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  1. #1

    Default Creator Spotlight 13 - Morgana25


    Morgana25
    Queen of Light
    Interview conducted by xkappax

    It’s become apparent to me now that I’ve started writing these spotlights that every creator has a niche. Whether it’s a knack for logic, a penchant for trains and the creation there-of, simply a blatant refusal to make anything other than crystals and ghosts; everyone’s got something that they’re good at. Caryn, or Morgana25 as she is more commonly known around these parts, is no exception.

    But what was her specialty? Stickers? Her amazing efforts in the community? Possibly. But there was something else about her that stood out to me like a beacon.

    I had the pleasure of working quite a bit with Morgana25 during the online create beta test. When making The Three Flamigos, I flew over to see what she was doing after not seeing or hearing from her in at least an hour. That was when I saw it. 30-plus blinking spotlights used to light a section of the level you see for literally one second. As I gazed at this, I quickly learned what Miss Morgana’s specialty was.

    --------------------------


    Title screen from the Chroma Stone Chronicles



    All right, this one isn’t really a question, but if you would be so kind, please list the levels you’ve published to date and any statistics you’d like to share with us, i.e. plays, hearts, how many rocket animals per level, etc. Whatever you feel like sharing.

    2008: A Sack Odyssey
    Little Big Apple
    Space Station Odyssey
    Little Big Tron
    Cupid's Temple
    Dr. Yardark's Lab (with help from a ton of creators from the beta)
    Scuba Diving of Fire Island (from beta)
    Flight 19: A Bermuda Triangle Excursion (with Jwwphotos from beta)
    What Rock Stars Do Best (with FullGORR, FlareSkull & OssumPossum from beta)
    Little Bug Planet (with xkappax, Catiers, & Cubbage/Cuzfeeshe from beta)

    Character levels:

    Tweak: The Scaredey Dragon
    Shortz-9000
    The Spoiler

    Series Levels:

    Chroma Stone Chronicles: Part 1 - Verridian's Gem
    Chroma Stone Chronicles: Part 2 - Pyrra's Gem
    Chroma Stone Chronicles: Part 3 - Cerrulean's Gem
    Chroma Stone Chronicles: Part 4 - Irridia's Gem
    Chroma Stone Chronicles: Part 5 - Abyssia's Lair
    Dragons of Myth: Egypt
    Dragons of Myth: Teotihuacan

    Alas, no rocket cheetahs, but I do have 5 dragons!


    Wow. That's a lot of levels! Now, tell me... of these levels, which is your favorite? And why?
    That's like asking a mom which of her kids is her favorite. I like them all for different reasons but I guess Chroma Stone Chronicles: Part 5 - Abyssia's Lair is my favorite because it was the most ambitious level I'd ever attempted and I wired it up myself. I also really tried to push the thermometer in it and managed to put a lot into it. I really like playing my Dragons of Myth: Egypt and I learned a ton making Dragons of Myth: Teotihuacan, but in terms of creating Chroma Stone 5 is my favorite.

    How long have you been playing LBP?
    Since October of 2008. In November, I installed a wireless router in my house shortly after I realized I was missing out on DLC and user made levels! It's the first PS3 game I ever played online with. Took me until January to find LBPC!

    What was the first full level you ever built? And what was it like?
    The first level I published was "2008: A Sack Odyssey" and it's bad, really bad. lol. It's got references to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, I'm a bit of a sci-fi geek. I didn't know what I was doing! There are whole platforms made of dark matter and you can see the blank level floor! I had no idea about thin layers, the corner editor or logic either. About the only thing I like in it is the space shuttle sled at the end. It's still published. I like to think it's inspiring for beginners to see how far you can grow as a creator if you stick with create mode and keep pushing yourself.

    What creators and levels (if any) have inspired you to create?
    When I first started playing LBP I remember playing Tomb of Light by Marynor and marveling at the lighting in it. I so wanted to understand how to make my levels look that good. OCK's epic stories and the poetry of NinjaMicWZ's Lost Idol series were early inspirations too. I've always loved the fun and colorful levels of Jaeyden, Wexfordian's all around craftsmanship and cleverness, Zwollie's character's, IceMaiden's amazing artistic talents, CCubbage's mad gameplay and innovation, Jwwphotos attention to detail, julseyjules and Taffey's wonderfully funny levels, SLS10's fun levels and cool bosses, and Gravel's artistic and free spirited creations. The logic geniuses always inspire me to learn about how to use their logic in levels and the logic pack by our very own LBPC members was huge in terms of helping me grow in this respect. Lately I find myself in awe of GrantosUK, MrSuperComputer, and Comphermc's work. I'm always inspired to do better after playing their perfectly crafted levels! I'm forgetting a ton of awesome levels and creators to mention too. There's just so much good work out there to play!

    Aside from drawing inspiration from other creators and levels, is there anything in the world outside of LittleBigPlanet that inspires you? This could be a hobby, profession, or even a particular movie or type of music. Pretty much it can be anything in your personal life that has contributed to your experiences as well as inspired you as a creator.
    Well my career as a graphic designer has influenced my work a lot. All of my levels, with the exception of the very first one, have big title treatments. I think that's from my love of fonts. I also have a thing for dragons and they tend to pop up in my work a lot. I'm also a not so secret space geek and I love playing and trying to make space themed stuff. I'm not so good at it but I have fun trying. I think the biggest influence on my work from my real life is my color choices though.

    What are some of your other favorite video games (excluding LBP) - new and old?
    I'm an RPG junkie at heart and most of my favorite games are from that genre. If you go way back to the dark ages of video games I played pong and Jungle Hunt on the old Atari system. I loved Sword of Vermillion and Lunar on my Sega system as well as Dragon's Lair, Sewer Rat and Eternal Champions. I really got into Legacy of Kain, Twisted Metal, Twisted Metal Black and Final Fantasy VII, X, and it's sequel too. On PS3. I adore Oblivion and spent over a year playing that one. Loved the Sunsets and landscapes so much! I'm still planning on finishing Mirror's Edge (Pacifist Trophy is my goal) and Dead Space (so scary!) but LBP keeps giving me great levels to play and challenges to do so I think it will be awhile before I finish those. Oh and Rock Band 2 is quite fun with friends and I've enjoyed getting pwned by my friends playing it - I'm not so good at it yet.

    If you could list your favorite thing about LittleBigPlanet, what would it be?
    My favorite thing about the game is that you have this wonderful set of tools to express yourself creatively. You can tell stories, make beautiful images or scenes, create characters and any number of other things that are uniquely you. I really love that it brings artsy, creative types and logical, engineering types together too. The mix of art and science doesn't happen enough in real life. Imagine what people could do if it did!

    And your least favorite thing?
    The lockups while in create mode are a personal pet peeve of mine. I also hate the culture of thieving levels and objects made by other creators and publishing them as your own

    What’s the worst thing that’s happened while creating?
    This is an easy one. Completely lost Chroma Stone 3: Cerrulean's Gem to a failed to load level bug when it was 100% finished and I was testing it. I had to start completely from scratch. Although the sun glitched object a visitor put in my Dragons of Myth 2 level while I was building it ranks a close second. Had to copy the whole level via pop-it to a new crater on my moon. Not fun at all.

    On a sort of similar subject, have there ever been any great ideas you had that failed or for any other reason you never implemented?
    Well, I was working on a 2x level with Zwollie and we were plagued with problems. He broke his arm and couldn't create for six weeks, we had trouble getting our schedules lined up and finally ran out of time. It was an awesome idea too. It was all Zwollie's story, could have been great I think. I've had a few ideas that I wanted to include in the Chroma Stone series, too, but I didn't have the technical expertise to pull them off. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to do some of them.

    If you worked for Media Molecule, what would your first order of business be? This could be anything from adding materials or tools to eradicating H4H.
    I'd love to expand the number of publishable slots beyond 20, make it so you could move objects between the three thick layers while playing a level, fix the lock ups in online create when rewinding, and make each of the various thermometer levels visible in create mode, but truth be told, the first thing I'd do is find one of those plush Sackboys laying around the office and put it on my desk!

    --------------------------


    A sample of Miss Morgana's brilliant stickering



    You have an incredible knack for colors in your levels. Does this have anything to do with your background as a graphic designer, constantly swimming in the seas of CMYK, or is it something else?
    I've always loved putting colors into interesting and different combinations. I had a class in college for basic 2d design and we spent a lot of time learning color theory and how the interplay of colors can affect mood and the eye itself. Colors can be warm or cool and even that can change depending on the colors you pair them with. They also have symbolic and emotional meanings that you can use to your advantage when choosing colors for a level. As a graphic designer I've learned how to use my color vocabulary to convey subtle and symbolic meanings in my work and it crosses over into my levels too. In my jewelry making process, color selection is one of the very early things I work through before designing a piece too. Not to be too nerdy but if you can get your hands on a Pantone color swatch book it can be really fun to put different colors together to see how they affect each other. For anyone who doesn't have a knack for color combinations there's a great website http://kuler.adobe.com/ that adobe hosts that has user generated color schemes posted for people to browse. It can be very inspiring if you only know a theme or mood you want but aren't sure what colors to use. I firmly believe that people shouldn't be afraid to use bold or eclectic color combinations - have fun and be daring with them and the results can be spectacular!

    My second choice for this article’s title was going to be Morgana25 - Stickering Specialist. Sure, it’s got the alliteration, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Queen of Light” does. However, you are quite brilliant with stickers. I see your stickering choices sometimes and say to myself “I would have never thought to do that!” How in the world do you do it?
    Well thanks for both titles! Stickering is something I really enjoy doing. When I first started my Chroma Stone series I designed all the fairies first and established their colors and characteristics first off. I started the sticking by pulling apart a few of the MM characters and figured out how they had been stickered. It seemed that layering them in the right order was the trick to getting depth and detail. My experience in Photoshop using layers really came in handy for how to visualize the order I'd need to do, then it's just a matter of finding the right color, texture or shape to get the look you want. I'm in love with the realistic stickers and the ones with transparent backgrounds. The history pack has some excellent black stickers that let the color underneath come through. If you want to get better at sticking take apart other peoples stuff to see how they do it and experiment and play with color combinations, shading techniques and layering - it's fun!

    I would be remiss not to mention your promotion into LittleBigRoyalty. You have the honor of being a community nominated crown winner, which speaks volumes about just how much you mean to the LBP Community. Do you think it was a fitting way for you to be crowned, or do you wish it were because of a level?
    You know, I always wanted one for my level work. Who doesn't want to be crowned for their work? That said, when that thread got rolling I realized that as much as being recognized by MM would be awesome, being appreciated and recognized by the people who play the game was even more meaningful for me. It's like your boss telling you nice work on a project versus your peers saying how much they like and respect your work. That thread has more value for me and brings me such feelings of humility and joy than any shiny hat ever could.

    Very few creators excel at creating levels in a series (I can think of only a few off the top of my head). You, however, really shine in this respect. Did you always want to do a series of levels, or is that something that just sort of happened?
    When I first designed the fairies for the Chroma Stone series I thought I might be able to do them all in one level but soon realized that each would need their own level to do what I wanted to do with them. I really wanted the chance to use a lot of different materials and themes so the series grew out of that. The Dragons of Myth series was always planned as a series of free standing levels with only the theme of dragon myths tying them together. The nice thing about doing a series is you can take a few things from each level and bring them into the subsequent levels to make them feel like a group. The intro title sequences and the scoreboards from Chroma Stone levels I carried throughout the series and the title style for Dragons of Myth is what I'll bring forward to tie them together. I like the story telling aspects of doing a series too. You can get some deep and memorable stories from a series of levels that you just can't with a single level. No worries about thermo or too many cut scenes or magic mouths that way. Some of my favorite levels in LBP are parts of series so I'm honored you like mine.

    I understand that in your spare time you make jewelry, and beautiful jewelry at that. You also have a level series named Chroma Stone Chronicles, featuring various types of gemstones. Did your love for jewelry play a role in the birth of these levels?
    Not exactly, but now that you mention it they do sort of relate, don't they? The Chroma Stone Chronicles came from my desire to build using a bunch of different materials and themes more so than jewelry making. I do have a love of gemstones and rocks in general, though. My father is a Geology teacher and growing up wherever we went on vacation I'd get an impromptu lecture on how the landscape we were in was formed through glaciation, erosion, uplift or all three. College Geology was a breeze after years of learning that stuff from my dad. He has a really excellent rock collection too and I've always loved looking at the more interesting samples. The thing about what I do in jewelry design, besides the color aspect, that I think helps me make LBP levels is the planning and improvising balance that you have to have when doing free form bead embroidery. You start out with your main stones and sort of improvise around them. My level making process is really similar. I have two or three really specific things I plan in a level and then improvise the areas around them. I never know exactly how the level will turn out but I learn a lot in the process.

    You've worked with a lot of people in online create. Probably more than anyone. In fact, if there were a contest between how many people you worked with and how many people FullGORR exhibited inappropriateness to, you'd win. So, here’s the question: Since you’ve worked with so many people, do you prefer working alone or with other people?
    Well I think FullGORR might give me a run for the money. lol. Well, it depends on what I'm working on honestly. I do like to have company when I'm working on levels and I usually have plenty of people who hang out. It's fun! When I'm doing something a little more technical or logic based I usually like to be alone since it takes me a long time to figure out what I'm doing. Although lately I've needed a lot of logic help and having online create has been such a good thing! I tend to bother Jwwphotos, Vortex, comphemc and rtm too much sometimes I think, but they are always so gracious about helping. The other great thing about online create is just messing around in a blank level with friends. It's like a giant brainstorming session and some really cool game play and designs have come out of those sessions.

    Now, you've earned yourself the coveted "den mother" title in lbp, haven't you? And every time I pop into a game with you, you've got a gaggle of wonderful folk surrounding you wherever you go, often young 'uns that look up to you (and slightly older 'uns like me who also look up to you, because you're taller than me :P). Could you talk a bit about your experience PLAYING LBP multiplayer online? Any particularly fond memories?
    I have a ton of memories! Some of the best for me were the night the Duurps were born playing with Joey and Zwollie. I swear those two together would make the best costumes and then throw on the voice changers and I'd be in stitches all night! Those really late Friday nights into Saturday mornings were the best. Zwollie would sing and Korndawgg would pop over some mornings and play his guitar while we just talked and made crazy costumes. There was one of those late nights where Zwollie, Joey, Wexfordian and I were playing a bomb survival level and I kept laughing that we actually dragged Wex into one of them. Turned out the scoreboard was badly designed and did that squish and kill the player over and over again as they respawned at the scoreboard. So one of us would stay alive and then we'd watch each other pop out of the board and make that horrible face. Hillarious to watch Wex's leprechaun get squished over and over again… I think I still have pictures of that night somewhere. Playing Vortex's VR Challenge with groups was always fun too. Creating with you and Catiers and CCubbage was really memorable too. I learned so much and there was always crazy creatures to play with and no pressure to do things a certain way. Very freeing and playful! Most of my memories involve a lot of laughing and smiling and silliness. I have a few memories of GrantosUK and Fullgorr too, but I'd best not share those.

    And now... a lighthearted question: If you reached the end of the thermometer and felt that the level needed a few more lights, would you delete some of the level to add the lights you need? And BE HONEST! :P
    lol - Well the short answer is yes and no. I've done both. I'll trade objects for lights but never gameplay elements and if I need to include something crucial to story or gameplay I have to find a few spotlights or LEDs to sacrifice. It's a balancing act when it comes down to thermo for me. Sometimes the gameplay wins and sometimes the lights do. In the Dragons of Myth: Teotihuacan level I ended up having to delete about 9 trees to make room for logic and four essential LEDs.

    Finally, is there anything you, as a creator, would like to add to this? Or any other experiences you’d like to share? If not, I’d like to ask one more question of you: If you could give any bit of advice to new creators out there who are thinking about entering the wonderful world of creating, what would it be?
    Keep at it and always try and do one thing in a level you have no idea if you can pull off. Working outside of your comfort zone can lead you to new ways to do things and will help you grow as a creator. I've noticed the things that I pushed myself to do have taught me a lot about how the game works and given me new tricks to use in future work. I'm fond of saying that if you don't know exactly how something you want to do can be done you're probably on to something unique and innovative. That said, when you know your in over your head, don't be afraid to ask for help. I'd be lost without friends willing to spend their time teaching me new stuff and helping sort out messes I've made in my levels. You guys know who you are I'd also recommend finding an online friend that is sort of like a create mode buddy. Someone who is always willing to brainstorm ideas with, help figure out how to do things and will give you honest feedback for the work your doing. Jwwphotos has been such a blessing for me in this capacity and I know it's made my work better for it. The other thing I'd say is get involved in the community here at LBPC. There are vast resources in the tutorial and help sections and some awesome members always willing to help. The most important piece of advice I could give would be to keep it fun! We creators get caught up in the whole ratings, plays, hearts, gotta make it better, gotta make it fun trap that it's easy to loose perspective sometimes. It's a game meant to bring you joy and fun - don't ever forget that!

    --------------------


    Waterfall from the beginning of Dragons of Myth: Teotihuacan



    All right. Now here comes the exciting part! Are you ready? Good! Because it’s time for me to introduce our brand spankin’ new segment of the Creator Spotlight… Creator Closeup!

    What is creator closeup, you might ask? I had a feeling you might ask that, so I’m going to tell you!

    Peppered throughout this interview are three images of Morgana’s levels. Beautiful, yes, but we realize that still images don’t always do justice to a creator’s level. That being said, we’ve prepared a video for you that takes you into create mode with Miss Morgana to catch a glimpse of her breathtaking lighting and possibly even shed some light on just what makes her levels look as great as they do. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this little video!





    Well, you’ve read the interview, watched the video, and hopefully you now know a little bit more about what makes Morgana25 such a wonderful creator. Whether it be a community spotlight or an actual spotlight, Morgana is an ambassador of goodwill, spreading her light through the LittleBigPlanet community. We can rest assured that this community, and our levels, will never be in the left in the dark while she is around. All hail Morgana25, The Queen of Light!


  2. #2
    Tarsier Level Designer comphermc's Avatar
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    Just to clear up some of the confusion, we now have a Creator Spotlight Team! There will be a bit of a rotation with who actually conducts the interviews, but they all work together to create these features for you all. That said, welcome and thanks to our Creator Spotlight Team:

    xkappax, Jwwphotos, Teebonesy, Scoutsboo

    Also, thank you guys for all the work to give us these shnazzy new logos and the awesome video feature!




    ...OH! And awesome interview, Morgana. I read it a few days ago, so it slipped my mind!
    Last edited by comphermc; 04-25-2010 at 04:25 AM.
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  3. #3
    I are vary cratev Chump's Avatar
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    Haha, she doesn't even know its out yet
    Congrats Queen Morgana! You totally deserve it!
    Thanks for the Creator Spotlight team, the new look is very cool!
    oh and jww: I KNEW IT!

    That Creator Closeup made me lol XD
    Last edited by Chuck_18mp; 04-25-2010 at 05:33 AM.

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  4. #4
    Ride that pony! jeffcu28's Avatar
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    Wow! Congratulations for getting the spotlight Morgana, well deserved.

    And thanks for all the hard work putting this together Creator Spotlight Team! I'm really digging the new title logos. Great job everyone!

    Bowing to the Grand Den Mother,
    jeffcu28



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  5. #5
    Sackperson Private piggabling's Avatar
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    Great interview! Congrats Morgana and to the new team!




  6. #6

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    Wow, excellent interview - what a great read! A big and very deserving congrats to Morgana, and my hat is off to the new Creator Spotlight team. Thanks for all the hard work all of you have clearly poured into this. Awesome job!

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  7. #7
    Astounding Architecture Duffluc's Avatar
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    Congrats Morgana on the spotlight! It was much deserved and has been a long time coming, methinks

    I think the addition of the creator closeup is a fantastic idea. Not only does it showcase the creator's skill, but it was also a mini tutorial! I mean, stickered doll heads... When the last sticker was removed off that head I couldn't believe it lol, now that's some out of the box thinking! It also goes to show how many possibilities there are with the those objects. I would have never known! And great explanation on how you do your lights Morgana, watching that video gave me some ideas on how to light my levels better too!

    That being said, great work xkappa and gratz to the whole new spotlight team. The spotlight has a wonderful new feel to it, but stays true to it's roots. Can't wait to see more!


    My Levels: The Aqueduct *spotlighted*, Mechanica: District-15 *spotlighted*, Archaic Ascension

    The Odyssey: Prologue *spotlighted*, Part 1 *spotlighted*, Part 2 *spotlighted*


  8. #8

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    I always wondered when Morgy'd get her chance for a creator interview. An awesome read that sheds some light (pun definitely intended ) on her thought process and creative history. You earned it, luv


  9. #9
    Toolmaster of LBPCentral v0rtex's Avatar
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    YAY!

    Hands down, my favorite creator person in LBP and at LBPC. She was one of the first on-line PSN friends I made, she held my hand and helped me get 100% in the story levels, and she is just about the only person I ever spend any on-line create time with (I tend to be a bit of a loner in the first place, but especially in LBP). Not only a great creator, but a splendid, warm, gracious, and extremely generous person.

    Congrats on the Spotlight my friend! So well deserved.

    And welcome/congrats to the new Creator Spotlight crew. Excellent presentation (very stylishly produced) and some awesome new features. This all rather exciting, I must say!


  10. #10

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    Love the new segments and Morgana25 is really one of the top creators not only good gameplay but artistic side to LBP too.
    Last edited by jump_button; 04-25-2010 at 07:35 AM.


  11. #11
    LBPCentral Spotlight CrewLBPCentral Spotlight Crew shropshirelass's Avatar
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    Great interview, Sara, and a really well deserved spotlight for Morgana – one of my favourite creators in LBP. That was a fascinating read and I loved the new Creator Closeup feature - both funny and illuminating (yes, another terrible pun!). It was great to see that level in create mode and to have some of the techniques explained. Even for a non-creator like me it’s brilliant to see how it’s done and makes you appreciate the end-product even more.

    I’m so pleased that the Creator Spotlight has been resurrected and in such a great way too. Thanks to the new team for all the work that has gone into this. I can’t wait to for the next one now.


  12. #12
    FFXIV addict... Takelow's Avatar
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    Awesome Creator spotlight!!!

    The new formula is very good and more complete! Congratz to Morgana and Congratz to the CS team


  13. #13

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    Congratulations Morgana! Another great creator to add to the "spotlighted" list! But what happens when you run out of living legends to interview?

    You'll have to pick some of us (mediocre) creators! Mwahaahahahhahaaaaa....!

  14. Thanks!


  15. #14

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    Warm Congratulations Morgana, not just on this wonderful accolade but on everything you have achieved on LBP and LBPC. If only I had some of your skills! Actually, if only I had all of your skills!

    Brilliant interview Sara, well done!

    I love the new format for the Creator Spotlight. Welcome to all the members of the new team. It's exciting!

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  16. #15
    ITS ALIIIIIIIIIIVE! Burnvictim42's Avatar
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    Wonderful, truly wonderful. I love how this spotlight team has gotten together and made a truly fabulous feature of this site even better. I have always looked forward to these spotlights, but now there's even more cool stuff that they offer! 2 weeks can't come fast enough!

    Congrats to Morgana and the Creator Spotlight team on putting this wonderful piece together


  17. #16

  18. Thanks!


  19. #17

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    Wow, this was great!
    Been waiting for this one.

    The new titles are nice, and the video is an awesome feature! Very cool. Loved the tutorials and fly-though.
    Mad props to morgana and the spotlight team!

    Bad design 101
    An ingame commentary about the good and bad design choices in my first level: "Platforming 101" ... Learn as you play!


  20. #18

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    Well I was 25% right when I said jww would be the new one... /sniped

    Anyway, Awesome, yes. Love new format, and great job kappa... and you too as well, Morgana, of course. Yes. /runs

    This statement is true.


  21. #19

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    Well, that's a load off of my mind. We worked really really hard on this over the past five weeks or so, and I have to be honest, I was completely nervous about how it would be received. MrsSpookyBuz did such a wonderful job that, well... it was a tough act to follow to say the least.

    Morgana was a great interview "victim", though, so it's been fun. Thanks for the kind comments, and I'm really pleased you guys liked it. I hope you enjoy what we've got in store for you in the future for the weeks to come. ^__^


  22. #20
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    Awesome interview xkappax, and congratulatrions Morgana, I've been waiting for you to get in one. I look forward to Jwwphotos's, Teebonesy's, and Scoutsboo's interviews too.


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