bill for me.

    Having said that I think there is a logical reason for going with 2d environments over real time 3D ones.. In adventure games the player spends a lot of time in a few locations searching around, examining things, going back and forth until the puzzle is solved. So environments art in an adventure game is seen for long period of time. But background sin movie so TV shows most shots are seven seconds at the most. But in adventure game the background is on the screen for as long as the player wants, - could be hours, and that is definitely more than 7 seconds. So the background NEEDS to hold your attention, so thus it needs to have a lot of interesting stuff to look at and explore. If you make the environment too simple in an adventure game, too flat, blank and lacking details, it will get boring pretty quick. In Cartoons you want the background to be fairly simple an reinforce the action on the screen not to interfere or competer with it. That?s is why then tend to be simple and more graphic. Just look at Foster Home for imaginary Friends by Craig McKraken. He and I both learned at Cal Arts from dan Hansen, a veteran Disney background designer, that background art is supposed to be designed to support and compliment the action, not overpower the frame and steel the scene from the actors. Just look at any frame form his show, it I supposed to be simple and beautiful. And it is only the screen for seven seconds at the most.
    In games it is the opposite. In games we explore, and look, and examine the environment in detail. We look for clues, move objects around, look under things, and examine everything. The environment is picked over with a fine tooth comb. So in our case we should make the environments really intricate, detailed and inviting. And with a limited budget, far less than a million, I just think 2d is the way to go. Detailed paintings take only about 40 man hours to make and looks really nice and detailed. A level in a real time 3d game with the same amount of detail and beauty can take months and cost a ton.

    So I it just what I like personally and I think it works best for adventure games. I hope I didn?t offend anyone. That wasn?t my intention at when I answered interviewers? question

    Bill Tiller
  • drunkymonkey on 16 Jun, 2007, 21:17…
    Bah! The "d" isn't capitalized, but I will let you off for mentioning me!

    It was quite a good interview, all told, and now I'm looking forward to it more - I didn't know there were so many ex-Lucas Arts workers on the team.
  • Udvarnoky on 15 Jun, 2007, 23:34…
    Well obviously, if a real-time 3D adventure game was made with the budget and development time of Grim Fandango, it would potentially look as amazing. For what Sam & Max has to work with, I think it looks fantastic. An appropriate style...reasonably detailed...what more could you ask for? It's hard to argue when he says hand drawn is better, but I don't understand how prerendered 3D is better than realtime 3D in any fundamental way. In the end the artist is what makes a game look good or bad.