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Interview: We chat with the co-creator of Dino D-Day

Nazis. Dinosaurs. Without a doubt these are two of pop culture's biggest and most used groups of bad guys. But what if these two totally different groups suddenly joined forces? That's the uber-cool premise behind Dino D-Day. The upcoming Source Engine based game has the Nazis bringing in the big lizards to help them in their quest to take over the world in World War II. The game comes from new developer Digital Ranch Interactive which has just released a free Half-Life 2 mod that serves as a demo for what they have planned for the full game. You can download that mod right now at Big Download.

Big Download got a chance to ask some questions to Digital Ranch Interactive's co-founder Abe Scheuermann to find out more about their plans for the game, his reaction to how well the mod release has been received and more.

Gallery: Dino D-Day

First tell us a little about yourself and about the company behind Dino D-Day, Digital Ranch Interactive.

I studied film at Columbia College Chicago and graduated in January 2002. That's about the time I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in filmmaking. I wound up working for a documentary production company called Digital Ranch – starting off as a runner even. I worked my way up and eventually got the chance to run a series – my first was an air combat show for the History Channel called "Dogfights." The show used computer animation to recreate historic dogfights of the past. The owners of Digital Ranch (Rob Kirk and Rob Lihani), myself, and my brother officially started Digital Ranch Interactive earlier this year – though work on Dino D-Day really began in 2008. Our goal is to produce high quality video games and content related to video games. Dino D-Day is our first project of course but we hope there are many more to come!

How did you get interested in modding and game design?

First, I'm a long time gamer. Before Dino D-Day came along I had a nagging sense that someday it would be fun to dabble in video games. Still, I never really did much in the modding scene or much of anything related to game design. My focus was film – doing short films, producing TV shows, drawing up show proposals, etc. Then, when Portal came out I was so completely enthralled by the superb storytelling of that game I decided to email Valve just for kicks (in their commentary Gabe asks you to email him). To my complete surprise, I got an email back from one of the writers on the game who just happened to be a fan of Dogfights, the show I was producing at the time. One thing led to another and in 2008 we licensed the Source Engine and voila, I was thrust into the world of video game development. Needless to say, most of the development time on Dino D-Day was me just learning the tools and so on. Luckily, I studied computer programming for a couple years before I went to film school so I still had some skills knocking around. Now, I feel like I'm a semi-competant game designer and programmer so I guess that's an accomplishment!

How did the idea behind Dino D-Day come about?

The initial germ of the idea came from comic books. Dinosaurs and war are fixtures of old comics and there are some fantastically wacky stories in there. Rob Lihani (my boss at the time) had one such comic hanging on his wall which myself and a couple guys I worked with thought was hilarious. The comic wasn't specifically about World War 2 – just dinosaurs in a war setting. At any rate, the joke stuck and after ruminating on it for a while I finally came to the idea of Hitler resurrecting dinosaurs and unleashing them on the Allies. There was just something right about that combination. Initially, I thought of it as a film or a television show but when the opportunity with Valve came up we ended up transforming Dino D-Day into a First Person Shooter and here we are.


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