Interview with Aristides Castiglioni

Mmmm.... that's a tough question, I think it was back in 97 or 98. to be honest this started back to the beginning of the Power PC era of the Amiga so maybe you can get a better idea of the year with this reference. Back in those times I created an Amiga animation called Amiga Legacy, I think it's still available at Aminet. Well one of the members of the SOMS team whose name was Henning Wolf wrote to me as he really liked the anim. After a few mails we become good friends and he told me about this game, apparently they had some problems with the sprites guy so he asked me if I could create sprites, I made some tests and I was accepted in the team.

Me??? Well, as you can tell by the sprites I'm a big Anime fan. That was the reason why I started to draw. The rest of the team were also big fans of Anime and of course the main influence for SOMS was Zelda.

I was the one who created the sprites, but I always had to create them based on a brief description that Henning wroted so we could say that I was also the character designer. The only one that I didn't design was the main character: Jenny. That's the girl with the Sailor Moon-like hairstyle. That one was already created when I joined the team so I made the sprite based on the original design. The rest were all designed by me.

Mmmmmm..... that's a hard question, I think there were 8 or probably 10 guys in the team but the only ones that I remember are: Henning Wolf Knopp and Sylvio Kurze. I was never introduced to the rest of them as they were the only ones who knew English.

I never met them. I saw some pictures of Henning and Sylvio, but I never met the rest of the team. Everything was done via e-mail.

As far as I know it was machine code, probably they used C too but that's only my guess.

For the sprites I used DPaint IV (the AGA version). The rendered graphics were created in Lightwave I think.

The idea was to make the game available to all the AGA machines. The game was going to need a CD drive as it was a CD only project, but the idea was to make it run on all Amigas with 020 030 040 and 060 processors, even the ones with graphic cards were going to be supported.

It was very important as the idea was to make a big epic Anime adventure. I remember that Henning sent me once a translation of the story. To be honest the beginning sounded a little bit complicated, however I can't tell you a lot about the rest as only the part that I read was translated to English, the rest was in German as I don't speak German I wasn't able to know the rest of the story.

As far as I can tell you it looked big, I remember that once I saw a map of one of the worlds and it looked huge, there were going to be a lot of different worlds and if they were going to be as big as the one I saw then we are talking of a huuuuge universe, believe me.

Hope you have enough space, this one is a huge answer :D

OK, everything worked fine for some months. I always kept in contact with Henning as he was the only one who knew how to write in English, but one day he just disappeared, then Sylvio the other one in charge of the project wrote and told me that Henning went to make his military service in the German army. That's when things went wrong, I had virtually no communication with Sylvio. When Henning was in the team he always asked me to design some sprites on a more or less weekly basis, but when he left things weren't moving at all, then I started to read some of the mails that I received. Not all as many of them were in German but it looked like there were some problems with the programmers, apparently they weren't making any progress.

Then a new programmer joined the team which ironically I knew as I was making another Game that Wasn't [Blast Squad] for that guy. When this new programmer joined the team the idea for an amiga version was scrapped, and then the decision was made to make this game for the Game Boy Advance. That was the only time when Sylvio asked me to create anything and the thing that I had to make was to make the sprites of jenny the main character smaller, that was a big pain in the A($*$ as I had to remake all of her actions for the new Game Boy size, however things were looking good as the programmer built a small running demo of the game to see how it would look on the Advance.

That was the only time that I saw a moving demo of the game, however that was the only thing that was ever done. After that the programmer didn't do anything else, and soon the project was scrapped and they decided to try and make Deep Silence for the PC. However as they were going to make the PC version on 3D that was the end for me as I didn't have any experience in 3D, so I left the team. After that I just saw some small screen of the PC version, but it wasn't very good, they were making a weird mix of fantasy with Silent Hill-like stages. After some time the development page disappeared and I never heard of the team again, guess that was the end of SOMS.

The amiga version was completed at 30 or 40%. I think there were some running demos but sadly I don't have any of them as those demos needed a good amount of memory and I only had a very basic amiga 1200 so as it was not possible for me to run those demos I never asked for them.

Sadly no, here in Mexico (oh yes im Mexican BTW :D) we never had enough guys who were willing to make games, not enough programmers or GFX designers, so I was very happy when I had the opportunity to work on Deep Silence. I could've been the first Mexican to work on an Amiga project, sadly it was never completed.

My personal favorites are: Populous 2, Lemmings, Shadow of the Beast, Monkey Island 2 and Leander. Too bad the companies started to jump to other platforms. I know that the Amiga was able to create games as good as the ones on the consoles, but many companies used the amiga as a "jump" platform. As soon as they had enough cash they just leave to greener pastures and that was very sad.

Thank you very much! And thanks for giving SOMS a home !!!