Ron Thornton Interview

Discussion in 'Web Sites/Design' started by Triple-F, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Although I wasn’t 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/B5Scrolls/B5Scrolls.htm#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.)
     
  2. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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/B5Scrolls/B5Scrolls.htm#Screen1_01_9
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  4. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^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.
     
  5. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think they all did, may still do.

    Yeah, I REALLY need to go through some of those ship screens. I’m thinking of taking advantage of the B5 wiki ; ) As it makes use of reference material I’ve never seen.
     
  6. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  7. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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. I’ll be adding them now, as it was Luc Mayrand who provided all the designs. Tim wasn’t 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 hadn’t both come to a sticky end, it was envisaged that elements from the game (including designs) would have ended up in the show!!!


    http://www.themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scrolls/B5Scrolls.htm#Screen1_16_3
     
  8. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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. ;)
     
  9. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And winds up on Tralfamadore? ;)
     
  11. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Billy Pilgram ... Jeffrey Sinclair ... one and the same?
     
  12. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, they're both unstuck. ;)
     
  13. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    By all accounts is was going to be a pretty interesting game, with some rpg/rts aspects being added to any spinoffs or expansions.

    That’s the Sierra artwork drawn up by Luc Mayrand added as well now. ; )

    http://www.themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scrolls/B5Scrolls.htm#Screen3_06_1
     
  14. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^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: Jun 25, 2011
  15. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Typical. Starring me right in the face and can’t see it for looking at it. Changed it now. Cheers.

    Don’t know if you’ve 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
     
  16. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm pretty sure those are actually fan models of the time. The Starfury has the splayed, too-wide wingspan of Mark Kane's first model of it, and the station looks like Dean Scott's from the too-tall solar panels and the fact that the cobra bays aren't at a 45° offset from the docking bay. The "trailer" that was all TV shots also had one original shot at the very beginning with what looks likes Mark's 'fury.

    I'll say this about the early days of fan-made CGI- the lack of good reference (you couldn't get good screencaps like you can from a DVD or an HD video file, and forget orthographic renders of the show model) meant the models all had their own distinct quirks that makes them distinguishable.

    In addition to the game's main title that was on that CD, there were about a dozen tracks leaked/released (who can remember after so long?) of in-game music. There were two batches, six that were 3-4 minutes long each, and five that were all about eleven minutes long. You could hear how the different music snippets blended together into a cohesive whole, especially if you had both batches, since the long ones had some of the same snippets as the shorter ones, but in a different order.

    The fact that I'm commenting on this page on three different forums now is starting to freak me out.
     
  17. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^Not that I doubt it or anything but it seems a little odd that they'd use fanmade assets like that, especially since they reportedly had access to the show's actual lightwave meshes.

    While I seriously doubt an old backed up copy of the game will ever surface (though I live in hope) I can't help but wonder what happened to all the live action raw footage they shot for the FMVs. It can't have all been handed over to Sierra could it? Surely WB and/or Babylonian Productions had a copy?

    I hadn't see that one before, no. I doubt it's still there but until at least a few years ago the Sci-fi Channel's website still had the old page left over from LotR. Aside from the usual blurbs and publicity shots it had little meta-story video clips of the crew members being interviewed by ISN. This was WAY before webisodes became relatively commonplace.
     
  18. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh I know that feeling : )
     
  19. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can only assume that the Guide to B5 was produced really early in the development cycle. The trailer lists a release date of Q4 1998, but the most recent release date before the cancellation was a year and a half later than that. There was so little game-related content, my guess is what little there was came from before Netter had sent the original models on to them.

    Oh, Triple-F, where exactly is the downloads section on your site where you can find the originals of the ITF drawings?
     
  20. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Not added it yet (so adding that to the screens wasn't overly bright), though it’s something I’m working on when time allows. Should be up in about a week or so. Though you can get a copy of those sketches over here

    http://www.firstones.com/wiki/ITF_ship_sketches

    (some browsers seem to have difficulty seeing the images, at least me IE does but Opera works fine!!!)
     

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