May 10, 2010 50 Comments
There’s a little bit of history up for sale: Laurence Parry, long-time Creatures fan and illustrious keeper of the Creatures Wiki, just told me that Gameware is selling off two of the three huge models we had made to produce the Creatures 1 backdrop. They’re on eBay (garden; ocean), with a closing date of May 13th. But be warned: they’re HUGE and heavy. You’d need to live near Cambridge and own a van, not to mention a big house!
It looks like Gameware is holding on to the main part of the model, but I hope the other two find good homes somewhere.
Back in those ancient days there were no real-time 3D graphics, and even using 3D to generate 2D sprites and bitmaps was in its infancy. In those days, game graphics were laboriously drawn by hand, and creating such a big scene would have been a major task. I was having a lot of angst about the graphics generally, so one day I sat down and made a little norn burrow out of modeling clay. It was pretty pathetic (I still own it: see below) but it seemed like it might be a feasible approach. So I made a slightly less pathetic one (which I no longer own – I think maybe Gameware has it) and suggested that we make the entire backdrop this way and then digitize it. If I remember correctly, even that would have involved taking photos on old-fashioned film and then digitizing them with a scanner. I remember putting some thought into how to photograph sections and correct for circular distortion. Anyway, we commissioned a company to make the model (I forget who), which they did using modeling foam. They did a great job – way better than my clay! It was a unique approach to creating photoreal graphics, although not long after this, Maya and other 3D packages became available and life moved on.
I would have loved to own the model, but I wasn’t given a chance when Creature Labs went bankrupt – the model and the rights to the Creatures brand went to Gameware before I knew anything about it. But now I simply don’t have room (and I live on the wrong side of the Atlantic), so I hope one of the lovely people with a loyal and longstanding passion for Creatures gets the opportunity to own it. (By the way, please don’t bid unless you’re serious – I’d hate to see the price hiked up unnecessarily).
I still have the airship, which was my favorite object in the game and significant for the back story, but for some reason never made it into C1. That’s enough history for me. I travel light, these days.
It occurred to me recently that my new simulation is likely to hit the streets on or about 20 years from the date when I first started writing Creatures. TWENTY YEARS! Ye gods!