Author Topic: RVG Interviews Billy Allison  (Read 2654 times)

Offline zapiy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11862
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 45
    • View Profile
RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« on: August 26, 2014, 20:44:20 PM »
[align=center:ve2kzvdb]

Its a pleasure to share our next interview with Billy Allison, an animator and graphics specialist who has worked on many games you and i will be familiar with.


Below is a list of the games Billy has worked on.
[/align:ve2kzvdb][align=center:ve2kzvdb]Alien Breed 2][/align:ve2kzvdb]
[size=100]Enjoy.[/size]

Greyfox

What a great resume you have Billy, How did you find working on the Iconic Alien breed, did you feel under pressure working on a such a fantastic long standing franchise?


Billy

Thanks, The first time team17 interviewed me for a job, I think they were working on the original alien breed way back when, I was offered a job, but was also offered one at Core Design the day before I got my offer from team17 and had accepted, getting to work on the new version of it all these years later was such a thrill. I didn't feel under pressure about it, the thought did cross my mind that we might not capture the original feel though.

 
Greyfox

How do you feel in this day and age with the amount of Graphic Artists/Animators, they seem to be a dime a dozen, do you feel that your long standing experiences in graphics and Animation work have served you well in securing the job at hand?


Billy

Very good question, right now, I feel my long standing experiences in animation is the main cause of my issues with finding paid work, generally its quite good in that the length of time within animation and games means I got to know a lot of people, some of which remember my work and are willing to suggest me when their companies are looking for animators, unfortunately, as you say, with the massive growth of the schools dealing with this line of work, animators are a dime a dozen and why would a studio pay for an experienced person when they can find two recent graduates for a lot cheaper, false economy I know, and in the past I've had to go in a 'fix' things, but it happens.

 
Greyfox

Have you ever considered teaching your skills as a Lecturer at a college that covers computer art and design and computer animation in 2d Pixel plains?



 



 
Greyfox

Is there any other Animators, graphics designers you admire in the industry that you would either of liked to work with or enjoyed working with them and if so what project were you guys involved in?


Billy

There are Many I'd still like to work with and some that I loved working with, mostly not within games though. Joanna Quinn, is an old old animator friend of mine, but I've never had the chance to work with her, one day we'll work on something together. Jez Hall another old friend, I have worked with him in the past, but only briefly, he has such a lovely grasp of design and composition, one person I have worked with and would love to again is Simon Phipps, such a hard worker with quality work. I worked with Simon on Bubba n Stix (one of my most favourite game projects) and Shadowman 1 and 2.

 
Greyfox

A lot of Animators and designers ended up working on mobile gaming after the golden years, is this something you would consider doing? Or if you have worked within the mobile graphics recently, do you feel its lost its spark and reminiscence of the old painting and animating with a mouse?


Billy

I can see why many went into mobile gaming, it kind of brought back the old 'game play' over 'tech demo' and 'bedroom game dev' thing for a while, but then took it away again as it got all high tech again, I've done a couple mobile games and done several sprites for games that never got made, and enjoyed it a lot, small teams and fun making the games.

 
Greyfox

What was / is your favourite art package for creating animation and graphics back in the old days ?


Billy

Back in the Old days, it was definitely Deluxe Paint (v3 and v4 mainly) superb package, TVPaint is the closest I've found for the modern age.

 
zapiy

Working on Curse of Enchantia, what freedom if any was you given in creating the artwork and animations for the game?


Billy

With CoE I did have a load of freedom, often the puzzles were worked out first, then I would do the sprites for the characters/animation, usually designed off the top of my head, no time for lengthy concept art, then had to make sure they would fit in memory, there were whole sections that never made it in, like a roller skating frankenstein, that shattered into loads of tiny versions of him if you 'killed' him, I did the sprites etc, it just never made it to the game.

 
zapiy

How did the idea of Blob come about and who design his look?


Billy

Jon Hilliard came to Core design with the game bascially done with 'programmer art' I simply beefed up and added some bits to what he'd done. just gave it a little more anatomy if that makes sense.

 
zapiy

Do you have any concept art/graphics from you early days in the gaming business that you can share?


Billy

I have some, mainly Bubba n Stix stuff.

[align=center:ve2kzvdb]
Bubba 'N' Stix Sketch


Bubba 'N' Stix Sketch


Bubba 'N' Stix Screenshot from the Amiga version.[/align:ve2kzvdb]
zapiy

Billy kindly shared lots of images.. These can be seen
HERE
 
Shadowrunner

I grew up watching the Flintstones on TV everyday and so I absolutely love the look of BC Racers, and it's a lot of fun to play! What part of the game did you work on and what did you think of the finished product?


Billy

I basically only worked on the Intro and outro stuff, we had got 'full motion video' working on the megaCD so we did a cartoon intro, I really enjoyed it.

 
TrekMD

How did you first get involved with the video game industry?


Billy

It was a long time ago, I had just finished working on the children's shows Spider in the Bath and Fiddely Foodle Bird, and was looking for work and someone suggested video games, thats when I had my first interview at Team17, back in the early 90s, but as I said in my first answer, I had a firm offer from Core Design and took it ... seems so long ago now and everything is so different.

 


Billy

I don't play as often as I used to, but my games tended to be the lucasarts point n click adventures, especially 'day of the tentacle' and 'Indiana Jones the fate of atlantis' so i guess my system would be the PC (it was Amiga though in the past)


zapiy

Core Design are now an iconic software house, what was it like working for them?


Billy

Back in the day I remember thoroughly enjoying my time there, I worked there for just over 3 years and worked on several projects, we were like a bunch of kids having fun, there were tough times too, crunch time was a killer but the comradery during those times were great.

 
zapiy

How much of Bubba 'N' Stix did you create? Was it as fun to create as some of your colleagues at the time have mentioned?


Billy

As I've already said, it was my favourite game that I worked on, it was a very small team and we bounced ideas off each other a lot, After Simon and I spent several evenings trying to make something from a suggestion Jeremy made, we did loads of drawings etc eventually we got some building blocks of an idea and Simon went and started designing the levels and game play along with input from myself and John and Mark the coders, then Simon and I went ahead and started on the graphics while the coders wrote the mechanics for the puzzles, we designed and created art for several more levels than actually went in the game, but again couldn't squeeze them in. I also drew the line art for the box artwork, I drew the comic strip in the manual and the intro/outro for the cd32 version and drew various images for the bubbalicious advert campaign.

[align=center:ve2kzvdb]
This is a sketch of the team that worked on Bubba 'N' Stix.[/align:ve2kzvdb]
zapiy

What was the inspiration for the game?


Billy
 
Quite simply (and this is why i like the old days) Jeremy said, I want a game about a man with a stick, he was after something more hard edged at the time I think, with more of a staff and more along the lines of switchblade or wolfchild or something, but Simon and I had other ideas, we were big fans of Ren and Stimpy and wanted to do something cartoony and we ran with it, and Jeremy let us, not sure that kind of thing happens so much these days.


zapiy

What game are you most proud of for being part of the team and why?


Billy

Has to be Bubba n Stix, the small team, Simon Phipps, Mark Watson, John Kirkland and myself got on well, we had fun and I believe we made an enjoyable game even though we didn't have a whole suited heriarchy aboves us cracking the whip, we actually enjoyed the work, and then the Music and sfx by Martin Iveson was so good too!

 


Billy

I actually did very little on that, I help convert some sprites for gamegear use.

 
zapiy

Shadow Man was one of my favourite N64 games, what version did you work on and was there an major difference that caused you headaches?


Billy

I worked on all versions, and for me, there were no differences, from what I remember, all versions used the same animation data, the differences were mainly memory stuff, texture space and the like, something the coders loved working on ;)



 Billy's Website]http://blimation.com/showreel[/url]
[/color]

Again a huge thanks to Billy for taking part.
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC

Offline zapiy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11862
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 45
    • View Profile
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 21:03:08 PM »
Below are a selection of sketches Billy has shared with us at RVG.. Its amazing to see how games like this are first imagined.

Awesome i am sure you will agree.















Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC

Offline Shadowrunner

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4997
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 53
    • View Profile
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2014, 22:35:56 PM »
Great interview, and really awesome of him to share all those sketches  :113:

Offline Greyfox

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4555
  • Country: ie
  • Karma: 20
    • View Profile
    • http://www.atarigamer.co.uk
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 23:31:23 PM »
Again blown away again from these great and insightful interviews, delighted with the questions I've asked and Billy answers were superb and very informative , again I wish to second a big thank you to Billy for his time in taking to answers the questions presented from the great team of members here willing to take part, your all great and we here at RVG thank you.

And hope everybody enjoys this brilliant interview.

Offline AmigaJay

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1214
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 14
    • View Profile
    • Jay's Retro Game Blog
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2014, 23:32:21 PM »
Nice interview guys.

Those storyboard sketches look from what i remember are used in the CD32 intro animation.
Old School Gamer Since 1982 - Creator of various gaming websites and blogs 1998-2017

Offline zapiy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11862
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 45
    • View Profile
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 00:22:24 AM »
I shall ask him fella?  Yes it was a great interview and he likes point and click adventures... :113:
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC

Offline TrekMD

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21285
  • Country: us
  • Karma: 57
    • View Profile
    • http://plus.google.com/+EugenioAngueira
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 03:15:19 AM »
Very nice interview! 

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Offline bleee

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2014, 01:07:30 AM »
Thanks guys, some great questions from you all!

Sorry I couldn't dig out more old art for you.

The comic strip you see, was done as a printed comic that was in the box, the cd32 intro was a slightly simplified version of it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju2Gwk3wAQw#

can't find a video of the end sequence right now, but here is the sequence as stills:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3551848/hosted/bubbaoutro/index.htm

Glad you liked it!

Cheers
Billy

Offline TrekMD

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21285
  • Country: us
  • Karma: 57
    • View Profile
    • http://plus.google.com/+EugenioAngueira
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2014, 01:11:20 AM »
Oh wow, Billy, thanks for joining RVG!  And thanks for that link and video!  Looks great!

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Offline zapiy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11862
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 45
    • View Profile
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2014, 01:37:19 AM »
Billy you are a gentleman and a scholar, thanks for signing up and please feel free to hang around and share your knowledge.

Fantastic animation and you gave us loads, just getting the smaller images made larger by Greyfox.

Thanks again. :113:
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC

Offline bleee

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: RVG Interviews Billy Allison
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2014, 09:05:58 AM »
no problem