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Interview: Steve Paradis

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#1 Noah Fentz

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:27 PM

As is our usual, monthly feature, I interviewed Steve Paradis, multimedia freelance designer operating as POLYGAME . He mainly designs original pinball tables for Future Pinball, and that is our focus today...creating originals.

Noah Fentz: I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to chat with us.

Steve Paradis: It is a pleasure..Not that I consider being a star enough to deserve an interview but It is nice that people care about my work.

Noah Fentz: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do...

Steve Paradis: I live in Montreal Canada, I'm a multimedia developer, and I knew nothing about pinball until I met my wife Caroline 12 years ago. She is the connoisseur.

Noah Fentz: So we have her to thank for your wonderful Future Pinball projects?

Steve Paradis: In a way, yes because she is my inspiration smile.gif

Steve Paradis: I have a background of building video games, but never until I met her, have I had the idea to build a pinball.

Noah Fentz: What games have you designed? Any we'd recognize?

Steve Paradis: Mostly online promotional flash games.

Noah Fentz: Cool

Steve Paradis: See this link .

Steve Paradis: My first flash pinball that received an award for 10 years ago... No 3D pinball existed in flash, at that time.

Noah Fentz: I understand you only create original pinball projects, correct?

Steve Paradis: Yes that is correct, though I might make a quick turn on my general habit for my next project, but don't get too excited yet, it is not going to be a pinball table (although it will be done with Future Pinball wink.gif

Noah Fentz: Can you tell us a little more about it?

Steve Paradis: Sure, let's say that my favorite stuff besides pinball are redemption machines, which I intend to recreate (some) with Future Pinball.

Noah Fentz: Very cool.

Steve Paradis: You know, I like weird stuff LOL!

Noah Fentz: Now, you only use Future Pinball in your projects that I've seen. Have you ever used Visual Pinball for anything?

Steve Paradis: Yes. I did my first table that never came out with Visual Pinball but it was all a test based on the theme of Gauntlet Legends but it never came out for 2 reasons:

I sucked at it ! could not really understand how to script it properly for something good to come out of it and second, I did not wanted to have any problem with Gauntlet Legends rights owner.

I don't know ... Future Pinball just felt more natural for me to learn.

Noah Fentz: I see, so now you keep everything original and non-licensed material?

Steve Paradis: Yes, I usually work with major entertainment companies, and since it is my bread and butter, it would be awkward for me to use a licensed theme without acquiring the rights first.

Noah Fentz: I understand.

Noah Fentz: I consider you one of the best original authors. What inspires your ideas?

Steve Paradis: Different things: for Big Spender, I was coming back from Atlantic City, this one might be very easy to understand.

Steve Paradis: For Dark Quest, I wanted to have a rematch on my lame and previous attempt to create my Gauntlet table in Visual Pinball.

Noah Fentz: It's a really cool table!

Steve Paradis: Thanks

Noah Fentz: I'm sure many new members would like to create original tables, too, and for me, the most difficult part is the layout. How do you go about designing the table layout?

Steve Paradis: This is the hard part - There is a lot of beta testing trial and error... sort of, but I always start with one thing: A FEATURE
Example: when I first started to built Lunch Take Out, I had just seen the new Tron movie trailer, and those lights cycle inspired me, the tiles feature which led to the ''Built a Stacker'' feature.
I just like the interaction of the ball which lit the according overlays animation.
Noah Fentz: It looks interesting, and I'm eager to check it out...

Noah Fentz: So, you actually devise the modes before doing the layout?

Steve Paradis: My wife told me it is my best table so far.... Actually, yes. I plan my feature, I then plan where they go on the table.

Noah Fentz: How long does this part of the process usually take?

Steve Paradis: The Idea part?

Noah Fentz: The idea to working layout

Steve Paradis: Approximately 2 weeks, and my table layout is done. Then, I go onto table texturing, then scripting, and finally, fun work: DMD animation and audio soundbite.

Noah Fentz: You are a very talented graphic designer, as seen in your work. Were you always artistic growing up?

Steve Paradis: I believe so, I started back with drawings and then CorelDraw in early 90's doing business card for a print shop.

Noah Fentz: What are you using now to draw your graphics for your pinball projects?

Steve Paradis: Photoshop of course smile.gif

I also use XSI for the 3D part, After Effects for animation, and flash sometimes when titling is involved.

Noah Fentz: How do you incorporate flash in your FP projects?

Steve Paradis: Image sequence export. The DMD work is my favorite part.

Noah Fentz: Interesting. So if a new member becomes interested in creating an original, whether it be for FP or VP, what would you suggest they need to get started?

Steve Paradis: The layout should come first. For the ball to bounce around in a very fluid manner, it has to be well thought. This is the most critical part, motion is everything, the rest is just icing on the cake.

Noah Fentz: I hear that you have some news regarding your latest project, Lunch Takeout. Care to share that with us?

Steve Paradis: Commercial license have been acquired by Nanotech Entertainment for use on the MultiPin. BUT...don't worry.. It will still be accessible for free to the members of the pinball community. I think that Dave Foley is really psyched about the product, maybe you can ask his view and also what will be the fall/winter line up table on his cabinet!

Noah Fentz: So, you created a completely original design, and it will now be distributed worldwide? How does that make you feel?

Steve Paradis: Gee..I'd like to thanks my mother, and my girlfriend and.. wink.gif

Noah Fentz: LOL

Steve Paradis: No, seriously, I'm simply happy that people like what I do. Isn't that all we look for? I might do fun stuff, but if there would be no interest, I would probably be doing something else. There is really something special about that little silver ball.

The term worldwide anyway doesn't mean much these days 20 years ago I would have to send you a letter or call you long distance... So, we are just one big village. I know the table is being distributed by someone as passionate as I am about video game and it's comforting.

Noah Fentz: Is there anything you'd like to say to those members aspiring to design originals?

Steve Paradis: Anything is yet to be done, and they are no poor efforts. Whatever talent you have, even if its not building an entire table by yourself, can be the holy grail for someone less talented.

Noah Fentz: Very nice words coming from such a talented author smile.gif

Steve Paradis: Thanks for everything, Paul, its always a pleasure, buzz me anytime you wish.

Noah Fentz: Thank YOU for chatting with us!

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#2 studmuff


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Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:25 AM

Funny, I just played Dark Quest on my cab and saw this interview. Steve makes great tables. Can't wait to try out the new one.

#3 faralos


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Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:26 AM

not being able to even run FP I am at a loss as to the tables he can make but if Noah holds him in high regard, then he must be very good. But thanks for the interview, he still gave me some tips on table construction and layout.
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#4 humid


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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:33 AM

Another interesting talent to add to your interview folder Noah. Nice flow to the questions that led to some insights behind Steve's talent. It's good to hear that there is an avenue for both a commercial product and a free release FP version. I wouldn't want to see a situation where strong authors like yourself and Steve feel compelled to choose between one avenue or the other.

Some very helpful advice in regards to approaching original design. I'm sure many would agree that flow and objectives are what makes a table exciting, and that the eye candy isn't really what makes one keep coming back again and again.
Thanks to you both for taking the time for this. Another element that makes this forum stand out.
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#5 The Loafer

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:39 AM

Great interview, thanks.