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Here is a translation of a Mac Magazin interview, by Felix Segebrecht, with Douglas at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco.


MM: Douglas Adams, you are here to present "Starship Titanic". It didn't get finished though. What happened?

DNA: Our objective was to have ST ready for the Macworld Expo, but literally in the last second we discovered some bugs. We could have sold the game with those deficiencies, but we are not Microsoft. That's why we decided to fix the bugs. This was not at all an easy decision.

MM: How come that an author like yourself wants to create computer games?

DNA: ST is not my first computer game. In the early eighties I have made a text adventure game from the Hitchhiker's novels with Infocom. Although it was purely based on text, I enjoyed it very much. When more and more graphically oriented games appeared which despite their often clunky, ugly graphics pushed aside the text interaction, I lost interest and went back to my writing.

MM: When did you rediscover your weakness for games?

DNA: I saw "Myst" which I liked for its mysterious ambiance and fantastic landscapes. A new graphical standard had been set. However, I missed the language based interaction in the game play. It had to be possible to integrate the "old" text-events with a new, more refined language processor into the game process and have a kind of dialogue with the player. This was a motivation for me.

MM: What makes the special attraction of ST?

DNA: Exactly the possibility of conversation between man and machine, between game and player. Of course with ST we are far from AI, but the strange robots on board the ship give a near perfect illusion of artificial intelligence. One has to talk to the robots in order to solve the problems.

MM: The dialogue of ST is in English. What about the German version?

DNA: This project is near completion. Our language expert Renata Henkes went to Hamburg to record more then 14 hours of audio material, the equivalent of over 10.000 little script snippets.

MM: Who designed Starship Titanic, which was only briefly mentioned in the Hitchhiker's Trilogy?

DNA: The complete Screen Design was created by Isabel Molina and Oscar Chichoni. The result surpassed all expectations, it really is unique.

MM: Why did a selfconfessed Mac user first release a PC version?

DNA : From the beginning ST was meant to be a cross-platform-project. That's why we picked the Mac authoring software mTropolis 1.0. However, every halfclever person knows that they shouldn't trust software in a version 1.0. We quickly learned that despite of a nice concept the software couldn't live up to our high requirements. That's why we developed our own system which was first available in the PC version. Only afterwards did we port our authoring programme to the Mac to implement the actual game.

MM: What do you think about Apple's new commitment to games?

DNA: I am pleased about it for two reasons. Firstly, the players aspirations for better computers push the technical progress also for serious applications, and secondly, first time users are generally young players, who stay loyal to their platform.

MM: What are your next projects?

DNA: Currently I am working with Walt Disney on the new Hitchhiker's movie. The film should be released in the summer 2000. I also feel a huge urge to write a new novel-title and topic are not certain yet.

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