5 Days a Stranger A closer look at 5 Days a Stranger with our guide Yahtzee
Date of interview: 22.02.2005.
Interview with: Yahtzee
Interview by: Tom Henrik (via e-mail)
Interview about: 5 Days a Stranger

I have that habit. It's true.

So, Yahtzee... where do you live?
I live on top of a hill in Brisbane.

And what is it you do for a living?
Right now? Bugger all. I am involved with a couple of professional developers, but I won't be seeing any money from them for quite a while yet.

Any hobbies?
Writing, updating the website, designing games, picking my nose.

Favourite website?
I guess Homestarrunner
Where did the inspiration for 5 Days a Stranger come from?
From a combination of being exposed to Clock Tower on the SNES, the hentai game Nocturnal Illusion, and The Dig.

What made you start working on it?
I felt it was a story that would make a good game, and I thought it would be fun to see if I could make a good game using a small number of locations that are revisited over a number of days.

5 Days a Stranger is a horror game. Was it difficult to get the horror theme across to the player?
Not really, I mean, dark corridors, murders, eerie music, funny noises, suspense... horror is easy enough to create if you follow the right rules.

Were others involved in the making, or did you do everything yourself?
I always work alone on my games. A team assembled on the internet causes more trouble than it's worth in my experience.

You chose to make the game in AGS (Adventure Game Studio). Why, and was this your first choice?
Yes it was. 'Cos I'd used it to make four or five games already and I'm more familiar with it than any other.  

What was the biggest struggle in the game, program-wise?
I can't really think of any one part that was more difficult than any other. I suppose programming the magic detectors to work properly was the biggest headache.

How long did it take you to make the first fully playable draft?
Ooh. I really can't remember. It can't have been more than a month or two.

When did 5 Days a Stranger see the light of day for the first time?
I can answer that because it's in my site archives. September 22nd, 2003.

I might e-mail them in the middle of the night, but I don't break into their houses! 

If you would start from the beginning again, is there anything you would've done differently?
Strain out all the plot holes. Make Trilby's hat look less like a plate of pudding.

How has the world accepted the game?
By reaching out with their grubby little hands. Seriously, it's been downloaded by a few thousand people and most of them liked it, except for that crazy Christian woman who emailed me once demanding I not put any reference to occultism in anything I do.

Will we see more of Trilby in later adventures?
I have tried to make a couple of adventures starring the Trilbster, but these have all been abortive. I do a little comic on my website called Chris and Trilby in which he features, but that's more of a joke version of the character.

Has the game changed your life in some way? Any fan-mail or wedding-proposals?
Well, it's earned me a lot of respect in amateur adventure circles, and I probably wouldn't have been able to start insinuating myself into professional design without it. It's funny you should mention wedding proposals, because I met my current girlfriend over the internet when she played my Rob Blanc games.

Has any companies showed interest in you or the game?
As I said before, yes, I'm doing a bit of professional work on the strength of my amateur games. I've done some writing for Bad Brain Entertainment in Germany, and closer to home I've joined a team based here in Brisbane, Gridwerx, as lead writer.

Can we expect more games from you in the future?
I'm not sure. I'd like to move away from straight adventure games towards more mainstream genres. I've already attempted to use AGS to make alternative kinds of games. I tried making an RPG, but that didn't really work out. Then I tried making a Sims-style life simulator, but that didn't really work out either. Right now I'm working on a game that marries adventure gameplay with a space trading and exploration sim.

Any tips you want to share with future game-makers?
Yeah. The best advice I can give anyone is to take a little pride in your work. Feel that you have to put a bit of effort into what you do even if it is an amateur production.

Any last famous words?
Don't drink bleach.



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