Inherit The Earth - FVD visitors interview Talin

I've often heard that many things were left out of ITE. Can you share with us what they were?
Oh, tons of stuff, most of which I don't remember. A lot of it was really bad, and deserved to get left out. Some of the things that were in the game should have gotten left out as well (like the dog castle maze).

In order to explain this, I need to explain in more detail how the ideas of the game developed. The original idea of doing an adventure game based on animal characters was suggested by Joe Pearce. Robert McNally and I then developed this idea further, in particular the idea of "tribes". We brought in Mark Iennaco and Lisa as "consultants", since they were heavily into furry fandom and very creative. Then I took on the role of lead designer. I worked a lot of the various characteristics of the different tribes and the general geography of the island. Then we hired about a dozen furry artists to draw up a bunch of concept sketches, for about $20 a sketch I think.

Then we started looking around for writers to flesh out the story and do the actual dialog. We went through about 5 writers. Some of these were very good writers, but they had a lot of problems with interactivity, and so the material they produced wasn't directly usable. That is, even the best of their stuff came out like a "choose your own adventure" novel, which is far short of what can be done, even in a Sierra-style game. Eventually I took a whole bunch of ideas that had been created by everyone, filtered out the stuff I didn't like, and came up with a rough plot outline, one that would take into account the puzzle-solving, non-linear character of a true adventure game. Then I worked with a screenwriter, Bob Leh, who wrote the actual dialog. It was a lot of fun working with such talented people, but it was a little frustrating at times too.

OK, so once we had the story, we started "noodling it up", which means adding a lot of little interactive details which were sort of incidental to the story, little cute items here and there, things to play with, and so on. Carrolly Hauksdottir helped a lot with the "noodling" (the term "noodling" is in fact hers.) Unfortunately, this is where the budget started to get kind of tight. We managed to squeeze in most of the story, but there are a lot of places where the interactivity is kind of shallow, that is you can navigate through a bunch of dialog trees but nothing really happens except that you find out a lot of information.

The dreaded Dog Castle maze - bane of every ITE player's existence. Be prepared to start mapping..

And here we have the female-wolf-having-waterfall-shower scene.

Who thought of female-wolf-having-waterfall-shower scene?
I did. I really wanted to have some sort of playful reference to the eroticism of furry fandom. It was kind of a direct "treat" to the furry fans...I'm really glad you noticed it.

If a sequel to ITE is to be made, would you be interested in heading the project?
Probably not. I've kind of moved beyond adventure games these days. I'm 41 now, and I don't like the same things that I liked when I was 30. In particular, my major interest these days is in "community engineering" - creating online environments which facilitate new forms of online interaction, and encourage certain kinds of social behavior. Some of these are game-related, others are not. For example, I'm interested in reputation systems, and I would love to create an online forum designed to foster rational debate.

I would also recommend you take a look at Furcadia ( which is a graphical MUD with furry characters, made by my friend Dr. Kat. Sadly, there is only a Windows client available (I use Linux these days.) I would really like to see a version of Furcadia or something similar, but with a full 3D interface.

(This page created by FVD webmaster, 16/4/2000)