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Interview With Matt Peppe (Hyde Park Townsman) - Apr 30th, 2006

HYDE PARK - Leonard Bedner has not been idle in his two-hour commute to and from New York City. He has been using that time to work on a project.

His hard work pad(sic) off last month with an Independent Games Festival award for a best mod (a module, which is a variation on a commercial game) of Neverwinter Nights.

For more than two years now, Bedner has spent all his time on the Metro North train ride and three hours at night developing a fantasy role-playing video game.

By day, Bedner works as a software engineer at Zingy, a company in Manhattan. He programs cell phone game applications.

The rest of the time, he devotes to video games, his true passion. From the time played on his Atari as a child, Bedner said he has loved gaming.

He said his life changed in 1991 when he came across the game Final Fantasy 2, drawing inspiration from the music, presentation, and graphics.

Eventually, Bedner said, he added a new element to his life, creating his own games.

The result is "Rose Of Eternity - Chapter 1 - The Coming." Bedner hopes it is his ticket to a career in the game development field.

The game can be downloaded from Bedner's Web site, www.roseofeternity.com. The site includes a summary of the game and Bedner's own Web log.

Top Honors

Last month, Bedner certainly got a jumpstart when his mod was recognized at the 2006 Game Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif. Bedner received an award at the event in front of 2,500 people.

"It was surreal", said Bedner, AKA Challseus, the name of the character in his RPG (role-playing game). Bedner started using the name after creating Challseus as one of the six characters in Rose Of Eternity.

The experience is one Bedner hopes will prove a springboard to his nascent career.

"It was great being surrounded by so many famous developers that I was influenced by," Bedner said.

One of his idols, at the convention was Richard Garriet, or Lord British, who popular vide games include the Ultima series.

Bedner didn't expect to be noticed at first out of the thousands of applicants for the Independent Games Festival. After releasing Rose Of Eternity in July 2005, he found out about the competition and submitted his newly finished work.

Bedner was then notified he had been selected as one of the five finalists for his category and would participate in the March ceremony in California.

Other applicants may have created their games for fun, but Bedner had a goal in mind.

"I had hopes of getting a job in the game development field," he said.

Bedner said he spent hours creating his game.

"I did things differently - the music, the graphics, all went right," he said. "I thought out of the box.."

With his foot in the door, Bedner is still hard at work. He is currently working on "Rose Of Eternity - Chapter 2 - Cry The Beloved," which he hopes to release later this year.

While he is not finished by any stretch, Bedner said he finds recognition of his accomplishments to date rewarding.

"It vindicates all the time and effort I put into it," he said.

:: Interview With Craig Wolf (Poughkeepsie Journal ) - Apr 15th, 2006

HYDE PARK - Leonard Bedner has another name.

It's Challseus. If you're a video game enthusiast, you probably can guess it's an RPG (role-playing game) character.

He claimed the name after he created the character in a game he invented, Rose of Eternity.

Bedner got a burst of fame when he entered Rose of Eternity in a global game developer contest and won a top prize for a mod (a module, a homemade variant on a commercial game, in this case Neverwinter Nights.)

"I was doing it to get noticed," Bedner said recently at his Hyde Park home. It's a crowded field, and he has professional aspirations. He's edged into the field, working in New York City at a company that makes applications that run on cell phones.

Bedner's mod has been downloaded by 10,921 people as of Friday. It can be found at his own Web site, www.roseofeternity.com , or at Bioware's "vault" for Neverwinter Nights, http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=4157 . Bioware is the Canadian publisher of that game and others.

His mod boasts a 9.8 out of 10 rating by gamers who posted votes on Bioware's site. The company comments that the mod competitors' games "are all exceptional examples of creativity and hard work."

Bedner got the idea for his game in 1999. Neverwinter Nights came out in 2002. About 2 years ago, he began steadily working on his mod. In July of 2005, he rolled out Chapter One of his game publicly. He entered it in the Independent Games Festival in San Jose, Calif., last October.

His mod won in its category, giving him a $2,500 prize in the IGF's first-ever modding competition and the thrill of accepting the award in a hall filled with thousands of people.

What it takes

What makes a good game?

"You always have to have a feeling of challenge. I don't like a game to be too easy or too hard. I want that player to feel at the top of the world, and then give them the feeling that they can still get 'killed,' " Bedner said.

Gaming has changed a lot, and not just because of rapidly advancing technology. Bedner recalls having an Atari as a pre-schooler and seeing a different public attitude as he was growing up.

"I remember when it was taboo. You were like a nerd," he said. But now there are millions of people in the gaming community and it has taken on a better image.

His mother, Brenda Moore Frazier, is proud.

"Just like all of the other kids do, I remember him telling me that he wanted to ... create video games," she said. "I'm thinking, yeah, yeah. Just make sure you get your education."

Craig Wolf can be reached at cwolf@poughkeepsiejournal.com

:: Interview #2 With Bioware - Jay Watamaniuk    - Apr 12th, 2006

"...I was lucky enough to attend the Game Developers Choice Awards in San Jose, so I was able to accept the award in person when they announced it. Let me tell you, these awards are like the Academy Awards for video games, so I was just honored to be there..."

:: Interview #1 With Bioware - Jay Watamaniuk - Feb 1st, 2006

"...lucky enough to have many people from the community aiding me in my efforts to ensure Chapter 2 is bigger and better than Chapter 1. Their collective jobs include writing, editing, graphic design, ALPHA/BETA testing, and moral support. In short, Rose Of Eternity - Chapter 2 - Cry The Beloved wouldn't be where it is today without the help of these kind folks...


:: Interview With NWVault - Dec 12th, 2005

"...When it comes down to it, music is the biggest inspiration I have when it comes to developing a game as a whole. I can simply listen to a piece of music, and come up with an entire scenario in my head, including what happens, what is said, and even the camera angles, much like how some Hollywood directors work...

Website contents copyright (c) 2006 by Leonard Bedner
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