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Below 10: A Developer Profile
Larian Studio's: Wouter de Winter

Myrthos, 2001-12-17

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 fifth edition, features independent graphic artist, Wouter de Winter.

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

Wouter De Winter is my name, but what does this tell you? Nothing much, apart from that it doesn't sound German. Which is convenient, because that is one of the many things I'm not. I'm also not gay (contrary to popular belief ;) )
If you really want to have some insight as to what kind of being I am, I'd be forced to write an autobiography of epic proportions. No time for that, sorry.
I'm an independent graphic artist, reserving most of my time to the development of Divinity. I did most of the human non-playing-characters, some objects and the likes.. and yes, let's not forget the fonts shall we? Being an old-school-traditional-media-artist, I'm also enjoying making concept art and pencil stuff. Lately, we've been working on full-motion some cutscenes, while doing some more marketing material as well.

2) What is your typical working day like?

I'm happy to say that I'm part of the daytime shift. This means I get picked up by Tim in the morning (yes, that part of the day before noon, when the mailman has his peak) and arriving at the office half an hour later. Tea, mail, forum-check. Launch tools and do my thing. Around midday we go fetch some sandwiches (yes we have flying sandwiches here - they're not common, but once you know where to find them...) and hurry back to my desk where I, fully nerdalised, eat in front of the monitor - preferably scouting Ebay in search of a good deal on vintage Star Wars toys. After lunch, back to work etc. This process is often enough interrupted by a brief sanitary pause (that includes hourly nicotine-fixes), or the daily high-noon-rubber-band-duel with Ingmar. I'm a better shot than him but I'm positive he'll tell you otherwise. I go home around 6 or 7. After-hours activities may include (but are not limited to) DJ-ing, watching movies, standing on my head and whistling backwards (I've got the 1812 Overture down to the third quarter!).

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

At first, I wanted to be Steven Spielberg. Then I wanted to be George Lucas. After seeing Episode 1, I decided to venture a career in game development. (for the longer version of this story, check my abovementioned autobiography).

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

Oh goodie - yet another excuse to get lost in nostalgia :-)
-Pong (those Tandy days...)
-Styx (greatest arcade)
-Bruce Lee (back on the C64 - loved the 2 player mode)
-Lode Runner (amazing gameplay for its time)

and then, PC games such as:
-Wolfenstein (the original, yes)
-Ultima Underworld (my first CD-rom game)
-Wing Commander (untill Mark Hamill showed up)
-the Age of Empires series

and the big winner:
Grim Fandango (absolutely delicious!) I also have a soft spot for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - it was simply addictive. recent: Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

5) Where does your inspiration come from?

Open up your favourite search engine and use these keywords: Giacometti (his work, not the person), Star Wars (the toys, not the geeks who know the name of Greedo's grandmother), Robert Crumb (most likely the stuff your browser will *not* show), Dune (Lynch's version of course). That will give you some idea. Now open up another search engine and type in all words excluding the ones above. That should fill in the blanks. More or less.

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

All things with ice.

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

It's against my nature to follow the opinion of the majority, but I have to say Multiplayer. No matter how good the AI of a game is, it's ever so much nicer to play with or against humans. (looking at my list of favourite games in retrospect proves my point really).

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

Sheer luck. Get lucky. For a more personal approach on career-guidance, mail me (have your credit card ready).

9) Is there anything you would like to add?

For lack of a smell-enabled browser, no, not yet.

Average Reader Ratings: 7.96 (227 votes)
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