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EMPOWERING THE LEVEL EDITOR
Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ January 19th 2001 ]

Following the release of the Chronicles Level Editor Tutorial Section, designer and creative developer Dale Rickert stops by to talk about CORE's greatest gift to it's loyal fans - The Chronicles Level Editor

The latest edition to our media team, 56-year old Dale Rickert, a former Vietnam veteran now involved in computerized graphics and residing in Cheney, Washington with wife Teresa and son Joshua, first met Lara way back in the Bartolli days of Tomb Raider II, where he began writing walkthroughs for the adventure series while nurturing an inquisitive fascination for computer programming.

We quizzed Dale on the motivation behind Eidos Interactives phenomenally successful adventure series....

The Tomb Raider series...why do you think it has captured your imagination and what makes it compelling?

I think that the one main feature that hooked me was the camera angle. In all of the other games that Iíve seen my son play on his Nintendo, you donít get to see the hero. It makes you feel like youíre a camera and not an active participant. Half of the fun with Tomb Raider is watching Lara perform. I think thatís why thereís such a strong Lara Croft following. Also, the engine for the game is outstanding. Iíve always been impressed with the real look and feel of the animations.

Regarding the Level Editor, do you think Core should have released what is essentially the source code to their Tomb Raider Series?

Not unless they were going to completely abandon the Tomb Raider game. I was actually amazed when I first opened Chronicles and found the Level Editor. I think thatís a step in the right direction, but to release the complete source code would be asking others to do what they should be doing.

Do you think the genre would have continued without the release of the editor?

I think that would have depended on how creative they were in their new releases. Itís like sequels to movies each one has to be bigger and better. Releasing the editor in a sense makes everyone who uses it "junior promoters" of their games without having to put them on salary, thus that was a wise decision.

What do you think is the future of the level editor?

If it just remained as it exists right now I think it would fizzle out in a matter of months. I say that because of how limited it is in what you have available for objects. The wads for each level donít really have a lot to choose from. I like the way TR III levels gave you the choice of Pistols, Shotgun, Desert Eagle, Uzi, Grenade Launcher, Rocket Launcher, and Harpoon Gun. I think one of the key features that makes the game interesting is the movable boxes. Being able to push in wall sections in search of new rooms and/or secrets is a real strong point that is currently not available in any of the Editor levels. My hope is that there will be enough interest in the Editor to where they will recognize how advantageous it would be to not only enhance it, but also to support it.

Where do you see Lara in five years time?

I certainly hope that Von Croy manages to find her alive. It doesnít make sense to shoot the goose that lays the golden eggs. I suspect that Lara will eventually emerge unscathed and ready for her next adventure. Perhaps she had to abandon her backpack in order to crawl out of her would be tomb? I think theyíre going to see a really big boost in both interest and sales with the release of the movie. If I had to make a prediction, Iíd have to say that tying the release of the movie with the release of a new game that brings Lara out of her tomb would make a lot of sense and money. Five years from now is difficult to predict. I suspect with the new technology coming along, Lara will be looking better than ever.

Will you be watching Tomb Raider the movie, and what do you think of the casting decisions?

Wild horses couldnít keep me from going to see it. My son and I will be at the front of the line to purchase it when itís released on video. When I heard that Angelina Jolie was playing the part of Lara, I was a little surprised, but only because I wasnít that familiar with her. After seeing her history I felt that they had made a wise decision. I think itís great that her real father is part of it as well. Father-daughter teams always seem to do well. I think that one of the great movies is the one where Hayley Mills starred with her father John Mills in "The Chalk Garden."

Do you think that Eidos was right to sell the movie rights to Paramount?

Iím not very well educated on the pros and cons of a decision like that. Iíve always been a strong believer that you should confine yourself to doing what you do best. Since Eidos isnít in the business of producing movies, theyíre compelled to let a major studio make it. I donít think any studio would invest the necessary monies to make the movie in the way it should be made without having the rights to it.

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