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Original Blog Entry

How to design Tomb Raider, step-by-step…

imageBack in the day, the Tomb Raider: Lost Artifact team - Me, Rebecca Shearin, Gary LaRochelle and Mike Schmitt - were asked this question by a magazine interviewer, and here is our answer… (Seems quite straightforward, really);

- Could you explain how the game is designed?


1. PhilC writes an incredibly complex story that gets distilled by the team into a couple of lines.
2. We decide where we want to go this time…
3. We sit in the café and sketch up a few napkins
4. Rebecca makes rock textures
5. Gary makes a train
6. They lock me in a room until I’ve done the model – I use a vast reference book we make up filled with photos, old maps and squiggly writing.
7. Rebecca makes some more rock textures
8. Gary makes a plane
9. I place all the original textures, Rebecca tells me off and replaces them all, the right way round.
10. Lara’s in there from the start, testing leaps, stepping off edges, falling off cliffs
11. Urgent transatlantic calls to Core Design in Derby when the diver animation doesn’t work
12. Mike tries to find his secret texture (a picture of his face we always hide in there somewhere) under the pretence of testing the levels.
13. Rebecca looks up from the rock she’s making, and says “ You want a WHAT!? – Where am I going to find scrap on the Loch Ness monster’s skin?!!!
14. We spend some hours trying to look up the kilts of Gary’s Scottish Warriors
15. We all gasp in awe as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make the play-offs
16. Rebecca gets killed testing the level again…
17. Test, Test TEST….we steal some of the testers ideas…
18. We look at the South Pacific levels again to wonder HOW they made such fantastic levels, we look, and learn…
19. We realise we have to squeeze a new dinosaur in there somewhere…
20. ….and so it continues…


Gary with Rebecca Shearin, and me with Lara…