Roberta Williams on the New
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QB: What does the term " interactive fic- tion" mean to you?
Williams: Well, if you take fiction in its literal terms, a story that's not true, and in- teractive means you can control it, com- municate with it, alter it, you can get feed- back from it-solve-it that's interactive fiction, that's an adventure. And that's the thing II ike to do, te 1 1 stories. 1 just love that. I like to come up with stories and charac- ters, and I'm really trying to do more to develop the characters' personalities, like you would in a traditional story. Before a few years ago, characters in a game were so flat, you know: "Here's a troll," or whatever. So I'm trying to improve my storytelling style to give the characters and story more dimension, hopefully in a way that will draw people into it.
QB: How are you doing that in King's Quest IV?
Williams: A lot of it comes from how the characters are represented on-screen. In the past, many of our characters have been very flat, not just in what they say but in how they are represented in terms of walk- ing around., .you know, they just kind of walk. But in King's Quest IV there will be a lot more movement, more animation and. as our animator likes to say, "body lan- guage"-more realistic movement that has to do with their personalities. Wc can al- most get facial expressions using the new
resolution...maybe not complete facial cx- pressions» but at least enough so you*ll know how the character feels. That's one way. Another way is in the use of sound ef- fects and music to get certain feelings.
1 think in a way that what we're doing IS still being invented, and each time we do one of these it progresses and we learn new things. I'm sure that what we'll see five years from now will be much more balanced, becau.se we're still trying to leam
Many stranf^e and unusual places await your arrival. how to develop characters and give them
Explore the countryside carefully.
personality and make the story more inter- esting so it will draw the reader or viewer
Encounter characters Jmm ancient folklore and legend.
or whatever you want to call them into it, so they feel they're really part of the story. That's what I'm trying to do.
QB: What do you sec fui ddvciituics five years from now?
Williams: A lot depends on the hardware, and a lot depends on our storytelling skills and the software tools wc have available that, with the hardware, gives these characters life. But the thing that kind of gets in the way here is CDI, be- cause we don't quite know what that's going to do. 1 know somewhere down the line I'll do something for CDI, but I con- sider it separate from this (computer ad- venture games).. .1 don't know if they'll try to integrate them, or one will fizzle out and the other succeed.
QB: What's the main difference?
Williams: With CDI, the game would be on a compact disc. You wouldn't use a computer at all. It would be a compact disc player attached to your TV set.
QB: Would you type in commands and
Williams: There is supposed to be a keyboard you could get, but it will be very expensive and most people probably won't get one. the whole concept behind CDI is that it's for the average non-computer type person-there are still a lot of people who don't understand computers and don't want to have anything to do with them. But they can set their VCRs and run a camcor- der. They can do that. So CDI is supposed to be for them.
You put in the compact disc and up on the screen, you'll see. ..well, it can be any- thing from motion pictures, digitized graphics and animation, whatever you want. And you'll hear computer sounds, or music just like what you'd hear on a Phil Collins album. When people talk, it would sound just like what you hear in movies or TV shows.
But it is interactive-sort of. You can do
See Roberta Williams page 20
i he Signal Research Report
Breaking the million copy barrier... that's the crowning point of a truly one-of-a-kind computer game. King's Quest, the ultimate graphic adventure series, heralds this upcoming milestone with the triumphant arrival of King's Quest IV - The Perils of Rosella Interactive fun for the whole family. King's Quest IV bridges the genera- tion gap between young and old with its classic fantasy themes, vivid characterizations, and dramatic con- flicts. Parents and children alike will be delighted as they become the lead character in a dramatic medieval fairy ^^"
The crown jewel of computer adventuring, King*s Quest IV offers $500,000 in improvements to a multi-million dollar proprietary software development system, creating an entertainment experience far exceeding everyone's greatest expectations. A team of 13 programmers, developers and artists with over 1 1 man-years of work have produced the largest computer game in history, a whopping 5.5 megabytes of program code.
Stunning graphics with double the resolution of previous versions, realistic day and night cycles, and enhanced animation offer the closest thing yet to a living motion picture on your computer screen. A theatrical experience for your personal computer. King's Quest IV offers a musical score unprecedented in computer enter- tainment software, a full 40 minutes of original music as composed by William Goldstein, a well-known Holly- wood composer.
Sierra tops it off with the magnum opus in computer game animation, a 10 minute full-length introductory cartoon that sets the stage for a climactic contest between good and evil. Prepare to test the power of your brain and your computer to the hilt with the most phenomenal adventure game in computer entertainment history.
KING'S ODEST IV... THE LEGEND IIVES ON.