<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 TRANSITIONAL//EN"> <html> <head> <title>The Exchange Student Interview - Adventure Lantern</title> <meta name="Description" content="Adventure Lantern - Providing news, reviews, previews, and walkthroughs for video games across all platforms and genres."> <meta name="Keywords" content="gaming, game, gamer, magazine, pc, playstation2, ps2, gamecube, xbox, review, preview, walkthrough, tunguska, runaway, mayabin, fillmore, destinies, carte blanche, ankh, anacapri, al emmo, agon"><link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="../../Stylesheets/style.css" /> </head> <body> <table align="center" border=0 class="Ad"> <tr> <td> <table class="Ad"> <tr> <td width=120 rowspan=3> &nbsp; </td> </tr> </table> </td> <td> <table align="center" width=750 border=0 cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0> <tr> <td align="center" colspan=3> <a href="http://www.adventurelantern.com"><img src="../../Images/logo.png" alt="Adventure Lantern - Game Reviews, Previews, and Walkthroughs" class=logo></a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <table align="center"> <tr> <td class="MainNavigation"> <a href="../../Index.html" target="_parent">Home</a> </td> <td>&nbsp;-&nbsp;</td> <td class="MainNavigation"> <a href="../../Reviews/Index.htm" target="_parent">Reviews</a> </td> <td>&nbsp;-&nbsp;</td> <td class="MainNavigation"> <a href="../../Previews/Index.htm" target="_parent">Previews</a> </td> <td>&nbsp;-&nbsp;</td> <td class="MainNavigation"> <a href="../../Walkthroughs/Index.htm" target="_parent">Walkthroughs</a> </td> <td>&nbsp;-&nbsp;</td> <td class="MainNavigation"> <a href="../../Magazine/Index.htm" target="_parent">Magazine</a> </td> <td>&nbsp;-&nbsp;</td> <td class="MainNavigation"> <a href="../../AboutUs/Index.htm" target="_parent">About Us</a> </td> <td>&nbsp;-&nbsp;</td> <td class="MainNavigation"> <a href="../../Forum" target="_parent">Forum</a> </td> <td>&nbsp;-&nbsp;</td> <td class="MainNavigationTD"> <a href="http://astore.amazon.com/adventurelant-20" target="_blank" class=MainNavigationStore>Buy Games</a> </td> </tr> </table> </td> </tr> <tr><td><hr width="750"></td></tr> </table> <table width="750" align="center" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tr> <td width="50"></td> <td align="center" height="400" valign="top"> <table width="650"> <tr> <td class="ArticleTitleSmall" align="center" valign="bottom"> Interview with Dimitris Manos <br /> on the Exchange Student </td> <td rowspan="2" align=right><br /><br /> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="ArticleAuthor" align="center" valign="top">Conducted by Ugur Sener<br /></td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2"> <br /><br /> <i>Before there was Adventure Lantern, there was The Inventory. Many of Adventure Lantern s readers will have undoubtedly heard of the successful downloadable magazine. Between November 2002 and May 2005, The Inventory released a total of 25 issues. Under the leadership of Dimitris Manos, the magazine delivered plenty of great adventure gaming content. <br /><br /> <a href="2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="2s.jpg" align="Right" class="Right"></a> Sadly, at least for now, the May 2005 edition was the last issue of the magazine. Stopping the PDF magazine, Dimitris focused his energies on <a href="http://www.Adventure-EU.com" target="_blank" class="u">Adventure Europe</a>, providing us adventure gaming information in a new format. The Web site has been around for quite some time now, featuring plenty of detailed information on a number of different titles. But at the same time, Dimitris has been working on other things. <br /><br /> When you spend several years of your life writing about adventure games, it is perhaps natural to want to be involved in the development of one. Dimitris got involved with game development with Sealed Lips. While that project seems to be on hold for now, Dimitris has been busily working on The Exchange Student. The product of a small independent team, The Exchange Student is an episodic adventure game series for the PC and Macintosh. The first episode of the game was released just a few weeks ago. <br /><br /> We will cover the first episode of The Exchange Student with a review article on our October issue. In the meantime, however, we conducted an interview with Dimitris about his project and the development process up to this point. We also asked him to tell us about his experiences working on The Inventory and Adventure Europe. Without further ado, here s the interview:</i> <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[Adventure Lantern]:</b> What was it that got you interested in adventure games in the first place? When did you decide to contribute to the adventure gaming community by publishing the Inventory?</span> <br /> <b>[Dimitris Manos]:</b> The first adventure game I played was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I had watched the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and I wanted to play a game that was based on a movie. Until that point I was only playing simple platform games like Golden Axe and Prince of Persia, so when I first played Indiana Jones, I was in awe. It was not just based on a movie, it was just like playing in a movie. I guess it was the focus on storytelling that made adventure games so special as a genre in my own eyes. <br /><br /> I started writing The Inventory in Novemeber 2002. Back then some people wanted to present point and click adventure games as a dead genre. So The Inventory was some sort of a reaction to this statement. Now, 4 years later, The Inventory is dead, but point and click adventure games are still alive and actually kicking (A Vampyre Story and Gray Matter for instance). <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> Can you tell us a little about your experiences with the magazine?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> Lots of work. Lots of sleepless nights. But the adventure game fans liked it, and it spawned a new wave of adventure games coverage so I am very happy I did it, and I wish I had the time to revive the magazine. It also was a good introduction to the world of adventure games, it gave me a better insight in adventure game mechanics and it brought me in touch with some very prestigious people in the industry. <br /><br /> <a href="3.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="3s.jpg" align="Left" class="Left"></a> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> What lead to the transition from The Inventory to Adventure Europe?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> Many reasons. First of all, when you have an online magazine, you can only come across to your audience through words and screenshots. But when you have a website like Adventure Europe you can give so much more to your audience. Movies, music, demos and articles. Plus, I was starting with game development at the time and running Adventure Europe takes less time than running The Inventory. <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> Now that you are involved in game development personally, what kind of direction do you see Adventure Europe taking in the future?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b>Obviously game development is taking most of my time right now, and I will need help from new colleagues so that I can keep on running Adventure Europe. But fortunately I have some very capable co-editors and assistants who make the co-existence of Adventure Europe and Pan Metron Ariston possible. <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> When did you first working on The Exchange Student? How was the idea for the game born?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b>A couple of years ago, I was contacted by a Russian publisher of mobile phone games called Magixoft. They were looking for a writer to write stories for new adventure games for mobile phones. I proposed that I could give it a go and that I could send them a couple of story suggestions. They said they wanted to make games like Leisure Suit Larry and Laura Bow. During my years as an exchange student I met plenty of Larry-like characters, so I thought that a story featuring an exchange student as the main hero would work great for their needs. To make a long story short: Magixoft initially hired me and some other artists to work on the game, during the development they changed their mind and preferred to move resources to other projects, and I decided to retain the rights for myself, start my own company and develop The Exchange Student for PCs, Macs and Pocket PCs. <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> Does the series carry strong influences from your days as an exchange student?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> Absolutely! A lot of people ask me if Emilio s story is my story. That s not true, I have very little in common with Emilio, but almost each and every character in the game is inspired by people I ve met during my years as an exchange student. I was an exchange student in Vsters, the city where the game takes place, so a lot of the locations are based on real locations as well. <br /><br /> <a href="4.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="4s.jpg" align="Right" class="Right"></a> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> What can you tell us about the story of the game?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> The story of TES is about Emilio Carboni, a 22 y.o. Italian student who has never had a girlfriend in his entire life. His friend Vicenzo just came back from an exchange program in Sweden. Vicenzo was really satisfied with the program since he met a lot of very attractive ladies during his stay in Sweden. Emilio decides to follow his friend's path. He travels to Sweden to spend a semester there, studying in a city of Sweden called Vsters. The game follows the events taking place from the moment that Emilio leaves his house in Italy until he completes his exchange program and returns home. <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> Can you give us a broader scope than what the first episode unveils? What are some of the things you have in store for gamers?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> Hmm that would be hard to do without spoiling anything. What I can say, is that those who played the first episode have seen very little of what the series has to offer. I mean, think of your favorite sitcom, and try to remember the first episode (pilot). Then try to compare the way you saw the characters after the first episode and the way you saw these characters after the end of the first season. According to the feedback we are getting our customers enjoy the humor in the game and they like the characters a lot, but I expect they will love the characters even more after they ve played a couple more episodes. <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> The first episode of The Exchange Student was released a short time ago. What are some of the things players can expect to find in the game?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> Lots of humor (especially if you like TV shows like Johnny Bravo, games like Leisure Suit Larry and sitcoms like Friends, That 70s Show and Married with Children), a fast pace of gameplay that will appeal both to experienced and inexperienced gamers, an intuitive and easy to use point and click interface called Amore (identical to the coin interface of Curse of Monkey Island). Beautiful graphics by ex-Lucasarts and ex-Sierra artist Bill Eaken (Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Dig, Monkey Island, Leisure Suit Larry 3) and Dave Rigley (www.24andahalf.com webcomic). Seriously we have been getting lots of positive feedback in general. One thing we are not so happy about is the length of the game. We plan to work hard on that aspect so that the future episodes are much longer than the first. <br /><br /> <a href="5.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="5s.jpg" align="Left" class="Left"></a> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> Who are some of the main characters that will be part of the adventure?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> Those of you who have not played episode 1 yet please jump to the next question! Emilio is an Italian Casanova wannabe. He is a good guy at heart but he just tries way too hard to get a girl. The Spanish guys, Pedro and Miguel are real party animals. They are in Sweden for 1 reason only. Points (also known as& girls). Michelle is a French girl who does not speak English very well. She has traveled to Sweden to improve her English and to meet people from different cultures. Jonas is a Swedish guy who studies engineering. He is a bit nave, and the party animals gang will try to take advantage of that fact. Frida is a very good looking Swedish girl, and she becomes the dream of every guy in Emilio s corridor. Bad luck for them though; she is very picky and quite snobbish. There are more characters, but maybe it is better if the players met them in the game ? <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> What can you tell us about the overall game play mechanics?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> The Amore interface is very similar to the coin interface from the Curse of Monkey Island game. However in The Exchange Student you don t have to hold down your mouse button to keep the GUI up, you can just click on a hotspot once and the GUI stays up until you either select an option or you move the cursor away. So when you click on a hotspot you get a heart with three options, an eye (LOOK AT) a hand (INTERACT) and a mouth (TALK TO). You can bypass dialogues pressing the space button and the inventory drops down when you move your cursor to the top of the screen. <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> What are the kinds of challenges players can expect to encounter throughout the series?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> You can forget about the following: Pixel hunting, puzzles done to death (use newspaper underneath the door and push key etc), sliders and generally any sort of puzzle that has no relevance to the story. All puzzles will be intertwined with the story, if there is no reason for a puzzle we will not tuck it in there just so that we make the game longer. <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> How many episodes will the entire series have? What is the anticipated release schedule for the episodes?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> When we started we had planned the series to be split in 4 episodes. However the first episode has been doing pretty well so we are thinking of increasing that number and releasing even more episodes. I can only announce a release date for episode 2, and say that it will probably be available end of October (might become beginning of November). <br /><br /> <a href="6.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="6s.jpg" align="Right" class="Right"></a> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> Can you tell us a little about the team behind The Exchange Student? How many people are involved?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> There are 14 people (development team and the voice actors). Bill Eaken is probably the most prestigious person from the group, since he has made backgrounds and graphics for many legendary adventure game titles like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Dig, Shannara, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Secret of Monkey Island and Leisure Suit Larry 3. John Bell, the voice actor behind Emilio, has done voice overs for Baldur s Gate: Dark Alliance 2, Rise of Nations and several Star Wars games by Lucasarts. Irene Tuomainen the voice actress who performs the role of Frida, has been the dialect coach of Jennifer Garner for the TV show Alias. Dave Rigley, our animator is the man behind the webcomic 24 and a half (www.24andahalf.com). And I can t forget Steven Watts, our coder, who despite the fact that he is still a university student in Australia, his behavior was that of a guy who has had 10+ years of work experience. In general, everyone in the team has been a great addition, and I am thankful to all of them. <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> How has the development process been so far?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> It s been a bumpy ride. The budget for the first episode was very tight, and the deadlines were tight too& this caused to a lot of turmoil within the team. But finally we passed all obstacles and The Exchange Student is here, live and kicking... <br /><br /> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> What about life after The Exchange Student? Do you have additional projects line up? Are you planning to continue creating games? Will we see another issue of The Inventory?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> There are some additional projects we have lined up, but anything else would have to wait until the release of the second episode of The Exchange Student. The plan is to focus on adventure games at the time being, so we would really appreciate all the support we can get from the adventure community. Unfortunately I do not think we will see another issue of The Inventory, but you never know. <br /><br /> <a href="7.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="7s.jpg" align="Left" class="Left"></a> <span class="interview"><b>[AL]:</b> Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?</span> <br /> <b>[DM]:</b> There are plenty of things I d like to share with your readers but I d need more money for that sort of thing Ugur! :D Just kidding. Well, I hope that your readers will support our effort to produce adventure games that will give you this warm feeling that the old Lucasarts and Sierra adventures used to give you. And I would like to congratulate you for your Adventure Lantern magazine. I know how much work it takes to make an online magazine, and I m both very happy and very impressed that someone have stepped up to fill the empty spot that we left when we stopped The Inventory. I wish you all the best for the future. <br /><br /> <i>Adventure Lantern thanks Dimitris Manos for providing us detailed information about The Exchange Student as well as his experiences with The Inventory and Adventure Europe. Having transitioned from publishing an online magazine to running a gaming Web site, Dimitris is also taking on the challenge of developing an episodic adventure game. Even as we start working on an article about the first episode of The Exchange Student, the project as a whole certainly sounds interesting and promising. If you want to find out more about The Exchange Student, be sure to check out the game s official Web site at <a href="http://theexchangestudent.com" class="u" target="_blank">TheExchangeStudent.com</a> You can download the game s demo, take a look at some artwork, and read about the other members of the development team.</i> <br /><br /> </td> </tr> </table> </td> <td width=50></td> </tr> </table> <iframe id="Header" width=100% scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="../../Footer/Footer.htm" height="50" marginheight=0 marginwidth=0></iframe> <td valign=top><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <table class="Ad"> <tr> <td width=120 rowspan=3> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "pub-3262047919408385"; google_ad_width = 120; google_ad_height = 600; google_ad_format = "120x600_as"; google_ad_type = "text_image"; google_ad_channel =""; //--></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> </script> </td> </tr> </table> </td> </tr> </table> <!-- Start of StatCounter Code --> <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> var sc_project=1122918; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_partition=10; var sc_security="a9bdabf1"; var sc_remove_link=1; </script> <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src="http://www.statcounter.com/counter/counter.js"></script><noscript><img src="http://c11.statcounter.com/counter.php?sc_project=1122918&amp;java=0&amp;security=a9bdabf1&amp;invisible=1" alt="free web site hit counter" border="0"> </noscript> <!-- End of StatCounter Code --> </body> </html>