XShadow246, Disney Infinity Toy Box Artist

Disney Infinity Fans exclusive interviews

XShadow246, Disney Infinity Toy Box Artist

Postby PirateSteven » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:23 am

XShadow246 is regularly featured in the Disney Infinity Toy Box challenges.

On behalf of all of the interested Disney Infinity Fans we asked XShadow246 some questions.

What is your real name?

Cory Nelson (USA)

What is the origin story of your Toy Box submission username?

I picked XShadow years ago because I love to play games that utilize stealth. As far as the 246, it was just some random numbers I used because "XShadow" was already taken. Now I'm stuck with it...lol.

What made you decide to buy Disney Infinity?

I bought Disney Infinity for the Toy Box feature. I love games that allow me to create my version of games from nothing using logic tools and level building. My wife and sons thought I was crazy when I came home with all the launch Disney characters, and they called me a big kid. Whatever, I had big dreams too and look where it got me. Every game that I play I'm always thinking if I can recreate this somehow in Disney Infinity. I'm not a collector, but I can honestly say this is the first game where I believe I will have all of the characters and discs at some point.

What is your favorite play set and why?

Toy Story in Space. I loved the Toy Story 3 movie so it was a joy to be able to use the toys from that play set.

Who is your favorite Disney Infinity character and why?

Buzz Lightyear. I just think he's cool with his jet pack and all.

Which character would you like to see included that hasn't already been and why?

This one is hard one for me, but what comes to mind for me is Donald Duck. I love his personality and how silly he is.

When you hear of a new challenge, what steps do you take to make your idea for a Toy Box a reality?

I first try to come up with a basic idea that involves manipulating logic, and then I try to come up with a unique concept related to the challenge and make it into a fun level. I don't actually draw it out. I usually just open up an empty toy box and start building and hope for the best. Usually the ideas start pouring in as I'm building or when I'm asleep.

How long did each of your featured Toy Boxes take to build?

Frozen Adventure (Frozen Challenge), Clockwork (Contraption Challenge), and the Haunted Tomb (Halloween Challenge)

Anywhere from 30 to 50 hours easily. I really have no idea but I know it is very long!

What is your favourite Toy Box that you have built?

My latest one, Frozen Adventure. I loved the movie, and I challenged myself to try and recreate scenes from the movie using subtle storytelling and special effects in a Toy Box environment.

Image Image

Your Frozen Adventure is definitely a fan favorite...can you please give our readers some insight into the making of that epic Toy Box?

Idea phase:

Well, to be honest, it all started with my Northpole Mall Toy Box failing to be featured. I don't usually do back to back challenge attempts (too exhausting for my brain) but since I loved the Frozen themes and the movie, I felt I had to find a way to use those themes while I still could in a weekly challenge.

I have a passion with trying to create acting scenes via PC software programs that I have used over the years with 3D virtual characters and whatnot, so after seeing the Frozen movie the idea spawned. Here I felt was a way to challenge myself to storytell and setup scenes using only the tools that I had at my disposal in the Toy Box without speech from the characters. I knew this would be a challenge, but the more I saw the scenes from the movie, the more I couldn't wait to get started.

As far as how the process went... After I saw the movie the 1st time, I had the opportunity to see it a 2nd time so I used that to write down specific scenes and details that I figured I could add to the Toy Box. I then researched any images or videos I could find on the movie online, and I would literally build in the Toy Box while staring at a picture or replaying a video a thousand times to catch as much detail as possible.

Because I was ambitious about it, I originally thought I would be able to create more scenes than what was featured. As in at least 20 scenes. I had all types of crazy ideas that the Toy Box memory meter did not agree to so I had to scale it down. If there was a way to transport the player to a new Toy Box with the memory meter back to empty, I would not get any sleep.

Building phase:

I typed each scene that I wanted to use into notepad as a rough draft, then read it all to see which one I thought I could recreate and would be entertaining. I then just numbered each scene and started designing them one by one. Since I was very conscious of memory, I tried not to overbuild one scene. I tried to keep it as short as possible but at the same time make it fun and recognizable to the movie. That way I can save on memory. I have learned through creating this Toy Box on how to effectively use the replayer to conserve memory by erasing areas or props that would be out of sight of the player. I'm pretty sure this is a technique used by game developers in games and I can see how it actually works if used properly.

Play and Pray phase:

This is the hard one and can be very frustrating when you think you have built your masterpiece and witness a total meltdown with time running out. I rigorously test my Toy Boxes like a madman. I try to test every logic I have placed and think of any scenario that someone may accidentally do that would offset the gameplay I laid out. I also try to create failsafe conditions in case Disney unintentionally resaves my level in a place that offsets the process of my logic flow, replayers etc.

I then let my teenage son, (who for some reason has the ability and ambition to purposely try and bypass any game rules and cheat his way to the end as fast as possible) play my level. This actually helps me catch things that I would normally miss and adjust my level accordingly. I then test the online portion by having my cousin run through the level with me so that I can see how the two player gameplay works with the replayers, logic, etc. I feel these are very important to do if possible.

Title your Toy Box phase:

This is hard. Period. I say random names out loud and literally give up. Only later at some random moment the name would come to me, and I use it and cringe.

Pray again phase:

This the the moment where I'm typing the name and description of my level and about to hit the submit button. At this point, I'm worrying if I caught everything humanly possible that would mess up my level . I'm also praying if the Disney servers will actually get my level after hitting this submit button!

What is your favorite Toy Box that someone else has built?

I really can't say I have one as a favorite as I like them all for different reasons. Each one has inspired me in one way or another. But with that said, the one that really had me stunned that I can remember was MightyGitis - Save the parade. The way she utilized the replayers to build the floating characters and place those yellow marching orders blocks for the people to march in a certain direction blew my mind. I thought I was actually playing a Disney playset. Amazing stuff.

What are some of your classic Toy Boxes that have not been a featured top 5 Toy Box?

North Pole Mall - It's about returning 5 hidden toy pets hiding around a mall to their toy store owners so the mall can open which then also unlocks a race with special effects around the mall for the grand opening.

Beyond Infinity - is a platform game using Buzz Lightyear flying through space trying to collect 10 hidden stars around a giant bitmap version of himself which would then unlock a time traveling portal to out of space.

What is your dream Toy Box challenge?

It would be to create a carnival with fun attractions. The challenge would be to come up with creative ways to build a functional carnival within the limitations of the Toy Box tools and memory cap. I have thought about creating one when I first bought Disney Infinity, but I never got around to attempting to build one. That was until after watching a recent Inside Infinity Podcast # 27 episode where the guys were discussing the very limitations that I wished were not an issue in the Toy Box. Like having a functional track rail system to produce a carnival train ride or rollercoaster. I had planned to take a break from the challenges and Disney Infinity since I've been severely neglecting my other games, but the Toy Box is too addictive. That podcast sparked my inspiration to finally work on building the carnival since I've become more familiar with the Toy Box tools now. Since I have some extra time , I have given this Toy Box more attention than any Toy Box I have produced in the past so hopefully I can fit it into a weekly challenge so that you guys can experience it if it's featured.

Do you place any hidden tributes in your winning toy boxes?

I actually do via adding elements that inspired me from other featured Toy Boxes with my own spin on them. For example, after being amazed by seeing that you can control the path of where the characters walk (MightyGitis - Save the Parade) - I've used that same function in my Frozen Adventure Toy Box. I also was amazed by (Father's Swiss Family) Treehouse Toy Box. I loved the way he takes normal props that at the time I didn't even know existed and created an amazing tree house. This prompted me to finish off all of the playsets so that I could have full access to the amazing content hidden in this game and implement into my Toy Boxes going forward. (PapaEcho's Blast from the past) - I was stunned with the themes he used in his lava section with the Nemo and pirate props. Again, stuff I didn't even know existed since I didn't realize how beautiful the different themes you can use with the theme power discs and the fantasy terrain trees. He inspired me to pay more attention to theming my Toy Boxes than before. (Tangled&tron - Epic Pirate Combat) - This person is gifted with not only creating well designed levels, but with also finding all of the neat tricks in the Toy Box that has immensely helped me with the quality of what I am trying to design in my Toy Boxes. As I'm building each Toy Box, I thank them all as well as the others that I have not mentioned and I hope they can see their inspirations in each of them.

Share a story of adversity from when you were building one of your Toy Boxes that you had to overcome.

Well on my last featured Toy Box, Frozen Adventure, about 3 scenes from completing it everything stopped working. My Toy Box replayers started warping characters in other scenes and other things stopped working to the point where I almost gave up as time was running out. The debugging was the most challenging part and trying to manipulate memory management to successfully get the rest of the scenes in. All of this on a Christmas day afternoon with little children running around with their toys behind me. Yea, fun times. Thankfully things worked itself out for the most part.

Share a funny story from when you were building one of your Toy Boxes.

One time I was testing my North Pole Mall level with my cousin, and a 2 player online glitch happened which erased the majority of my Toy Box except the stairs and random pieces here and there. We both were stuck on random stairs scattered about in open space like we were in the matrix. I laughed for about 5 seconds before I realized all my work may have been gone. I blamed him and kicked him out of my Toy Box and reloaded it and it was fine. He's only allowed in my Toy Box via a copy version now.

I will end this book I wrote with this. For those who have put in the hard work and have not had their levels featured yet, I encourage you to keep trying. We all may fail these weekly contests (well maybe except Papa Echo lol) as I have several times, but I kept trying. Plus you will only get better at it each time. I knew next to nothing when I first opened the Toy Box, and I struggled with understanding the logic toys for weeks. All I kept hearing in my head was the Disney's catch phrase " If you can dream it you can do it", and I said that guy is lying! The more I jump into the Toy Box with new inspirations and the more levels I see produced each week is making me a believer now... (almost) :D
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Re: XShadow246, Disney Infinity Toy Box Artist

Postby tangled&tron » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:41 am

*chants* Sha-dow! Sha-dow! Sha-dow!

I like that we start off building maps the same way... with an empty toy box and just take it from there without a true destination in mind and by just letting things evolve naturally. Except for your Frozen toy box, but with that one you were specifically trying to recreate something, so that's a different ballgame entirely IMO. But even though we start off the same... we then go in totally different directions... you are probably always looking for ways to incorporate logic into your maps... and I just like to build structures and pathways and stuff.

I envy the way you can see logic when you stare at an empty toy box... not saying I would steal your logic powers if I could... but I would totally steal your logic powers if I could. :shock: LOL.
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Re: XShadow246, Disney Infinity Toy Box Artist

Postby Finn-Warrior » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:39 pm

Another good interview, with your type of creativity (I'm looking at your non-featured works), I can only imagine how you've only got 3 of your works featured so far!

Every week we're getting new insight of the working methods of our fellow Toy Box artists, which is nice, and they can certainly teach a thing or two. I'll keep on reading these to further improve on my works too!

I can also totally relate to the ending words. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, XShadow246!
~ 13 featured toy boxes so far!
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Re: XShadow246, Disney Infinity Toy Box Artist

Postby Infinityfan » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:27 pm

cool interview i love these.

@PirateSteven are you gonna interview every winner of a challenge?
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Re: XShadow246, Disney Infinity Toy Box Artist

Postby PirateSteven » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:06 pm

@InfinityFan...that would be the ultimate plan. ;)
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Re: XShadow246, Disney Infinity Toy Box Artist

Postby Chewbacca » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:49 pm

Chewie is best character
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