Specialized ProfessionI am Reuben Krabbe, a pro photographer from British Columbia, I shoot skiing, mountain biking, and adventure photography
Nov 23rd 2016 by ReubenKrabbe • 45 Questions • 57 Points
I’ve worked as a game designer at TT for some 18 years, and have had great fun over the years working on a large number of our games including LEGO Dimensions most recently, but also the LEGO Batman/LEGO Marvel/LEGO Harry Potter series of games amongst many others, I eat, sleep, breath TT Games, and count myself lucky to work with so many amazing creative people. I have a keen interest in everything we do, but also love reading comics, playing videogames, and spending lots of time with my family, kids, cats and dogs! Ask me anything. AMA.
EDIT - Apologies - after 3 hours of furiously typing my fingers are starting to dissolve... I'm going to take a break, but will come back to answer more of your questions as quickly as I can.
EDIT - Thank you to everyone in the community for taking part in the AMA, I'll drop back and answer as many questions as I can... thank you all
I think a lot of folks head to the mountains to unplug, have a chance to turn our brains down, and just physically push and enjoy the moment.
However, in the era of the selfie, the cell phone camera, instagram, etc, I find myself doing this less and less without thinking about getting a 'cool shot'. Sometimes I come home and realize I missed the experience of just LOOKING.
I'm imagining this is even harder when you do it professionally. Do you ever head out without a camera just to live in the now?
How cooperative are you with other scientists working on the same subject? Do you help each other and share ideas if you share the same goal?
With my limited reflexes at age 45, a penchant to achieve 100% in the game, but also only so much valuable free time, the most annoying stuff are some of the races. The lighthouse race in the Scooby Adventure World took me embarassingly much time to succeed (hours!stretched over days!). Also runners-up for too hard races: air and underwater in Simpsons world and Mines of Moria (starting point) through Minas town. My question: Are children and young adults while playtesting your beta product way more successful and you have to keep the difficulty artificially high? Or didn't you test with older, less experienced candidates? Currently I'm playing LEGO Marvel Super Heroes from my pile of shame (good game/excellent humor) and there it is again: Frustratingly hard air races combined with Super Heroes' own sub-par gamepad functionality on PC.
I love this question! And, I totally agree. Unplugging and experiencing solitude and silence in natural places is the best. Now, I'm also guilty of shooting selfies and checking instagram from the backcountry. But, I consciously choose to leave both camera and phone at home frequently to keep myself from temptation.
Last week I was backcountry skiing near Whistler, and impulsively left the camera in my truck so I could simply ski. Half way up the climb I saw some icicles that could have made a great foreground to a ski photo. I described my vision for the shot to the skier, and was about to climb over to the icicles before I realized I had no camera. It was hilarious.
At the same time, I also love the way a camera can make you appreciate more of nature. I spend a bunch of time climbing around, looking at trees, rocks, plants, and really paying attention to my surroundings when I shoot.
So it's a balance of both!
Sorry for deleting my comment it was an accident. but what i said was that i really do my best to help my ex students and collaborators, and I said less helpful to competitors, as the first response quotes. this does not mean not helpful it means less helpful than the extreme amount that I grant to my students.
I hear you on the races - we do spend time trying to balance them, both focus testing with kids, but also occasionally older casual gamers. There are the odd one or two that can be bothersome - I remember one in LMSH around the statue of liberty that I had trouble with when I was reviewing it pre-release... but we try to ensure they are all achievable
What have been the most impressive recent discoveries in terms understanding how soil microbes affect human beings? Or how they affect crop development?
So what are the plans for Supergirl & Green Arrow releases?
They've been included as very exclusive gifts for such a small population of the Lego Dimensions playerbase, that still aren't being made available internationally, even with the limited promotions that are ongoing (No Green Arrow in my beloved Ireland, the land of Green!), and there are plenty other countries that are overlooked.
Will they see fair light of day for us all?
haha I was trying to figure out why the username seemed familiar. Mom used to cut it when I was a kid
Steve Lory: Soil micro bioms - better understanding of the community of bacteria that is involved in harming or benefiting crops and human health
That is a question I've been asked a few times on Twitter, and I don't really have a definitive answer for you - so for that I will apologise - exclusive content is a part and parcel of videogames, however we do listen/read peoples thoughts and comments... so like I say I can't give you a definitive answer... but I hear you
I first came across you when i attended the banff mountain movie festival in banff and your video eclipse was shown. Enjoyable video mate. Seems you have some serious determination to get "the shot". During the trip in "eclipse" was it a big effort to get everyone to follow your passion? Were there days when people weren't as keen as you to keep pursuing? Or alternatively were there days when you were getting disheartened and needed others encouragement?
Can you say anything regarding what that understanding is?
John M: It is just in the environment around them and enters through diffusion. Most microorganisms actually pump out lead to stay healthy.
hmm... probably not something I can say as we haven't revealed that pack yet... but if I was to say... wouldn't that be awesome... and we like to do awesome things... that may be an answer..
There is a high possibility that both diseases will have a vaccine in the next 10 years. And it is important to memorize because that is what we memorized back in the day and you should to :)
you have too keen an eye... can I claim a typo on "pack"... for "packs" ?
What's the likelihood of classic LEGO games and properties (e.g. LEGO Racers, LEGO Island, LEGO Adventurers) appearing in year 3 or a hypothetical year 4?
How hard is it to design the Adventure Worlds for each franchise, i.e. which locations to include, which NPCs to provide quests, which puzzles to have players solve, etc.?
There was both a ton of luck and a fair amount of preparation. We needed solar filters, and a generally precise idea of where the sun would be in the sky. So, we knew at 11am, the 2 minutes of total eclipse would happen 11 degrees above the horizon and 11 degrees west of south. Using a compass we tried finding different areas on the mountains where we could stand on the ground and have a ridgeline on those coordinates. Funny, we realized after leaving the town that we didn't know if we had magnetic or true north for that 11-11 degrees. So, there was guesswork too!
John M: I actually am very open to that possibility and am under the belief that life will be found on another planet in my lifetime, the details of which I of course dont know.
hmm... I'm not sure about the answer to your first. We love classic LEGO properties.. but not sure of them in Dimensions... but that doesn't mean we won't ever visit them. In answer to your second - it's very hard to make sure that each adventure world is authentic to the brand, and also fun and exciting, but the adventureworld team are amazing.. they manage to get references to everything in them, and do a fab job... they are the reason the adventureworlds rock!
I have enjoyed the PC LEGO games for years, and love the idea of Dimensions, but it's not available for PC, and even if it was, the toys are not of as much interest. Have you considered a game-only version for the PC, with the various packs available as DLC?
Thanks so much for your kind words. Did you get good northern lights when you were up there?
I think it's important to have a foot in the mainstream to know what it's doing: what works on instagram, what's popular. But also, keep a foot in the other stuff that interests you outside of photography. Let's say you really like chamber choirs (I personally couldn't care from them), remix some of the ideas from your other passions with your own craft, and you'll start coming up with more unique ideas. Yes, it's noisy out there, but believe it or not, it'll get noisier. Keep at it!
I don't have a great way of prioritizing all the sides of the job that come with being a self employed photographer, I'm not sure many do. Mostly it comes down to urgency for things like delivery, post production or taxes. As for inspiration and day dreaming; you can't schedule them, so when you get some inspiration take hold and ride it places, write down your ideas too!
Dan Portnoy/John Mekalanos: I believe the majority of my students enjoy their work while in the lab, after that point, in their first real position perhapse half truly enjoy what they do., and the vast majority make an excess of 50k
you aren't the first person to have said that - unfortunately the game isn't available on PC.. I'm not 100% sure of the reasoning as I wasn't there on day 1 of the project when those decisions were taken. I hear your suggestion though.. :)
Hey Reuben, huge fan of you and your work. Seeing the work that you put in for your Eclipse shot was eye opening, I gained a lot of respect for the amount of effort you put into your shots after seeing that.
I do quite a bit of biking and skiing and while I would like to start taking more photos and recording the trips, I always find it takes me "out" of the activities I'm doing. How did you balance that when first getting into adventure photography?
I've noticed Squamish draws quite a few people in the mountain biking and skiing industry, what about Squamish drew you to it?
And finally, of you couldn't be an adventure photographer, what do you think you would do for work instead?
About 4 years ago in my microbiology class i asked why not manipulate virus's to kill cancer cells? Is that idea still in the air?
Hello Arthur, we met last year when you are nice enough to grant me a tour of Tt towers.
As you probably know I, alongside packattack04082 and Bricks to Life, recently discovered a cameo from everyone's favorite paranoid schizophrenic scientist in the Portal 2 story level of Dimensions. This makes me curious, what's your favorite Easter egg or secret that people may not know about that you've included in the games you've worked on?
Photography really does take me out of the sport, if I'm just going riding with friends and I were to bring a camera and start shooting, it would almost ruin the ride. However, by photographing these sports I also get to do them a ton of the time, and in really amazing places. In Svalbard I got to ski a camera bag-free line. Only one without a camera, but it was amazing and I doubt I would have got to go there without it. I also make sure I leave space to go ride without a camera, or to bring a limited kit and interfere with the ride as little as possible.
Squamish: It's it's own version of paradise amongst the 4 places to live in the sea to sky, and each has benefits and drawbacks. Some are better for bikes, others for skis, other for employment, other for housing. I love that squamish has amazing pedal riding from my doorstep, proximity to everything, and a bit of a 'real town' feeling unlike the resort of Whistler. But, all are good!
I'm lucky I found photography, before photography I never thought of myself as creative, since I did poorly in music and art classes. I could have been an engineer, a teacher, I likely would still ski and bike, but would have gone to uni for a short amount of time before finding a career.
Sorry for not including this person in the bio but Raphael Martinez, was a microbiologist at UCLA for many years and he wanted to answer this one. His answer was Yersinia, because he spent many years researching it.
John M: Cholera, because I fell in love with it 40 years ago and have worked with it ever since
That's one thing yes... we will watch the movies again and again, read the books, fan fiction - everything... the number of hours of research that we do for each pack (and our main games) is pretty huge!!! It was also amazing getting some of the younger members of the team to watch Goonies and Knight Rider for the first time :)
Will Beetlejuice's hair be a new mold for LEGO Dimensions? Any hints as to when will he be revealed? Huge fan, Arthur!
Hey, thanks for your work in the Bow Valley as well! Thanks for bringing in Malcolm and friends to play!
I did go the north! I rode a faded red (not pink) motorbike to Dawson to join my dad on the last leg of his 3000km journey from Waterton to the arctic ocean. Here's a little piece on MEC's blog about the trip. https://www.mec.ca/en/article/dempster-highway-biking-bonding-and-sour-toes I'm also in the process of writing a story for ROAD mag that should come out spring/summer.
Hmm, very interesting question about how to get out from under a perceived shadow. I think the key is perception, and what kind of media you produce. In the last year I got to travel to several film festivals around the world and you'd be surprised to find how many people don't recognize Banff or Revy, but will always understand Banff. It's too big and classic to be overshadowed.
Obviously you're a big skier. Yes, for powder skiing, days like today's opening in Whistler was pretty amazing and I didn't tag a rock. But, if you're into views and good groomers there's no place in the world like Banff. So, I think it's about claiming the space that Banff already owns as the world's best in certain areas, while the coast keeps snorkeling in thick chunky deep pow
Will there ever be a standalone LEGO Simpsons video game? Like Hit and Run but LEGO? I'm sure there is enough material to source? :~P
hahahah too funny. Too bad you didn't say hi! I'm just a human being... say hi next year!
After achieving a lot of my own goals, and also getting to travel to Asia for the first time this year. The daunting reality of climate change really hit home for me this year. I think the evidence is really clear that human's effects are causing problems. And, even if you aren't convinced of human caused climate change, no one can afford the bet against it. I think our visceral interaction with nature, and the way we can start to witness change over a life time gives us extra responsibility to try to be more conscious about our environmental footprint and shadow. Yes I use more carbon than your average human, and I am trying to figure out how to harmonize my love for nature with a dependency we/I have developed on carbon. There are several things I'm currently trying keep in mind: -Little actions matter: doing better with diet, waste, and grocery shops is important -Celebrating and admiring good action and lifestyle is imperative, we should consciously award progress -Vulnerable conversation is key: we need to get really good at vulnerable conversation, avoid condemning or adversaries, since they are the key to our collective progress.
How about you?
Video: I do a bit from time to time, check out 'motion' on my website gallery. There's some (possibly climate) pieces I'm daydreaming about right now!
Dan Portnoy/John Mekalanos: I think if you truly love science you should just go for it, make sure to hold on to much of your post doc research to get you ahead, and do your best to join a program that matches your interests and goals. There will always be money for creative and interesting science with possible applications, however the future of funding is unclear to us as well.
Edit: Please feel free to ask more questions, we love to help people in your situation.
I've no idea sorry...
In the two examples that you told the skier to hit the mark, retrospectively both look like the subject is probably turning so hard that they're scrubbing almost all of their speed.
What fraction of what we see on the pages of the magazines is just posing for the camera in the mountains and what fraction is really skiing?
edit: should add that prior to reading this I wouldn't have noticed.
Does the microbiology community have any plans to analyze Donald Trump's "hands"?
Thank you so much for all you do, the LEGO games are always my favorite, and as a mediocre gamer, I'm always proud of myself for being able to 100% them. And I love that Dimensions has become the epitome of the LEGO Games!
That being said, I understand if you can't answer, but is there any chance that we might see more stud multipliers in LD?
And is there any chance for Star Wars?
hmm, for most shots I think so. But, it's not something that I could check. I definitely wouldn't know the ISO, shutter, and fstop. I have tons of lenses, but use two of them for almost everything. So, it's easy to see which one is wide, and which one is telephoto. Look to see the field of view, and how much visual compression the image has.
We have asked a MD/PHD, who practices medicine, their opinion on this question, and she said that you really need to have a love for medicine, if you have a preference for research perhaps you should consider moving to another field.
More stud multipliers? probably not.. as for other IP - never say never - but not that I'm aware of.. sorry.
And nobody is a mediocre gamer - we are all experts in our own fields... (I get beaten regularly in rocket league by my 13 year old daughter!)
Do you think the Marcaline problem will be fixed by December? Will we see all powerpuff girls
Two spooky times come to mind: 7 years ago I tried to go out and shoot self portrait mountain bike photos at night in the backcountry during a meteor shower. Just before leaving the road I met a rancher who said a cougar had just killed one of her cows. I then spent the next 3 hours alone in the dark without cell service failing to get the shot. Bad decisions.
Another would have been the avalanche conditions in the Yukon's Tombstone mountains. The snow is as dry as the snow that blows across the prairies in winter, it's just so cold and dry. When ski touring on flat ground there were whoomphs that would trigger like dominos and thunder around us for almost a minute at a time.
Neither of those stories of spooky situations were tied to the success of another photo, danger doesn't directly correlate with good images. I do things that are seen as dangerous because I am surrounded by smart people who know how to manage risk. Rarely is it worth adding extra risk or making a questionable decision in favor of a photo.
I like to think ahead to the way I'll look back on a situation should something go wrong. Will I think my decision making was sound? 10/10 would not do solo cougar night again
do you ever plan to do a poll where people can vote for charectears from past franchises?
Oooh, tough one and unexpected. I could really be stoked to be a musician with a remarkable musical skill, being able to bring beauty to people through sound would be amazing. Or batman, always be batman
I doubt it - it takes a long time from deciding on a character to having it made and in the shops - over a year - so I think when you may have seen those polls on other games ultimately all of the toys exist and they just roll out the winning one first... sorry
Whats your Fave Place to go Skiing? in the Sea to Sky corridor, Tour or Sled access or a combo of both
What do you guys think is the future of probiotics in topical applications?
John Mekalanos:Topical applications and probiotics are not strongly related because probiotics are generally ingested. That being said there could be a probiotic to help our skin or other topical locations. I am optimistic about probiotics because it is an unexplored field that will largely be impacted by synthetic biology.
My pleasure... every game I've worked on has special memories... for various reasons obviously - but they are all special for some reason or another.. Harry Potter is one - 3 great years over 2 games... LMSH - because it was something we never thought we'd get to make... oh and I got to meet Stan Lee... yay! But they are all great fun...
3 questions about lego city pack:
1: im sure you are including chase as figure. is he having like an skill for switch his suits? like finn has with his swords 2: are you making it as a level pack or a story pack? 3: the freeworld will be the WHOLE city as shown on wii u or just an area?
Boxerbriefs, no trick questions. Saxx underwear!
John M: You are correct, that is the way it is going. I am more likely to suggest it but it is of course not the only option. Industry is somewhat high pressure due to need for a product.
Dan Portnoy: They are very different, If you have any interest in teaching you should definitely stick with academia. if you want strict research both will fit your purposes. Personally we all prefer academia due to the cutting edge nature of the science and the freedom of academic pursuit.
ok - I can answer the one question in terms of is Chase a minifig - yes he is - I've seen pics of him online - so that news is out in the wild :) In terms of the other questions - I'm not sure it would be Chase if he wsn't able to do what he could do in the game the pack is based on right... :) As for the other question - you'll have to wait and see - sorry, can't say much more...
Resident MD: Certain people with take antibiotics prophylactics. Generally speaking the less antibiotics the better, even in the case of some infections.
60's Batman pack... OMG... why haven't we done that... Loved that level in LBM3...DANGITSHARPLES
I'm a photographer also ( different genre ) and have taken to carrying my camera with me everywhere, since if I don't I always regret it. If I go out without it, I try to bring an ipod or something with me so in case something amazing happens I have at least something to take a photo with.
Nowadays, I constantly find myself looking at every potential shot from a commercial perspective ( light isn't right, etc ) instead of a personal one. Used to enjoy taking photos of birds and wildlife, but now it's hard to force myself out and to take a photo just for the sake of taking a photo/relaxing. Also trying to retrain my eye to "see" photos in all genres instead of just my main. Part of my goal for 2017 is to get started on my personal photography work again so I can get a halfway decent balance between work work (which I love) and personal work.
Have you run into similar? What's the best way you've found to separate work vs play and work vs personal? I'm self employed now but photography was my hobby, so everything ended up meshing. It's not really soul-wrenching yet, but it is getting rather frustrating!
Hello, thank you for doing this AMA! For the cure for cancer, are you searching for a generic cure to all types of cancer or is it different for each type? Also, do you work with anyone that's promoting cancer prevention programs, such as advocating a healthy lifestyle or eating habits?
My husband and I get a huge kick out of the Lego Dimensions games, glitches and all. Storing all of the sets is getting to be a bit tough. Have you seen any creative storage solutions made by fans?
Also, which packs have been surprisingly popular with players of the game?
In terms of storage solutions - the best one I've seen was a huge round multi level shop storage rack - it had about 5 shelves that could be spun round - like a huge cake stand... very impressive...
packs that have been surprisingly popular... hmmm.... Doctor Who (though not a great surprise)... but Emmett was super popular... they're all popular in their own way... Glad you enjoy the game though. apologies for the glitches.. we fix them as soon as we are aware of them!
I used to be a massive fan of the LEGO games. LEGO Star Wars is one of my favourite games to this day. But for the last couple years I haven't enjoyed them, and I can tell you exactly why - the inclusion of voice acting. One of my favorite things about the games had always been the silent cutscenes, and how they used visual and physical comedy instead of dialogue, telling the story of whichever property was being adapted without using words. Now, I can sorry of understand why voice acting began to be included when you started to produce more original games not directly based on well-known storylines, like the LEGO Batman series. But when you do it with adaptions as well it just feels lazy on the part of the writers to me, as though they got tired of the difficulty inherent in silent cutscenes and visual/physical comedy.
Why was the decision made to begin incorporating dialogue and voice acting into the game? Do you think there ever will be games without it again?
a former fan.
Hi - I hear what you are saying... however we like to think that the voice work adds an extra layer of humour, as well as authenticity to our games.. When we were first putting voice work into LBM2 there were some of us that didn't know if it would work - but we all loved it... Have you tried any of the games with voice work? Maybe pick up LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (as it'll be about $10 probably) and give it a shot... I'd like to think we haven't gotten lazy... but thanks for your thoughts
err... no I haven't... an igloo yes... a banana yes... even a pineapple and cheese hedgehog...
but never a turkey... sorry
Hey, any chance were getting battle worlds for the past adventure worlds that we have? (I.e. Doctor Who etc)
I don't think so no - a lot of work goes into the Battle Arenas, and we made a decision to have those for year 2 packs only.
Hi Arthur, Could you talk a little about the long term plan for Dimensions?
I've heard a 3 Year plan mentioned, would it be possible to extend the Game further into the future with new packs or is a "LEGO Dimensions 2" with a new starter pack , story etc a more likely possibility.
Really loved the inclusion of Red Dwarf within Fantastic Beats, is this a one off or maybe a test to see interest in a physical pack?
We like to throw in Easter Eggs... did you find Star Labs too? As for the longer term plan... sorry - not something I can go into detail on.. so when it's ask me anything, it's I'll answer some things... sorry.. that said anything is possible
What's your favorite franchise in LEGO Dimensions and which franchise did you enjoy implementing into the game the most?
Will the Powerpuff Girls have custom head molds or not?
What has been your favorite level you've worked on in LEGO Dimensions?
Favourite Franchise - Harry Potter / Goonies PP Girls - Yes... just don't tell anyone I told you ;0 Fav level - probably Fantastic Beasts level 2 - inside Newt's case :)
Will we see more packs for previously done franchises in Dimensions?
Would love to see more for Lord or the Rings and Fantastic Beasts!
More for LOTR... Really?!? Or do you just want a Sean Bean minifig :)
I love your work. I said yesterday that I've played the all but 5 of the Lego games to completion with a significant other and that these are great because they aren't competitive. How do you feel about the demise of couch coop? Playing in person with friends non competitively is so much more fun and intimate.
Edit: also it would be great to see Lego Artemis Fowl. You should reach out to Eoin Colfer about that :p
Demise of couch coop? NEVER!!! We are here - stalwarts of the industry - making sure it remains forever!
On a serious note though - we love hearing peoples stories of who and how they play our games - playing games together rocks! Reminds me of growing up playing games together with friends!
Is it bad that I had to google Artemis Fowl... (sorry!)