RPGDot Network    

80 Days
Display full image
Pic of the moment
pics from the gallery

Site Navigation


   Games Database
   Top 100
   Release List
   Support Files



   Staff Members
   Privacy Statement


Below 10: A Developer Profile
Larian Studio's: Lynn Vanbesien

Myrthos, 2001-11-20

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 series starts with some members from Larian studios, developers of Divine Divinity. Of course everybody wanted to go first but there is no better way to start the series than popping the nine questions to the only female member of the crew: Lynn Vanbesien.

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

So, obviously I am Lynn ;).
I was born in 1972 - I know, I look younger :D - in West-Flanders, more precisely at the seaside. I grew up there, when I was 18 I moved to Ghent to study Communications and after I finished my studies I stayed in Ghent.

What do I do at Larian Studios ? You can't really put a 'name' on me, otherwise I would be full of labels, but I'll try to explain what I'm doing here.

Except from maintaining the Larian website, I am basically the right hand from Swen (Lar), meaning: make sure that this contract is sent on time to that person, providing press people and fans (thank you for your nice sites !) with press material, replying to emails (testers, people applying for a job,…) taking care of the internal accountancy, pressing the door button when somebody rings at the door, answering the telephone,… I know, you are bored now, so I stop it.

So, and now my work directly related to Divine Divinity.

In the past I was an artist for two weeks (mind the organ and the coffins in the game !) ;) Not that I got fired, but we have our artists and I have too much other work to stay on track their.

I created one map (Wastelands / Swamps) on my own for Divine Divinity, and I have to admit: this was super ! Just creating my own little place in the Divinity universe ! My current task is bug fixing the maps.

Furthermore, I've put the zillion characters, monsters and NPC's you'll see wandering around in Divinity in our character machine. Then they get generated and so the programmers can continue their work. I don't know what they do with them, but I'm sure they do something ;)

2) What is your typical working day like?

First thing I do when entering the office is starting up my PC and take a Red Bull. Ah… that's refreshing ! Alright… Then I check my emails - my mailbox is most of the times overflowed - and quickly read them through. When something is extremely urgent, I'll take care of it immediately, if not: I go and check the forum. "NO ! The demo is not finished yet !" ;)
Then I check back my emails and reply.

For the rest, I don't handle my work in a particular order, because this can change from day to day due to the different stuff I have to take care of. But urgent matters are always handled first.

Of course in between I'm scouring the internet looking for press about Divine Divinity to fill up my huge press map.

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

Oh, lots of stuff, but I won't sum them up to keep my reputation high :D
I always wanted to do something in a creative atmosphere. My thoughts went to the advertising field, but honestly I didn't like it that much. Mostly you are dealing with 'fake' people and that's not my thing.
When I was younger (18), I was thinking about becoming a journalist. They told me I have to follow the news every day, and as a student, I obviously had better things to do, so I quit.

So now I'm working in Larian Studios, the perfect place for me ;)

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

Hihi, that's a tricky one ! My favorite game is Divine Divinity of course !

Actually I don't have time at all to play games. I do check some out every now and then, but I can't play them through. Divine Divinity comes on the first place with all my love. Sob sob…

Games I played in the past: The L.E.D.Wars, I really loved it!, Monkey Island 3 - I have Monkey Island 4 on the Playstation 2, but because of a lack of time… you get the picture.

Game I checked out recently which I like: Tropico. "Yes, Presidente Lynn, you are taking care of your people !" Nice one!

And one I play 'in between': Tetris ! Man, I'm addicted ! Game Gear, Game Boy, Playstation 2, PC,… name it and I played Tetris on it.

5) Where does your inspiration come from?

Uh… my inspiration ? It just comes. Really, I have those thinking-days and then suddenly something nice pops up. I write them down and hope we can use it one day. 'Cos now we can't add anything more to Divinity, otherwise we'll never finish the game.

I think, my inspiration is just pumped into my brain when reading a fantasy book, or watching a movie or sometimes even just by observing people on the street.

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

Honestly: I don't know. Divinity has plenty of cool features but I wouldn't know which one to choose… I admit I like the high-level of interactivity in Divinity extremely, it's so 'real'. It's probably the most innovative feature in the game. Many of the objects you see can be picked up or used: a knife, a plate, food, a plant, bottles,… You can e.g. use a table leg as a weapon. Or just sneak into an npc's house at night, light his candle, the npc will extinguish the light, you light it again, and so on until he gets pissed. Very funny !
Interactivity is what I miss in lots of games: you see the object but you can't touch it, which is a little stupid, imho. In Divinity you have the chance to interact with an object, but you don't have to.

Also the advanced AI is one of my favorite features. I don't see the game constantly in action, and when I do, most of the times I am flabbergasted with what I see. Then I ask the programmers with astonishment: Did you program that ? Which results in quite pissed looks in my general direction.

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

I don't really miss a feature, because I'm sure there are enough of cool features present in Divinity, and you can always expand, but it has to stop at a certain point. But if I have to name one: multiplayer support.

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

Well, it wasn't that difficult for me… Hey ! It was ! Really, I also had to prove myself.

For those people who want to get into the gaming business: you have to love games, you have to dream about games! You can only survive in this business when you create a game with passion. Don't get into it 'just for having a job in the sector'. It's not pleasant for the developer and neither for the gamer. I think only gamers can create cool games and we will prove it!

9) Is there anything you would like to add?

I have one big wish for the year 2002:
I hope Divine Divinity will be a hit and that we can keep many players stuck behind their screens.

And if you want to send me a Christmas present, this is my wish list: a box of Chablis, new gloves (preferably in wool), a Kettler Delta 300, a hot-water bottle,… well that's all for now.
Send me an email, and I'll send you the address where you can deliver all the presents. Thank you very much!

Average Reader Ratings: 7.96 (227 votes)
Rate this title and view comments     Game Info     Printer Friendly Version

All original content of this site is copyrighted by RPGWatch. Copying or reproducing of any part of this site is strictly prohibited. Taking anything from this site without authorisation will be considered stealing and we'll be forced to visit you and jump on your legs until you give it back.