Lorne Lanning answering the questions formulated by the members of the Exoddus Club [2000]

You want INSIDE info? How’s this… [Hosted by the Exoddus Club]

Date: 10/05/2000

Description: These questions—made by the members of the Exoddus Club—were sent by user souljah_73 via email to Lorne Lanning

Sources: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/exoddusclub/conversations/messages/2149 https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/exoddusclub/conversations/messages/2150 https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/exoddusclub/conversations/messages/2151 https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/exoddusclub/conversations/messages/2152 https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/exoddusclub/conversations/messages/2153

Q: I want to know if the movies sligtoss 1 and 2 were from actual gameplay (meaning someone was using a controller and making abe move)

Lorne Lanning: These were the actual game databases, animation moves, camera moves, and mechanics working. But it was not recorded via controller. These were pre‐rendered using this data… but with all pre‐rendering benefits turned off. However, this is exactly what the game will look like and how it will play… at least on the X‐Box. The PS2 is having some aliasing and mip mapping shortcomings that hopefully Sony will be addressing.

Q: I was wondering what programs OWI uses to create thier 2D and 3D graphics

Lorne Lanning: We use Maya to create all of our original hi‐resolution databases. Then we convert our character models and animations into 3D StudioMax to do our realtime databases. This means that our hi‐res (pre‐rendered databases) and our realtime databases (for gameplay) share exactly the same origins and share the exact same animation movements. We also rely heavily on Photoshop for do our 2D texture map and other paint needs.

Q: One of my questions was about the mudokon tribes&hellip is ther a mudoncho, and what’s the role the 3 clans play? Are Mudomo and Mudanchee going extinct and so forth?

Lorne Lanning: The Mudomo and Mudanchee tribes are all but extinct, as are many of the other native Mudokon tribes. Mudos is a lot like Africa was back around the 14th thru 19th centuries. It had a native people of many different tribes that all came under attack by more aggressive external financially minded forces… which ultimately destoryed their culture and ‘employed’ them into slavery.

Q: Since the X‐box has been annouced with aparently twice the specs of the ps2, are there plans to release munch or future games on it?

Lorne Lanning: Yes. We see X‐Box as a big part of our future. It has (at least according to Microsofts PR efforts) a tremendous amount of power that will help make all of Oddworld look and feel that much better. It’s also a nice system for us to launch more of our multi‐player ambitions.

Q: What is a meech and what does it look like, is it actually the lone Elum?

Lorne Lanning: You can see a cartoony illustration of a Meech in the first Abe’s Oddysee games opening movie. They had two legs and a move with four jaws. They are quite cool looking. So far, everyone believes that Meeches are extinct. But later on, we will be visiting Meeches and trying to bring them back from extinction. They are quite nasty little buggers that like to run in packs. Think Hyenas that like eating Elums.

Q: Will a human being ever be seen on Oddworld, in any way, shape or form?

Lorne Lanning: No. There are already too many humans on earth… so we wouldn’t want to pollute Oddworld with any of these rampant over‐breeders. Oddworld’s got enough problems already.

Q: Will Elum and/or Bigface be appearing in future games?

Lorne Lanning: Absolutely. You’ll probably see both in Munch’s Oddysee, but no promises yet.

Q: When is the PS2 expected to be released in the US? (c’mon, we gotta know if we’re gonna plan that trip…)

Lorne Lanning: They say it should be ready in the 3rd quarter of 2000.

Q: Is the OWI symbol going to turn out to be part of the Oddworld mythology/story?

Lorne Lanning: Not that we’ve planned. We have planned that the Oddworld logo is something that can help describe the games we’re making just by changing its visual structure now and then. For example, if you saw the OW package from last E3 (I think it’s on the OW website too) there was a logo on it that has two fetus in the ‘O’ part of the symbol. Around it was medical equipment that formed the ‘W’. This helped to describe a basic nature of Munch’s Oddysee. We like to think of it kind of like the MTV logo. It can be made to read the same, but by using various different themes. We haven’t done a whole lot of this yet, but we should be doing a lot more of it in the future.

Q: What is the status of the movie and/or toys?

Lorne Lanning: Movies, television, and toys are all currently being discussed with various potential partners. It looks like all of these various opportunities will see something happening shortly. But it’s too early to give any details.

Q: Is the PC version of Munch’s Oddysee currently in production?

Lorne Lanning: It is in the sense that when you’re building big games like this, you build one first that is considering the technical constraints of other systems. So, even though Munch is scheduled to release first on the PS2, we’ve built most of it on the PC before the PS2 dev stations arrived. Now we’re focussed completely on the PS2 and haven’t been building on the PC for awhile. However, when we get near to finished on the PS2 sku, we’ll convert back to PC also… as well as X‐Box. This way, we’re focussed on making the core of the game work to it’s best potential without getting distracted by other platforms. This approach lends itself to better conversion quality.

Q: Can you explain the pictures of Abe that keep turning up where he has a huge ponytail?

Lorne Lanning: These are various status Mudokons. The larger their ponytails, the more status/power they have. Abe will use many Mudokons in Munch’s Oddysee, but not all of them have the same power. You’ll have to nurture some of them to get them to be as powerful as you need. These ponytails and color schemes help you to see what status level a particular Mudokon is at.

Q: I was wondering if the Glukkons have an infancy or are they born full sized?

Lorne Lanning: They are born small.

Q: That queen looks like she could drop em fully grown.

Lorne Lanning: She probably could but she doesn’t. She drops a lot of them at one time… as she is a massive breeder with very high output.

Q: and is there any news as to what Munch’s Oddysee is going to require for the PC version…what speed processor?

Lorne Lanning: We’re not sure what spec the PC will need. Our guess is a minimum CPU of 700 mhz with a high end graphics board…This one may be early to tell…

Q: Will we be seeing any of the moon in this adventure, or gain any more insight on why it came to be like that?

Lorne Lanning: You will be seeing more of the moon, but you won’t know why it’s like this. I can tell you that Munch’s foot print also winds up on the face of a moon too. The Mudokons don’t understand why this happens, but they take it as an omen.

Q: Will munch have his own ‘moon’ i.e. something to show him his importance?

Lorne Lanning: Yes. Each of the heroes of the Oddworld Quintology will have their own moons.

Q: How about what really happened to Molluck? it wasn’t clear whether he was dead or not…as he staggered for a moment before he fell down, then when Bigface appears, you see that Molluck has actually rolled over.

Lorne Lanning: Don’t count Molluck out. His role is not over.

Q: i have a question for lorne, does he know when oddworld adventures is being released in europe, more specifically england???

Lorne Lanning: I’m sorry but I don’t know. GT was bought by Infogrames… and as of yet product releases are very hard to pin down as Infogrames is very busy figuring out how to integrate the rest of GT.

Q: Will we see any interesting forms of symbiosis?

Lorne Lanning: Actually, most of our very first character designs were based on symbiosis relationships, but they were too hard for us to achieve in gameplay in the 32 bit era. We have a lot of creatures like this in our design library, some of them are extremely cool. I’m sure they’ll start showing up in some of the games coming right after Munch. In the long run, symbiosis creatures are important to the Oddworld Quintology. Squeek’s Oddysee (Quintology #3) is dependent upon it.

Q: Do glukkons have any religions?

Lorne Lanning: Today, Moolah is the Glukkon faith. The Moolah motto is, ‘Power, Profit, Wealth’. It mirrors the Modokon faith in Spooce, which has the motto, ’Harmony, Humility, Health’. Long ago, the Glukkons were a superstitious race that dabbled a lot in sorcery and occultism. But eventually things got bad for them and they had a sort of supernatural meltdown (something like dark ages in earth’s history). This event destroyed their ancient culture and nearly wiped them out. As a result they abandoned and outlawed any sort of mystical beliefs and instead they became a very practical and logical minded race. They became pure purveyors of profit. They believed that they’d make Oddworld a better place by providing civilized jobs to the native savages, while in the meantime they’d provide all of the other races with cheaper consumer goods. So ultimately, the Glukkons believe that they are good. They just believe that they are amoungst the few that clearly perceive the harsh realities of nature.

Q: will Munch have need of the birds?

Lorne Lanning: Yes. Bird portals are important in Munch’s Oddysee.

Q: What does the birdlife of Oddworld look like? Y’know, the crows you hear in the Scrabanian Desert, and the owls you hear in the Necrum Jungle?

Lorne Lanning: We know there is a lot of bird life on Oddworld, but we’ve yet to spend a lot of energy developing their look. It’s just a matter of time.

Q: How much of the look of the inhabitants comes from you, and how much comes from the conceptual artists?

Lorne Lanning: It’s a symbiotic relationship. A good director guides artists towards visualizing intellectual concepts and ideas. The designers then gives visual feedback to the director. The director then gets inspiration back from the visuals or maybe feels they are off track, thus giving more feedback to the designer. The process repeats itself until the director feels that a design embodies the essence of what the concept needs to communicate. A good director is usually the last one to be happy with the designs, so the director is the one that usually keeps pushing the artists and forcing them through more and more iterations of work. In the end, both parties should be happy with the final result. Sometimes, a designer creates something that is so perfect, right out of the gate, that the director figures out a way to impliment it into the experience. This is a healthy example of the director/artist relationship.

Q: What exactly do the birds derive from? An earth bird, or just made up?

Lorne Lanning: Birds that live on Oddworld have evolved on Oddworld. It’s interesting to note that the Mudokon themselves are evolved from birds. Although I know differently, I personally never really feel like we’re creating. It always feels to me like we’re uncovering, much like an archeologist does. It’s like sitting down with a police artist and trying to describe a suspect that you’ve barely seen. It’s easy to know when it’s not the right guy, but when the drawing starts getting closer you start feeling like it’s coming to life. Finally, you know it’s him when you see it.