Cirque de Zale An indepth look at the production of Cirque de Zale
Date of interview: 02.03.2005.
Interview with: Rebecca "Kinoko" Clements
Interview by: Tom Henrik (via e-mail)
Interview about: Cirque de Zale

Announcement courtesy of the amazing Astoundo!

Many people know you only as Kinoko, but what is your real name and where do you live?
Rebecca Clements, living in Brisbane, Australia

What do you do for a living?
For money, nothing yet. Certainly not making games.

Any hobbies you would like to share?
Well, making games, obviously. Writing comics, drawing, reading occasionally... and karaoke!

Do you have a favourite website?
That's a tough one because I love so many. Homestarrunner perhaps. Most visited is AGS though

Where did you get the idea for Cirque de Zale from?
I was thinking of making an adventure game and I tried to think about what hadn't been done in any adventure games I knew of. Pirates, haunted houses, medieval worlds, african safaris and so many other topics had been done already. I thought of a circus because they tend to be fun, colourful places full of exploitation, and because my main character would get to wear a cool suit.

So you had an idea... What made you start working on making this idea real?
There was about 1 second between getting the idea and planning the game out, I was just all geared up to make an adventure game at the time, and I managed to keep that motivation right through to the end.

Did you recieve any help from other people?
Apart from my beta testers, the whole thing was made entirely by me. I got help with scripting problems from various kind people at AGS, and a good friend corrected all the hideous spelling and grammar mistakes in my script, but that was it, really.

Cirque de Zale was made with the AGS system. Why did you choose to make the game with this program?
AGS had been recommended to me and when I saw a few of the games that had been made in it previously, I was hooked. Luckily for me, that turned out to be the right decision because as far as I understand it, AGS is pretty top dog in it's catagory. I haven't used any other adventure game engines though, so I'm just assuming.

What would you say was the most difficult part to make in the game?
At first, it was the scripting because I was learning AGS scripting while I was making the game. Once I got the hang of that, it was probably the backgrounds that took the most time. I've never been much of a background artist so it was a bit of a struggle for me.

How long did it take you to make the first fully playable draft?
Roughly 3 months, and I was working on the game just about every day.

Just a typical interview situation.

If you would start from the beginning again, what would you've done different?
If I had to start from the beginning again, I think I'd kill myself. If I could direct someone else to make the game better without me doing any work though, I'd like the whole thing tuned up a bit. The exits would be scripted better, for one thing, and some of the animation could be more sophisticated. I'd really like to rework a lot of the script, add a lot more variation to the puzzles, and I'd try to make the game a bit longer.

How has the the game been accepted by the public?
I've had so many great comments about the game, I never expected it would be so well received actually. It's won a couple of awards here and there, which I was ecstatic about. I think I've heard one person say they didn't like it outright, and I heard of one person refuse to play it because of the content. There have been a lot of comments about the game's low points, but I value all of those because I'm making note of every one for future games.

Are you thinking about making a sequel? 
Most definitely, I've even planned a lot of the sequel out already. I won't begin working on it until my current project is done.

Has the game changed your life in some way? Any fan-mail or wedding-proposals?
Plenty of fan mail, that was great. Made me feel like I had fans and all that. No wedding proposals, which I'm very happy about. I'd say it's definitely changed my life in that I spend all my time making games now and no time on making comics. Hmm, make of that what you will.

Have any companies showed interest in you or the game?
No. I never expected anything like that and I don't think that's likely to happen to many independant adventure game makers, no matter how good their games are. There's just not a decent market for this sort of thing anymore.

What can be expected from you in the future?
I'm currently working on an RPG using AGS. It's called 'Gift of Aldora' and will hopefully be a much more 'complete' game than Cirque. I've done quite a lot of work on it already, but I still have way more to go. You can check out the webpage at

Any tips you want to share with future game-makers?
Plan almost everything before you start working on it. There's always room for improvisation, but you want the core of the game and puzzles worked out well beforehand. Also, don't make your game too big if it's your first. You need to make it a size you know you can finish, and then realistically allocate time to work on it so that you don't just give it up. Finally, spell check, spell check, spell check.

Any last famous words?
"I'm making a Monkey Island fan-game!!!"


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