Interview: seita talks "YANTH", Animation and Innovation


May 18, 2012
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As part of my interview series, I'm speaking to prominent developers/contributors in our RPG Maker Web community to gain insight on their inner workings. Today we speak to seita, the creator of You Are Not The Hero.

Hi seita, thanks for accepting to take this interview.

Hey Ben, no problem at all! I'm excited for the opportunity.

Great. First off, tell us some about yourself, if you will.

About myself, lets see. I'm currently living in San Francisco with my girlfriend. I'm employed as a teachers aid at a junior college in Concord CA. I'm also enrolled in Animation Mentor, studying to be a 3D animator. I have a pretty diverse background when it comes to tech. I started off designing and coding websites, I've created about a dozen that I've been paid for as a freelancer. I also took 3D modeling and animation classes before animation mentor. I'm pretty damn good at it, which is one reason why I chose to pursue a career in 3D animation.

Yeah, I saw that guy tip-toeing over little sleeping ducks or something.

Haha it was supposed to be squirrel things. You should see my Spike vs Pierrot animation from before I got enrolled at AM. It's pretty awesome, though looking back on it I want to redo the whole thing with what I've learned so far.

So you're very passionate about 3D modeling and animation. What made you turn to game design using RPG Maker?

Actually my love affair with RPG Maker started over 13 years ago with the 2k and 2k3 series. I may have dabbled into 95 but I don't remember very much. I just remember playing the demo with Don Miguel and falling in love with it. I got to the end and saw the red and blue knight facing off, but the demo ended there. I always wanted to see past that part, what would happen. It was very awesome knowing I could make a game at my age. But, I never made anything substantial and I left the program after tinkering around with it. I didn't understand variables, and switches were barely within my grasp. Things started rolling though when I finished high school and found XP.

True. Speaking of back then, were there any classic RPG Maker games which influenced you?

All the way back then? I don't remember much, I don't think I even joined any communities at that time. I vaguely remember seeing screenshots, most of my influence comes from games made outside of the program, most importantly FF6. It's still my favorite, next to FFT of course.

You Are Not The Hero
You posted "Ballad of the Wind" on Angel Spire in 2008. A few key people like Tau were present back then.

Yeah, that was when I finished high school and was about to start college. To tell you the truth I didn't get to know many people back then either. I was very proud of that game though. I finished a whole Chapter! Plus I played it recently and I was surprised with how much fun I had. That really takes me back haha. I had big big plans for that game, as anyone would for their first real game.

It looked like "Ballad" had a lot of the elements of "You Are Not The Hero", in a more primitive form, like the arrow-presses in battle?

Yeah, I made those too using one of the custom menu scripts I found. I really wanted to make the game unique compared to other games at the time. I think I overdid the blue though. That was inspired by Sabins blitz technique in FF6, my absolute favorite character. It did translate to YANTH from that. I had huge plans for Ballad of the Wind, like anyone would for their first game. I wanted to focus on the characters emotions instead of the large scheme of things.

Now about ToMorning Productions. Your website's pretty awesome. What further stuff do you wish to do with ToMorning? Will you ever go commercial?

That's the plan, I would like to release YANTH as a commercial game. I've invested a little over $500 of my personal cash into the game, mainly licensing scripts and resources. Also commission for custom scripts as well. I don't expect to make crazy money off of YANTH though, considering it won't be a full length RPG. But if I can help it, it'll be a very memorable one that people will want to replay.

Indeed it will be. You do a bit of 3D modeling and animation enrolled in Animation Mentor. How did you get into that?

After I graduated from UC Davis, my major didn't really get me anywhere. That's really when I decided, hell if I'm gonna spend extra time in school, I'm gonna do something I'll enjoy. So I went back to my junior classes and took 3D classes. I ended up being the top newbie in class, and it was fun. So I enrolled at Animation Mentor and got in, now I'm on the fast track to Pixar! Not literally, but you know, let's hope. Then maybe I'll come back and make some awesome 3D resources for rpg maker VX Ace Zy Theta.


You Are Not The Hero
What direction would you like to see games in RPG Maker reach towards in the future?

Hmm. I understand one of its biggest selling points is that it's easy enough for kids to use while being powerful enough for developers. I think if it were to expand its more advanced toolset, then we can start to create games that are more unique and fun to play than what we have now. I think we're going in the right direction, with resource packs being made at record speed. Games will be more unique graphically, and scripters out there are making the engine more robust by the day.

What about flexibility for games with different elements than usual? Do you think developers should try to innovate in these areas?

I think it's very important for RPG Maker games to differentiate themselves not only through plot and art but through gameplay as well. Having different gameplay elements that borrow from other genres would let the game stand out from the pack. What I really want to see, is an RPG Maker game that doesn't look like an RPG Maker game. You know what I mean? That's what I'm trying to accomplish with YANTH. As RPG Maker developers, we all know how an RPG Maker game feels. I want to make it feel as foreign as a game made from scratch. Introducing different gameplay elements is one way to achieve this, but I think the most important way is to make the game polished.

Yeah. And the jump to something like Unity or Flash is a pretty big one coding-wise.

Definitely. There's always limitations to an engine, no matter how powerful it is. But you've seen the games people are making out there. RPG Maker has a scripting engine that lets the developer do whatever the hell they want, and I don't think there are any scripters out there that have the guts to make something truly amazing. Actually, there are, but they don't necessarily have the time. I think that if an established indie studio with some money to spare used RPG Maker, they could make something very very amazing.


You Are Not The Hero
Last question: 5 favorites.

Favorite food?
My moms homemade Baked Chicken. It's so freaking good. There's butter oozing out of it, and a flaky coat of beer-battered skin.
Favorite actor/actress?
Liam Neeson/Scarlett Johansson. Ugh what I'd give for them to make a movie together.
Favorite ice-cream flavour?
Mango, followed closely by Mais-Queso, which is a corn and cheese ice cream. You have to try it.
Favorite musical artist/style?
Hmm.. I'd have to say Nujabes. RIP~ he had such an amazing style. I listen to a lot of different tracks, but his always resonates with me.
Favorite day of the week?
Favorite day is probably Wednesday. Right in the middle of the work week, but a glimpse of the weekend on the horizon. Plus my weekly manga are out by then, the usual Naruto and Bleach, but I also read Claymore and Gantz, both of which are on a monthly schedule. My favorite though is Hajime no Ippo, which doesn't get enough scanlations if you ask me. They usually release in batches of 3-5.

Well, that concludes our interview, I hope you enjoyed it, seita.

I enjoyed it very much. It was the perfect length to start getting sleepy and relieve my insomnia haha.

[This is the fifth part of a multi-part series that will be released every few days, whenever I get the chance. The other parts are Archeia, Gorlami, Mister Big T and Shaz. The next chapter of YANTH is still under development, however the demo is available for download here.]

Chaos Avian

Abyssal Wing
Jul 16, 2012
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Hehe, I was waiting for this interview! I knew it would happen eventually. Today, I learned that seita likes Wednesdays...


Level 99 Demi-fiend
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Mar 1, 2012
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I always wanted to take Animation in college <:3c

I'm jelly~
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