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Below 10: A Developer Profile
Larian Studio's: André Taulien

Myrthos, 2001-11-26

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 second edition, features freelance graphic artist, André Taulien

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

Okay, here I go: My name is André Taulien and I hit this planet in summer 1974 in a town called Eisenhüttenstadt (yes, weird name) in East Germany. I am a freelance graphic artist and work with Larian Studios on the game Divine Divinity. I am mainly creating background graphics and interface graphics for the game and some other graphic related things as well.

2) What is your typical working day like?

First of all, my days are sometimes longer and sometimes shorter so that on some days I wake up in the morning, some days in the evening, some days in the afternoon and some days even at night. Once I made it out of bed and having the usual morning procedures behind me, I get to my desk and fire up my computer. Next thing would be checking emails and reading news, look for new posts on our internal forum and finally have a look at my ever growing task list. There I pick one task I would feel most likely doing that day and if there is nothing else urgent, then this is the one I start with. Lately this procedure is not like it used to be anymore, ‘cos my 'still' ever growing task list has hardly nice jobs left and more than that: they all are somehow urgent now.

However, then I am working and working and working with some breaks from time to time to eat, talk or doing other things. The moment I am finished or too tired or have a lack of concentration, then my working day is done.

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

I never really had a clue what I wanted to become when I was a child. I knew for sure that I didn't want to be a pilot or an astronaut or a doctor or an actor or a stuntman or actually anything what most people think that a child is dreaming off. However with 13 I saw for the first time in my life a computer right in front of me (remember I am from East Germany and computers where rare and everything but cheap). From that moment, I spent a lot of time with computers. I didn't realize it immediately but after some years I knew I wanted to do something with computers. In fact I wanted to become a programmer.

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

That is not so easy to answer since it changes constantly. One game that I really played a lot and would play again is Civilization. But there are also others which I really like and I wish I had more time to try out even more games. In general I like RPG´s and strategy games. At the moment I am still playing with Gothic but I am almost through.

5) Where does your inspiration come from?

Inspiration I get from a lot of things like other games, fantasy art and art in general, movies, a lot comes just by dreaming, from my environment, jokes, things I read or hear somewhere and even daily news can be very inspiring.

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

I am always interested in the technical side of things and therefore I really like how Divinity does things internally (like light and shadow calculations). Especially when I compare this with other games it shows how technically advanced the engine is. Probably you have to be a game developer yourself to get excited about such things. :-)
From a more general, game related point of view I like the high freedom of interactivity. You are not so strict limited in your possibilities. Fighting with a spoon as your weapon might not be exactly efficient, but you can do it if you want.

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?

I was actually rather lucky there. When I left school I spent more and more time at home with graphic software like DPaint, Real3D, Cinema4D and others. At this time there was a computer magazine I read frequently that contained a readers gallery. People could send in their self-made pictures and the best ones got printed there. At some point I decided to send one of my pictures as well. When I then had the next issue in my hands I found my picture in it. Cool :-)
Some days later I received a letter from a German game developer. They wrote that they saw my picture in that magazine and offered me a job as a fulltime or a freelance graphic artist. Since I was looking for a job anyway I agreed, grabbed my things and moved. So I was in.

For an advice I would say that a homepage is always good promotion. Put samples of your work online (no matter if you are an artist and put your pictures there, or a programmer who has some tools programmed or whatever) and don't forget to mention that you would love to have a job in the gaming business. If you manage to promote your site well and your work can impress, then the chances for you might rise. I for my part check often private websites of artists (and I bookmark what I like. :-)
Also hanging out in forums and communicate with others is a great source to learn and can be good for your connections as well.

9) Is there anything you would like to add?

Hmm... I know that she will never read this if there's nobody making her aware of my writing here, but I would like to greet my mom :-)

Average Reader Ratings: 7.96 (227 votes)
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