The Case of Dr. Lester

    Games, like everything else, have their own lifespan. They are born, live, age and die. But among them there are those who cross the line of everyday life. They, like authentic works of art, are outside of time and space.

    When in 1993 I first met Another World, I was right there wrong. Having seen the Delphine Software logo at the beginning of the game, I decided that it was made by a large team of the company. Then it could not have crossed my mind that this is an authorial project created by one single person named Eric Shayi.

    Fifteen years later, I got a movie disc in my hands, where I first saw it.

    Another world


    Jean Francois Freitas, Eric's school friend and man who wrote the music for the game, appears on the screen.

    ?? I always knew that Eric is a passionate gamer ?? says Jean Francois. ?? But, being a very modest person, he never told me anything about his successes in this matter. And suddenly I accidentally became aware that he makes games that are for sale. But we have been familiar for 4 or 5 years.

    Eric Chailly, who is sitting across from him, smiles and small wrinkles gather around his eyes. He looks about 35 years old, thin, with a short haircut and a confidential face. In all his appearance, modesty is felt, which, it seems, is about to turn into shyness. But as soon as he starts talking about his work, a sparkle of enthusiasm appears in his eyes, and his hands begin to actively gesticulate.

    ?? Actually, I don’t really like telling the story of Another World. ?? he says. ?? In my opinion, the game itself does much better. I just created images, but they already create their own history.

    Eric has been fond of computers since childhood. At school, he attended a course in electronics, where he began to study programming. At his disposal was an Oric 1 computer, on which, after a couple of months, he wrote two very simple games, which, however, he could sell. The hobby turned out to be more serious than it could have been initially supposed. Eric even left school for him and set about developing a game called “Le Pacte” on his new Amstrad machine. And ahead of him was waiting for an even larger-scale work, Les Voyageurs du Temps. This was the first game released under the Delphine Software label.

    By that time, Eric, having mastered simple arcades, where the player’s main task was to collect the maximum number of points, was engaged in more serious things. Now he was more interested in the atmosphere of the game, how it affects the player, his emotions. Later it will become the basis of his main project ?? Another World.

    Another world


    Work began in 1989. Shayi was looking for a drawing technique in which the game would be created. He made sketches on paper using a pencil and pen, tried to create images in Deluxe Paint on a computer. Neither the first nor the second suited. He wanted to do something unusual that went beyond the generally accepted framework, something that still did not exist. But the Amiga computer on which the game was programmed had serious technical limitations inherent in the machines of that time. So, there was only 512 kilobytes of RAM and it was impossible to fit large raster images into it.

    Then Eric decided to use vector graphics in his work, where it was possible to depict anything using a set of polygons using the basic coordinates and color numbers, thereby minimizing the amount of computer resources used. There were no suitable tools and I had to write an editor program on BASIC on my own. She allowed to significantly speed up the work. In the editor, you could change the animation and see the result without recompiling the game code.

    The most interesting thing is that the rotocopy technique was used to revive objects and characters. Those. literally frame-by-frame manually redrawing of the video in which Eric captured his own gait. This was supposed to add cinematography to the game. So Lester and his aboriginal friend learned to walk, run and jump. Especially rotocopy helped in creating the opening video of the game, which explains how the protagonist ended up in a parallel world.

    At that time, Anothe World was the second game in the world, made using similar technology. The first, as far as is known, was “Karateka” by Jordan Mahner.

    ?? I repeated this car in the game. ?? Eric removes a black Ferrari from a shelf. ?? On it, Leicester at the very beginning of the game comes to the laboratory. And this is a model of a laser blaster, which he uses after teleportation. I glued it from cardboard. It turned out a bit too big, but this is not significant, in this case the shape is more important, not the size. I shot all this on camera and redrawn in the editor. I used several objects in different episodes of the game several times. For example, parts of the landscape, doors, openings and walls of buildings.

    Eric had only 16 colors at his disposal ?? the maximum amount that his computer could display. It took a whole week to determine the initial palette! Thanks to such a careful selection of colors and a bit rough drawing, the game looks so picturesque and conceptual.

    Another world


    ?? We created sound effects without any idea of ​​the technique. For example, all blows, knocking of bones, when a shot gets into the character and his skeleton explodes, we imitated how it will be necessary ?? pounded with wood in a table, chopped nuts, crushed tomatoes. ?? says Jean Francois.

    ?? I wanted the sounds to come out harsh, like in horror films. We tried our best. ?? confirms Shayi. ?? I then had a matrix printer, it made terrifying noises, and we gave out its crackle for the noise of the prison elevator. And we recorded voices in the language of aliens, in particular the famous Matsuba. They took an old tape recorder, and I carried a complete nonsense into the microphone, just a set of sounds.

    ?? Remember how Eric told me then ?? continues to tell Francois ?? that he needs to put music on the image, have any ideas? This is where we were able to show our creative energy! I tried very hard to make the soundtrack fit the footage, and it was not easy to do, believe me.

    Shayi enters the conversation again.

    ?? At first I myself did not know exactly what I wanted. I remember how I cited the music from the movie "Back to the Future" as an example. There was such a fragment when playing the drums, an atmosphere of alarming inevitability and expectation was created. With the ending of the musical accompaniment, we then suffered. I really wanted a guitar solo to sound. Francois picked up a few notes, but that was not at all what was needed. Then we turned to more synthetic material, and it lay down perfectly.

    Another world

    The main character

    Jean Francois continues to talk about the memories of fifteen years ago.

    ?? The main character ?? the little character Dr. Lester, this is of course Eric. He acts cautiously, sometimes falls into melancholy ?? he is quiet and harmless. But if Eric begins to do something, he can no longer be stopped.

    ?? It's true, ?? confirms Shayi ?? there is a parallel between me and Leicester, this character who remains completely alone in an unknown universe. When I worked on Another World, at heart I was very lonely, I think, unknowingly and brought this feeling to the game.

    The game has almost no bright colors. The most colorful object here is Leicester. His hair is a red, annoying spot looming on the screen. It is not surprising that almost everyone who meets him on the way, trying to capture him or kill him. Lester looks like an alien in this gloomy and harsh world. But appearances are deceiving. Despite his thinness and apparent weakness, he is a tough nut to crack.

    ?? Behind the ugly figure of Doctor of Physical Sciences Lester hides a real sabotage talent. ?? wrote Game.exe magazine on its pages in 2000. ?? Attention! This person is fluent in defense and attack techniques, and is especially dangerous during detention.

    The undoubted truth sounds in these words. Leicester is very strong in spirit. Imagine yourself in his place. What would you feel suddenly finding yourself in an unfamiliar, alien and aggressive place, where they are trying to destroy you every second? But this requires only one injection of a poisonous worm, one jump of a black toothy monster, or one shot of a blaster, whose energy beam turns Lester’s body into a fragile charred skeleton. In the world where a scientist has got him all the time, something or someone is attacking, chasing after him. He is seized and thrown into a cage. But he does not lose heart and escapes from his prison, having secured the support of his cellmate.

    The desire for freedom and the love of life that lives in Lestor was depicted by Eric himself in the picture that adorned the box with the game. Here, Leicester stands on the edge of a cliff with his arms spread wide to the side. The wind develops his hair, and a storm is approaching.

    Despite the cruelty of the story, it is very sentimental. Another World is a story of true friendship, support and mutual assistance. Friends practically without words understand each other. In the last part of the game, when a sadistic overseer breaks Lester’s spine, his native friend fights for his life to the last. In the finale, he raises the doctor’s body and carries it in his arms. And it’s truly touching.

    Another world


    Over the 16 years of the existence of Another World, a huge number of people have played it. The idea of ​​issuing the anniversary edition was due to the fact that people are still interested in the game. The following are statements that have been made over the years in reviews of various print media, websites and forums.

    “Just an amazing game! At first I saw her on ?? Amiga ?? from his neighbor and was shocked to the core, and then played in Another World on the powerful 286th from a friend ?? and was shocked again! ”
    Tomer Gabel from MobyGames website

    “This game is ahead of its time, we have an alien from the future! it is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve such a picture on modern technologies! Aah! Help! Soon they will enslave the world! ”
    Alex Bonehead, Gamer Grand Central Reviewer

    “A game for all time. Another World is more than an arcade, more than an “arcade adventure”, more than just a fancy hybrid. She will look at ?? five plus ?? and in ten and in a hundred years, if then computer games will still be alive. The author will surely have other successful projects. But not one of them will ever stand next to Another World, because the eternal game can only be done by chance (just like Lester got into another world, by chance) and only once. ”
    Masha Arimanova, Game.exe

    “In proud loneliness, taking on the duties of a screenwriter, artist, animator and programmer, he (meaning Eric Shayi) fought over the ideal that the soul had long been striving for. And here's the thing: the ideal has really been achieved. Moreover, immediately on the scale of the genre. At least I’m not able to imagine something more perfect than Another World. ”
    Igor Artemov, Absolute Games

    PS In addition to this article, on my site you can find 45 screenshots of a poster and a demo version of the game .

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