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Below 10: A Developer Profile
Larian Studio's: Stefaan Van Leuven

Myrthos, 2002-01-21

Set in an all new fantasy universe, Divine Divinity takes the player on a fantastic quest in a land torn apart by corruption and dark magic. Throughout his journeys the player will get the chance to develop his character as one of six character types and meet a variety of people and fantastical beings. By combining the best features of the RPG genre, and introducing a lot of new features, Divine Divinity will appeal to both hardcore and new RPG players.

Below 10 is a series of developer profiles where we try to establish a small profile by asking less than 10 questions to a team of developers. This edition, features sound designer, Stefaan Van Leuven.

1) Tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do you do at Larian Studios.

My name is Stefaan Van Leuven, I'm one of the two in-house sound-designers at Larian and yes, I know that's right down at the bottom of the game developer's food chain. But I have always had the uncontrollable urge to make some noise and at Larian I can actually do that without neighbours trying to beat down my door.

Using Sound-Forge, Vegas and Fruity Loops, to name a few of the most valuable programs, (showing off my marketing skills here) I'm designing all kinds of sounds for virtually anything in the Divinity world. This goes from a sound for putting a carrot in your inventory to full-blown sound scapes for cutscenes. To my colleagues, I'm the guy down the hall who keeps the door to his office open one too many times while working.

I'm also kind to small animals and children.

2) What is your typical working day like?

Arrive at office and pray that the pc will boot, if so I'll check my email, delete all received viruses, check favorite newsgroups and internal forum. The rest of the day really depends on the kind of stuff I'm working on.
When designing a sound for one of the many monsters in Divinity, I can just put my friendly colleagues in front of the mike and torture them, only to morph there screams into roars and squeals of drooling monsters.

On an average day I'll be mixing, syncing, morphing, equalizing, compressing, panning, converting, pitch shifting, distorting, sampling and resampling, ...(not necessarily in that order) .

3) What did you want to become when you grew up?

I wanted to be something else every week but most of all I wanted to be Spiderman, when I found out that this wasn't a real job I decided I wanted to be a rockstar.

4) What are your favourite games and what are you playing now?

Sanitarium: n1 favorite.

Grim Fandango: n2 favorite

1942 (Arcade): With the amount of coins I put in this game I think I was paying the barkeeper's salary at that time.

Fruity Loops: It's not a game but just as fun.

Super Pang (Arcade): I know it's a girly game but I feel man enough! Not playing anything now I'm working, can't you tell? (once in a while I'll start up Diablo II expansion set) .

5) Where does your inspiration come from?

Daily life, movies, music sweet music and the Internet.

6) What is the coolest feature in Divinity for you?

The incredible amount of detail.

7) Which feature that hasn't made it into Divinity is the one you will miss most?


8) How did you get into the gaming business and do you have any advice for anyone seeking a position in that business?

They say limiting factors stimulate creativity, well, doing sound for a game is all about that. That's what convinced me.

9) Is there anything you would like to add?

I lied.

Average Reader Ratings: 7.96 (227 votes)
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