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Below 10: A Developer Profile
Larian Studio's: Marian Arnold

Myrthos, 2001-12-03

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 third edition, features freelance graphic artist, Marian Arnold

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

I am Marian Arnold, freelance graphic artist from Germany. I draw, create and render almost all Divinity monsters, a large amount of animals and some NPC's, doing the modeling and texturing up to the complete animation. I made all the NPC/monster/PC-icons in the game and right now I'm working on some cutscenes. Besides that I'm doing a lot of PR activities (mostly through high resolution renderings) and last but not least I'm also very active in the Larian Studios Forum, as a moderator.

2) What is your typical working day like?

I get up between 13 and 16 o'clock, mostly cursing because I again didn't manage to switch back to daytime schedule, then I turn on my computer, start working and read my emails and the forum in my free rendering time. That goes on until approximately 4-8 o'clock in the morning. Well, count in some time to prepare food and to try out new games but unfortunately I don't have enough time for that. Then I fall dead into my bed, but maybe after first reading a few manga pages. Once in a week I take some physical training to stay in shape and practice a little bit with my sword. That's it. It isn't much, is it?

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

Uh, I cant remember? No...err, even in school I wanted to become a graphic artist because I was drawing all the time and brought my teachers to madness with that. Hehe, the funny thing is when I draw, my mind is open and I can listen better. So when the teacher then asked me: "Could YOU answer that question?" mostly I could, very to her dislike.
Or I planned to become a writer, but I never really managed to do something there. And Battlemage, of course. But for certain strange reasons I could find no place for education here...damn… sad…

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

There are a lot of them and they always change. My all time favorites are of course Planescape Torment, Fallout I+II, the Realms of Arkania-Trilogy, the Ultima series and Heroes of Might and Magic. I like Starcraft and Diablo I+II as well but didn't have time to play them for a long time.

5) Where does your inspiration come from?

From everywhere. It doesn't stop. My imagination is permanently running. It can be a picture, a word, a movie, an association...I am always playing with ideas and possibilities... My girlfriend is mostly tired of all the very unusable strange ideas and solutions I have to offer constantly...

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

Oh, that's hard, we have so much cool stuff there...I love Bronthion's new GIQ's very much, he increased the playability incredible. Or the brilliant AI from Lar. I've never seen something equally in an RPG. But at first place comes a very unspectacular feature, the possibility to put illustrations and drawings in books (in the game, to create treasure maps for instance). You can't imagine how hard I fought for that because it would be so cool...

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

The implementation of real party members...

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

I've studied for text and graphics painter. When I finished my studies I joined the army. After that, I went to work for a company but I resigned, because they went bankrupt. So I took a course in DTP and animation, got familiar with 3D Studio and btw got a job as an architecture visualizer.
And after doing boring CAD- and architecture visualizations for some years I applied for a job with attic, a German RPG-game developer, because there is for a passionate player only one thing more interesting than playing (well… besides sex) which is making a game yourself.
So we were sent to Belgium to complete LMK. However due to terrible differences with the attic management we all left attic and joined the team of Larian Studios to make Divinity.

My advice is simple. If you want the job of your dreams then get as good as possible with the common game developer tools and bring the right spirit with you. Idealism is an irreplaceable bonus! But be careful. Its the same idealism that can bring you down because there are a lot people out there which abuse the fact of an industry completely driven by idealism. It can easily happen then that you don't get paid for months or even worse for years from people who cheer you up and lie to you until the whole project is down. Its' that kind of disaster we had with LMK for instance, but there are much more examples.

9) Is there anything you would like to add?

Yeah, join the Larian-Forum!
Eat more cheese toast !
And watch my marvelous Ninja demo (it's in German, I know: www.valaraukar.de) !

Average Reader Ratings: 7.96 (227 votes)
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