Massively: Is there any MMO that has influenced your work on Earth Eternal, and if so how did it influence you?
Alex Madrigal, Concept Artist: I've been pretty active with MMOs for about seven years now. I've played Final Fantasy XI the most, but I've spent a serious amount of time in World of Warcraft as well. I've dabbled in Everquest 2, Lineage II and most recently Dragonica. Artistically, I've picked something up from each of the games I've spent considerable amounts of time with.
What Earth Eternal race represents you the best and why?
Alex: I'd have to say that I'm probably most like the Ursine. I'm big, tough and hairy. Also...not so much tough, but definitely cuddly!
If you could pick out your favorite part of Earth Eternal, what would it be and why?
Alex: My monster designs. That will probably (definitely) come across as conceit, but the time spent with the team discussing, designing and fine tuning the monsters was probably the most fun I've had working on this game. To take something from a simply stated verbal concept and then see it grow through the stages of development is always exciting. Getting to draw strange things and seeing them show up in a 3D virtual space is a hoot. Plus it does my ego good when I hear people say that they think the designs are cool. And if you manage to find monsters you think aren't so cool – I didn't do those. [Laughs]
What has been the most difficult obstacle for you to overcome in your work on Earth Eternal?
Alex: Doing user interface work. Having come from an animation background, jumping headfirst into designing a UI was a hell of a hurdle. Dealing with a whole new set of technical limitations and rules was difficult at first. For my first UI, I'm pretty happy with the end result, but I prefer the pencil and paper/Photoshop route instead of shifting around tiny pixels.
What has influenced your art style for Earth Eternal? Why this art style?
Alex: I wish I could say that I was on the ground floor to help decide the artistic style for the game, but I actually came on as the concept artist about a year after the game's development started. I've been following a style set by another group of artists, but I have taken the opportunity to slather it in a healthy coating of my own personal style when possible. I'm heavily influenced by European graphic novel artists, and I really enjoy classic fairy tale illustrations. Things with visual texture and very rhythmic line work. Earth Eternal has rich lore and to me, it feels like a fairy tale world. I try to implement that kind of stuff wherever I can.
Come back tomorrow for part two, when we get to speak with the lead writer, Matt Mihaly, and one of the programmers, Ryne Anderson!