At the beginning of April 2016 Peter Verdi's Magnetic Scrolls Chronicles website went offline. So far all my attempts to contact Peter failed. His site carried some invaluable interviews with former Magnetic Scrolls people. To preserve the work I temporarily uploaded a dump of his site taken in summer of 2015. All you can see below is 100% Peter's work! Hopefully his site will reappear soon! Peter, if you read this, can you contact me?

Remember how it's like to ride on a cloud? How it feels to be squashed by a bus, or how to get that damned gold disc from Micky? Well, here's your chance to relive all these situations.

Have a chat with the devil in THE PAWN, ransack an entire island in THE GUILD OF THIEVES, restore luck itself to a whole country in JINXTER, uncover a conspiracy in CORRUPTION, become an inter-dimensional secret agent in FISH!, an ancient god in MYTH, walk in the footsteps of Alice in WONDERLAND and inherit a haunted mansion in THE LEGACY.
Become a part of the fantasy of Magnetic Scrolls - you certainly won't regret it . . .


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The Arts That Spell Adventure - Page Two
written by Mike Gerrard for "Atari ST User" magazine 03/1988 (used with kind permission)

In fact, none of the several artists the company uses have been trained in computer graphics. They all have conventional artistic backgrounds and experience and are then trained in the use of the ST.

"All our artists work initially on the ST", Anita explains, "because that was the second version of The Pawn that we did, after the text-only QL version. At that time the Amiga was just a twinkle in someone's eye, and we already had the ST and a copy of Neo so we just got on with it and it's worked perfectly well - so why change it?

I'd like to say it was all planned and everything was carefully evaluated, but nothing about Magnetic Scrolls has ever been planned! The artists are only brought in when the adventure itself is fairly well-advanced, when the room descriptions are more or less complete and the exits and objects for each location have been almost finalized.

"Ideally, two artists would be involved in producing the 60 or so original ST screens that would make up a typical adventure, but this can increase to four or five because of the pressure of deadlines. The artists are called in and talked through the game, and they choose for themselves which locations they want to illustrate.

On the platform with the rain weatherman


"I strongly believe that the only one who knows about art is the artist", says Anita Sinclair emphatically. "The artist will then be given a complete revealed location for each of the graphics that they're going to be working on.

"This tells them absolutely everything that's relevant to the place: Objects, exits, weather, general feel and atmosphere. No memory or other restrictions are given, and the next thing Magnetic Scrolls will see will be the finished screens. "Admittedly I do tend to snarl at them if the pictures don't compress too well", says Anita, "but basically the only technical restraints that we give them are the size of the screen, and even that they can go a little bit over if they like.

Is this the end of the line


"They do know though, that we'll always drop pictures rather than text if we're pushed for memory. It's much simpler to save a chunk of memory by dropping a picture than by having to try to alter the text, which can start to affect lots of things. We had to drop two pictures on the ST version of Jinxter, for instance, because we ran out of disc space."

Geoff Quilley seems to thrive under such constraints: "When I've got the gist of the game, I choose the locations I'm going to illustrate. I have got certain interests in drawing, and that probably influences the ones I choose.

"For instance, if you look at some of the rooms in The Guild of Thieves, you'll see that the architectural styles tend to preoccupy the most. I find that interesting to do, and obviously I'd probably choose anything with dramatic potential as well.

"I tend to do lots of little sketches first, mostly pencil, just to work out ideas, check out perspectives and so on. Occasionally I will also go into quite fine detail in a sketch to enable me to see how things will look.

"I can make suggestions to the adventure and change things around a little - if I felt it would be better to make a room a different size or shape, for instance.

"When I finally move on to the ST I use Neo, which I find quite adequate for my needs. I did look at Degas, but it didn't seem to have any advantages as far as I was concerned. There were a few little extras, but they seemed to be things I'd maybe use once a year at the most, so it didn't seem worth switching.

"I use a lot of soft colours, for pastel-like effects, and that's because one of the problems I find in illustrating things is with the colours. Bright colours seem to me to be too bright: They almost leap out of the screen at you and that makes it difficult to maintain a balanced picture, so I generally tend to prefer the more subdued look.

"I did eventually think my graphics for The Pawn were better than most other stuff around at the time. It seemed obvious to me there were very few people doing computer graphics who knew very much about the art side of things, about colour and perspective and so on.

A gothic castle fills this peaceful mountain scene


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