Phil Roland is the son of renowned game designer, Marc Roland: creator of Iron Men, the Hammerhead series, Serial Assault I (technical design) and MasterCrime. Following Marc's tragic death last year, Phil started work at Motive Games where he is helping finish up his father's final contribution to the world of gaming, MasterCrime. Phil is himself a long-time modder and budding game artist/animator. Modder Magazine caught up with him the day before the start of E3 East. He was joined in the interview by Motive Games PR executive, Kate Marshall.
How far along in the design process had your dad gotten with MasterCrime before his death last November?
Phil: Quite far. My dad had all the technical part of the design completed, with the exception of some effects stuff. Charles Magne, whose taken over the design process, arranged for us to license some middleware to solve that problem. The AI had been long done, and the script was also finished by that time.
There have been a lot of rumours about the game's PVM, Player Versus Maker, feature. Will Motive Games be showing that feature at E3 East?
Phil: Yes! And it's every bit as cool as people have heard. You guys should come out and give it a try.
Is it true that Motive Games has had trouble finding a publisher willing to keep PVM?
Kate Marshall: Motive Games has many criteria for a publisher. An appreciation for PVM is just one of them. We are meeting with numerous publishers over the course of the show and fully expect we will find one with whom we will be able to come to an agreement with in regards to all aspects of the game.
Right. Phil, can you describe PVM for our readers?
Phil: PVM is an optional ending for MasterCrime where players that are hitting the end of the game on a pre-determined day once per week, would get to play Motive Games employees. We play the Master Criminal Organisation thugs – which are usually Non-Player Characters. That means the PCs have to escape from real people now... from us.
Don't you guys have a bit of an advantage, as the makers of the game?
Phil: We've kept it quite fair and given ourselves some handicaps such as limiting our knowledge of player location and condition. Plus some aspects of the game are randomized so the scenarios will play out differently every time.
Tell us a bit about your modding. When did you start and what have you worked on?
My dad got me started with modding when I was 12. I had a bit of an advantage over most modders because I had access to Dad's licenses of the professional tools. The best thing I've done so far is a scenario of Paladin's Quest that I've named Troll's Toll. I released a new update last month.
What advice would you give young artists interested in getting into game development?
Do some research on the game studio you'd like to work for. What 3D, animation and other art tools do they use? Take some courses on those. Also I'd say that the artist/animator who understands a bit more about the technical side of game development has a definite advantage over others. So learn a bit of scripting, and even a little bit about game programming. A good place to start is to learn how to do some scripted animation. Oh, and pay attention during math class!
Thanks Phil. We'll be sure to stop by the Motive Games booth during the show.