Interviewing a Software Toolworks developer

Time Turner

You are filled with determination. (R/GD/TT)
A lof of the developers for Software Toolworks, the same people that made Mario's Time Machine and Mario is Missing!, are actually still operating today. One of them is Maude Church, a lead artist for Mario's Time Machine who currently works as a freelance artist. If you read the title, you can see where this is going: I emailed her and asked her a few questions about her time spent on the game. I cleaned up the formatting a bit, but everything here was as she wrote it.

Q: How did you first start working at Software Toolworks?

Maude Church: I had started at Software Toolworks as a temp. They were doing many Mario products. I think it was after 6 mos or longer, I was hired permanently. I worked on several other projects, and then Mario's Time Machine Delux came along.

Q: What was your role specifically on the game? What was the work like?

Chuch: My role on Mario's Time Machine Delux was as an artist, animator and art lead. I had not worked on the first Mario's Time Machine, that had no animation. So, this project involved going into a static image and adding animation to it. It was challenging - and very limiting as to what could be done to add movement. I supervised the two or three other artists. We would get together to come up with ideas, it was fun.

Q: You worked as a lead artist alongside Jeff Griffeath, correct? What was he like?

Church: Jeff Griffeath was great. I believe he had worked on the original MTM. Talented painter too. He gave me a lot of space, he was careful to check the work. No problems.

Q: What do you remember about everyone else on the project?

Church: I believe two of the other artists were full time at Software Toolworks, and we had one temp. I had some trouble with the temp's work, and we finally had to let him go.

Q: Did you ever get the impression that Nintendo was controlling things, or did you have general freedom?

Church: Nintendo was very hands off. They were most concerned with having Mario look exactly right. Each pixel on him had to be in the exact right place. That was it, as far as I knew.

Q: Were there any difficulties working with the Mario license?

Church: No difficulties that I was aware of, there could have been some I did not hear about. That wasn't my area, but I never heard of any.

Q: There were plenty of historical locations filled with colorful characters. Were there any in particular that you enjoyed designing?

Church: Again, Idid not design the locations, those had already been done. All the little animations were fun to work on.

Q: How focused was the team on making everything historically accurate?

Church: Everyone was into be accurate. Focused, and being accurate - that helped, wasn't a problem.

Q: If I may ask, what did you do after the game was complete?

Church: After the game. ...I got a big bonus because we only had one pixel out of place, and finished on time. I went on to art direct the Peter Rabbit project.

Q: Finally, I have to ask: do you know anything about how the level featuring some of the developers came about? Considering how the rest of the game focuses on being historical, suddenly meeting Jeff Griffeath, Don Lloyd, and others is quite the departure.

Church: The level with the developers was just for fun. ( I did the food truck.) It was a departure, but I think it reflects the amount of fun we were having with it. A little personal moment with a laugh. We could get pretty silly sometimes!