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AsiaFinest's Interview with Proxicide
Ben: Hi Proxicide, Thanks for taking taking time out of your schedule to do this interview. Can you give us a quick bio on yourself?
Proxicide:Thanks for the interview. The pleasure is all mine. Well, let's see...I'm 24 yrs old and was originally born in Seoul, South Korea. I'm currently living in the United States and attending school here. I haven't worked a day in my life yet (and I'm 24!), but rather, I've been spending all my time studying programming and design. Hopefully, I'll get off my lazy butt and do something productive with my life. As far as hobbies go, I enjoy Photoshop, Flash, and Maya.
Ben: There are many game cross over videos online. Your flash video is on a way higher level in terms of quality. How long have you working with flash/animation to create videos this good?
Proxicide:About 2 years ago, I started watching Flash crossover movies and was very interested in the concept of it. The idea of intermixing videogame characters, and putting them into creative, perhaps surreal, situations was very intriguing to me. So a few months afterwards, I started learning the Flash development environment myself, so that someday, I would be able to create a crossover movie of my own. I initially used my knowledge of Flash to create small visual 'widgets' that would compliment website designs, but I wanted to work on a larger, more interesting project, that would help me explore the many facets of Flash development. And so, my first serious project was the sprite crossover movie that I always wanted to do, and in May '05, I created MK vs SF.
Ben: What made you decide to do a cross over on Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter?
Proxicide:When I was growing up, SF and MK were the two fighting game I played most often. Of course, I played others, like Killer Instinct, Darkstalkers, Guilty Gear, etc., but the combo system and visual styles of SF and MK appealed to me more. Also, they were the most popular games being played when I was growing up (in America), so, as a person who 'hops on the bandwagon,' I went along with everyone else and invested all my time playing these two.
When I first watched Flash crossover movies, the one movie that really intrigued me was the Ryu vs Scorpion crossover, by Dustin_a31. Watching the movie fueled my desire in, not only creating a crossover flash, but specifically, an MK vs SF crossover. Because MK and SF are popular games, I knew there wouldn't be much difficulty in gathering whatever resources I needed (sprites/sounds/effects) from the Internet to create a decent looking battle. Although doing this wasn't as easy as I initially thought, I was fortunate enough to find what I needed to produce the movie. And so, with all the resources at my disposal, and possessing a rudimentary knowledge of Flash, I started work on the MK vs SF crossover.
Ben: How long did it take for you to create the first and second MK vs SF videos. I'm assuming the 2nd one took a lot longer right?
Proxicide:Creating the first movie took approximately 2 weeks. It was my first serious flash project at the time, so I wasn't sure how the end result would turn out, since I was still learning many of the fundamental aspects of movie development in flash. This pretty much entails scene creation, frame-by-frame sprite animation, incorporation of music, sound synchronization, and adapting myself to Flash's actionscripting environment, all of which I knew little or nothing about. I also had to deal with issues concerning the movie itself, such as plot, settings, and choreography. I started working on the battle sequence (which took the longest time to complete), and then proceeded to do the prologue, then the ending, and finally, the interface. Production for MK vs SF 1 began in early May '05, and was released later that month.
Initially, after releasing the first movie, I never planned on producing a sequel, but because it became quite popular, I decided to take a stab at another one. Anyways, I regretted using Ken and Raiden, considering Ryu and Scorpion are the overwhelming favorites from their respective fan bases. And so, I started planning on what to do with a sequel during the summer of '05. But shortly thereafter, I quited on this idea and focused my attention on other projects (considering that sprite animation is too time-consuming and boring). But in October '05, I went ahead and started creating the sequel and finished in mid November. The order in which I produced the movie was the same as the previous one (starting with the battle sequence first). The production time was about thrice as long as the first one. This was because I utilized newer techniques in making the sprite animation flow more smoothly, as well as incorporating a better camera-system, parallexing/animating the bg's, doubling the framerate, eliminating redundant sprites, better emulating game physics, and using a multi-tiered battle stage. All-in-all, it took me about 6 weeks to make MK vs SF 2.
Proxicide:For MK vs SF 1, I initially chose Ken for the SF side simply because he was my favorite character. I almost always pick Shoto fighters when playing SF, and so my choices really came down to Ken, Ryu, or Akuma, but because Ken is who I use the most often, that's who I ultimately chose. For the MK side, the character that I chose was more so random. Because I haven't played MK in several years, I simply used whoever's sprites were available to me. I had all of Raiden's sprites, or atleast enough to reproduce all his moves decently without much choppiness, and so that's who I picked.
After reading much feedback to the first movie, there were many people who wanted me to have used their favorite characters, as opposed to Ken and Raiden. Also, there were people who were clamoring for a sequel, and submitting who they would like to be in it. And so, for the next movie, Ryu and Scorpion were chosen because that's what the fans wanted. They didn't necessarily wanted them to battle against one another, but more so, on an individual basis. Unfortunately, I couldn't get much Scorpion sprites (probably only half of them), but I managed to convert Ermac/Sub-Zero/Reptile sprites to complement the missing animations. Thank goodness for Midway's recycled ninja look.
Ben: Which game series do you like more? Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter? Which game from Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter do you think is the best out of their franchise?
Proxicide:Well, I easily favor Street Fighter over Mortal Kombat simply because its a better game. The character flow, visual style, combo system, and overall gameplay mechanics of SF is head and shoulders above MK. This is why I continue to play SF3, and quit MK several years ago. I think the main draw of MK is the gore aspect of it, and that's just something I'm not really interested in (hence, no blood splattering in my movies). My main interest in MK is the character appeal the game has, but the engine itself seems lacking. I haven't played the 3D incarnations of MK yet, so maybe they improved on it.
I never played the 3D versions of SF as well, so my judgement will lie on the 2D versions. My favorite SF game is easily SF3. In every aspect, its an improvement over SF2, and its a beautiful game to play, as well as look at. As for the MK side, I'd have to pick MK Trilogy, simply because it composites all the previous games into one. As far as the first 3 MK games go, I enjoyed part 3 the most.
Ben: It seems like the fights usually take place in the mortal kombat world. What went into your decision on where the fight will take place, and the music that you selected to go along with the fight scenes.
Proxicide:When I was producing MK vs SF 1, I had to choose whether to use SF3 backgrounds or MK backgrounds. Since many people are not familiar with SF3 (most grew up on SF2), and I couldn't use the SF2 bg's because intermixing SF2 and SF3 gfx would look odd, I opted to use the MK backgrounds. In deciding which MK bg to use, not much thought went into it. Because I didn't create any sort of storyline before creating the battle sequence, I initially chose whatever looked nice, and the MK rooftop was what appealed to me at the time.
For MK vs SF 2, I stuck with using MK bg's again. I also realized that MK's version of the announcer saying "Round 1 - Fight" was alot more popular among the general public than SF3's version, and I couldn't use SF2's version because it would appear out of place. For this reason, I went with MK backgrounds. When first developing the fight sequence, I initially planned on the story taking place at the same time as MK vs SF 1 was happening. And so, I wanted the fight to be on the streets, and have it proceed upwards to the roof where the ending to part 1 was happening. And so, Ken would possibly join in on the fight. But I thought this would be awkward, and so I abandoned the idea. I kept the rooftop stage as an upper level for the fight to continue on. Then I decided to have the battle spread throughout, not 2, but 3 stages, because watching a 3 minute battle sequence on anything less would be monotonous. And so, a 3-level tiered setup was developed, starting with the street level as the 'bottom' tier, then proceeding to the roof, and finally, a sky stage. Later on in the movie's development, I wanted to make Scorpion's Lair as the bottom stage in a 4-stage scheme, but this would have delayed the movie's release by another week or so, so I stuck with my original idea. I customized the final 'sky' stage in Photoshop, since none of the existing MK stages convey the 'celestial' feel I was looking for. All-in-all, I'm happy with the way it turned out.
As for the music selection goes, not much thought went into it. As a Tekken fan, I had the Tekken 5 OST on my hard drive, and I simply chose one of the tracks to be the background music for the battle in MK vs SF 1. But for MK vs SF 2, I intended the music to be a techno song, but after awhile into development, I felt that the song didn't exactly fit with the mood of desperation I was trying to convey. Therefore, I chose Pompeii as the bg music, and I think it works quite well.
Interview continues on page 2.
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