Interview with Daran Chapman

Today we’d like to share an interview with Daran Chapman, our Technical Artist on Lilly. We even learned a few new things about him!

Q:What is your name and what kind of work do you do on Lilly Looking Through?

A:Hi! My name is Daran Chapman, and I’m a Technical Artist. That means I take pieces that the artists and animators at Geeta have been producing, put them together, and add interactivity.

Q:How did you get involved in working on Lilly Looking Through? When did you know you wanted to work in games?

A:While I was visiting Kickstarter, I recognized Steve from our days ushering at a movie theater long ago, and sent him some messages just to catch up. We talked a lot about games, and it turned out that our philosophies are very similar. It also turned out that my skill set was a good match to help bring Lilly Looking Through to fruition. Steve invited me to help with the project. I’ve always wanted to work on a proper video game, and the game itself grabbed my attention immediately — so I jumped at the chance!

Q:What work are you most looking forward to doing on Lilly Looking Through?

A:Sometimes I’m animating a bouncing glow, or I’m making the turn of a wheel actually have an effect, and other times I’m adding layers of a level together and making them seem to breathe. I’m so enjoying the variety of what I’m working on, it would be hard to say what I’m looking forward to next. I guess the short answer is “more!”

Q:What’s the best thing about working on Lilly Looking Through?

A:The best thing about working on Lilly Looking Through has got to be the people. I’m collaborating with very talented people that believe in themselves, each other, and the end product. I also love that Geeta’s smaller number of people means that no matter where an idea comes from, it is not only heard, but has a possibility of being implemented.

Q:How did you become interested in games?

A:I fell in love with the first video games when I was very young; I’m talking as far back as Pong. It has been great to live my life watching video games grow, and for some titles, become accepted as an art form.

Q:What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into game development?

A:I’ve been a projectionist, graphic designer, edutainment and web programmer, and animator. I think the craziest part of my employment history has been how varied it has been over the years; usually something involving entertainment or graphics, but constantly evolving to meet the work available to me.

Q:What project in the past did you have the best time working on? What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?

A:Other than Lilly, I’d have to say my favorite project was an entry into a music video contest run by Valve Software for a song by a band called The National. I dedicated many late nights to writing a story, as well as modeling, animating and directing. I don’t feel like what I did was perfect; far from it — but with limited time I told the story I wanted to tell, and for that I am proud of what I put together. I must have done something right, as Valve deemed it the “Best Turret Story” in the contest.

Q:What is your favorite animated movie and why?

A:It is hard to narrow down my favorite animated movie. At one point in my life I would have said Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, but raising a few kids can change a guy. I’m more into the likes of Studio Ghibli’s Kiki’s Delivery Service or Brad Bird’s Iron Giant. I guess I’d say Iron Giant is my favorite; it does a lot of things well stylistically, has a great story, and a lot of personality… plus a big freakin’ robot.

Q:What are 2 of your favorite games and why?

A:Oh, this is a tough one. I’d have to start out with Ico. There are layers of sensitivity in that game: the contrast between dark and light, natural and man-made, and what it means to be alone versus having even just one other person around. Without a single word of understandable dialogue, Ico invited the gamer to care about an AI character and help them through the game — and I found myself truly caring.

During a particularly cold and quiet winter, I played and adored Riven, the sequel to Myst. At the time there was nothing like it, and it was very engaging to me – the visuals, the audio, the storyline. It is equal parts awesome, humbling and terrifying to be working alongside Mark, who helped make the game; and Steve, who used to work at Cyan as well.

I know the question said “two” but I’d be remiss if I didn’t do a shout out for Tribes:Aerial Assault, one of the first decent networkable games on the PlayStation2. I was part of a tight knit community that played that one game for years and years. We formed teams, ran tourneys and created prizes. While doing so I made some life-long friends. I suppose sometimes it takes other players to make a game great.

So that’s it for my two favorite games. Oh, except Beyond Good and Evil. And Bioshock. And Shadow of the Colossus. And Portal. And Minecraft. And XCOM. And Fallout. And Halo. And Skyrim. And Braid. And Limbo.

Q:What movie made you cry?

A:When I was little I had to be physically removed from a theater during a pivotal scene in Bambi due to excess sobbing.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about Daran and the Geeta Games Team! It’s back to work for us . . .

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