Tell us a little about your role in the making of Fallout 1/2/3 (Van Buren)/Tactics ?
I came onto Fallout in it’s last year of development along with Scott Rodenheizer to help out with the close up 3D rendered heads. I’d just finished working on the TSR logo cinematic for the Dungeons and Dragons title, which was rendered/composited in Lightwave, and what the heads were being created with for Fallout also, so I guess that helped get me onboard. We both completed the existing character heads (scanned from sculptures) and figured out how to create rendered soft edge ray-traced shadows for the lighting with the help of my friend Mike Sherak (aka Lightwave guru). We also created a series of facial phonems as morph targets, so they could be used for lip syncing. I believe we made facial expressions for A, C, E, F, L, M, U, V, and there were 3 states, neutral, angry and happy. For the intro cinematic, I successfully tested an unused lightwave plugin called morph gizmo that worked WAY better than LWs crappy envelope system. I was pretty happy about that, because another team adopted this into their pipeline after I showed them how much better it worked. I remember acting the parts out and recording the movements for rotoscoping purposes and literally staying up all night looking at wave sound files, and writing down where to keyframe all the mouth movements at 15 frames per second. I had never done this before and was happy to have figured out a way to accomplish this with Sound Forge so the audio would sync up with my rendered video. It’s SO much easier nowadays… Back then we had to shoot the scene over to our render farm and wait till the next day to see if it worked once composited with the sound. It was actually a lot of fun figuring all that stuff out.
How was it to be a part of the Fallout team?
Awesome! Next to my current Blizzard team, it was my 2nd favorite team in my whole career over all the other teams I’ve worked with by a long shot. The guys were SO talented and Leonard was an awesome art director. Between his and Jason’s vision and Leonard pushing me for higher and higher quality, it was the bomb. I think those were some of my favorite times of my career. Working alongside Scott was great too, man he’s so talented and totally fun to work with. I think we spent most of the day laughing about the funniest stuff while we were making all this cutting edge (at that time) kickass character art. I was really bummed when Leonard and Jason left to form Troika (but happy for em too). I’ll never forget the awesome painting that Justin Sweet made of that old Fallout comic book cover, totally inspiring. Tramell was always coming by and cracking jokes, I mean the atmosphere was just awesome. It’s hard to describe, but with the imminent deadlines and late nights, we all had a blast and pushed our art to a pretty high level, really cool and rare to have that kind of team comradery.
What is your hope for future Fallout games? Would you like to be a part of a future Fo team?
The latest Fallout game has a nice look to it, but I’ve only seen screenshots so far. I’d say carrying on with the spirit/style of the original F1 game. As to me being part of a future Fallout team, no, only because I’m totally happy at Blizzard and could picture myself retiring there if I get that lucky.
Any last word to the Fallout fan base?
Yea, thanks so much for playing and creating such a great fan base community that keeps what we did so long ago still alive. It’s really cool to see how much it’s still enjoyed this long afterwards.
Eddie was a true pioneer, all the best to him.