Jean-Baptiste Cariou aka JBC21 back homepage search
interviewed by Eric in October 2002

Eric: "Jean-Baptiste, why are you a fan of Tombraider?"

Jean-Baptiste Cariou

Jean-Baptiste: "Actually I am not a fan of video games and I can't say that I am very experienced. So why is Tomb raider the exception? I am not sure but I think it is a combination of several factors. Firstly, the game itself is of noticeable quality, when compared to other games. When TR1 was launched, it was a revolution in the graphics, the scenario, and even in the concept of the adventure game. I have been attracted by this modernity and fluency. Then such an unorthodox heroine as Lara (both in the character and in the shapes :)) can only be attractive. Finally, I personally like adventure, discovery and the unknown. I am also very curious about the ancient (and contemporary) Mediterranean civilizations, cultures and languages. But as I am very busy with my work, my activities as 'adventurer' are limited, so I have compensation with Lara. How many times have I heard myself saying 'Wahow, I'd like to do that, like Lara'. With Tomb raider, it is possible to travel in marvelous places, escape in exotic temples, fight legendary monsters, search precious but forgotten artifacts, solve puzzles which have remained unsolved for centuries... To make a résumé, TR allows you to change world and to be participant of Lara's adventures in a realistic setting and in a way of interaction."

Eric: "When you build a level what does frustrate you the most, and what do you enjoy most?"

Jean-Baptiste: "Building a level is a real pleasure for me. I try to put the maximum of care into the architecture and the texturing; that is what I like the most. As I am perfectionist, months can come to pass before I find the expected composition. On the opposite I am not a genius concerning the creation of puzzles. If possible, I try not to copy other levels! What I hate is when the Editor crashes because I've probably gone beyond the memory limitations. In this case I have to suppress some rooms (Aaaaaaaargh, it's horrible) and to rethink Lara's course, even if the game play is therefore less interesting. I hate the limitations of the Editor! What frustrates me also, is the fact that you have to convert the level each time you want to see the result (I do not like the Preview function)."

Eric: "What do you think about your own levels - The Canyon/First Cataract and Entrance to Salomon's Tomb - one year after they were built?"

Jean-Baptiste: "Sincerely, I think that The Canyon The Canyon/First Cataractwas a good level concerning the mapping of rooms and texturing. But it was not so subtle concerning the action in the game. That is why I have in mind the project to revise this level, adding more enemies and challenges. I plan to add also running water for The first cataract (Isn't it a weird thing to have a cataract without water?). Actually I am pleased and rather proud of this level when considering it has been realized only a few months after the Editor was out and without previous tests. I am glad to have soon received positive feedback. For Salomon's tomb, I admit it is less good, and I could have improved it by working more."

Eric: "Among the levels from other builders you have played, what is (according to your taste) the level of the year 2001 and the level of the year 2002?"

Jean-Baptiste: "It is a difficult question; there is a lot of excellent levels. Well, let's say that for 2001 I have enjoyed The Quest of the Lost Diamond by Bibi Phoque and all levels by Dhama. In 2002 I had a very good moment with Pascal Ducey's saga The Rescue, with Inchdix's series The Hidden Garden and the superb levels of The Last Crusade. Of course there is a lot of other levels, but I have been impressed by those ones for the design and the perfect architecture, for the clever gameplay and the originality of the scenario, for the puzzles and situations."

Eric: "You have made 50 reviews for Michael's site, and then you have stopped. So have you made those reviews to get the silver award or do you have a better excuse (to stop)?"

Jean-Baptiste: "OK, it looks like I ran after the award! In fact, since I made my last review I've played a lot of levels that I could rate, maybe one hundred. So if I wanted, I could escape with a bigger award! :) Actually, it's only a lack of time, and I am a bit lazy. I think I'll make reviews again one day... yes, yes, I promise."

Eric: "You seem to have a very interesting work. Can you tell us with more details what your days look like? Do you dive often in the depths of the seas? What is the most beautiful thing you have seen there?"

Jean-Baptiste: "I will not say that my work is a passion, but it has many positive and attractive aspects. Yes, I dive almost all of my days, and I like that a lot. My work consists of at least two points. Firstly, it is a surveillance of the mode of colonization of the reef by the little larva of coral. Then, it consists in monitoring the evolution in time of the animal community (the coral in particular but not fish) and the vegetal community (algae and sea grass) to see if there is a degradation of the reef by pollution, tourism, or climate changes (global warming). So my work is essentially underwater. I make films of my experiments with a digital camera and then analyze the data on a computer. To answer the last question, there is a lot of wonderful things underwater such as the very colorful sea slugs and some tropical fishes. Then if you start to look more in details on a smaller scale, one can discover that a coral is marvelously beautiful, that a sea anemone contains translucent shrimps with orange or blue stripes... In the sea you can always find one thing more beautiful than another. And then, just to make some people dream a bit, dolphins often come visit us when we are working... unless it is a whale shark!"

Eric: "Are you somehow influenced by a past or present culture in your daily life or do you have a personal philosophy of life?"

Entrance to Salomon's Tomb

Jean-Baptiste: "Again a difficult matter, not easy to evaluate and to answer. I would say that I have a personal philosophy, strongly influenced by my past, especially my familial past. To be more concise, let's say that I try to make my way while avoiding to hurt others. That implies a lot of listening and tolerance. I also like to be alone to dream, to think and to wonder about the actions of this world. In any way, I consider that education is a priority and a power so that people become conscious that the world is small and frail and that it is in making efforts today that some catastrophes can be avoided."

Eric: "Was your stay in Israel enriching on a personal or professional perspective? Did you make friends there?"

Jean-Baptiste: "About the enrichment of my stay, there are no words to describe it. On a professional aspect, the tropical marine world has been revealed to me. I have learned a lot, even the art of diving! On a personal point of view, I would say that Israel was an unexpected discovery. Before coming here, I had in mind biblical images of the Judah desert and Jerusalem. I had also the preconceived ideas presented by television and the media. Well, I was surprised how much one can be influenced by the media and quickly prejudge things he/she really knows nothing or little about. Three years in Israel are still not enough to fully understand the deep paradoxes existing between the two people who fight in the Holy Land."

Eric: "If you were an adventurer/archeologist and if you had the choice, would you prefer to find ancient objects on a Pacific island, find a treasure of considerable value in the depths of the Catacombs in Rome, or simply admire the sunset nearby Alexandria's ruins?"

Jean-Baptiste: "If I was an adventurer, I'd like the three adventures as much, although you do not need to be an adventurer to admire a sunset ! What a chance to be able to explore a Pacific island, to collect the scattered sacred relics of the God Tiki (oh, oh, am I not unveiling something about my next levels ? ) and what an excitement to enter in the heart of Rome to make the stones speak about the emperor Adrian...then escape to Alexandria to have some rest...before traveling again to China, India, New Zealand..."

Eric: "Tell us everything about your new levels :what, where, when, how, why?"

Jean-Baptiste: "I could say many things but I prefer that the player judge by him/herself...and it will be soon possible. Ok, only a few appetizers: a Pacific island, a river and waterfalls, a shore, secret temples and the relics of God Tiki, scattered everywhere. Lara will have to find the Heart of Tiki to complete this adventure in four levels (with a fifth secret level, The Wreck of the Ocean Pride, for players who will have found all secrets in the main levels). And I have already many new ideas for future adventures. Now that I know the limits of the Editor I can work better."

Eric: "Will you play Angel of Darkness ? What are you expecting with this game?"

Jean-Baptiste: "Yes, sure. I will play Angel of Darkness. In the beginning, when Eidos and Core spoke of Lara Croft's new adventures in a sixth episode, I was not very enthusiastic by what they described of the future game. Also I was very disappointed by TR5 Chronicles. Now I have seen samples of the game and read previews of the scenario and the new technical features, and I expect something really great, in all points: beautiful graphics, new moves for Lara, a more complex character (even if I was not pleased with this idea before), new choices and possibilities. However I hope that the atmosphere will not turn to pure mystical stuff and I hope adventure will still be the predominant aspect of the game."

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