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Cellblock 1138 - 1997-1999 - 2000 - 2002 - 2003+

An Interview with Todd Reamon
Lead Artist at Lucas Learning

Todd Reamon - Lead Artist at Lucas Learning

Todd Reamon talks about the new game from Lucas Learning
"Star Wars Super Bombad Racing".

Star Wars Super Bombad Racing Star Wars Super Bombad Racing Star Wars Super Bombad Racing

Images appear courtesy of Lucas Learning. For more information, visit the website Star Wars Super Bombad Racing.

Published November 2, 2000 (by Josh Griffin)

1. It appears that the title is very much inspired by Japanese anime, particularly the super deformed approach to the title. Can you tell us about your inspiration for the game?

Kids and sci-fi fans alike relate strongly to anim? - there is no doubt that it is a very popular art form. And since many kart racing titles are made in Japan they do tend to reflect the style of Japanese anime. We wanted Star Wars Super Bombad Racing to be a high-speed race in a wacky Star Wars environment and the anime style certainly provided some of that. Our inspiration came from Star Wars, children's books, movies, toys and the Star Wars Comics - which have proven a successful adaptation of the Star Wars universe into anim? - so we knew this stylization could work for a kid's racing game.

2. What kind of access were you given to the archives/art? Could you just run rampant through the drawings and models?

Actually, when we started Bombad Episode I had already released. Therefore it was easy to access most of the digitally archived material from the film (unlike some of our previous products which were developed under a shroud of secrecy). We have an online image browser system encompassing much of the archive, and offline internal CD-ROM archives. But even with all that, we also have access to the physical archives. However, we stuck mostly with the movies, books and comics (the Art of Star Wars Episode I, and the Dorling-Kindersley Star Wars Visual Dictionary books were the most useful). Remember we stylized the look, allowing us to take new liberties with characters, ships and locales - we didn't have to be completely accurate, we just needed the flavor of Star Wars.

3. Did other kart games influence the thinking for this project? Which ones and how?

When we first began making this game there were only 3 or 4 good kart games out there. Today kart racing has become a full-fledged genre. Of course we looked at Mario Kart - the first classic kart racing game and still one of the best. It is darn fun - even in its simplicity it remains fluid, silly and whimsical. The pick-ups you launch in that game are really fun, and keep the race competitive so we were influenced by them when we started devising our Bombad gadgets. And while the look of Mario Kart is nicely tuned to kids, it feels good to hardcore gamers. Crash Team Racing with its tightened controls and heightened edge also served as a major influence in our development. What players will find unique about Star Wars Bombad is our game controls like a hover-jet with a large emphasis on verticality - making this a true next-generation game.

4. When did you first see Star Wars?

The first time I saw Star Wars was the summer of '77 at a drive-in movie theater in Kansas. I stress the term saw because I wasn't really at the drive-in, but rather I was in my backyard, a quarter mile away from the actual theater. Although the view was unobstructed I couldn't hear everything. But I heard enough to become intrigued by the buzzing sounds of laser blasts, and the John Williams musical score. I was completely spellbound and begged my mom to see it again the next day.

5. How has it affected your life?

Profoundly - I mean look where I am now. Since the moment I saw the film I became intensely interested in computers and what cool stuff they could do - mostly the graphics and the games. Star Wars really allowed my imagination to grow. I was 10 when I saw it, I was the target audience, and I ate it up. I was always drawing battle scenes and all the characters. I made new adventures for my action figures every day, I built elaborate multi-level Deathstar sets and even went as far as to make stop-motion super 8 movies. To make a long story short, I have come full circle. I would say Star Wars has been the most profound creative influence in my life.

6. What separates this title from other kart racers?

Other kart racers are just that - karts, little skids with wheels. Super Bombad spaceship karts are hover jets, they float, and ramp up in the air. The courses take advantage of this and have much more verticality than the other kart racers. It is also different because it's Star Wars - tons of far-out locations and the racer characters are seated in their individually associated spaceships.

7. Why is it produced by Lucas Learning and not LucasArts?

Lucas Learning and LucasArts are two separate companies. It was our development team at Lucas Learning that came up with the concept of Star Wars Super Bombad Racing, therefore we will serve as both the developer and publisher for this title. Players will notice a significant difference between LucasArts games and ours. And though Super Bombad Racing is designed for a younger audience I believe both children and adults will enjoy playing this game.

8. What work did you do previously before becoming the envy of all Star Wars video game fans?

At Lucas Learning I served as the lead artist on The Gungan Frontier before beginning Star Wars Super Bombad Racing. Prior to joining Lucas Learning I worked as an artist and art director on edutainment CD-ROMs and science museum kiosks. When I first moved to the Bay Area I worked as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator.

9. What would you recommend other aspiring artists to do to get in a company like Lucas Learning?

Gain some mastery of their artistic discipline - be it illustration, 3D or more technical art - and start to figure out what it takes to apply that discipline to a specific audience - the internet is a great resource for discovering and learning more about the latest technology in art.

10. What do you do for fun?

I do things with my girlfriend for fun. We enjoy various recreational activities in beautiful Marin County - hiking, rock-climbing, mountain biking. We're having fun working together on various home improvement projects. We try to travel as much as possible. Of course I play video games a lot and, since it is football season right now, I am really into fantasy football.

11. Do you visit fansites like TheForce.Net?

TheForce.net is my homepage. So I certainly go there a lot. It is very interesting to me personally, and often relevant to things going on around the office.

12. Did George Lucas put any input into the game? Any of the LFL designers?

George provides creative direction for all of our products beginning with the development of our initial product concept. He meets regularly with the executive staff and at critical points in product development meets with Project Leads to discuss emerging design issues.

13. When will the game be released?

Spring 2001.

14. How many different environment, characters, and ships are in the game?

There are nine racing levels and five arena levels that cover most of the exotic scenes in Episode I, from Blockade space to the watery core of Naboo. We threw in a couple classic locations and some hidden old favorite characters too including Yoda (in his suped-up Jedi throne), Sebulba, Anakin, Jar-jar, Obi-wan, Amidala, Boss Nass and Darth Maul. They each have their own trademark ship, so players will be flying the Sith Infiltrator against Jar-jar's Bongo.

15. What special powers do the characters have in the game?

The power-ups will yield one of over 25 various offensive and defensive gadgets. Shields protect the racers, and they can boost into hyperspace. Launching gadgets can zap opponent's energy, spin them upside down, stick them in an ion net, or a tractor beam will slingshot you past them. In addition, each racer has their own unique gadget or power - little Yoda uses the Force in some wily ways.

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