The Snow Queen
Interview conducted by xkappax
Unless you live somewhere in the southern hemisphere, it’s Summer right now, filled with hot, long days of basking in the sun, swimming and sipping lemonade whilst sitting on your porch enjoying the beautiful weather. I’m sitting at my computer right now, looking at the thermometer in my Dashboard App on my Macintosh. It reads 85˚F (That’s 29.4˚C, for you folks in the rest of the world!).
That being said, I can think of no better way to cool off on these hot summer days than with a spotlight about a woman who specializes in crafting some of the most breathtaking frozen landscapes in all of LittleBigPlanet. Detailed characters, fabulous lighting, beautiful music and gorgeous wintry scenes are only some of the things you’ll be treated to when you delve into IceMaiden’s frosty land. So, put down that fan that you’ve fashioned out of this morning’s newspaper, grab your jacket and mittens, hop into the one horse open sleigh and follow me as we go dashing through Icey’s winter wonderlands!
Detailed characters like The Snow Queen are IceMaiden's specialty.
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.
* Save Moby The Minky Whale. This was my first level.
* Sun, Sea and Stardance The Dolphin. Here I wanted to capture the holiday spirit.
* Rise Of The Snow Queen. The first part of the Snow Queen Trilogy, based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
* Caverns Of The Snow Queen: A musical interlude for the second in the trilogy.
* Empire Of The Snow Queen. The conclusion to this classic fairy tale.
* Batatouille. Entry for the first round of the Character Competition.
* Dolly Tub: Robomatic 2000. Entry for the 2nd round of the Character Competition and by far my most deadly character.
* Count Stephan Fly. Final entry for the Character Competition before it all went pear shaped.
* The Frog Chorus. Co-created with my son Khalith_. A light hearted level representing the music of Sir Paul McCartney. This level has the most plays.
Now, tell me... of these levels, which is your favorite? And why?
That's a tricky one. I would have to say 'The Frog Chorus'. It's sentimental, reminds me of when my children were still children and I love the Frog Song. It's closely followed by 'Dolly Tub'. I'm extremely fond of her. Dolly started life as an offshoot from a retro fridge, but soon developed into a living, breathing robot. Her simple logic was easy for me to achieve; I made Rhy do it. We had a lot of fun whizzing ‘round in her before the staging was composed. However, shortly after publishing, reports were coming in that Dolly was swiftly and efficiently dispatching Sackies without a second thought. "Guys, don't go near Icey's robot, It's a trap!", was Zwollie's warning to the unsuspecting community. Little did they know it was part of Dolly's secret agenda to clean up said community. Sadly, Rhy has never forgiven me for hanging his pants on the line in public.
How long have you been playing LBP?
Since LBP was released I watched it grow, suffered the teething problems and, quite frankly, left all the creating to those who knew how to operate the Pop-it.
What was the first full level you ever built? And what was it like?
Moby The Minky Whale (or maybe the "Manky" whale as it has been referred to in the level comments). To be perfectly honest, I didn't have the first clue what I was doing. I only started this level because of the immense pressure my nagging family was putting on me to have a go. After a short hissy fit and actually managing to commandeer the controller, Moby was conceived. It's a mish-mash of developing skills, weird humour and a love of applying several hundred stickers to one object because I didn't know the stickers were enlargeable
What creators and levels (if any) have inspired you to create?
There are so many creators with an exceptional natural capacity of intellect who are eminently skilled in their craft. It would be impossible for me to list all of those who have left me in awe and profuse admiration.
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.
Somewhere in this Icey exterior is a big sentimental softie, so pretty much anything that touches my heart can inspire me to create. Music has a prodigious influence. Memories from both my own childhood and my children's may generate inspiration and, of course, the love of beguiling stories can evoke concepts.
What are some of your favorite video games (excluding LBP) - new and old?
* Dark Chronicle has kept me entertained for hours. I loved everything about it.
* Champions, Return To Arms was brilliant for those who love traversing through levels hoovering up all the collectibles like a demented Dyson.
* Lego Series for me captured the essence of the toy bricks to perfection.
* Ratchet & Clank. Clank is so cute, I want one. The series became much more formidable and stretched my gaming skills to the extreme.
* Resistance Fall Of Man. The first game we had on PS3 launch date. I was brave, or foolish enough to play on-line in a clan and frequently attracted a crowd as I pirouetted aimlessly on the spot whilst aiming my Bullseye at the ground and discharging it at a very dangerous blade of grass.
* Animal Crossing was totally addictive and I loved it.
If you could list your favorite things about LittleBigPlanet, what would they be?
The cuteness, the cuteness and the fact that it is so amazingly cute! Oh, and because you can sticker almost anything pink! Of course there's the amazing capability to metamorphose a flat piece of material into something that has structure and design.
The material changer is a most wondrous piece of equipment and can occupy many hours just on one object.
The costumes are fabulous and I love the little Sackie facial expressions, movements and hand gestures.
The friends I have made have enhanced my LBP experience tenfold. It wouldn't be the same without them, would it, MrsV and MrV?!
And your least favorite thing(s)?
The Thermo gives me a headache. I swear that thing waits for me and the minute I open my Pop-it, it hollers "Hey guys, it's Icey. Quick, look full!".
Never been very keen on the weird distortions the materials produce when you try to make them curve.
Sticker glitch... just hate it when they start disappearing from random corners.
It's a bit of an inconvenience when the corner editor refuses to corner edit. Editing corners is its' job and it's about time it realised that!
Impossible to play levels. My limited gaming skills require either a relatively easy level or someone to hold my hand through the more challenging ones.
What’s the worst thing that’s happened while creating?
Most of the ghastly things that have happened in create mode have been as a result of my own incompetence. Like many other creators, I have lost many hours of work as a result of the machine haphazardly crashing for no apparent reason.
However, the worst thing that happened was actually not while I was creating. When I first published the Frog Chorus, I somehow inadvertently managed to stick the Lily pad to the floor, rendering the whole level unplayable and, most disastrously, unhearable. Icey was in such a panic, she was unceremoniously marched out of the room, force fed a cup of tea and forbidden to return until Rhy had sorted it out.
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?
The truth is, my ideas are so few and far between, in the unlikely event that I actually acquire one, I start creating immediately before I forget what the idea I had was in the first place.
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.
After I implemented more "girly" costumes, I would initiate the ability to be able to delete pictures uploaded to your level by other users.
Then I would organise a ladies-only game jam!
BoxGhost needed a bath, and this Character Creation entry of Icey's did the trick!
Your PSN is IceMaiden and your first set of levels is the Snow Queen Trilogy. Are you a fan of Winter or is there some other reason for the ice and snow theme in both your psn and your first set of levels?
I'm not a fan of winter. It's too cold. However, I do love "Icey" scenery. There is no connection with my PSN or my trilogy.
IceMaiden was the pseudonym I chose for my contestant in the WWE video game and refers more to my character in real life.
Your Snow Queen Trilogy is based on a Hans Christian Anderson story. How did you go about adapting a classic story into a LittleBigPlanet experience?
Hans Christian Andersen's "Snow Queen" is a fairy tale very close to my heart. The love and devotion between the two young characters was foremost in my mind and this was something I wanted to portray. Knowing the story so well helped with the staging, though not with adapting a fairy tale to accommodate gameplay. I sort of blundered my way through it, really, while simultaneously adding a little bit of my heart and soul in the hope people might see what I was trying to illustrate.
I want to talk a bit about your musical levels. Honestly, they are brilliant. The only musical levels I have seen that even comes close to touching the beauty of yours are that of CutieKabukiChan. You work with your son, Khalith, on these musical levels, correct? What is it like creating these musical masterpieces with him?
Thank you Sara. Correct, I do work with my son Khalith_. He is a teacher of music and an accomplished musician. I have every confidence that my levels are in the hands of an expert. Having been blessed with a musical daughter and a musical son who also likes to play LBP, I couldn't miss the opportunity to take advantage of him... sorry to Play, Create and Share with him.
As for actually creating with my son, here's how it goes: I make him a Khalith_ special: two giant mugs of tea, give him the controller, pop out for a couple of hours intensive shopping therapy and return home to a somewhat bleary-eyed son and a completed music set. Voila! Six months later and I will hopefully have added the visuals.
On a similar subject, the songs you chose for your two musical levels fit them like a glove! The Frog Chorus was even recognized by Media Molecule and it won you a shiny Sackie Award! What was the reasoning behind choosing these lovely songs? Sentimental value, or something else?
Thank you again Sara. The Frog Chorus was pure sentiment. The music for the Caverns Of The Snow Queen, LeOnde by Ludovico Einaudi, was chosen for its' beauty and serenity. Khalith_ played through several pieces on the piano but I felt this piece expressed the tenderness I wanted to portray.
As for my shiny Sackie award, which of course I shared with Khalith_, I have Wex to thank for that.
You had a rather unfortunate run in with a copycat creator shortly after your Snow Queen levels were published. What exactly happened here and was this situation resolved? And do you believe that “imitation is the best form of flattery”?
That is indeed exactly what happened. It was just an unfortunate run-in with a copycat creator. Some of the objects from my trilogy were copied and since I was a little naive, I may have inadvertently brought everyone’s attention to the fact. The situation was resolved after a 12 page, somewhat hilarious thread, which came abruptly to an end when it was quite rightly pointed out that I, too, had copied someone else's work, namely Hans Christian Andersen, who unfortunately wasn't in a position to reprimand me for it.
For me, imitation is the most beleaguering form of flattery. Whether it's the best form is undoubtedly debatable.
An interesting thing about your levels is that there are no points, no prizes, no gameplay. They are simply interactive storybooks that allow the player to sit back, relax and simply enjoy the show. Now, I don't see this as being a problem, but did this make you nervous in the beginning when you published these levels? And have you received any criticism for it?
Publishing levels is always nerve-wracking for me, regardless of the fact they hold no rewards for the player. Of course, I worry about how they will be received, but then I worry about getting my shoes on the right feet! There certainly has been criticism about my lack of game play both here on LBPC and comments on my levels. "Where's da game play... boring... lack of animation... disappointing" etc. etc. If I could, I would, but game play is not a thing this creator is capable of. I'm best off leaving that field to the experts.
The visuals in your levels are over-the-top amazing. Do you look at any reference imagery to create these frozen scenes and enchanted frog grottos, or are you just that darned good!?
That made me chuckle Sara. Moby originated from my imagination. Stardance was created from memory. The level replicates our favourite holiday haunt. Interestingly, I started this level in the middle and then proceeded to work backwards and forwards and almost met myself coming back!
The visuals in the trilogy were derived from my imagination also. Some of the work was done from concept art. My idea for the Snow Queen herself was originally drawn by my daughter, then transposed by Rhy to the full concept. The same principle was applied to the Palace; my idea constructed from Rhy's concept art.
The Frog Chorus was recreated from images to obtain the most accurate likeness.
So no, I'm not that darned good!
You said when I approached you for the spotlight that you didn’t think you had enough levels for it. Quite honestly, I don’t think this matters. I believe in quality over quantity, and the quality is certainly there with your levels! I would imagine that your attention to detail would cause a level to take a bit longer than your average creator. How long does it take you to make a level?
It's a little difficult to give an accurate timeframe, since creating has to fit in around other obligatory priorities, but generally it takes about six months from start to finish.
Unfortunately, my attention to detail slows me down and simultaneously drives me mad. It also drives Rhy mad. In fact, the cat could probably complete a level ready to publish in half the time. That's if she was allowed to touch the controller!
When you approached me for the spotlight Sara, after I picked myself up off the floor, I was concerned that my work wasn't of a standard pertaining to previously spotlighted creators who have all been of a much higher caliber than myself. Initially my reaction was to decline but it was a perfect opportunity to be a beacon of light to all those creators who think they aren't good enough to be recognised.
What can we expect from IceMaiden in the future? Have you got any levels in the works? Or any ambitious dreams for LittleBigPlanet 2?
There is a level in production at the moment which I have been working on for almost 6 months. It's co-created with Khalith_ which gives you a teensy-weensy clue regarding its' nature. This level is the one I have so nearly given up on several times but with support and encouragement from the Vistas and Rhy, it is nearing completion. This one, I am very nervous about. I may have bitten off more than I can chew.
As for LBP2, the technology involved is absolutely mind-blowing. It looks unbelievably stunning but it scares me and I'm afraid it may be too complicated for me. My only ambitious dream is that after it has been released, I wake up in the morning with koknsun's brain installed in the slot where mine is supposed to be.
Finally, a light-hearted question: Any other British slangs you’d like to embarrass Ccubbage with? Or any other forums members, for that matter? :P
It's not often in this field of recreation that a creator becomes memorable for the unfortunate use of one simple word. It's probably in everyone's best interest if I don't mention the word "Thrupny" again, particularly since CCubbage must surely have it out of his system by now.
The incident started shortly after that little tea leaf half inched my robin hoods and you wouldn't Adam and Eve it but some geezer uploaded dolly mixtures of the Snow Queen's Bristol Cities.
Much hilarity ensued. CCubbage had learned something new and came up with a fantastic idea for a bouncy level. Zwollie received a surprise package in the post. Wex suggested an alternative ad campaign for Cadbury Cream Eggs and jww fell of his chair and lost his ability to type.
Hopefully, I will never embarrass CCubbage or any other forum members in this manner ever again.
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?
If I may take this opportunity, I would like to add that my experience with LBP and LBPC has added another huge dimension to my life. There have been highs and lows, but the highest of highs has been meeting so many wonderful people and sharing so much fun with them.
If LadyLuck and NinjaMic hadn't steered me over here, I would have missed out on so much... jw's humour, having my own 'mini-me', seeing Joey develop into a talented creator, oooing and aaahing over Morgana's lighting and spending many a happy hour trying to figure out exactly what the hell Gravel is talking about! And, of course, every other member I have had the privilege of being in contact with.
My advice for budding creators: Don't limit yourself to what you think you can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you achieve. Don't follow any advice, no matter how good, until you feel as deeply in your spirit as you think in your mind that the counsel is wise.
Gorgeous scenery and two beautiful frogs from "The Frog Chorus"
There was a little confusion about our video features. We at the creator spotlight crew had been getting a lot of questions wondering why some of the videos had interviews with the creators and some were trailers. I am including this to clear up some of the confusion. We have two video features: The Creator Closeup and the Creator Rewind. The Creator Closeup is when a creator opts to join us in create mode to show off some mechanics, give a glimpse of their levels, or even showcase a level that isn't quite finished yet. The Creator Rewind is the second of the video features. This is when the creator leaves their levels in our hand to film a montage of their levels in the form of a trailer. So I hope that clears up some confusion. This particular spotlight is a Creator Rewind, or a trailer, for the very talented IceMaiden.
For this particular Creator Rewind, an Ice Sculpture contest has been arranged in honor of IceMaiden’s Creator Spotlight. BoxGhost is sure she’s going to WOW Icemaiden with her sculpted “masterpiece” . And with Teebonesy and jwwphotos nowhere to be found, she’s pretty confident that nothing could possibly go wrong.
Icey’s levels may not have 1,000,000 points and prizes, complex game play, or giant transforming robot boss fights, but that doesn’t matter. Her levels have one thing that those levels don’t: Heart. And not the Heart for Heart kind, either. The good kind. It’s the kind of heart that is so very rare in LittleBigPlanet levels. The kind that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, even given the icy subject matter she portrays.
So, if you’re looking for a beautiful, visual and auditory experience, boot up LittleBigPlanet and give Icey’s levels a play. But if you’re looking to fight Mega Cheetah and get a million points, play Icey’s levels anyway! Because they’re just that darned good.
Well, that's all, folks! We hope you have enjoyed this installment of the Creator Spotlight. For past spotlights, please visit this link. See you in two weeks!
Results 1 to 15 of 120
Thread: Creator Spotlight 19 - IceMaiden
Creator Spotlight 19 - IceMaiden
4wheel, Alec, amazingflyingpoo, anoken, Voltergeist, Burnvictim42, Chump, Coxy224,
coyote_blue•, Dragonvarsity, Eonknight, ferrrch, Foofles, Gilgamesh•, grayspence, Holguin86, IceMaiden, jeffcu28•, Joey, jwwphotos, koltonaugust, Lady_Luck__777, Leather-Monkey, MobiusDT, Morgana25, mrsvista, napero7, OmegaSlayer, OneEyedBanshee, Pattington_Bear, Prince Pixelton, Rhys125, Richasackboy, RickRock_777•, shadow3596, SketchNZ, Smelling-Cowboy, standby250, Super_Dork_42, Takelow, tanrockstan34, Teebonesy, thanatos989, X-FROGBOY-X, xkappax•
A well deserved spotlight of an amazing creator who's levels are among the most detailed and beautiful found in LBP. The Frog Chorus will bring a smile to anyone's face.
- Join Date
- Apr 2010
- Blog Entries
- Join Date
- May 2009
- Indiana, USA
- Blog Entries
Bravo Icey! Excellent read. Reading your carefully crafted words gently warmed my heart much like your kind soul has from knowing you this past year. Thanks so much for accepting the invitation to a spotlight.
Congrats Sara.. awesome interview and great work recording this one. ...and a special thanks and job well done to Leather-Monkey. Great job dude!
- Join Date
- Dec 2008
- Salisbury, MA
- Blog Entries
she's a well spoken lady. the thruphnie throwback section was gold. can't wait to play the levels i've missed.
- Join Date
- Feb 2010
- In the darkest corner I can find...
" I just got mooned...." I don't know why but I lol'd so hard at that. Great review as always!
- Join Date
- Jul 2010
- At My Computer DUUH
- Blog Entries
I feel sorry for BoxGhost...He worked hard on that cheetah ice sculpture!
- Join Date
- Jul 2010
- Some place called America
- Blog Entries
Finally, a spotlight for IceMaiden. Gorgeous level design and storylines that move you. A well-deserved spotlight indeed. Congrats to you and goodjob to the interviewers.
Ha! Great Job cast and you too Icey!!!!! Great read and video
P.S: I liked Sara's ice sculpture!!
That was a great read. Thanks to Sara for some great questions and to Icey for some wonderful answers, being insightful, interesting and hilarious in equal measure. I totally empathise with some of the emotions Icey goes through when building a level. I'm probably the only person in LBP who actually takes longer to make a level too!
Icey is a true gem and it's great to see her receive recognition for her outstanding work. I've had the rare pleasure since getting to know her of seeing her creations in progress and the amount of work she puts into every little detail is to be admired. I've known her apply scores and scores of stickers to one little object to get just the right shading/shadow on it for ages only to then not be happy with it and start all over again. Even though it looked perfect to me and it was something the casual player of the level wouldn't even notice! Talk about being a perfectionist. When you see the finished result however then the hard work shines through and leaves people like me in awe of her creative talent.
I won't give anything away but the level she is working on now is stunning already. I'm sure it will be a masterpiece to savour.
Thankyou Icey for the kind words about mrsv and myself. I can assure you the feeling is mutual and you are a wonderful friend and lovely person. It's an honour to know you and your lovely other half Rhy.Sig by Rhyfelwr
: HOMAGE 1: " Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", Sheriff Sack 2: On the trail of Texas Jack,Pirates Of The Caribbean - Part 1: The Compass and Jack Sparrow, PLASMAVILLE-Winner of Sackcast Gadders Trial , Sheriff Sack: Cleaning up the town of Sackwood.
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
- Blog Entries
Amazing and funny spotlight!
Creator rewind was great and poor boxghost :P●~Apokalypse now I'm dropping dis bomb~●
- Join Date
- Jun 2010
- Blog Entries
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
- Ontario, Canada
- Blog Entries
Wow! Great review! I cant wait for the next one!Spotlighter for LBPC,
Aspiring Level Designer,
All around nice guy
My Levels In LBP1:Crazy Canyons! [SPOTLIGHT NOD]My levels in LBP2:Vinewood Swamp[MM PICK/SPOTLIGHT NOD!]
Mustachio'd Mishap! Co-Created with KlawwTheClown![SPOTLIGHTED]
[LBN TRIBUTE] Romeo & Juliet: Toy Tales: The Missing Capulet! [SPOTLIGHTED]
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
- Blog Entries
IceMaiden has made levels I consider to be amongst the most visually detailed and beautiful in all of LBP. Complaining about the lack of gameplay in her levels is like complaining that a Monet doesn't have animation. They really are pieces of art you can explore, and it takes more than a passing glance to see the true depth. Obviously this tends to go right over the heads of the majority of LBP players looking for the next bomb survival, but it's great to have these kinds of artistic and musical levels to inspire those who can appreciate them.
I really hope you aren't too intimidated by LBP2's new tools, IceMaiden. I know I can't wait to see what you'll be able to accomplish, even if it takes 6 months.
This was definitely a great choice for the spotlight.
Guys, I've been gone all day and I apologize. But I want to thank Aya for getting this online, and I want to thank everyone who helped me with this thing. Teebonesy was away for vacation for a week, and we all had to really crunch to get this one done ahead of schedule! I was nervous about the rewind because Icey's levels are so beautiful that we wanted to portray that and didn't really want to have the rewind be too funny. It didn't seem to fit with her levels. I think Leather-Monkey did a good job with that, though, and I want to thank him profusely for that.
Anyway, I am a huge fan of IceMaiden's levels, so it was a great honor to be able to interview her and get a behind the scenes look at her levels. I was in complete awe the whole time I was filming her things in create mode. ^__^
comic book artist by day: www.wishfulfillment.kappacino.com
LBP Level designer by night: Centralia - A Ghost Story, The Fall of Winter, The Crystal Cave in Autumn, 7days, The Three Flamigos, What's The Matter and LittleBugPlanet!
Please check out my LittleBigKitsune crown animation and my Crashing Down Machinima!
Also, follow me on Twitter if you want. ^_^