Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Interview published on YourPSHome.net:

As you probably know by now, PS Home gets another new developer this week! Atom Republic is releasing its first round of content so I asked them to take a moment with us. Have a look....

YPSH : YPSH would like to welcome PS Homes newest developer, Atom Republic and Tanguy Dewavrin, its Founder. Welcome to YPSH Tanguy!

07c2e5b.jpg AR : Thank you very much for making me feel welcome, and thank you for this opportunity to talk about Atom Republic!

YPSH : You're certainly not new to the dev scene. You have been in the business for about eighteen years already. In that time you have contributed to 19 released games! All Zombies Must Die!, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Top Gun, Burn, Zombie Burn, Iron Man and Catwoman, just to name a few. Let's retrace your career a bit. You went to ISC Paris - School of Management. What was your main course of study there?
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AR : ISC is a generalist business school, and my final year specialization was Entrepreneur... So it only took me 18 years to take the plunge! I like to take my time ;)... 

YPSH : Did you have aspirations of getting into the video game business while in school?

AR : Videogames was always my passion, but I never thought I could actually make a living out of it. As a teenager I made videogames as a hobby on my Amiga: I did the art and my brother coded. When I had a work experience placement as a student, I realized there was a real industry, and people could earn a living out of it. It was a real revelation for me! 

Cryo_Interactive_Entertainment_logo_(1998-2002).jpeg YPSH : In 1994 you joined Cryo Interactive, a French video game development and publishing company, as a trainee artist. Later you went full time with them. Tell us a little about what you did there and how that job came about.

AR : Yes that’s what I was referring to in my previous answer: in need for work placement as part of my business school course, I visited a few game studios with my Amiga game demos and a portfolio, and I was lucky enough to join the team at Cryo for a month: it was a dream come true! There I did a lot of video editing on point-and-click aventure games like Atlantis, which were popular at the time: it was the haydays of the CD-Rom! ;)

YPSH : You also worked at Simarils, a French computer game software company who released on the PC, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Macintosh, Atari ST and Atari Falcon platforms. You were there for a short time? 

A: Yes that was a 2 months internship, where I got to grips with real-time 3D graphics on Deus, as well as doing pre-rendered cut-scenes.

YPSH : In 1997 you moved to the UK. Was that because of Simtex? What did you do for them?

AR : Yes, a few ex-Cryo colleagues were setting up a team there and needed a 3D artist, so I joined them. We did a futuristic racing game called XLR8 (I was proud of the name at the time !)

YPSH : You joined Argonaut, a British video game developer, in 1998 as a SeniorArtist. Tell us about that. 
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AR : I loved Argonaut, it was a great hub of creativity, I met so many talented people there, who have remained good friends. My favorite experience there was I-Ninja, it was an amazing game... My kids still love to play it!

4434.jpg YPSH : After that, you joined Kuju Entertainment, a public international video game developer company based in the UK. Kuju helped develop the EyeToy: Play 2 and EyeToy: Play 3 for the PlayStation 2, the multiplayer mode in Call of Duty and more. You worked there as a Lead Artist on such titles as MACH, Nucleus, and Geometry Wars? 

AR : Yes, I’m particularly proud of MACH: it was an intense development experience, but as a result the game is so much fun, and looks really slick for a PSP game! Nucleus was quite unique, as one of the first PSN games it looks very original and the gameplay is quite unusual too. My contribution to Geometry Wars was more modest, given the stylized graphics! ;)

Double_six_logo.png YPSH : Doublesix was established in 2007 by Kuju Entertainment as a subsidiary to develop video games for the digital download market. They also made the zombie themed shooter, Burn Zombie Burn! The company also has received awards such as "Best New UK Studio 2008" from at the Develop Industry Excellence Awards and a nomination for best hand-held game (Geometry Wars: Galaxies) at the 2009 BAFTAs. You became Art Director for doublesix? What was your involvement there?

AR : Basically, when we first started up doublesix I was the only artist there! So I built up the art team from the ground up, then I was jumping from project to project to help out on different aspects of the games, contributing to the overall visual quality. It’s hard to summarize the job of an Art Director: it has so many facets, from concept art in the preproduction phase to video editing at the marketing and PR phase, through the production of game assets. One large part of the job is to brief and review people’s work, be it artists in the studio or outsourcers.
YPSH : While at doublesix, did you work on the Burn Zombie Burn 256px-Bzb_logo1.png public space for PSHome? Is that where you became familiar with PS Home?

AR : I did not contribute directly to the BZB space, though the assets in the space are sourced from the game graphics; so arguably some of the models and textures might be my early work! ;) My contribution to PS Home was more to make costumes, masks and companions for the BZB and All Zombies Must Die.

YPSH : Earlier this year, some of the staffers at doublesix created Echo Peak, to "collaborate and build content to suit individual musical artists". You did some work there as well. Tell us about that.

AR : With storyboards and concept art, I helped Echo Peak get their first project signed. Then I worked with them in Brighton for the first 6 months, creating characters, levels and UI, as well as building up an art team.

YPSH : If all that isn't enough, somehow you found time to do some work at the University of Creative Arts in Farnham this year. How did that come about and what were you involved with there? 
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AR : I’m still teaching there! ;) The trick is that it’s only a part time job. I was approach by a friend who teaches there, and was immediately seduced by their new game arts course: the students display a vast spectrum of skills, ranging from concept illustration to scripting, through game design and 3D artwork. I take pride in helping shape up the course, and find it really inspiring to teach them my old tricks and review their work.

YPSH : Finally, we come to Atom Republic. :) What made you decide to startup your own development company?
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Tanguy Dewavrin

AR : Really I always wanted to do this, but wanted to build up some experience first. After almost 20 years in the industry, it felt like the right time to take a stab at making my own thing.

YPSH : Is Atom Republic just you for now?

AR : Initially yes, but I’m open to collaborations for specific aspects. For instance my friend Ashley Reemul has a particular talent for animation, and he came up with awesome custom avatar dance moves, to be announced soon (actually this may be an exclusive info for you here! ;)).

To elaborate on this question, the philosophy behind Atom Republic is that as an individual I am an atomic entity, but I aspire to collaborate in synergy with numerous other talents, be it individuals or dev teams. So in the end Atom Republic should become a community of development entities. Maybe that’s where the name comes from, sorry if this sounds a bit 
abstract! ;) 

YPSH : Why Playstation Home?

AR : There is so much you can do in Home, from costumes to games through custom avatar animations and companions! It’s like a social media but with proper 3D game graphics, it’s the natural future for the way games and social media are heading!

YPSH : Do you intend to develop for other platforms as well? 

AR : At the moment I want to focus my efforts on PS Home and see if in a few months we can create more compelling items and interactive experiences for the Home community.

GroupShots bikers_684x384.jpg

YPSH : Tell us the details on your first release for PS Home and what inspired you?

AR : We will release four advanced companions (Radpetz), who fly, make sound and SVFX. Biker jackets (maybe hinting at the next release?) and finally -that’s the exclusive hot-off-the press- a collection of epic cowboy dance moves for your avatar. The inspiration is to try and create unique, different virtual items for the Home community, basically trying to make items that are cool but unpredictable, with a twist. 
Scalaca2_256x368.jpg Skullbat_256x368.jpg Skullbat2_256x368.jpg Skullette_256x368.jpg

YPSH : Dance moves? I think new dance moves will be a very welcome addition for many of us! Tell us a bit more about those.

AR : The cool thing about the dance is that you can execute those moves wearing your favorite clothes, you don't need to wear a particular element of clothing. Like the 
locomotion items, it's a new type of portable item you can equip, wearing anything!

GroupShot black_684x384.jpg GroupShot goth_684x384 - Copy.jpg GroupShot red_684x384 - Copy.jpg
GroupShot white_684x384.jpg GroupShot yellow_684x384.jpg

YPSH: Any bundles?

AR : Yes. If you buy all 4 Radpetz in a bundle you get a free matching t-shirt, plus a t-shirt with a nest on the shoulder, for your pet to rest in. You can buy the biker jackets in bundles to get free Atom Republic branded t-shirts: a white one for the 5 male or female jackets, and if you buy all 10 jackets in a bundle you get 4 free t-shirts. The biker jackets come in 5 different colours for men (brown, black, yellow, red and white) and 5 choices of colours for women (fuschia, black, yellow, red and white).

red jacket 2 256x368.jpg red jacket 256x368.jpg

YPSH : Will your items be available in all regions and if not, will they be?

AR : This month it’s in the EU, next month in the US. I can’t confirm the other territories yet but hope to get there soon.

YPSH : Do you have plans for the future to release other items for PS Home? Personal spaces, clothing, other items?

AR : Yes, I’m already working on it! ;) Though I don’t think I can disclose any particular detail yet, I can say there will be Neon Design locomotion Items, more Radpetz companions, avatar items and epic dance moves!

YPSH : What is it you like about PS Home and where would you like to see it go in the future?

AR : I think I am particularly seduced by the social aspect: there is so much interaction possible, and the Home community is so active and welcoming! I find it a really inspiring space for a creative studio.

YPSH : Once again Tanguy, I'd like to welcome you to the world of PS Home and I am sure we will all be watching Atom Republic for future releases. Much success to you! Thanks for taking the time to share with our readers.

AR : Thank you Karen for taking the time to ask those questions, and thank you all for reading!

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