|Pangea's Greenstone Talks Nanosaur 2|
March 10, 2004 | Tuncer Deniz
Having just released his latest and greatest game, Inside Mac Games sat down with Pangea's Brian Greenstone to get this thoughts on Nanosaur 2, how it turned out, and what is in store for Pangea in the near future.
IMG: So today you released Nanosaur 2. How do you think it turned out?
Greenstone: Honestly, I'm blown away with how it came out, and I'm not just saying that. When we started Nano 2 I just figured it would be a quick sequel that wouldn't be anything all that exciting. But as the game progressed I realized that we really had something unique. In the end I have to say that this game has the highest production value of any game we've ever done, and is probably the most solid game we've ever done too. I'm very very proud of this one.
IMG: The original Nanosaur was extremely popular thanks to its simple gameplay. Anyone could just start it and play. Was there a lot of pressure to create a game better than the original?
Greenstone: The pressure was definitely on to make the visuals look amazing. Nano 1 was cutting-edge back in 1998, but it's definitely dated by today's standards, so we had to really up the ante on Nano 2, and I think we accomplished that quite well. The gameplay also needed to be much better since the original Nanosaur wasn't even meant to be a game - it was originally just a technology demo. So, we had to really fill up Nanosaur 2 with as much cool stuff as we could in the time we had. The 2-player games are totally awesome, and the adventure mode plays so much better than in Nano 1.
IMG: In Nanosaur 1 you were on the ground. Now you're flying in Nanosaur 2. Why the change?
Greenstone: I hate sequels. My philosophy is that if I'm going to do a sequel it's going to be something totally different. I'm not just going to take an existing game and throw in new art - that's just lame. With Bugdom 2 we came up with a whole new character and story for the game, and with Nano 2 we continued the story, but we introduced a new character and environment. We plan on doing the same for Enigmo 2 later this year - a totally new game. Also, I'd never done a flying game, so this was my chance.
IMG: What kind of design challenges did you encounter during the making on Nanosaur 2?
Greenstone: You know, this was one of the smoothest design processes of any game I've ever worked on. I can't really say that there were any design challenges really. Plenty of technical challenges though. The entire game engine had to be re-written for new OpenGL features to get a 2-3x performance boost. We knew we were really pushing the limits of what could be done with this, and that was a constant issue when designing the 3D models and textures.
IMG: With Nanosaur 2 you can play the game in 3D if you have anaglyph or LCD shutter glasses. How did you come up with the idea to include 3D support?
Greenstone: Funny story... I had a pair of red-blue anaglyph glasses with me at Macworld SF because they were posting 3D Mars pictures from the rover. I was talking with Chris Bentley at ATI during lunch at the show and the topic came up. That evening I went back to the hotel and quickly implemented a hack to try it out - it was pretty awful at first, but I knew it had promise, so I kept working on it when I got back to the office and it really came out nice.
IMG: What do you plan on doing now that Nanosaur 2 has shipped? What game are you planning on doing next?
Greenstone: Well, first I need some time off. I busted my butt on Nano 2 this last month or two, so it's time to relax. After that, the plan is to start working on a prototype for Enigmo 2. I know what the concept will be, but I'm not sure if it'll work yet.
IMG: Out of all the games you've done, which one is your favorite?
Greenstone: Otto Matic is still my favorite. Every time I play that game I'm just amazed that *I* made it. Oddly, that was one of our worst selling games ever tho... go figure.