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Aveara: Alexander Davis Interview - Part 1
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AGES OF MYST ONLINE MAGAZINE
INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER DAVIS,
WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER OF AVEARA A WORLD BEYOND MYST

June 3rd, 2003

Q: What drove you to come up with such a project as Aveara?

A: I've always loved telling stories. I've written short stories, novellas, and screenplays. One of my screenplays even got honorable mention in a contest in Hollywood last year. But beyond telling stories, I am a professional web-designer, which means that I work in graphics all day. Thus, I have a large array of professional-grade 2D and 3D software. I also own and manage my own web-design agency, atlasimage.com, so I felt as if I was capable of leading a team to create this third party Myst project.
But the real inspiration behind it was when I dug out the Myst games and books that I haven't looked at in awhile. I had always strongly loved the series. I had been looking around at other fan-sites and thought perhaps Atlas-Image could re-design one of them, if the owners would like us to and I could get some exposure in the Myst fan-community for it. But as the days went by while thinking about this, my ideas started to bubble into something much greater. Soon, I decided to design my own Myst-fan site with intricately crafted Flash. But this didn't seem to satisfy me enough. Then I read some fan-fiction on a Myst forum, and suddenly it became clear: I'd tell my own Myst story, complete with all these cool features, like professionally-rendered still 3D images of new Ages, a cast of digitally-photographed actors to illustrate the characters' journey through the story, and even an original soundtrack! I e-mailed Chris Brandkamp at Cyan Worlds, Inc., suggesting this to him, and he was very helpful and supportive. Once I received permission to do a third party fan-project, I was on my way.
And of course, I quickly realized this would be a huge task for one person to undertake. So I decided to recruit help.

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Q: What kind of people do you have working on your team?

A: I went to a bunch of 3D artist news pages, like www.3dtotal.com, and went through their galleries. When I would find images that were very Myst-like, or the artist clearly had potential to do Myst-like images, I e-mailed him or her. I ended up e-mailing 72 artists from that one website. I then posted advertisements for artists to apply for the project on other sites and 3D forums.
I quickly received a rush of e-mails from people extremely eager to join. I reviewed each and every applicant's portfolio or sample art and made sure their quality was up to par. I set extremely high standards, and formed a team of 16 professional artists and one composer for the original soundtrack. The team has steadily grown since this project began, as new artists apply each day. Only the best make it in and you can never have too much help for a project like this.
The most thrilling aspect of the team, though, is that they are from all over the planet in various countries, and yet we work together using the team forum, as if we were in the same room. That was why I wanted to dedicate the Aveara forum exclusively for team efforts, and it has proven to be a very successful method to manage the team. I also have a philosophy for teamwork on a forum, where we all use our first name and a portrait image of ourselves. It allows us to get a better sense that this is a team of people, and not just entities floating out there on the World Wide Web. All of this has allowed great team-functionality.

Aveara: Alexander Davis Interview - Part 2

2003 - 2004 Age Of Myst On-Line Magazine