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Media Consumption: Nadeo's Xavier Bouchoux ( TrackMania United )

Media Consumption: Nadeo's Xavier Bouchoux (TrackMania United)

January 30, 2007 | By Alistair Wallis




For this week’s Media Consumption, a column that looks at the media and art diets of our favourite industry personalities, we spoke to Xavier Bouchoux, lead programmer of Nadeo’s cult PC racing title TrackMania United.

The game has been out in Europe, Canada and Australia for just over two months now, and will be appearing on US shelves on the 23rd of February. Bouchoux says that Nadeo is working “to improve things server side for TrackMania to welcome all American players in the best conditions”, though notes that the majority of the development team has moved on to their next project: a extension of the Virtual Skipper sailing game series, the official game of the America's Cup.

Though not revealing any new or even console versions of TrackMania just yet, Bouchoux comments that Nadeo is “always thinking of the future and continuously improving the Nadeo game engine on which our games are built”. We spoke to Bouchoux recently about the hors d'œuvre that have been whetting his media appetite of late.

Sounds: "That's a vast question: for different moods, different music. To name a few:

In the morning, I like some light electronica, for instance the aptly named Pop Loops for Breakfast from B. Fleishmann. While coding, I usually just tune into last.fm. Try playing Animal Collective and similar artists to get an idea [of what I listen to]. Otherwise, various soundtracks also do the job pretty well.

At "apéritif" time, something like Tropicalia, Lee Hazelwood or Françoise Hardy. At the moment, I'm also very much into African music: Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal. Thinking of it, all of those are suspiciously from around the 1970's.

At night, I like going to improvisation / free jazz / electronics / noise / post-whatever / exhilarating stuff – it’s best when it’s all combined together. Recently, I have been very enthusiastic about The Ex, and the Magik Markers shows in Paris. And right now, I'm listening to Barbez, who are an improbable New York band featuring a Russian singer, and the greatest Theremin player in the world."

Moving Pictures: "Being in Paris is quite cool, lots of cinemas and movies, odd festivals and the like; I'm quite into independent and arthouse cinema. Among my favourite movie makers that come to my mind are Arnaud Desplechin, Jim Jarmusch, Wong Kar-wai, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Nobuhiro Suwa, David Lynch and the list goes on and on. I'll stop here, as it's a bit pointless to just drop names, but you get the idea.

One movie I really like is Le Procès de Jeanne d'Arc [The Trial of Joan of Arc], by Robert Bresson - precise, tense, astounding, and short. Of course, I also always like a good old comedy or a blowing action flick like those Hong-Kong guys do so well! And when you want to see real Cinema - you know, the kind where you get the stars shining in the eyes, you laugh and cry - nothing comes close to a Hindi blockbuster. Veer & Zara is the last good one I saw.

To sum it up, I do like quite a lot and varied range of films. What I don't like are the ugly, wasteful, bland kind, with nothing special, that you can feel were made foremost by marketing guys for whom the movie is just a by-product."

Words: "Alas, these days, I don't read much. I'm starting a book by Amadou Hampâté Bâ and looking forward to my next holidays...

My all time favourites include: Milan Kundera, Witold Gombrowicz, Margueritte Duras, Elio Vittorini and William Faulkner. I also enjoy reading detective novels and thrillers, like the ones from Andrea Camilleri, F. Vargas, and Robert van Gulik.

I'm not very fond of science fiction and fantasy, but I remember I found Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash really inspired and insightful."

Games: "I don't have time to play much - I don't own a single game console! I gave away my Dreamcast some time ago. But I always find some at noon for a little TrackMania run. I always amazed I've been playing it for so many hours and I'm still not bored...

There was also Quake 3 that was endlessly addictive like this, but we hardly play it anymore – maybe 5 years is the limit? I'm also a bit nostalgic about adventure games, and interactive fiction. Recently I enjoyed Runaway 2, which is a true heir of the LucasArts and Sierra era.

But honestly, the problem is just I don't feel like investing 40 hours in a game anymore; even though when I'm engaged in a quest, I do enjoy it. I need a quick and easy fix. And the web is full of Flash games just waiting a click away!

And, of course, lots of party games - either Wii or Guitar Hero or dance mat style, or just board games, away from electronic devices."


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