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Topic: Golden Dragon Interview: Marc Price  (Read 3956 times)
« on: September 13, 2008, 08:58:27 AM »
BenWH Offline
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Gold-tinted Silver Dragon
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Marc Price won the Golden Dragon award for Veteran Author. His 'Mid' series was very successful, and these were followed in 2007 with a contribution to the Tales of the Sundering series. Marc has since left the community. We find out why, and what inspired him in the first place...

What made you start building modules for NWN?

NWN remains uniquely successful, I believe, in enabling, encouraging, and facilitating community-made content for a computer game platform.  I enjoyed community tabletop gaming many, many years ago, and when computer games such as the Baldur’s Gate series emerged, it became clear that technology had advanced to the point where the mechanics of a game world could be handled invisibly by the computer – meaning that the difficult part remaining was to develop enjoyable storylines, personable characters and dialogue, and challenging foes and combat.  I chose to build modules for NWN because I wanted to share my own stories, characters, and exciting combats with a community that might enjoy them.  I had a built-in audience of two, as I knew that at least my wife and best friend would enjoy these modules.  Fortunately, these modules struck a chord with many others as well, and I’m grateful that a worldwide community of people connected with me in some way through this medium, as a result of these efforts. 

What was the inspiration for your modules?

The inspiration for my modules comes largely from over twenty years of tabletop gaming experience.  In that time, I developed a game world loosely based on the original Advanced D&D maps.  More than a dozen friends shared adventures in some part of that game world over time, and thematically each success or failure would have an impact on the wider campaign world.  Early on, I gravitated to the Egyptian pantheon of gods and goddesses as an inspiration for adventure, firstly because the desert is ideally situated for geopolitical conflict, and secondly because the stories of the ancient Egyptian gods provide a wonderful parallel to conflict among mortals.  The desert culture and stories are fertile ground too, and these have not been overly stereotyped as is the case with many fantasy settings.

How did you find working in the HoF team on Tales of the Sundering?

I thoroughly enjoyed working with the members of the HoF team on Tales of the Sundering, and I would welcome the opportunity to work with them again, or indeed anyone of that caliber at some point in the future.  To me, it was the ultimate proof that the NWN concept had succeeded when not only could thousands download and enjoy free adventures written by great authors, but additionally creative-minded individuals could find each other wherever in the world they resided and collaborate on initiatives they could not have achieved on their own.  Tales of the Sundering was special, firstly because the story was extraordinary, with contributions from some of the game’s best minds, secondly because the mechanics were exceptional, with the inclusion of scripts written and developed that might not be understood by the casual user but definitely appreciated by those such as myself who learned greatly from the collaboration, and thirdly because some of the foundational elements from those early collaborations found themselves in one form or another in later achievements by DLA and Ossian Studios, whose major contributors include members of the team.  It may have been inevitable that given the enormous burden of time and energy demanded by this kind of project, that the collaboration could not last.  Nevertheless, I look upon that period as a forge which led to new energy applied in other directions, and a model which may find repeat success for similar ventures at some time in the future. 

What did you think when you first heard about the Golden Dragon Awards?

I was extremely gratified to hear that I had been recognized by the community for the quality of my work.  I am true to the label as a “veteran author” who has worked with the NWN project from its earliest years, and I am proud to see it achieve what we’ve known it can.  There has not been another game before or since that has enabled so many people to benefit from custom content above and beyond the packaged game.  By any measure, NWN has been hugely successful.  Indeed, the very fact that we are discussing a computer game that is still relevant more than 5 years after it was first released is unprecedented.  The Golden Dragon Awards recognizes some of the finest longstanding members of the community, and for that I thank them!   

Are you still involved with the NWN community?

I am no longer actively involved with the NWN community.  Unfortunately, this is simply because at present I no longer have the time.  I loved… well nearly every minute… that I spent working on NWN projects – and there were countless hours involved.  These days, I actually have no time for computer games either as a player or as an author.  That may change again at some point in time but at the moment life is taking me in a different direction.

Have you ever tried any of the works of the other finalists in the Veteran category?

No, I have not had the opportunity to play modules from the other finalists.  Over the years though, I did enjoy adventures from several Hall of Fame authors, and I believe had I had the time I would have enjoyed many more modules.  The scope of creative activity by our community is truly awe inspiring when one considers the labor of love involved in bringing any of these projects to fruition. 

What are you up to currently?

Most of my time these days is consumed by my work and my family.  I am currently working for a computer software company that provides solutions for international telecommunications service providers.  This means long hours and lots of travel, but the work is enjoyable, albeit a different field from gaming.  My wife and I remain devoted to my daughter, now four years old, and some readers may recall that she was born more than 3 months prematurely – a challenge that we dealt with, and we are fortunate that she is now leading a healthy and normal life.   

Do you have any final advice for the community?

If I can offer any advice to the gaming world, it would be that we should remember that NWN’s success was made possible largely because of community created content, and that future game designers should not forget how important it is to incorporate tools for easy content creation.  I am concerned that there is some chance NWN will be the pinnacle of achievement for the gaming community, and that perhaps we are moving into a new era where high resolution graphics are demanded over easy-to-use content creation tools, in which case we will exclude a wider world of users from creating new content in favor of those who can use and afford professional modeling tools.  I sincerely hope this is not the case, and we will see many more examples of games like NWN.  For like Pandora’s box, it is hard to keep the kind of magic we’ve unleashed bottled up.

Thanks to everyone involved, and best of luck on all pursuits always!
Marc Price
September 2008

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