Anyone who has been following the Disney Infinity Toy Box challenges will by now be familiar with the name MightyGitis.
On behalf of all of the interested Disney Infinity Fans we asked MightyGitis some questions.
What is your real name?
Lauren Anderson (age: 30)
What is the origin story of your Toy Box submission username?
I knew this day would come. The day I would have to explain my username. Which, incidentally, has never been pronounced right in any video on YouTube.
In high school I got laryngitis, and my name is Lauren. In no time my friends were calling me Laurengitis. Eventually just Gitis. Mighty was tacked on later when the same group of friends were assigning each other super hero names. Then I became Mighty Gitis. I've used it as a username for years.
What made you decide to buy Disney Infinity?
I had heard about the game well before it's release date. I waffled back and forth about whether or not to get it when it was released or wait and see how sales were going and to get more info about game play before investing. In the end I did not preorder the game. But as fate would have it on release day I was shopping in a Target and came across one lone PS3 starter set on the shelf. It was purchased on impulse and with no additional figures. The starter set contained two of my favorite Disney characters: Sully and Jack Sparrow. I wouldn't expand the collection for a couple weeks.
What is your favorite play set and why?
I think they all have their merits but I really enjoyed Monsters University. I enjoyed the variety of different mission objectives. From the paint ball to sneaking around the rival school's campus it kept me entertained. It's the play set that hooked me into the game.
Who is your favorite Disney Infinity character and why?
Rapunzel. She was the figure I wanted most after I had the game. I'm using her right now to build a level for the Tangled Challenge coming up and she's excellent. Having the use of the ranged and melee frying pans means she's no lightweight!
Which character would you like to see included that hasn't already been and why?
Tough question! I grew up with Disney so picking just one is difficult. I would say Beast from Beauty & the Beast. In fact I would really love to see at least one Play Set from the first golden era of Disney animation.
When you hear of a new challenge, what steps do you take to make your idea for a Toy Box a reality?
Once I've picked a challenge I want to participate in I will spend a little while brainstorming ideas. Disney has been picking Toy Boxes that have a fun gimmick or an interactive element. A map that is purely pretty will make it through every now and again but on the whole a Toy Box needs to DO something to make the top five. My brainstorming stage has lasted anywhere from an hour (Tangled Hunt) to days (Wreck-It Hunt). This is why I try to take challenges I will have more than a week to complete.
2- MAP DESIGN
This stage is one of the most time consuming parts of building. With each box it gets easier because I have become familiar with what pieces I have to build with and where they are. At first there was a lot of scrolling back and forth trying to find the things I need. I've also learned what sort of thing will fit in what size gap. The map is a big part of my Toy Boxes because I like to build large, exploratory maps and then make the player run around it looking for things. In this stage it is important not to spend the whole time in spark/build mode. I've made the mistake before of building a lot, without ever exiting and running around the terrain on foot. Only to find out what I had built didn't work well or look right out of spark mode. Now it's part of my routine to regularly drop out of build mode and see how things look as a character and to make sure navigation works the way I wants it too. I avoid doing lots of nit picky touches during this stage.
As I said previously, Disney likes Toy Boxes that DO something so Creativitoys play a very big part in my building. It's important to start small and work outward from there. For example when I was programming the gameplay for Save the Parade! I programmed one parade float and after I knew how to do it, and that it would work, I replicated it for the other parade floats. Sometimes I have to go into an empty box and experiment then return to the level I'm working on to implement. Using Creativitoys is still to this day an exploratory thing for me. No matter how much I use them I still discover things I didn't know I could do. I still sometimes play winning boxes by others and find they have done something I never thought of.
4 - TESTING
This is the most important phase. I test every box repeatedly before I can submit it. Because some of the Creativitoys can be temperamental, and because my Toy Boxes are often extremely close to full, it's important to make sure everything functions correctly every time. I will play through and reload to make sure the toy box behaves the same every time. During this I will also make note of any areas that need some visible touch ups before it goes out. My friends will often run through the level during his phase as well. They all know now that if they stop by my house they are required to play through my latest project and give me their thoughts. EVERY TIME I have done this I have found something I needed to fix. People won't always do things in the order you think they will. They might walk through an arch twice you meant for them to go through only once and trigger way too many enemies than you intended. (True story about a glitch I had to fix in Frozen Hunt.)
5 - FINAL TOUCHES
Once I am satisfied it functions I will take into account the space I have left and go through and detail any areas that need it. Sometimes this means adding plants or lights. Anything that can be improved in small ways I will hit. I am very detail oriented when it comes to theming. Once I am fully satisfied I will save it and leave it for at least a few hours. Then I will return for one last run through. If it's good and done I will submit it.
How long did each of your featured Toy Boxes take to build?
What is your favorite Toy Box that you have built?
It's so hard to choose. Each box is like a milestone to me. Save the Parade! opened up the game mechanics programming to new ideas and will always be dear to me. It's already been retired for download.
I can say for sure that I am most proud of Frozen Hunt. It being the most complex and polished level I have ever built. It took 27 replayers and several dual-action triggers to run everything. The level is immersive and the most complete I've created. To be honest I'm not sure if I can top it!
What is your favorite Toy Box that someone else has built?
I have to say its a tie. This forum is home to some amazing builders! My two favorites are NorthHoleMiniGolf by PapaEcho and Frozen Adventure by XShadow246. These boxes were creative and fun. Both utilized some fun advanced tricks to make them amazing. Every time I think I've fully figured out everything Toy Box can do someone surprises me.
What are some of your classic Toy Boxes that have not been a featured top 5 Toy Box?
I have at least two dozen boxes saved on my profile. But of those I would say only two that have not already been featured are complete:
Floating Isle Hub: This was the first complete Toy Box I ever built. I made it before challenges started from the Disney Infinity official site. At the time we had no idea how submissions would work so I didn't know that with out an appropriate challenge a box wouldn't have hope of being featured. The main island is Tangled themed and each of the exterior islands are themed to different movies: Alice in Wonderland, Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean, Wreck-It Ralph, and the Incredibles. Each had little games mainly involving timers and spawning enemies. the Incredibles was find and toss the robber NPCs into a pen. And the Sugar Rush island had the tiniest little race track loop.
Draconis Speedway: The first Toy Box I made for a challenge. I'm actually completely terrible at driving games so building a racetrack was hard for me. It centers around a mountain castle and you drive in spirals to the top. Then back down the other side. It featured the Disney Dragon thru the Dragongate and was built to showcase this piece. When the dragon behaved it was a thrilling drive. I never once beat the computer drivers.
What is your dream toy Box challenge?
My dream Toy Box challenge would be a Mash Up / Crossover challenge. Not just for me to build it, but also to play what others come up with! The whole point of the Toy box is about being able to mix up different franchises in the same world! I would love to see Disney movies mashed together. What about Tangled in Agrabah? Or Sugar Rush in Wonderland? Pirates in Space? The possibilities, as they say, are infinite.
Do you place any hidden tributes in your winning toy boxes?
I wouldn't call them tributes but I do have some things in my boxes that are not necessary to finish the set objective, and often times I'm not sure if people notice them.
In Tangled Hunt, if you enter the lower floor of the castle kingdom guards will spawn for you to fight and you can spawn them as many times as you want. They will also vanish if you leave the floor. The middle floor has a capsule generator and some breakables. In all the videos I've seen of people playing NO ONE goes into this floor.
There is also a trick for finding your way through the maze at the end of Tangled Hunt. The fork you want to take always has support beams holding up the cave walls. The dead ends do not.
In Frozen Hunt you spawn a whole ballroom full of people if you walk into the castle. Complete with a change of music. You will notice the Duke of Weselton and Hans are both in there. Or at least NPCs that resemble them. I also stashed the sword in the stone in there.
Most things I want to do just to do them don't make the cut due to capacity issues. I wanted to put a "spark generator" in the snow man at the end of Frozen Hunt but didn't have space. In my not featured Floating Isle Hub there's a button on a lookout that starts a fireworks show at the castle. Because I had just come back from WDW when I made it.
Though now after this I'm going to try harder to sneak some tributes in.
Do you get any notification after submitting a toy box that you were chosen in the top 5?
Not at all. I find out by checking the available downloads or from the official YouTube announcements.
Share a story of adversity from when you were building one of your toy boxes that you had to overcome.
Save the Parade! was almost never completed.
Prior to this Toy Box I had done very little in regards to logic toys in my Toy Boxes. Tangled Hunt, which had just made #2 for the Disney Movies Challenge, had very little logic and absolutely no replayers.
When I came up with the idea for Save the Parade! I was excited to do it. I built the parade route, the floats (completed versions), and the city without ever hitting upon the logic part of the equation. When I finally got around to programming it I knew I was in a bit over my head. I had used the replayer in a failed box before but the idea of using, say, a dozen replayers seemed impossible to me.
I had a three day weekend for Veterans Day and without it I wouldn't have finished. I spent all Sunday night and most of Monday programming the logic and or testing. In the end it took 15 replayers and a number of other logic toys such as area triggers to accomplish what I wanted.
This was the last challenge I attempted in a week. Since then I have done two and three week challenges only. One week is not enough time for some of the more complex logic ideas.
Share a funny story from when you were building one of your toy boxes.
When I was building Tangled Hunt a friend came over and tested it. He got to the button that spawned Bullseye the horse and when he realized what it did began jumping on it repeatedly. Bullseye after Bullseye spawned. Each one pushing the others out until the terrace was full of Bullseyes and the entire level froze. Was fun to watch though.
Tell us something about your latest featured Top 5 Toy Box.
For the Tangled Challenge: I titled it Hidden Worlds for the game the island was based on. It took 20 hours to build, 15 of that was just building the island landscape and the four themed areas (Rapunzel's Tower, the Canyon, the Snuggly Duckling, and Corona). I used 15 replayers, 8 dual-action triggers, and 2 different cameras for the gameplay.
I really enjoyed building in this sort of miniaturized scale that the Hidden Worlds game uses for each of its themed islands. I thought doing a compact island would take up less memory but because it's densely packed with items it took up just as much of the meter as some of my bigger Toy Boxes.
OMG. MightyGitis is supposed to (almost) rhyme! Mind = blown.
And I agree with her... Saving the Parade was her most special toy box even though Frozen Hunt is her most accomplished. Saving the Parade was the first toy box that made me think, "Oh wow... look at what they did." I started to see the toy box differently after that... instead of always thinking about what the toy box couldn't do... I started thinking about what it could.
Frozen Hunt however will probably never be topped. Frozen Hunt won at the perfect time IMO... just as both Disney Infinity and the Frozen movie's popularity were both peaking... seriously, with all the heat DI is taking for not having a Frozen playset... I bet they are thanking their lucky stars that MightyGitis, XShadow and Father made awesome Frozen maps for everyone to play.
And IMO her Treasure Hunt maps are really good because of the skill level required... very conducive for family play. Like my niece won't even play my combat maps... whenever she sees a bunch of bad guys she runs away or tries to run around, but you can't do that with my map. She prefers toy boxes in which she can just go at her own pace and run around and stuff.
And the way MightyGitis approaches building toy boxes is so different from mine... very methodical. I just totally wing it... I don't plan anything.