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Old June 20 2011, 05:23 PM   #1
Triple-F
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Ron Thornton Interview

Although I wasnít intending to add anything new to the site, I found myself laid up after some minor knee surgery last week, and bored silly, so contacted Thornton and talked a bit more about his work, mainly on B5, and how he ended up working on Voyager/DS9 etc.
http://www.themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scro...m#Screen1_01_1

Just adding it here, on the off chance anyone might find it of interest. ; )

(btw. Because much of the content comes from folks at Foundation Imagaing, there are the odd bit or two relating to trek scattered around the site.)
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Old June 20 2011, 09:07 PM   #2
Reverend
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

How much of this is new? I ask because I'm on page 4 and so far I'm quire certain that I've read this all before.
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Old June 20 2011, 09:56 PM   #3
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

Reverend wrote: View Post
How much of this is new? I ask because I'm on page 4 and so far I'm quire certain that I've read this all before.
Yeah, I mixed the new with what was there before. But saying that

Screen 1 is totally new, screen 2 aint', screen 3 is totally new,
screen 4 (mostly) ain't new i.e first Q&A about Shant and Patrick, and the screw up on the IMDB, is a new addition

It was 6 or 8 screens worth (I think), it’s now 18
Try starting from here, it’s mostly new stuff from that point on. ; )

http://www.themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scro...m#Screen1_01_9

Last edited by Triple-F; June 20 2011 at 10:13 PM.
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Old June 20 2011, 10:35 PM   #4
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

^Gotcha.

Ah, so we finally have a culprit for the Raider fighter? Interesting that he mentions it's supposed to be an old EF interceptor, probably auctioned off as junk. Makes sense in-universe as to where a bunch of criminals would be getting their hardware from and why several presumably disparate groups are all using the same basic design. I can imagine them becoming popular with fringe colonies and private security firms as a cheep way to patrol local space and there's probably a bit of a cottage industry in manufacturing replacement parts and maybe even some minor League world was making cheep knock-offs and selling them in bulk for a tidy profit. Sort of like the AK-47 of the space lanes.

A pity these guys will never be allowed to contribute to any kind of official tech manual (assuming they had a mind to.)

Oh and as for the name you can't remember here, I think it was 'Zepher'. Probably came from the Chameleon Electronic RPG or maybe the B5 Wars tabletop game...so not canon.
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Old June 20 2011, 11:28 PM   #5
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

Reverend wrote:
A pity these guys will never be allowed to contribute to any kind of official tech manual (assuming they had a mind to.)
I think they all did, may still do.

Reverend wrote:
Oh and as for the name you can't remember here, I think it was 'Zepher'. Probably came from the Chameleon Electronic RPG or maybe the B5 Wars tabletop game...so not canon.
Yeah, I REALLY need to go through some of those ship screens. Iím thinking of taking advantage of the B5 wiki ; ) As it makes use of reference material Iíve never seen.
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Old June 21 2011, 05:58 PM   #6
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

In terms of ships, I think the only canon background info ever released was what was on the 'Official Guide' CDROM and most of which was copied across to the site for the PC game that Sierra were also developing at the time (archived here.) There is some overlap though as some ships on the site weren't on the CDROM and visa-versa.
IIRC, I think Fiona Avery said in on of the official mags that this stuff essentially came straight from Babylonian Productions (John Copeland I think) so it's as close to reliable as you're going to get. Even the ships that were designed specifically for the game have a fair degree of canonicity to them as I'm pretty sure they were all designed by Tim Earls.
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Old June 21 2011, 06:13 PM   #7
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

About the game. You just made my mind up for me. ; ) I was given concept sketches for the ships but was in two minds about adding them to the concept art section. Iíll be adding them now, as it was Luc Mayrand who provided all the designs. Tim wasnít involved with the game in any way (I asked him), but apparently he did receive a really nice shadow watch.

The story of the game was going to be canonical, at least sections of it, as jms was providing the information. If the game and Crusade hadnít both come to a sticky end, it was envisaged that elements from the game (including designs) would have ended up in the show!!!


Expanding the B5 known universe would have taken the form of new elements not seen in the show which would be new ships, new home worlds, new aliens and alliances between them, new characters as well as old, new stories, to name a few. JMS would be the one to establish all this so it would be canon with the show, the books, etc while still giving the opportunity to have a new adventure in this universe each time you started a new run with the game.

This is also why Luc Mayrand was asked to do concept sketches for various ships and stuff for us to use in creating these new assets. They could also be brought back into the TV side of things later for any future shows or movies.
http://www.themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scro...m#Screen1_16_3
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Old June 21 2011, 08:18 PM   #8
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

You know almost as soon as I typed Tim Earls' name I was pretty sure I'd gotten it wrong. A bit lazy of me since I have a bunch of the concept art on my HD and I'm sure it has Mayrand's signature all over it.

As for the game, yeah that's a bit like a 'lost episode' of B5. Most of the principle cast filmed some scenes for the FMV, plus Wayne Alexander playing a new EF Admiral character. From what I gather from someone who got their hands on the script the branching nature of the story makes things a bit hard to follow, but I gather from a the few articles published in the B5 mag way back when there was supposed to be some kind of time-travel/alternate history framework that'd allow the player to fly missions in several different conflicts (Dilgar War, Earth-Minbari War, Shadow War and I think the League wars too.)

Oh, and you may notice that Thornton's star destroyer-ish cludge that was bundled with Lightwave was set to make another appearance.
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Old June 21 2011, 08:59 PM   #9
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

A long time ago, someone with access to the script used it as the basis of a narrative. It was never finished, but it got fairly far along showing you what one possible playthrough would've looked like. Based on that, and some interviews with the developers, the way it worked was that early in the game, the player would have a mishap with the time rift in Sector 14. On occasion, he'd become unstuck in time, to use the B5 phrasing, and end up in some historical situation (the Dilgar War, the Battle of the Line, what have you), and could participate in the action before being yanked back to the present. Depending on how you acquitted yourself in the past, there could be any number of changes when you came back. Broadly, either things would be exactly the same as you left them, different along any number of dimensions (the Dilgar never went extinct, the Minbari War never happened) but still more or less how you left things on the ground, and utterly inimitable to your survival (the Shadows won the war, for instance). If it was the last of these, you'd get blown up fairly quickly and have to reload in the historical segment and try not to break the galaxy this time.
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Old June 22 2011, 04:18 PM   #10
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

David cgc wrote: View Post
On occasion, he'd become unstuck in time, to use the B5 phrasing...
And winds up on Tralfamadore?
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Old June 23 2011, 09:23 AM   #11
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

Dennis wrote: View Post
David cgc wrote: View Post
On occasion, he'd become unstuck in time, to use the B5 phrasing...
And winds up on Tralfamadore?
Billy Pilgram ... Jeffrey Sinclair ... one and the same?
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Old June 23 2011, 03:20 PM   #12
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

Well, they're both unstuck.
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Old June 24 2011, 10:49 PM   #13
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

Reverend wrote: View Post
You know almost as soon as I typed Tim Earls' name I was pretty sure I'd gotten it wrong. A bit lazy of me since I have a bunch of the concept art on my HD and I'm sure it has Mayrand's signature all over it.
By all accounts is was going to be a pretty interesting game, with some rpg/rts aspects being added to any spinoffs or expansions.

Thatís the Sierra artwork drawn up by Luc Mayrand added as well now. ; )

http://www.themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scro...m#Screen3_06_1
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Old June 25 2011, 12:38 AM   #14
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

^Just read the Jack Nichols interview and there's a minor error near the end of page 5. It looks like you copy pasted a question & answer over from page 4 by mistake. It's the one that starts "Typical. Corporations (as entities) exist in their own little reality bubbles..."

Oh and I can say that Chris Franke defiantly did do the music for ITF. There's a sample of it in the 'Enhanced Music CD' that came bundled with the 'Official Guide' CDROM. There's even a little ad for the space sim under the install instructions on the inside of the sleeve.

[edit] looking at the disc now, I think there might be a couple of ITF related images on here (in ye'olde .pct format.) One is what looks like a title screen with the B5 brand logo over some starfury that look way to low poly to be the FI/Netter Digital assets. There's also a rendering of the station that looks to be of a similarly lesser quality (but bloody fantasitc for a game engine circa 1998.)

There's also some little .mov vids with JMS, Copeland, Jurasik and Iacovelli talking the game up, plus a teaser trailer (all just space combat footage from the show edited against the season 4 title music.)

Last edited by Reverend; June 25 2011 at 01:16 AM.
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Old June 25 2011, 02:17 AM   #15
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Re: Ron Thornton Interview

Typical. Starring me right in the face and canít see it for looking at it. Changed it now. Cheers.

Donít know if youíve ever seen this, but it holds old AOL transcripts (first mention of NASA and Starfury) and some very early and short vids. Some dead or not built links though.

http://www.babylon5fans.com/drazixmas.html
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