Ask the Animators of SteppenWolf!

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Question - Are Donovan and Steppenwolf going to meet up and fight to the end?
Answer- Chances are very good! Stay tuned...

Question - Hi! Steppenwolf seems to be looking a little different lately...Have you recently changed animators for him or is it just the stress finally beginning to take its toll on our hero?
Answer - We did change the models a bit for both Steppenwolf and Meg. The goal was to improve their expressions. But some of these tiny changes modified the look of the character. For example, applying a little shadow under Steppenwolf's cheeks made him look a little more slim. (Anyway, climbing, jumping, fighting, and running for your life all day and all night long could also explain such a change!)

Question - I have noticed that the graphics and cartooning have gotten increasingly better. Is there any new programs you guys are using or are you guys trying harder?
Answer - Many months have passed and the game has evolved. We did improve our animation technique; it is now more effective and more adapted to Flash. That's why the recent episodes are smoother than the old ones. We are working very hard to keep a good level of quality and to reach standards that would equal TV, and I'm glad to find some people from the message board noticing this. It is very gratifying to hear this positive feedback..

Question - Who thought of the idea about Kraken, and is there a myth attached to the creature, because then I would love to read it, and the story about Mokele Mbembe. Is there any particular reason why Dr. Hargwor and his daughter talks with a French accent? I'm Danish, and I know how Norwegians sound like when they speak English.
Answer - Except for the Heruka, which we totally invented, all the creatures in Steppenwolf's adventures are inspired by actual myths. The Kraken has a long history behind it. If you do a search for "Kraken" on the Internet you should end up on a lot of sites that are referring to many different interpretation of this legendary beast.

Now regarding the Norwegian accent concern the audience will have to excuse us. We confess it was very difficult to find actors that can give a genuine Norwegian or Scandinavian accent here in Canada!

Question - I have 2 questions:

  • Did SteppenWolf genetically alter himself? His teeth don't look right and his eyes are different from the photo Meg was given in Ch1 Ep1.
  • Have you gotten any complaints about the way the Queen is dressed in Ch1 Ep1?

Answer - Some people say he looks better, some others say he looks worse. At this point it becomes pretty subjective. It could have been a good twist to the story that he is genetically altered but this is not the case. Yes, we admit the eyes have changed. In animation eyes are a crucial element that requires subtlety, unfortunately in the optimization process we tend to lose this subtlety.

And, no, we haven't received any complaints over the way the Queen is dressed.

Question - Hey, are you going to make it possible to view past "Ask the Animator" editions?
Answer - Thanks for mentioning this, we will endeavor to do so!

Question - Are you planning on making more online adventure games like Steppenwolf? I do hope so!!!
Answer - Of course, we want very much to do more games like Steppenwolf. At the moment we do have a couple of new projects that we are working on. For each new concept we are trying to come up with something different in the game design. But we are definitely thinking of doing more games in the tradition of Steppenwolf.

Question - What I like about this game is that it's different from Arcane. In Steppenwolf you don't have weird dark shadows following you and I'm hoping that you keep it that way.
Answer - No need to worry about this. Dark shadows following you is really part of the Arcane game structure. Beware the power of the Great Ancient.... Yek Yek Yek!

Question - I'm a man interested in becoming an animator, what advice do you have for me? And what kind of education should I be looking for?
Answer- As well as for 2D or 3D products, animation is a succession of motions. It is important to decorticate them. Observe the motion, exaggerate it and give it the good speed at the right time, are so many things you should care for to create an animation. A school of traditional animation is the best place to learn these precepts. As for me, notions of anatomy (human or animal) bring more easiness to the learning.

Question - How many writers are there? And how long does it take to write an episode?
Answer - There is 1 writer for Steppenwolf but he works closely with the producer, the game designer and the lead animator that provides him with ideas. The big challenge in the writing of a Steppenwolf episode is to keep it simple and straight to the point. Interactivity and web constraints are strong barriers in the storytelling process, but that's what creation is about: getting over these barriers.

Question - Any chance I could test out some of the games for you?
Answer - Actually, we don't have any external beta-testers.

Question - The timer is awesome! Who's idea was this and how come it's not in earlier episodes?
Answer - It's an Idea from WB. They came to us with that idea and we develop it together.

Question - Hi, who came up with the great idea of adding a timer? It's awesome to have some competition! Will all the episodes have a timer? Or just the Kraken? Thanks.
Answer - All new episodes of Steppenwolf will have a timer.

Question - I have a good idea... why don't you have both Steppenwolf and Meg together. You could make Meg/Steppenwolf follow each other and when you need the other one you push a key like... um... c for uh... character.
Answer - Having both characters on the same episode is not impossible. But to make the game work on our target computer would be difficult if you can move two characters.

Question - Are you going to have a big series where people can play online so you can actually see other people who are playing in the game with you?
Answer - We do plan on doing multi-player games but nothing that we can announce yet.

Question - I think Steppenwolf is really cool, and you guys are doing a real good job. Could you tell us anything about the up coming chapters, like the monsters for them, as everybody (or at least a number of people) are in argument as to what monsters are going to come up. That would be a great help.
Answer- The next monster is going to be a sea monster, but forget Nessie. Everybody knows this is a hoax.

Question - Are you planning on introducing any new playable characters or is it always going to be Meg and Steppenwolf?
Answer - For the moment we are not planning to have other playable characters.

Question - Can you give us a sneak peak at the new episodes of SteppenWolf? What kinds of new features will there be? Thanks.
Answer - It's a feature that will allow you to time your games and compare your score with other players. The idea is to make the games more challenging and to let players compete to be the fastest player!

Question - I have a question for the animators. Why is Meg in the shows, I mean it's about Steppenwolf and his wife. Why not keep it that way, or is there a big part for Meg to play in the next episodes?
Answer - Well, even though Steppenwolf is really the central character, it started with Meg, and we felt she deserved a part as much as Steppenwolf and she's got a bad temper you know and we didn't want to disappoint her. Seriously, we felt Meg had a role to play, she represents the civilization contrasting with Steppenwolf: the wilderness. We also think it's cool to alternate from one character to the other in the game.

Question - Will HERUKA appear again ??
Answer - Yes, Heruka will make a guest appearance in the final chapter.

Question - Is Steppenwolf going to keep that mark on his face for the entire game? Is it a tattoo? Hope not, I hope it's just paint.
Answer - I'm sorry to disappoint you but it is a tattoo, it will not go away. You will have to get use to it.

Question - How does Meg keep her hair short throughout all the adventures? Seems to me it would have grown a lot unless she's had time to trim it.
Answer - We figured it wouldn't be very exciting to show Meg going to the beauty shop.

Question - How long does it take to complete an entire episode and what's the process from beginning to end?
Answer- Development and scenario :1 to 2 week(s)
Visual production and animation : 2 to 3 weeks
Integration : 3 to 4 weeks
For an approximate grand total of 1 1/2 month

Question - Hey animators, will Steppen wolf and his wife be reunited?
Answer - Hummm! I guess you'll have to wait and see. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

Question - Hey are Steppen wolf and Meg going to fall in love?
Answer - For the moment they haven't had much time to let romance bloom. Romance takes a certain amount of momentum which they obviously haven't had yet. They are both very proud and stubborn, this doesn't help matters either. They definitely feel a strong attraction to each other, but Steppenwolf will have to clarify the mystery behind the Heruka to let himself go into a new relationship.

Question - Will we see Derek in any upcoming Chapters?
Answer - Theoretically Derek ended his days when the Yeti decided he was fed up with that jerk. It's too bad, this kind of clumsy frustrated little villain was fun to animate. Who knows he might come back from the dead.

Question - When will the next Chapter be out!
Answer - March 8, 2002

Question - How many episodes will there be of Steppen wolf?
Answer - For the moment a total of 24 episode is planned. But maybe the adventure will continue if the audience asks for more.

Question - Who does the voices of all characters on Steppen wolf and will we possibly be seeing any new villans?
Answer - The 3 actors that are playing all the roles in Steppenwolf are based in Montreal. Vincent Potel is playing the roles of Steppenwolf and the Captain, Mari Lou Gauthier is playing the role of Meg, Adam Broughton is Derek, Donovan, Albino and many others. Of course villains are essential and there will be new ones in up coming chapters.

Question - How many people does it take to make a game like Steppen wolf?
Answer - The production team includes 1 producer, 1 game designer, 1 project manager, 1 lead animator, 2 animators, 2 background artists, 1 programmer and 1 writer/art director.

Question - What kind of scientist was Steppenwolf when he was Dr. Allan Kane? And did he work for Donovan?
Answer - Before the "accident" Steppenwolf was a very passionate scientist who was very dedicated to his work. Of course he was not necessarily the type to spend all his time inside a laboratory. To the contrary, he never missed an occasion to go into the wilderness and explore his theories about crypthozoology. His work attracted the attention of the Donovan Corporation which offered him the support he needed to pursue his research. They made him an offer he couldn't refuse so he joined their scientific crew leaded by Shelley Thompson.

Question - My question is about SteppenWolf and Meg. How come we don't see them together in the games?
Answer- In fact, the reason is very simple. It's for going around a weight problem (a virtual one, not a real one) I am referring to the number of kilobytes the game has... Basically, each character in the SteppenWolf game is constructed with a library, which includes all of his or her moves, positions and reactions in all directions. It's a big chunk of the episode. So, including two playable characters in one episode would probably result in a smaller game! Meanwhile, the idea of having SteppenWolf and Meg together is still a possibility for future episodes but with some constraints.
- Game designer

Question - Is Heruka SteppenWolf's wife?
Answer - This is what Donovan is insinuating, but maybe it isn't true. Would you trust this guy? We are planning to have this mystery resolved in chapter 6. Stay tuned for the grand finale.
- Writer and Designer

Question - Will there be a SteppenWolf TV series?
Answer - It's one of our greatest goals! The more the web game gains players, the more our chances are to see Steppenwolf and Meg on the tube! It's up to the fans to decide. A live action series with loads of special FX would be really cool, what do you think?
- Producer

Question - Are you planning to make a Steppenwolf video game?
Answer - We have this idea of a 3D game designed for the next-generation consoles, It's a little bit early to give details on this, but it should be a 2 player game with tons of action!
- Producer

Question - GREAT JOB GUYS AND GALS! I'm sure I speak for all the STEPPENWOLF fans when I say: We can hardly wait for the next chapter! Also is there any truth to the rumor that WB has bought the rights to the Sarbakan game Arcane?
Answer - WB does plan on running the second season of Arcane in the winter/spring of 2002. Keep coming back to the SteppenWolf boards to see an announcement of the exact date very soon.

Question - Hey I just wanted to know were did you get the idea for Steppenwolf?
Answer - The idea came out of a fascination for the mysteries surrounding creatures such as Bigfoot and Nessie. These creatures have been studied by science for ages, and the idea to combine a modern day hero with these stories was the inspiration for SteppenWolf.
- Producer

Question - Also is there any meaning behind the names steppenwolf, heruka, mokele mbembe?
Answer - First of all, our producer came up with Steppenwolf for the title name, we all felt it sounded pretty cool. A steppenwolf is a loner, somebody that lives outside society, we thought it gave an animal/wild quality to the hero. Also it's the name of a famous novel from Herman Hesse, although it has nothing to do with our game it's a cool thing to say to impress your girlfriend (who said game developers weren't literate!).
Most of the creatures that appears in Steppenwolf like the Mokole Mbembe are taken from an existing mythology (or reality!!!), so we are not responsible for unpronounceable names like Mokole Mbembe. The only exception to this is the Heruka. For that creature we had to come up with a name since it totally comes from our imagination. For that name, we went searching in Tibetan mythology. We figured that Steppenwolf and Shelley probably made a few trips in Tibet (see chapter with the Yeti), and that's probably where Shelley got her inspiration.
- Writer and Designer

Question - : I really enjoy the painted backgrounds (bitmaps) in the game. Was it difficult to code for object detection using these bitmaps opposed to using vector art?
Answer - We have decided to use bitmap BG's for 2 reasons:
1. The rendering is faster with a BitmapBG
2. We can create more complex environment using bitmap.
Yes, it's easier to detect the collisions (isometric, foreground/background) with vector objects. But the results were not what we expected when we tested it. About this " game engine ", when I coded it, my concern was the speed, the lightweight and the time cost of the integration. We don't have a lot of time to create an episode, and most of this time is on the artwork. So the game engine had to be really simple and effective. All episodes were tested on P200mmx (we call the Scan). Sometimes, it 's a challenge to make it work on it, but we keep in mind that if it works properly on the Scan, it should work for everybody.. :O)
- Lead Programmer

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