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Below 10: A Developer Profile
Larian Studio's: Kirill Pokrovsky

Myrthos, 2002-02-11

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 Kirill Pokrovsky, who is responsible for the music in Divine Divinity.

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

I am a retired rock-star. Yes, you can call me like this. Back in the USSR I played in this legendary rock band ARIA. This was the first really heavy band in the Sovjet Russia, just before and also during the Perestroïka. Every teenager in the country knew about our band. I don't know how much recordings we exactly sold - because it was still a state company (Melodia) - , but I've heard it was some millions. We were the biggest band fore some time and we were playing in the biggest sport-arenas all over the country. We were young and we did stupid things, so we split up just on the peak of the wave. Some of my friends now live in Amerika. The drummer on the other hand lives somewhere in the Wallonian (Liège) part of Belgium. And others carried on the band ARIA (http://www.aria.ru/eng/ie/index.php) and others continued with a new band Master (http://www.rusmetal.ru/master/). You can visit their sites and read the story and see that they are still very popular over there in Russia.

So once, in the beginning of the 90's, we had a tour here in Belgium and recorded a song in a little studio in a village near Ghent. The man who run this studio told me joking-wise "If you ever need a job come over and work with me".

When the band split up I was very frustrated and I wanted to change my life, to go somewhere and do something completely different. So I came to Belgium to work in this little studio and we also wanted to make a band, but realities of life are so over here in this way that all musicians have a daily job and it really takes a long time to become something professional. My friend's wife had a second child and he had a lot of work. He had to stop working for the band but also to run his studio. I was facing two possibilities - to go back to Moscow or stay and try to do something different. It was a time to remember that I had quite a musical education. Not only I studied composition in the Conservatorium in Moscow, but I also played oboe and saxophone and piano of course, because my mother was a piano teacher and I've heard the classical music from my early age. But I was a keyboard player in a rock band, not a classical pianist. I composed a program of romantic songs for the piano and I started to practice very hard, sometimes 8 to 9 hours a day, to be able to play it myself.
I recorded an album called "BRUGGE" (http://www.kirill.pokrovsky.yucom.be/main-frames.htm) and I became a concert composer/pianist. I was dressed like a penguin, but I always had a couple of synthesizers, a computer (Atari). I also did some productions and played in several bands - you can hear my music in some movies and television productions and even in commercials.

I met Swen ("Lar" - project leader "Divine Divinity") at this time and he simply showed me that computer games are the closest thing to rock-n-roll. And it's still true. Now it's simply unbelievable, but it all started in Swen's modest flat in Ghent with a couple of computers. The only available technology for the game music was midi, so we had to become midi-experts and it also sounded different on different sound cards. There was this mysterious 'Fatman' in America who monopolized all the things and defined the sound, so you had to ask his permission to use an organ or a flute sound. And afterwards I had a wave table synthesizer card with more realistic sounds and general midi, so I could imitate the orchestra and stuff. Then there was also the Redbook audio and music became just like you wanted to record it in a studio with life instruments and choirs and stuff, with CD quality. Now we are speaking about interactive music or even real time rendered music.

So I think, we've been pretty much through the evolution of game music with Swen. Off course during this period I composed a lot of material, that's why many pieces didn't make it to Divinity, but you will find them later on on audio albums.

I love to be here in Larian studios, lately even more and although I always mess things up and burn the food in the oven in our kitchen. They can even tell you a million stories about me being messy and absent-minded. Anyway I think they love me and keep me like a charm for good luck. ;)

2) What is your typical working day like?

It's not a 24 hours cycle. It very much depends on the amount of caffeine in the blood. It is the only drug I use, I even stopped smoking ! I am really glad there is a clock and calendar in my PC and that I have a telephone, so I don't get completely lost in time. "Is it already February ?!?"
I'll love you till the deadline.

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

I hope I didn't grow up yet ! I really hope it!
There is nothing more boring than these grown ups…

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

I have a very addictive personality. If I will start playing a game, I know my character... We have a very impressive collection of videogames here in Larian Studios. I got a big monitor lately and an accelerated video card.
Please no games for me now... after the release.

5) Where does your inspiration come from?

I really like acoustic instruments and I play piano a lot but PC becomes a musical instrument on it's own and a sampler and a recording studio in one single unit with all this effects and a mixer. (If you just have the right soundcard and connect descent speakers to it.)

It's absolutely wonderful. Once sound is inside it stays digital of course and if you wish it can stay inside of your machine 'till the last moment, including postproduction and stuff. For example I have this one piece of software, I can't tell you what, because there are a lot of snobs out there in the audio world, and I abuse it completely. So I use it not for what it was made. It's a very simple program but it's very intuitive and inspiring, but I know from many big producers that they also secretly use it along with" Protoolls". But mostly, to tell you the truth, I am inspired by my workaholic mates here in Larian Studios where I spend more and more time lately just trying to understand this incredible phenomena. They are amazing people and Swen is still a mystery for me, he has so much life force and he is doing this work, sometimes very routine work day by day with so much energy.
Lately the atmosphere even became very warm and friendly, what is unusual in the end of a project when everybody is so stressed.

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

Besides all this very detailed graphics and story, I love the sounds and ambiances a lot. We have two sound designers - Ilya and Stefaan - and they are
Amazing. Sometimes I hear what they do and I simply think they are the best in the business. They also are perfectionists much more than I am and they are
very helpful with all this technical stuff, levels, decibels and compression. They always find time to show things even if they are busy like hell.

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?

Everybody here in the office knows that I like movies and film music a lot. My father was a film director back in Russia and I always liked to be among the creative people and the very dedicated people. I have my concert carrier as a solo pianist/composer and I play sometimes - now and then - even some jazz and stuff, but I hope to grow together with Larian into something bigger like this big composer figure.

Of course I don't have all this qualities, but I can advice you the following:

a Have a lot of patience.
b Learn every day.
c Don't be jealous.
d Don't be greedy.

9) Is there anything you would like to add?

"Life is just like a box of chocolates…"

Average Reader Ratings: 7.96 (227 votes)
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