On behalf of all of the interested Disney Infinity Fans we asked semerien some questions.
What is your real name? Country?
My name is Wayne and I live in BC, Canada.
What is the origin story of your Toy Box submission username?
I don't have a cool story for this question. That name comes from a random name generator on the original Everquest. It's become a staple for me because it is usually available in most games and websites, so I stick with it rather frequently.
And I have no idea how to pronounce it, so I'm fine with however anyone wants to say it. To a limit! (I'm looking at you Romulus)
What made you decide to buy Disney Infinity?
I was on the fence when I originally saw this game. But then I was going through Walmart with the wife and I saw the starter pack had Jack Sparrow, Sully and Mr. Incredible. I think all of those characters and movies are Incredible, so I was no longer torn. I believe I grabbed the starter pack, jumped into the shopping cart and screamed 'MINE' at the top of my lungs. *Some of these details may not be entirely accurate.
What is your favorite play set and why?
Like most people who answer this question, my favourite play set is from 1.0 (the only GOOD play sets). I loved Pirates of the Caribbean, with the ship fighting and the RPG type feel of powering up the ship and your wepaons.
Who is your favorite Disney Infinity 2.0 character and why?
That would have to be Baymax. I freely admit that I occasionally fist bump his figure and say 'Ba-la-la-la-la-la'.
Which character would you like to see included that hasn't already been and why?
Grunkle Stan. He is just such an amazing character. The man has punched a DINOSAUR in the eye while holding a pig against his chest. In...The...Eye. Run in fear Avengers, Grunkle Stan is in the Toy Box.
Which Star Wars character would you like to see added to Disney Infinity?
I'd love to see Chewbacca in the game. Wookie bowcaster and the growling roars. Oh yeah.
What is your favorite power disc and why?
I'd have to say the Gravity Falls Sky dome. Such a great looking Sky and I get my Gravity Falls music playing in the background. Can you tell I like Gravity Falls?
What is your favorite new toy from 2.0?
Hmmm... that's a tough choice. Oh wait, no it isn't. The Logic Gate (I hate that name so from this point forward I will call it logic switch). If I'm doing something complicated in the Toy Box it's probably at least 80% Logic 'Switches' and Counters.
What made you want to build toy boxes for challenges?
I suppose it would be a combination of finding this site and the Gravity Falls challenge. Everyone was so supportive and helpful on this site, and on this site is where I learned of the challenges. Did not place in that challenge, but I got hooked.
Plus challenges are a great way to spark creativity in a slightly controlled direction.
I'll be honest, I had DI 1.0 from the start but I never quite 'got' the Toy Box. I believe I went in once, ran around a bit, scratched my head and went back to the play sets. With the 'Intro to the Toy Box' in DI 2.0, I began to understand what the Toy Box was about. Hopefully they sell it even better in DI 3.0.
When you hear of a new challenge, what steps do you take to make your idea for a Toy Box a reality?
#1 - Brainstorm. I figure out what I want to happen in the toy box. I usually have an initial idea for some logic I would like to try and construct. I have learned that it is best to plan out the entire storyline of your Toy Box if you are going to do any advanced logic. Getting a great idea halfway through and having to modify 100s of logic connections to make it work... well, I've done it, but it's better to not have to do it.
#2 - Layout - I tend to build my logic first. It's the part that I truly enjoy. I sometimes need to sketch out some connections, but then I will start to build the logic with only small pieces of terrain around for 'testing'.
#3 - Terrain - After the majority of my logic is done, I start to build my terrain around it. This way I know the limitations of whatever logic I've built so I know where I want the player to be. I do realize it sounds odd, but you have to build to your own strengths and mine are not in visual design.
#4 - Decoration - I always have to remind myself to add some decorations. It's the tedious part for me.
#5 - Testing, testing and then some testing - Always test multiple times to try and catch any strange glithces.
What do you consider to be your specialty when building Toy Boxes?
Probably block art. No, I suppose my 'specialty' is in playing around with the logic type toys. I'm a tinkerer and I need to know how things work. I take that a little far, at times, in the Toybox.
What is your favorite Toy Box that someone else has built?
Erdadi 3's The Lion King, by Timon and Pumbaa. That cinema scene was just insane. There is also Jkhouw1's Asgard Arcade Toy Box. Being a logic guy, that was incredibly impressive to see.
What are some of your classic Toy Boxes that have not been a featured top 5 Toy Box?
I really enjoyed building my Dogfight Course. It's a racetrack for flying vehicles. In hindsight, I definitely should have decorated and cleaned it up, but it's still fun to race in.
There's also my Aztec Gold Hunt. I thoroughly enjoyed building a challenge where the collectibles were constantly moving around. Although I now hate blue orbs. So there's that...
What is your dream Toy Box challenge?
Gravity Falls part 2. I was still just learning the Toy Box when that first one started. I still try to sneak gravity falls into some of my brainstorming if I have the lee-way in a challenge to do it.
Share a story of adversity from when you were building one of your Toy Boxes that you had to overcome.
For the Stark challenge I was building two seperate toy boxes. I had named one Stark and the other Ironman. I was 95% done my Stark toybox and was building in my Ironman toybox when I accidently saved my Ironman toy box over my Stark toy box. I had to rebuild it from scratch. Fortunately when it was done I had completely changed how the gameplay worked and named it Reactor Meltdown. I don't even want to talk about the 'original' way I had the survival element working.
Moral of the story : multiple saves.
Share a funny story from when you were building one of your Toy Boxes.
Theme All. Enough said? Don't you wish there was an undo button? Nothing funnier than hours of building during which you never actually 'saved' and then hitting Theme All.
Moral of the story: Save often.
Do you have any advice for aspiring Toy Box Artists?
It's been said before, and I agree 100%. There is something within the Toy Box that you really enjoy if you are reading this. It may be building races, platforming games, building vast terrains...even messing around with the logic.
Build to what you love. Don't build to win challenges, don't build to impress everyone...just build to what you love. It's that passion that really comes through in the Toy Boxes.
I'll admit I've built multiple boxes just because of the challenge. There was no special logic (my passion) or any ideas of how to make something work. I just built to the challenge. Those boxes feel...lifeless to me. And none of them ever featured. Now, I see if a Challenge inspires some spark. If it does, great. If it doesn't...I don't force it.
Your Santa in Space toy box was selected as a featured toy box in the Christmas Week toy boxes. Please give us some Inside the Toy Box details on your Santa in Space toy box.
For this Toy Box I wanted to build a large, large environment with very little terrain. I really wanted to highlight the flying vehicles in this box. I also wanted to work on the logic to have multiple quests given out with the last quest featuring a Challenge.
Christmas was coming up and I thought it might be humourous to have a Santa challenge in Space. I believe I was saying 'Santa .. In ... Spaccccccceeeee...' out loud (you need to have seen the Muppets show to understand the reference.)
Your The Godmother toy box was selected as a featured toy box in the Cinderella Challenge. Please give us some Inside the Toy Box details on your The Godmother toy box.
The true irony of this Toy Box is that I had no intention of participating in the Cinderella challenge. There was no figure for this challenge, not even any terrain. And Cinderella is not one of my favourite Disney movies.
However I had been working on a way to move one physics ball while all the rest were unaffected. I wanted to try it with a townsperson as well and as I was scrolling through them, I saw the Fairy Godmother... and an idea began to form. The Godmother was born. I always felt she was the true hero of that movie so I wanted to build a Toy Box from her point of view.
I built my own 'currency' system in this game to track magic and ensure the player had enough magic to complete each task. Counters and Logic 'Switches' can be very powerful.
Your Reactor Meltdown toy box was selected as a featured toy box in the Stark Industries Challenge. Please give us some Inside the Toy Box details on your Reactor Meltdown toy box.
I enjoy playing with the logic toys to see what you can make happen in the Toy Box. I had been working on a way to create a survival type game. I was watching Ironman and at the end the power levels in his suit keep dropping. I wanted to recreate that type of gameplay where the suit is continually running out of power.
As I said before, this Toy Box was almost a completely different type of box if it hadn't been for an accidental overwrite.
Your Jungle on Fire toy box was selected as a featured toy box in the Jungle Book Challenge. Please give us some Inside the Toy Box details on your Jungle on Fire toy box.
This toybox was a continuation on the logic I used in the Godmother. I was working out a way to only control the townsperson when they were inside a trigger area. I designed Jungle on Fire around that idea. You can only control the animal when the camera directly in front of the animal is activated.
I also loved the trick of putting the fire hoops under terrain to create a fire effect, so I made the challenge all about a Jungle Fire. Plus it was fun seeing if I could make the camera switches look smooth and natural.
Your Loki Vs. Asgard toy box was selected as a featured toy box in the Asgard Challenge. Please give us some Inside the Toy Box details on your Loki Vs. Asgard toy box.
The second I heard of the Asgard challenge, I wanted to design a toy box that was Loki's viewpoint from the Toy Box Game Disc. I wanted to give the effect that new turrets were placed after each wave was completed.
It was difficult sometimes to get all the replayers to co-operate but it was satisfying once all the Waves were finished.
Your We are Darkwing! toy box was selected as a featured toy box in the Darkwing Duck Challenge. Please give us some Inside the Toy Box details on your We are Darkwing! toy box.
I had seen some play throughs of The Godmother and even on Toy Box TV they said the controls were difficult. I wanted to create a way to use the normal controls that a player moves a character around with, and use that to control a townsperson. I also love Darkwing and wanted to create a box where the player could jump around a city using Darkwing Duck himself.
The real trick was getting a townsperson to jump. Townspeople and figures don't react the same way to weather vane's when they are firmly planted on the ground. You have to push real hard, real fast to get them in the air. Then stop pushing so hard, or they will be nine miles up in a few seconds.
I also really, really wanted to try a first person POV shot of jumping off a building. Just because.