On behalf of all of the interested Disney Infinity Fans we asked some questions.
What is your real name? Country?
My name is Christian Whittam (age 18) and I’m from the United Kingdom.
My sister Claudia Whittam (age 20) also pitches in sometimes when she can (be bothered)
Your toy box submission username was awarded the toy box of the year award for the funniest username? What is the origin story for your toy box submission username?
I am glad you asked, One day I was bitten by a radioactive tuna in a pet shop ….. ha ha, no It actually started roughly a year ago on steam when I was bored of my old usernames (subzyro /predator-X1) and decided to have a name change. At the time, I happened to be eating a tuna sandwich and in the skype chat someone was talking about kings and lemons (for some strange reason) and then it clicked… King of the Tunas. I’ll call myself that. It is unique, it is fun, and it stands out. I've used it for most things since. When the awards first came out I was looking through them interested in what awards there where, then I saw the words “funniest username King of the Tunas” and I burst into laughter, I was so happy.
What Made You Decide to buy Infinity?
*For the past few years I have typically been a pc gamer, and had lost my interest in Disney early 2010( ironically just after I got my Xbox 360). When Frozen came out and everyone was going on and on about it, I had to check it out. In anticipation for the DVD (which was with my sister at university) I watched Tangled on Netflix which made me want to watch Frozen even more and rebooted my appreciation for Disney. Then after I watched the full movie of Frozen, something changed inside of me (trust me I’m not exaggerating). There was an advert for Disney Infinity on before the movie, which made me decide to do some research on Disney Infinity. After that I caught up on what I had missed, primarily Wreck-It-Ralph and the Princess and the Frog. I thought back to 2008 when I went to Walt Disney World and how happy I was when I was there. So when my sister asked for the Xbox because I didn’t use it, I suggested that we get Disney Infinity and explained the whole concept to her. I also told her about the recent announcement of Merida and Maleficent which immediately sold her. So in a way the Frozen DVD is the reason I decided to buy Disney Infinity, but I wouldn’t say it is entirely responsible… Marvel played a big role when I heard it was coming to the platform.
What is your favorite play set and why?
My favorite play set is probably the Lone Ranger play set (Pirates a close second) primarily because I loved the western aesthetic of the play set as well as how free you are to go wherever you want. The train that goes around the whole map was a very unique part of the play set and is something that I hope will eventually be incorporated into the toy box. The toys you unlocked as you played through the Lone Ranger such as the crow wing pack and the steam train vehicle were also very cool.
Who is your favorite Disney infinity 2.0 character and why?
My favorite 2.0 character has to be ….*drumroll*……Green Goblin (Hiro Hamada being a close second). I think his figure is incredibly detailed and looks awesome when on display with other characters. I only got him recently but I was highly anticipating his announcement as an actual figure, and when the announcement came with the epic trailer I was sold in a heartbeat. Yes he doesn't have his glider(Yet), but I think his abilities are very cool. The animations for him look very unique compared to other characters, and I love shouting “UNLIMITED POWAH” when I use his super move. If I had to pick a favorite 1.0 character it would be Anna because I thought she was hilarious in the film, and she is now one of my favorite Disney characters. Her figure is beautifully sculpted and although her moves are not the best in game her dialogue is quite funny. I think she also deserves more spotlight than she has been given.
Which character would you like to see included that hasn't already been and why?
I would personally like to see Scar from the Lion King added or any Once Upon A Time characters. I would like to see Scar because he is my favorite villain in the Disney roster. I also think four legged characters would bring something new to the table. Plus who doesn't want more villains? Abilities wise he could pounce for his ranged attack and perhaps summon a hyena henchman as his super move (similar to team-ups). I also really like ABC’s Once Upon A Time. So if they added any characters from that I would be very happy, and I’m sure my sister would be too.
What is your favorite power disc and why?
My favorite power disc is probably King Louie’s Monkeys purely because of how fun it is to use. If your surrounded, it can really save your skin. The animation for the event is also excellent, and it is by far the most powerful event disc available in my opinion (Maleficent Spell Cast being a close runner up). The benefit of this disc as well as other event discs is that they can provide 1.0 characters with their own super move even though in some cases it doesn't make sense.
What is your favorite new toy from 2.0?
It has to be the text creator. It has unlocked so much more potential for storytelling and can be used to make quest givers or provide narration to what’s happening on screen. The problem with 1.0 was the player had to sort of guess what was going on in a toy box because there was no text except for a sentence or two in the description. But now thanks to the text creator, the possibilities are truly infinite. *was not paid to say this*. I also like the improvements made to certain toys such as the sky changer, with it now being capable of changing to a specific sky rather than random.
What made you want to build toy boxes for challenges?
Well I initially saw the recognition artists got from the YouTube videos as well as Toy Box TV, and I thought to myself “wouldn't it be amazing if I got into the top five”. So me and my sis entered 3 challenges in total for 1.0, these included Olaf in Summer (Olaf Saves Summer), Sugar Rush (Sugar Rush 2.0), and Super Hero Training (S.H.I.E.L.D training). Only one made the top 5, which was understandable as the Olaf one was our first and we didn't have many toys, and I wasn't aware that Marvel/ Star Wars toy boxes were not allowed. But as time goes on and 2.0 comes out, I find myself caring more about my toy box’s likes, because knowing someone is enjoying my work makes me happy, in the end it doesn't matter if I don’t make top 5. The important thing is that my toy boxes make other people happy which as a result makes me happy.
When you hear of a new challenge, what steps do you take to make your idea for a toy box a reality?
1. The challenge...I find out what the theme. If I like it, I will then check what power discs/toys I have available that would be suitable to use for that theme. An example of this would be when I did Disney Classics Clash, I needed to check what themes I had in order to decide what areas to include in the race. I will also check with my sister in case she would like to take part, but this is generally a no unless it’s a theme she really likes. At this point, I also check if I will have enough time after college to make a toy box of a high quality. This stage normally takes me an hour. However during development, I may decide that my idea will be better for a different challenge, and I don’t enter my submission.
2. Brainstorming...I try to think of a unique Idea and mentally plan out what kind of toy box I want it to be. I personally love racing in Disney Infinity and you may have noticed this due to 4 out of 6 of my featured toy boxes are race tracks. This does not necessarily mean I only do races as shown by my other two featured toy boxes which are more adventure type games. At this point, I may do a quick Google sketch- up layout model to get a rough idea of where everything is going to go. This takes roughly 3 hours
3. Building...If I am building a race, I generally build the track first and then build the scenery after; however, this doesn't always work out as seen on FantRaceYa where there are a lot of areas that are just pure track and nothing surrounding it. I also try to avoid lots of straight lines in races which sometimes can make a race insanely hard as I discovered with Big Thunder Mountain in which I constantly finished fourth. When I am not creating races I like to try use a good blend of creativity toys but I tend to avoid the very complex ones (at least at the moment). I also try to always include a fun story, an objective, and a fight in my non-race toy boxes. Building my toy boxes typically take 9 -10 hours
4. Testing...This is the part I always dread doing, because If there is something wrong with my toy box it gets revealed here and then I have to try and fix it without breaking it any more. I always leave it until the last minute as well so I am on my ps4 at around 1 am, college in a few hours trying to make sure everything works/ looks right. I may ask my sister to test it out if she didn't help create it as well just so it’s checked by another person and I’m super certain it works.
5. Save and Submit...I generally don’t add the title or description until I’ve finished the testing phase. I always add a camera in so that I can have a picture that sums up my toy box without it being played, and to also make it appealing. To finish off I like to include a detailed description and I try to think of a snappy name such as Disney Classics Clash, FantRaceYa and Season to Be Brave. Then I generally wait until Wednesday morning (UK time) to submit.
What do you consider to be you your specialty when building toy boxes?
Hmmm this is a tough one… I wouldn't say I have a specialty, but I think I’m going to say race tracks because I feel I create tracks that are both a challenge and fun to play. True they are never number 1, but I don’t expect them to be. I also am slowly starting to build structures out of blocks which is something I originally did in Space Engineers, such as Elsa’s palace (V.1 and V. 2) and the finished but yet to be utilized Imperial Star Destroyer (Coming soon). This is something I plan on consistently including in my future toy boxes such as the upcoming agents of shield challenge and multiplayer challenge.
What is your favorite toy box that someone else has built?
Without a doubt it is Disneyland Paris by Erdadi3, the story was clever and the map was so beautifully detailed that I got deja’vu when I actually visited Disneyland Paris a few days later for Christmas. Their fully built Space Mountain was a blast and the Adventureland area blew my mind literally.
What are some of your classic toy boxes that have not been a featured top 5 toy box?
The main one that comes to mind is Mansion Of Fear which I really did pour my heart and soul into. This was a breakthrough for me because it was the first toy box I made that really utilized the full potential of the toy box. The aim was to create a really atmospheric toy box which I felt I had achieved with the special effects, music and narration that I used. I also did a toy box called Planet Hulk Saga but I left it until the last two day to start building it. The result was an ok but clearly rushed toy box that didn't know what to do with itself, but still worth checking out due to a few of its stand out features. My two 1.0 toy boxes will probably never see the light of day again but I might recycle the S.H.I.E.L.D training one due to its helicarrier; however, I’ll scrap everything else in it.
What is your dream toy box challenge?
I would like to see a Disney Villains challenge (Pixar included). In this you must dedicate a toy box to your favorite Disney villain. You could build an evil lair for them; create an alternate ending to their story where they win, or perhaps a toy box showing what they might do in between evil schemes, who knows anything is possible. I would love to build a toy box for this challenge, but I’m also really interested to see which villains are chosen by everyone and the unique ideas that come from the challenge. I’m actually listening to the counting stars parody, counting scars while I’m typing this.
Share a story of adversity from when you were building one of your toy boxes that you had to overcome.
I wasn't originally going to enter the Parks 3 challenge, because I got a ps4 for my 18th birthday on December 5th which was a day after the parks challenge was announced. So once I plugged it all in and signed in with my Disney account, I went to start work on a toy box but I suddenly died inside because I had literally no toys, not even my 1.0 toys. Thankfully restarting the game gave me all my 1.0 toys back, but I still didn't have any 2.0 toys or any sparks. I gave up there and then and decided I wasn't going to enter. Fast forward to the Monday before it’s due, I am sitting in an empty toy box trying to think of a simple idea that wouldn't need a lot of 2.0 toys. I decided to try my hand at Big Thunder Mountain, so for the next two days I was solidly building with a few breaks and the end result wasn't a masterpiece but I thought it was a nice homage to the popular attraction. I had to rely on Lone Ranger and a few Cars toys when I was building this. I don’t know why, but I felt I had to enter this challenge and that’s what suddenly made me change my mind about entering.
Share a funny story from when you were building one of your toy boxes.
I was scared when I was testing Mansion Of Fear!!!! It was the night before the Haunted Mansion toy boxes were due and I was putting the finishing touches on my submission; however, I was the only one awake at this point since it was 2 am. I also had lots of visual and sound effects on the toy box so when ‘lightning’ struck I jumped thinking it was coming from outside. In my defense though if anyone was playing a pitch black toy box with creepy music, late at night with no one else awake and heavy wind outside I think they would begin to get a bit paranoid.
Do you have any advice for aspiring toy box artists?
Remember, Time is your enemy, don’t make the mistake I have many times by leaving it to the last 2 days to begin building. Also flesh out your idea before you start building otherwise you might get stuck and not know what else you would like to put in it , I also suggest playing a variety of toy boxes of different genres to get an idea of the potential you have when building your own. Finally don’t give up, building a toy box is very much like drawing a picture. The first might not be amazing, but as time goes on and you get more practice and learn new skills you will make a masterpiece.
Your Sugar Rush 2.0 toy box was selected as a featured toy box in the sugar rush challenge. Please give us some inside the toy box details on your Sugar Rush 2.0 toy box.
Well this toy box was originally just made for fun before I knew there was going to be a Sugar Rush challenge, the original idea was for it to be a recreation of the final race from the end of Wreck-It-Ralph; however, as time went on I slowly moved away from that idea and so Sugar Rush 2.0 was born. The idea was that this was a sequel to the arcade game seen in the film (however they said it was a sequel to a toy box on toy box TV) with familiar elements but also new ones as well, and I loved the idea of having cybugs (zergbots) at the end. Once I found out there was a challenge coming up I made sure to refine it before submitting, and I was speechless when I saw it had been featured.
Your #Be A Hero toy box was selected as a featured toy box in the be a hero challenge. Please give us some inside the toy box details on your #Be A Hero toy box.
This toy box was actually started by me and my sister when we first got the game. We both had major Frozen fever at the time, and I decided it deserved to be finished since we put so much work into it. So after the live stream had finished, I went onto the game and added a few things here and there, but primarily I experimented with some creative-toys that I had not used yet in 2.0. This toy box actually was what we based the Frozen section of Disney Classics Clash on. I’m not sure if anyone noticed but the race in Pixie Hollow is actually a retextured sugar rush 2.0 with alterations here and there, specifically the Matterhorn mountains being replaced with auto build treehouses. This was added because I felt that the Frozen area was too short and could be completed in less than a minute if you skip fighting the enemies.
Your FantRaceYa toy box was selected as a feature toy box in the Fantasia challenge. Please give us some inside the toy box details on your FantRaceYa toy box.
This was a fun toy box to make. I originally was going to do a Night on Bald Mountain toy box but I saw lots of those had already been submitted,so I wanted to try something different. I settled on a race because I thought it would be a unique idea and started by building the entire track first, and then started on the Night on Bald Mountain area. I think this is my favorite part of the track because I love how Chernabog's face turned out as well as the effects that go off. The giant pyramid is meant to be the sorcerer’s hat but it looks more like a pyramid due to the terrain that was available. I was also quite happy with how the flooded castle came out. The rest of the toy box was filled with block art because I couldn't think of anything else to put in (wish I had put in the lava phoenix now). The Maleficent face started off as Chernabog's wings but it looked more like Maleficent’s head so I changed it to her. I thought the Maleficent face looked funny so I kept it in even though she isn't actually in either film.
Your Big Thunder Mountain toy box was selected as a feature toy box in the Disney Parks 3 challenge. Please give us some inside the toy box details on your Big Thunder Mountain toy box.
As I said earlier, I wasn't going to enter due to a lack of toys, but I’m glad I did. It was funny actually because the winners were announced while I was in Disneyland Paris and I had gone on Big Thunder Mountain the day before. I wouldn't say my toy box is accurate but that wasn't my intention. I wanted to make my own version of it, which combined elements from all the different versions of the ride, as well as some new ones which I added myself. Overall I was genuinely surprised this made it into the top 5 because I had played so many other park toy boxes that I felt where vastly superior to my own.
Your Season to Be Brave toy box was selected as a feature toy box in the Brave challenge. Please give us some inside the toy box details on your Season to Be Brave toy box.
With this toy box I wanted to make something other than a race. The aim was to create a festive and fun story, which I achieved with multiple cameras, text creators and timers to create the opening cut scene. I used the castle creator to build the castle then I altered areas in order to make the grand hall (but I forgot to put the roof on it >.<). The forest was made up from a variety of trees from both Frozen and Brave. In order to achieve the blend to make it look like Christmas but still recognizable as Brave rather than Frozen. For The final area I used the canyon pieces to create an enclosed space and filled it out with a mixture of trees as well as putting the stone circle in the middle, which I then surrounded with additional stones. Once that was done, I scattered trap rocks all about the place so that they player is in constant danger. Unfortunately the archery section did not function as it should have. The first 3 targets added one point on each, but the 4th and 5th added loads of points on which meant you only had to shoot 4 instead of 5. I decided to mix things up a bit by using rails to return the player back to the castle rather than a teleport pad, and I themed them to Frozen to help emphasis the Christmas element. The whole cake business I found funny so I made a river of cakes spawn upon completing the toy box. This is one of my favorite toy boxes I've made.
Your Disney Classics Clash toy box was selected as a feature toy box in the Battle race challenge. Please give us some inside the toy box details on your Disney Classics Clash toy box.
This is my personal favorite out of all my toy boxes I've built. My sister made the Tangled section as well as the mini Arendelle while I did Elsa’s palace and the rest of the toy box and the final details. The toy box was originally going to be called Disney Vault Dash where you raced around areas inspired by Jungle Book, Tinkerbell, Tangled, Frozen and Big Hero 6. The start was also a giant open vault in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. But due to capacity I had to scrap Tink and Jungle Book in order to make a more complete race with developed areas ( the palace took up a lot of space xD). There was also a gap in-between Frozen and Big Hero 6 so I decided to fill the inside of Elsa’s palace with Sugar Rush trees and add some more sugar rush themed items as you exit up until you reach San Fransokyo. This resulted in it being called Disney Classics Clash because it was dedicated to the most recent classics. It’s my highest placing toy box so far and I really am proud of it. My sister claims it’s because she helped that it made it higher than any of my others, but I think it was because it’s a fun idea mashing up the most recent films in a race.
My next projects include Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D as well as the Multiplayer challenge. I would enter the Lion King, but I don’t have the sky or terrain disk unfortunately; however, I eagerly await the toy boxes that everyone enters and I’ll make sure to “Be Prepared” ^_^
I've only been on the forums since November 2014, but Its feels great being a part of such an amazing community of fans who are constantly supporting each other with advice and compliments, as well as helping out those in need. I feel extremely honored that I was asked to be interviewed and I hope the community continues to grow as more editions of Infinity come out, bringing in a new wave of toy box artists and fans with it.