The Time For Chaos
by Abe Rahey | published: June 23, 1998

Image courtesy of Ritual Entertainment

Mike 'CHAOS' Werckle is one of Ritual's newest additions to their sinful art team. Previously working for Raven Software he has participated in several hit titles, such as Hexen 2.

First of all tell us a bit about who you are and what you do, please. :)

I am CHAOS. I make things go.

What brought you to Ritual? And why did you leave Raven?

Things changed when Activision bought Raven. In a fit of insecurity, I emailed Master Steed, asking him if id was hiring (I thought, what the hell, it's like playing the lottery!). And of course they weren't, but he graciously told me that I should contact the good folks over at Ritual because he knew that they were looking for an animator.

How is working at Ritual different from working at Raven?

Activision is Ritual's publisher, but Activision owns Raven. The closest I ever want to get to them again is to maybe install one of their games on my hard drive.

I much prefer the small company mentality when it comes to development.

So far, how does a 'normal' work day go along for you?

At Ritual? Normal?

What's all this talk about feet sliding? Can you elaborate on it please?

Feet: They shouldn't slide. If they do slide, it ruins the illusion of the game's reality. But, in the grand scheme of the game, I place more importance on creating believable, interesting and challenging monsters.

What are you guys trying to do in SiN to prevent this from happening?

That's Beau's dept. They already had all the tools when I came in. Basically, we have a very elegant system that lets the artist define the rate of movement of the character through space, instead of the programmer. The way we animate a creature is the way it appears in the world. It saves the programmers a LOT of time, and it allows the artists to have more iterations of their work.

How long does it usually take you to complete an animation?

I'm a slow poke. I take way, way too long. I have the ultimate respect for Master Steed who is a speed demon, modeler animator, ass-kicker. But it takes me between a week and two weeks to simply animate a standard character. Sometimes longer. My problem is that I'm just too damned picky about the quality of my anims.

What tools do you use for your sinful works of art?

Unfortunately, I am being forced to animate creatures for SiN with the crap known as 3D Studio MAX-- which can bite my balls! MAX might have some things going for it, but I've come to the conclusion that it's a hack animation tool for animation hacks.

For Hexen2 I used Softimage, which I consider to be the best 3D animation tool on the market. Why else would it be the animation software of choice for ILM, Blue Sky and Digital Domain? As soon as I start the next project, I will be using Sofimage again, and I'll let the results speak for themselves.

How many models will you aprox. do for SiN?

I modeled and animated a small, gray ambient creature. And I am also animating two of the bosses. That's all I'll probably have time to do for SiN.

Do you do any texture work as well?

NO!!! 2D is for girls.

What is the most difficult part of model/animating?

It's not difficult at all. If it was difficult, believe me, I wouldn't be doing it. Digging ditches is difficult, animation is not. A baby could do it.

After SiN what do you think you will work on? FAKK2? Or some ‹berEngine based game (SiN 2?)

Seeing as how I wouldn't be caught dead with my pinky finger on the mouse of a computer that runs Lightwave, I guess I won't be working on FAKK2...

What are some of your favorite games.. art/graphics wise?

I hate games.

What do you enjoy doing during your freetime? Do you have any interesting hobbies?

No. I am a completely miserable person. :)

Well, that's all folks! Many thanks to CHAOS for taking the time to answer my questions.. Thanks man!