This is the Member of the Month; an interview that I will be doing at the end of each month. It's a fun way of finding out about respected members of the community.
The first member of the month is Unas, the creator of Ace Attorney Online as we know it today. He is the person who has created this entire community, and for that we are very grateful. Therefore, it is, in my opinion, appropriate that he should be the first Member of the Month.
I personally select each month's Member of the Month. People are picked based on their contributions to the community, whether they are: making excellent trials, providing comic relief or just being a brilliant person. The next Member of the Month could be you!
If you have any questions about the Member of the Month system, please PM me.
Meph: Hello, welcome to the first Member of the Month interview.
Unas: Hi Meph, it's an honour as well as a complete surprise to be your first guest in this show.
Meph: Can you tell us about how you created AAO?
Unas: Well, it was around April 2007 when I got the idea, when I discovered the website created by Spparrow. It enabled playing the first case of AA3 in French, but in a very basic manner; only static html pages with links. I decided I should create a more interactive version, closer to the gameplay of the original games.
When I showed him my first prototype (it's still online at http://unas.zole.free.fr/PW3Trial1/ ), he was quite enthusiastic.
And when I got it completely done, he suggested that we could imagine, in a far future, a way for people to create trials. That far future came out to be 3 months later, since I got motivated enough.
Meph: That was quite fast!
Unas: Yes, well, at that time I didn't have much work yet. It was perhaps the coolest time in my student life, since I only had one exam (the French Baccalauréat) that was too simple to require any work from me. So I had plenty of time, and as I said I was very motivated by the project. My first big project in web development.
Meph: That brings us to my next question. Before you created AAO, what were you doing in Real Life?
Unas: Do you imply that since I created it, I'm not in real life any more?
Meph: Lol, no not like that. But I'd prefer it if I was the one asking the questions.
Unas: Okay, I'll try not to interrupt you too much.
Unas: Anyway, in real life there's not much to say. I was just a student - a quite brilliant one, true, but nothing more. In fact, I still am, except that I have progressively specialised on scientific subjects.
Meph: Yes, you seem to be working very hard.
Unas: Well, I chose one of the hardest - but also most interesting - path possible in French education. That is, I went to the French "Classes Préparatoires" and now into an engineering school. That's an education path similar to a Licence+Master in university, except that work is much more intense in general. Compared to French universities, at least.
Meph: Do you enjoy it there?
Unas: Well, the two years of Prépa were hard and quite stressful but it was also very interesting, so I don't regret doing them. And it enabled me to land in the school I'm now in, the Ensimag. That's the best school in France for Mathematics and Computer Science, and I must say I'm quite enjoying myself here. Even though some school projects tend to take all my free time from me.
Meph: What was your childhood like?
Unas: Well, what do you excpect me to say ? I'm lucky to have had a happy family, two nice older brothers (well, pretty annoying at times, yeah), and no difficulties at school at the beginning, so everything was quite fine.
Meph: And in the present day, what is your average day like?
Unas: It depends on whether I have classes or not. When I have, well, I go to classes, hang out with friends between classes, and I go back home when it's over. How original However, I tend to work pretty late on my computer after that, so I lack some sleep. I usually catch up during the week end, when I can get up around 1pm.
So yeah, apologies to all members of AAO, part of my free time goes to my sleep rather than working on the editor's next update.
Meph: I don't think we mind if you take too long with your improvements. The Editor is very stable at the moment.
Unas: True, I'm quite proud of V5 as it is. Thanks a lot for your help with the design of it by the way
Meph: You're welcome.
Meph: So, you don't really seem to make your own trials, and I assume that's because you don't have the time. If you did, do you think you'd be good at writing trials?
Unas: In fact, I have done one, in French, and have another one in the works... Well, I haven't worked on it for months, but anyway. Considering the one I have done, I'm not very proud of it, mostly because the ending is too fast. I think I lack the patience to work on trials properly until the end. That's the main problem, because otherwise my imagination works fine and I write rather well, if I may say so, but I can't really stay focused for too long on something.
Meph: I think many people have the same problem.
Unas: Yep, but thankfully there are also many people who don't, seeing the bunch of good trials we have on AAO now.
Meph: Moving on, what are your plans for the future?
Unas: Well, considering studies, I'm going further into my specialisation into computer science, and mainly into communication technologies. My ideal professional objective would be to get hired by Google at the end of school.
Meph: Is there a Google office in France?
Unas: Google France exists but it isn't very important. Most European Google developers are sent to Zurich, and those who don't mind to travel can go to Mountains View, in California.
Meph: That's quite near to Mozilla as well. Do you think you could be a Firefox developer one day?
Unas: Well, it's possible. As you may know, Google developers have the ability to spend 20% of their working time on a personal project : if I want to, I could spend this time giving a hand to other Firefox developers.
Meph: Or developing more Trial Editor features?
Unas: I'm not sure this would qualify as a personal project Google could pay me for.
Meph: What is your favourite Ace Attorney game?
Unas: I'm hesitating between AA3 and AAI. Both have the best soundtrack of the series in my opinion, and both have pretty epic stories. AAI has a small disadvantage : case 2 wasn't as good as others; on the contrary, I loved the Logic feature. If I have time and motivation for it, I'll implement it into AAO.
In fact, I already have several things planned for supporting AAI features in AAO - now I just have to spend some time working on it, which is the main problem.
Meph: Are there any other games that you really like? Ones that aren't in the AA series?
Unas: Yes, certainly. First of all, Okami, which is the best game ever. Provided you like Zelda-styled adventure games, of course. I have been a fan of Zelda for long, and Okami surpassed it brilliantly.
Next, I'd mention the Super Smash Bros series; I've been playing it since its N64 installment, and it's the only fighting game that I enjoy playing.
About computer games, I'll mention Supreme Commander, probably the most subtle and epic strategy game I have played in years. I used to be a fan of the Command and Conquer series, but the recent installment aren't good enough to compete with something like SupCom.
Oh, yes, and before finishing that list, Tales of Symphonia is also one of my favourites, though I haven't played it in a while.
And at last, the most common games : Zelda, Mario, Pokémon, etc. I bought SoulSilver recently, though I haven't found time to finish it yet.
Meph: What was the first video game you ever played?
Unas: It's either Tetris on the first Gameboy, or Sonic 2 on the Sega Megadrive. I don't remember exactly.
Sonic is also a series I've been a fan of for long, though I haven't played many of the most recent games. I'm rather a fan of the old school ones on the Megadrive : Sonic 3 & Knuckles was perhaps the best 2D platform game ever.
Meph: I have to agree with you there, being a Sonic fan myself.
So are you going to get Sonic 4 when that is released this Autumn?
Unas: I don't know, it depends on the time I'll have. As I said, I have Pokémon Soul Silver to finish before. But it certainly looks interesting.
Meph: Last question, now. Do you have any other interests?
Unas: No, I don't. I'm a 100% pure geek.
Meph: Oh dear.
Unas: No, seriously, I'm quite interested in literature - mostly science fiction. Isaac Asimov being, of course, my favourite author. By the way, I could say science fiction in general, since that includes Stargate too. Ever wondered where my nickname came from ?
Meph: Before we conclude the first Member of the Month interview, do you have anything else you'd like to say?
Unas: Well, there's only one thing to say, I think : thanks to the whole AAO community for its support, as I'm quite proud of this brilliant success for my first big project. I'll try not to let you down and keep working to make AAO better in the future.