1997 Chat with Adrian Stephens

Below you will find the log of SIFA's chat with Adrian Stephens, which I edited. The IRC chat was a success, with over 15 people being in the room at different times. Adrian answered about 15 questions, some technical, some not, during the two hour chat. A big thanks to Adrian for taking time to answer our questions! This log is color coded. Questions directed to Adrian are colored in red, and those in blue are Adrian's answers. The rest are just comments I left in there. Enjoy!

*** Doug (~douga@services.midusa.net) has joined #stuntisl
(Adrian) The helicopters - I think I added the propellor
animation abilities towards the end of making SI, and then we
realised we could use it for helicopter rotos too.  The
non-functioning helicopter was probably made before we
thought of that, and we never went back and fixed it
(BobaFettt) ok, Bob you ask a question first...
(BigBadBob) A question?
(BobaFettt) yeaH
*** Nightshad (f508k@ras124.brunnet.net) has joined #stuntisl
(Nightshad) 'Ello All
(Falcon) I've got to leave in 2 minutes... maybe you can answer
this and I'll read this in the que... Why are objects
sometimes given speeds when you change it from follow to
free? A bug I'm sure...
(Adrian) Um yeah.  Probably a bug.
(Adrian) I probably used the same fields for the 'follow' data
and the speed.  I'm sorry, I really can't remember that level
of detail
(BobaFettt) ok, next quaestion, after Falcon's will be
(BobaFettt) go ahead
(Barto666) Ok,who had the idea of adding the Duck Plane???
(Barto666) and making it throw eggs?
(Adrian) We put the duck in as a joke.  When we saw it
dropping bombs we thought it would be funny to make it drop
something else.  Lucky we settled on eggs...
*** Falcon (Falcon@ts30-6.wla.ts.ucla.edu) has left #stuntisl
(BobaFettt) ok
(BobaFettt) who was MIRA?
(BobaFettt) the license plate of the Range rover?
(Adrian) I don't understand the question
(BobaFettt) the license plate of the range rover says MIRA,
who was MIRA?
(Adrian) Oh.
(Adrian) Hmmm...
(Adrian) Yes, yes, I get it now.  I'm trying to think if I
know the answer...
(BobaFettt) do you know , if you don'y, thats ok
(Adrian) It sounds familiar, I might remember eventually.
Then again, I might never have known...
(BobaFettt) cool, thanx
(Dan) My turn. What ever happened to the planned Add-on. Did
it just fall through?
(Adrian) Ah.  Well Disney underwent some upheavals right after
releasing SI, and the upshot was that they decided not to
do any more games that weren't based on Disney characters
(Adrian) Some new planes were created for the add-on.  I don't
even have them myself, but I talked to JF yesterday, and
apparently he has a copy of them
(Doug) All right, my turn:
(Doug) This is actually Falcon's question, since I couldn't think
of one yet
(Doug) But I'm interested too, so here goes:
(Doug) He got a new 3D card, and was wondering if there was some
way, some how, that a driver could allow SI to use that
(Doug) (Not that we're suggesting you program such a thing)
(Adrian) I think that to really take advantage of a 3D card
would need a pretty thorough re-write.  The game was
originally designed for 286s, so it's heavily optimised for
doing 320x200x256
(Doug) Besides.. the terrain is not all that detailed
(Doug) Although hi-res would remove the jaggies, I guess
(Adrian) Yes.  Modern computers can run SI with no speed
problems anyway.
(BobaFettt) your turn General
(General_B) I want to know how to extract the SR-71 object
(since I have been extracting midis and pictures) so I can
repair the angled wing.
(General_B) Is there a way to do that?
(Adrian) What angled wing?
(General_B) the wing on the Sr-71 is angled 15 degrees up
(Adrian) Well, yes, sort of.  If you knew the file formats of
the in-game objects, and the editor objects you could
extract the resource, convert it and load it into the
(Adrian) I don't have a program that does that conversion, if
that's what you're asking
(Adrian) But come to think of it, I could just give you
the SR71 editor files, and you could fix that if you wanted
(BobaFettt) ok, next question...
(BobaFettt) romrod?
(Romrod) I would like to thank you for joining in this chat
session, I used to work for Jim Doseman, from Microleague,
baseball, who went on to to help in programing "Big
(Romrod) I was wodering what you had in the works?
(Adrian) Who, me?
(Romrod) Yes, anything earthshaking in the works?
(Adrian) Right now I am working on a Sony Playstation title.
(Adrian) It is, in my unbiased opinion, the best looking
Playstation title ever
(Nightshad) do I still get a question..
(BobaFettt) yes, you're next
(Nightshad) Well, what I was wondering sort of pretains to the
object editor.  I was wondering how one uses the more
complicated parts of the program, such as adding gears and
props..  Is it possible for an explanation?
(Nightshad) When I say props, I mean propellors, of course..
(Adrian) The gears and props are implemented as 'subobjects'.
I added these towards the end of SI and so there probably
isn't any documentation.
(Nightshad) I was looking for an explanation of the commands
and items one puts inside the dialog boxes.
(Nightshad) (when creating landing gear or propellors)
(Adrian) Basically, you create the gear or prop objects
separately, and then load the main object and attach the
parts.  Then you specified what animation parameter
controlled the subobject
(Nightshad) yes..  animation parameters.  That was the word I
was looking for. ;)
(BobaFett) Did you see my film with the skier?
(Adrian) I did - I was amazed by your achievement!  How did
you animate that skier?
(BobaFettt) well...
(BobaFettt) I created each part of his body separately, then
using a complext system of Attaching and spotting, i could
animate his body
(Dan) Sorry you guys I gotta go. Do you mind if I ask one last
* BobaFettt go ahead DAN
(Dan) Have you watched any of the newer SI films, like Truck
Wars etc? Any favorites?
(Adrian) I saw Truck Wars - spent hours downloading it.  Then
I had to watch it with the sound turned all the way down
because my wife was sleeping in the next room.
(Adrian) I was unbelievably impressed - it was really
gratifying to see what you had been able to create with
what little we'd given you
(Dan) Okay, see you later. Thanks Adrian.
*** Dan has quit IRC (Leaving)
(Adrian) I'm looking at the subobject parameters in the editor
right now, I'll give an explanation...
(Adrian) OK - Object of course is the filename of the
subobject you previously created.
(Adrian) Rotate is the axis about which the object rotates,
and the number after it is the 'animation parameter'.
(Adrian) For instance, the number 12 means the current angle
of the landing gear.
(Adrian) There is also a parameter that specifies the angle of
the propellor, and one for the speed of rotation of the
propellor.   With these we could say 'Rotate the propellor
according to this parameter, until it's going too fast, and
then switch to this flickery thing that looks like a
propellor going fast instead'
(Adrian) In the editor you use 'Cond' in the subobject dialog
box to say that if a certain condition is met, switch to
the 'Else' subobject.
(Adrian) Having checked, I can now tell you that parameter
'10' is the propellor angle and parameter '9' is the
propellor speed.
(Nightshad) Ah..  Now, I see only one command, "sub objects".
How does one create a landing gear, as opposed to a prop?
(Adrian) You specify these 'parameters' in the subobject
dialog box.
(Adrian) First you create a seperate object for the gear or
prop.  Then you load the main object (the plane in this
case) and somehow attach the subobjects.  It'll take me a
while to remember how to do it
(Adrian) Actually I re-learned how to put subobjects on - you
just go to Point/Line mode click on SubObj and select the
point you want to attach the subobject to.  You then get
the fileselector to specify the file containing the object
you want to attach.  I suppose everyone already knew
* BobaFettt Barto, go ahead...
(Barto666) Who had the idea of creating Stunt Island?And Why??
(Adrian) All I can really tell you is 'someone at Disney'.  I
think that when we started on the project whoever had had
the idea had already left, and it slowly became less and
less clear where the idea originated.  It was a very vague
idea at first, and the whole concept eveolved at we saw
what worked and what didn't.
(Adrian) The very first iteration of the game showed four
simultaneous images from different camera angles, and you
were supposed to click between the images as a film was
running to edit on the fly.  It was actually really fun to
do, and that's what really first showed the potential
(Adrian) It was really crude at the time, just a plane and a
barn and 2 cameras
(Nightshad) Early "barnstormers" stunt, eh? ;)
* BobaFettt big bad bon, go ahead
(BigBadBob) What
(BigBadBob) in your unbiased opinion
(Adrian) I have a message here that says that BigBadBob is
being ignored - is that something that happened here, or
did someone cause it to happen?
(BobaFettt) ?me are you finished with Bart's Q adrian?
*** Dan (Nmurphy440@168-91-102.ipt.aol.com) has joined #Stuntisl
(Adrian) Where is everyone from?
(Romrod) Delaware
(BigBadBob) Tollhouse
(Dan) N.C.
(Larry) Ontario, Canada
* doug resides in good ol' Cawker City, Kansas (Home of the
world's largest ball of twine, in case you care)
*** DeadPhrog (~deadphrog@ has joined #stuntisl
(DeadPhrog) Ah!!!  I haven't been able to connect!!
(Barto666) Cordoba,Argentina
(BigBadBob) Am I still being ignored?
(DeadPhrog) Hellohellohello!  Good to see everyone.  Sorry I
couldn't get connected before...  My computer has been
crashing CONSTANTLY)
(Nightshad) Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada is where I am
from (sorry for the delay).  The True North Strong and
(Adrian) Well, I just went to the loo (BrE for restroom)
during a quiet spell.  Did I miss anything?
(Doug) Adrian:  In case you still aren't getting Bob's question, he
asks:  "What's his fav. color?"
(Adrian) Hmmm.  I would say maybe Black, or a deep Maroon.
(BigBadBob) You can learn a lot from favorite colors
(Adrian) I can't believe I answered that question...
*** Shovel_ (Shovel@antelope.mercury.net.au) has joined #stuntisl
(Shovel_) woohoo! I didn't miss it!
(Shovel_) (Sorry I'm late I had athletics)
* BobaFettt ok adrian, I have a Q, was that lake mext to the
cithy meant to look like mickey mouse ears?
*** Gatherer (~HEHEHEHEH@brw-tc3-p16.barrow.com) has joined #stuntisl
(Adrian) Ah - you noticed.
(Adrian) I think it was a happy accident that we later
pretended was intentional
(Adrian) If anyone cares, this is my first IRC experience.
(Romrod) Adrian, would you consider joining our group?
(Adrian) Well, I suppose I could - what would be the benefit?
(Adrian) I've only ever made test films for debugging - and
that was a while ago
(Adrian) Well, I suppose this is a good time to talk about the
distribution of the editor...
(Adrian) I don't really have a problem with it as such.  My
main concern is that I would suddenly have to support it in
some way - answer questions, fix bugs, and so on.
(BobaFettt) we won't give out your address
(Adrian) As long as it is kept to only a few people, who can
share what they've learned about it, it seemed manageable.
(Doug) While on the editor, I was wondering about the legality of
distributing it.. I would think Disney would still own it
(DeadPhrog) Perhaps...  We need to know if it was created FOR
Disney or if the programmer retained the rights.  :)
(Adrian) I don't think Disney ever owned it
(Doug) OK, since it was just an independent utility, not part of
the game itself
(Adrian) I think we fought to keep the rights
(BobaFettt) What is your Q shovel?
(Shovel_) Adrian, What is the copyright status of the PLAYONE
source code as playone seems to be public domain - I'm
interested in making a Win32 port of PLAYONE with Direct3D
(Adrian) Well, the source isn't public domain, but I don't
imagine that that would be the main problem.
(Shovel_) hmm.. what would be the problem?
(Adrian) PLAYONE is basically the SI code re-assembled with
different switches.  SI is entirely 80286 real mode
assembly - ie it's all 16 bit.
(Shovel_) oh ok... hmmm... that wouldn't be much of a problem
- I code in ASM myself, the main thing that I'd need to
clear up is timing and file formats.. thanks..
(Adrian) Do you really want to tackle it?
(Shovel_) yeah I do... the main problem people mention upon
seeing Truck Wars is that most ppl like it but think it
should be high resolution.. :)
(Adrian) Have you done much with Direct3D?  I started writing
the editor for our Playstation game with it, and threw it
out in disgust!
(Shovel_) I've done a bit.. an experimental port of
ObjectStudio to use Direct3D and didn't find it that
(Adrian) Well I'll see what I can do about getting it to you.
Could you send me an email to (a) remind me, and (b) so I
can just reply to your address.  Also, please email to my
work address: adrians@datadepot.com
(Adrian) I have to leave at 8pm (in 10 minutes).
(Doug) Thanks a lot for coming, Adrian!  We all really appreciate
it.  (Probably Shovel more than anyone, though.. :)
(Adrian) You're very welcome - it was fun.
(BobaFettt) ?me alright everyone, if he has to go, he has to
go.  If you have anymore questions, you can e-mail him!
(Larry) I made alot of props but never made a plane because I
didnt know how to attach props to it but with the
infomation I got tonight on it I will be at it tomorrow
thanks Adrian!!
(Romrod) Thank you Adrian
(Neilius) yes, thank you so much
(Adrian) I'll look into the sprite animation issue - I can't
remember exactly how its done.  And with that, I must
leave.  Thankyou all for your continued interest in my
little game...
(BigBadBob) Oh... goodbye
(BigBadBob) You are truly grand
*** Adrian (adrians@S17-cs1-losangeles.datadepot.com) has left #stuntisl