Interview with Norm

by Mr Ed (Februari 2000)

    Hello Norm.

    Ok, lets start by introducing yourself to our readers. Tell us your name, age, where do you live, bankaccount number, stuff like that. :)

    Well, my name is Stephane Macre, 25 years old, and I'm living in St Denis, near Paris.

    And what do you do for a living? 

    I'm working for a videogames company. I am currently working on a PSX 2 game. It's a licensed game, which will probably be a quake like. At the present time, I have begun some textures researches, but work is still in the pipe. I'm a texturermaker and 3d modeller.

    Which games have you worked on previously?

    Superman 64 and Roadster Trophy on nintendo

    What kind of person are you? Are you mayby the type who is quiet and always in the background or someone who is open and has always something to say?

    I'm that kind of person who looks at a lot of demos so that he himself can achieve the best demo (what is now somewhat outdated since my Amiga is dead and since I won't make any demo's on PC...) and who works a lot at home. Apart from computing i enjoy going to the cinema or looking at football, well I think I'm a quite simple person in fact.

    Why won't you make demos for the PC?

    Making a demo on PC represents a lot of work which could be more wisely used in making a videogame engine. In fact, the scene feeling is not the same as on Amiga, most PC crews do the same thing but still remain far away from
    the vidogames developers level.

    Do you have any hobbies besides computers?

    Yes, playing a lot to Quake 3!

    Quake 3? But that is computer stuff! Apart from going to the cinema no hobbies beside computers then :)
    When did you first notice that you had a talent for drawing art?

    I've never noticed that I had any particular talent, I've just worked hard to reach that level.

    When and how did you first get in contact with the scene?

    My first contact occured with the Amstrad demo scene when I saw a demo from MCS. I knew then that I had to do the same thing, it was back then in 1987 and since this time I haven't stopped making demos.

    What does the scene mean to you, and which aspects do you like/dislike about it?

    The scene means to be the best, as well as a group as an individual. One good thing about the scene is that you can
    get new friends. But the worst thing about it is that some people who considers themselves as stars while they are not.
    These persons are mostly french people and this is why i find foreign parties like the Mekka Symposium cooler than french ones.

    What demos and productions have you worked on?

    I've worked on all the Skarla and Essence productions, always with the same team composed of Jamie, Marvin, Horus and Nash. Our latest demo is 'When we ride on our ennemies'.

    Which one springs out in your mind? And why?

    The latest demo was certainly the strongest for me considering its fabulous 3D engine and considering the fact that i had to work alone on it, making at least twenty 3D scenes to, finally, retain only three of them!

    That must be very frustrating. Why only 3 out of 20? 

    Because they fitted best with the design Jamie and I wanted.

    Ever thinking of releasing the remaining 17?

    I don't think any other amiga 3D engine would be able to display them in a 1*1 resolution, so...

    Do you sometimes attend a Scene party? Any anekdotes?

    Yes, I have attended a lot of party. My best remembrance from a party concerns our first demo for Essence. On day before the Party 6 (where the demo should have been released), our hard drive crashed and we lost all our demo work! Luckily, Marvin had an unfinished version of this demo, with only the first part of it. Nevertheless, we reached the second place at the demo compo, right after Bomb, with an half-finished demo!

    Second place with a half finished demo? Hehe pretty well done then...Thats was the demo "Makaveli" right?  Ever win a compo?

    Yes, one Saturn party. With the demo "Atome".

    Did you ever enter a Pixel Compo? And if so, what was the result?

    I've entered a lot of compos but I can't remember all the results. But, generally, I'm located among the top five except at The Party where I stand around the top 20.

    What is your computer history? 

    My first computer ever was an Amstrad cpc 6128, followed by an Atari and then an Amiga. Now, I sticked with a fucking PC...

    Sounds like you are not fond of PC's. Any reason?

    I hate the PC because it's a soulless machine and it's too easy to make demos on such a high end computer with lotsa processing time and 3d cards. Furthermore PCs keep the same rubbish architecture since 15 years...

    What programs do you use for creating your picture's?

    I use mainly Photoshop 5.5 for 2D graphics and Maya 2.5 and Max 3.1 for 3D graphics.

    Could you tell us something about your 3d work?

    I do mainly real time oriented 3D, so making few rendered pics except for some of my latest work made under Maya.

    What do you find more easy to do? 2D or 3D?

    The two are complementary today (as well in videogames as in production), but bitmapping is still the hardest (without scanning of course).

    Could you give us a step by step description of how you create a picture?

    Well, there's no real process. Sometimes you just look at a picture or a photo and then start pixelising for some hours. Well, if i'm satisfied with the beginning result, i go along with the rest of the picture otherwise I drop it. So here is my process...

    Where do you get your ideas for a picture? Any source of inspiration?

     Famous illustrators (Boris Vallejo, Brown, Dimacio and so on...), cinema and photos.

    What do you find the most difficult with drawing?

    As for me, at least in pure 2D, the most difficult, and important, thing to do is antialiasing, followed by the building of a good color palet.

    Do you only draw on computer? Or do you also paint?

    I draw mainly using a computer and very few on paper.

    Which one of your pics are you most pleased about?

    Well, i've no favorite pictures, maybe 'Denis'.


    Which picture are you not so pleased about?

    I'm not really unsatisfied of any of my pictures otherwise I would'nt have finished it!

    If you could give a beginning artist a point of advice, what would it be?

    To take his time, progressing step by step (that is to say avoiding scan), looking at other graphists work and before all working a lot.

    What is your view on the scanning/retouching debate?

    Now with the arrival of Photoshop, everybody can do almost everything, making scanning unavoidable. Now it's quite difficult to know who scans or not (except for some artists).

    What is your favourite demo?

    My two fave demos are 'Arte' from Sanity and 'Closer' from CNCD.

    Who is your favourite scene-artist? 

    Uno, for his technical advance, especially concerning dithering and image composition.

    And what is your favourite picture?

    'Lobo' by Hof


    And what are your plans for the future?

    To make more games and to play more Quake 3. :)

    It's closing time. Anything you would like to say to the readers? Any hello's?

    A big hi to the whole oldschool scene and long live Amiga (there can be only one). Amiga forever!

    Thank you for your time Norm . 

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