Age: 26

Born in: Sacramento, CA

Favourite Manga or Anime: Ghost in the Shell

Favourite music: Jazz, Swing

Harry: About the flashes when you hit hit/kick other characters: how often do they happen? I've only seen pictures and seen the [E3] trailer and haven't played the game yet, but when do these flashes appear?
Steve: We've got default flashes in there; anytime you make contact with the punch/kick button there's this flash.What we plan to do is have different flashes depending on where you block. In Tekken every character has their own flashes. This isn't a "fighting game", so we're not necessarily going to get into that much detail with them, but they are needed to show if you've blocked or been hit.
Harry: Some people have been showing a dislike towards the flashes.Will you be able to turn the flashes off? Or are they going to be in the game the whole time?
Steve: They are needed in the game. You really need some way of knowing if you get hit. The flashes that are in there now are kinda misleading, 'cause you get hit in the head and the flash is on your waist because we're not doing collision yet. So it'll look cooler when we have [for example] a small flash when a guy gets hit on the jaw.
Harry: The E3 trailer had this very nice part at the end where you see Konoko walking, and people have told me this looks wonderful, etc.Was it easy to get her to walk so elegantly and smoothly?
Steve: It wasn't that easy, it wasn't that super difficult either, but it took re-doing the animation over and over. Also, in Character Studio you do one walk cycle and can save it and apply it to another bipedal and make mild changes, e.g. make Konoko look more feminine. You saw the Striker walking, he's supposed to look more burly as opposed to Konoko.
Harry: When you are playing with Konoko, will you be able to sneak up, i.e. are there any stealth animations involved?
Steve: There are some levels where you can choose to sneak in certain areas e.g. there's a room full of guys, and you see there's a rocket launcher at the end of the room. Some people may go in the crouch - she has a crouch walk - and sneak over to get the rocket launcher and start shooting. Some people may choose to run in and attack them all.
Harry: Yeah, I saw a Ninja in the E3 trailer sneaking up to another guy standing and doing an attack. So you can do that? Surprise attacks?
Steve: Yeah, it's basically the AI's field of vision, and all characters have a crouched walk.
Harry: That small scene from the trailer brings me to my next question. You could see the standing character checkng his watch, is this an idle activity? In some games when you idle the character you control may say or do something like "come on!". Will there be idle animations in Oni?
Steve: Yeah, we have idle animations. We also have talk animations.There are some surprises, when you play you'll see. But the taunts arereally fun when you're doing them in combat, everyone has a different one. So you cna hit the taunt key and they make "come on!" movements or they do a slash throat motion.
Harry: The motion blur, a prominent feature in Oni, is that still in the game?
Steve: Uh-huh
Harry: Is that gonna be all over the place or only at certain times?
Steve: We're going to use it sparingly, for a couple of reasons: 1.if you use it too much, it slows the game down because you're adding too many polys and 2. it gets to be too much if you see it all the time. We turned it on for every frame just to mess around and see how it looks, and you get de-sensitised to it. So we save it for the big moves - big flashes, big sound, motion blur.
Harry: What do you use to make the animations and on what kind of machine?
Steve: I use Character Studio on a Pentium.
Harry: Will the enviornment be interactive, i.e. will still objects move?
Steve: Yes, when it serves the game. For example, right now we have chairs you can kick around.
Harry: So you can have "kick the chair around" in net games?
Steve: Well, actually we have Oni soccer (laughs). We built a ball as big as a person...maybe I shouldn't have said that (pointing at my recorder and laughing) but it isn't scheduled for the final release. Just for fun.
Harry: How about civilians, or dogs...?
Steve: Yeah, we have civilians and stuff like that. They have a whole seperate AI system where they can be scared, we call that a variance. Take Konoko, she has a fight variance, and a pistol variance. We give the civilians a "panic" variance.
Harry: Will the civilians be everywhere, or just placed here and there?
Steve: It depends what level you're on, we place Konoko in some public areas, so there'll be some civilians there, and we have Konoko in private spaces.
Harry: When you beat down on someone, will their stance change i.e. will they show they are hurt e.g. holding their arm or breathing heavily?
Steve: We've got some specific animations for characters which...I won't tell you specifically because it's more fun to find out yourself....but when certain characters get hit in specific places, they show signs of that. Konoko has a move that causes regular knockback for most people,but when you use the Striker and do the same move, there's a specific action to that move.
Harry: I'd love to see Konoko snatching a weapon off an enemy. I mean, the guy must look surprised or something like that.
Steve: Yeah, we have different throws. You can knock the weapon out of someone's hand by kicking it, she can also grab the guy and wrench his arm and elbow him and she has the gun.
Harry: Will Konoko have very detailed animations of when she has a gun and she has to reload it?
Steve: That has to be handled on a case by case basis with the system we have because she moves her torso and everything.We wanna keep the action going; what if she does a jump and flip and you hit reload? We'll have something that works in the gameplay; we want the player to pause, and we want the player to reload so that it makes more sense in the gameplay.
Harry: When she's finished shooting with a weapon [i.e. no ammo] does she just throw it away?
Steve: No, because you'd want to keep your gun for when you do find more ammo.
Harry: When Konoko dies are there different ways how she shows it? For example, she falls on her knees or she falls backwards...
Steve: Yeah, we're working on death animations.
Harry: Can she die from falling?
Steve: There's damage from falling off ledges, because we have really really high ones. She can jump really high too.
Harry: And when she falls off what do you see?
Steve: The camera follows you, all the way down·

Steve working away while my damn camera flashes about