Adventure-Treff: "Hello Cos, since Dejavu Worlds is not that well known over here in Germany, please introduce yourself to our readers."
Cos Russo: "Dejavu Worlds is new to adventure gaming as Alida is my first computer game. My background is based in the Australian music, film and television industries. I have performed piano and keyboards on many film and television productions, as well as assisting with film and television scores well known over here in Australia. I live (and produced Alida) in Bowral, a small town nestled in the hills 100 kilometres south of Sydney."
A-T: "Probably you don't produce games all day long - what do you do to earn a living? Are there any relations between your profession and your game designing activities?"
Cos: "Music has always been my profession, but I've also had opportunities to work with computer programming and graphic art within the music industry. I remember when we were scoring music to a television mini-series back in 1983 when the only computer around was the Apple II (with a massive 64K ram!!), I came up with an application that would determine optimal visual cue points within music at different tempos. So, I've created software for different purposes while working within the music and film industry. Along the way I have also designed CD covers and other graphic material. I felt that producing a game was the perfect amalgamation of all the skills that I had - a relentless imagination, computer programming, graphic art and music."
A-T: "What drew you towards the adventure genre?"
Cos: "Well, I loved the effect that Riven had on me; I was somewhere else for the time I was playing it. I felt it was the closest thing to being in a movie and was excited by the idea of creating my own world. Every aspect of producing an adventure game is creative and artistic - it was a perfect project to focus all my skills."
A-T: "The setting of Alida is a rather odd one. What was the inspiration to let Alida play on an island shaped and usable as a guitar?"
Cos: "I wanted something that would interest gamers as soon as they saw the cover image. As soon as the idea of the giant guitar came to me, there was no turning back - I could see enormous possibilities within the mechanics of the giant guitar. I also wanted something that would make Alida stand out from other adventure games, and I think the monstrous guitar does that! I originally had an idea for some sort of giant instrument - keyboard, drum etc., but I felt the electric guitar was right for the story as well."
A-T: "The first Mac version of Alida was released in early 2003. Can you tell us something about the commercial success it has achieved so far?"
Cos: "Alida was only available on-line in 2003 at the Alida web site, so sales were limited to the internet. I knew that I would not be able to get Alida into stores like publishers can, so I focused on promoting it and spreading the word as much as possible across the internet."
A-T: "How did you put up the contact with your publishers Got Game Entertainment and Project 3 in the end?"
Cos: "I released Alida on my web site at the start and used the internet to spread the word. I knew that Alida had to be of a certain standard if it was to have any chance. During production of Alida, I did not cut any corners to try and save time and I think that this helped when gamers got their first glimpse of Alida on the web. It was evident to them that a lot of attention (and love) went into Alida. This helped me to get Alida discussed in forums and with time I slowly attained sales. I finally got some favourable reviews soon after. I was able to push Alida out enough across the internet to get the attention of publishers. I'm looking forward to working with the publishers that I'm signed to - I've certainly made friends with some great people."
A-T: "Can you tell us some technical details about Alida? Like, what engine you used, with which tools you created the graphics, music and animation, and how long it took you to finish the game."
Cos: "Alida was created entirely on Macintosh computers. The main software tools used were Strata Studio Pro for the 3D models; Adobe Photoshop for the surface maps to final touch ups; Adobe Illustrator for the designs; Final Cut Pro for the animation, video and sound editing; Cleaner for the final video and animation compression; SuperCard for the Macintosh scripting; Revolution for the PC scripting (built on PC Pentium 4). All the surface maps used on Alida's models were created from digital photos of textures around Bowral, here in Australia. Many of the ambience sounds were recorded here as well. I began working on Alida in 1998 and finished at the end of 2002. There are 24 individual pieces of music in Alida."
A-T: "Obviously the adventure genre has seen better days, and there's a notorious discussion among the adventure community on the current situation and the future of the genre. What is your point of view considering this? Where do you see the genre, what do you expect for the future?"
Cos: "The adventure game genre is like a genre of music. Most people will not admit to liking Country music but it is one of the most popular and strongest genres of music in the world. I think the adventure game genre will grow if the industry provides games that are magical and imaginative, and the games became vehicles for pure imagination. Console gamers love fast paced games because of the adrenaline rush and thrill they get from the pace of the game. I believe adventure gamers prefer to experience a feeling of immersion in the world they are exploring, wanting the graphics, sound and music take them away to another place. This is what I tried to accomplish with Alida - to transport gamers from their everyday world to the Alida world."
A-T: "What are your future plans? Are you already working on a new game, or are there plans to do so? If yes, please outline it for our readers."
Cos: "There are no definite plans but I have many ideas wandering around my head, I would like to see these ideas come to life in a sequel. The Bi-Sphere will be the focal point in the sequel..."
A-T: "Thanks for your time. To sum it up, well, you know... Famous last words?"
Cos: "I hope you will enjoy Alida, it's been a big part of my life over the past few years. If it can captivate and take you away to another place, even for a moment, then it's all been worthwhile."