Nuclear Snail Studios’ Dimitri Zaitsev

We were originally just going to feature the incredible pictures from Nuclear Snail Studios, but then we decided to take a closer look. What we found was Dimitri Zaitsev; the creator and brain behind Nuclear Snail. Dimitri is a die-hard fan of all things post-apocalyptic and it shows in all his work. Whether it’s his LARP costume, his photography or his website design; all of it has the same high quality and meticulous attention to detail.
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The future is bleak and wonderful

Dimitri will continue making costumes, but his next big project is a post-apocalyptic indie game. We’ll be sure to report more on that once the Kickstarter is out. Dimitri confirms that the KS will feature some of his outfits. We’re excited already. We’re also excited about the possibility of a short film he’s planning on doing with Amin Oussar, a Director of Photography and his close friend. Keep an eye on his website and facebook for upcoming details!

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Inspired by the wasteland

You can be sure that whatever he does, it will be in line with his inspirations. Dimitri played every Fallout game that came out, including Fallout Tactics, but Borderlands, Planescape Torment and Starcraft also helped shape his love for games and design. (Amen, brother! – Alabast) Though 80s-90s post-apo and dark future movies (and series) such as Cyborg, Terminator, Johnny Mnemonic, Salute to the Jugger, Robocop, Mad Max, Waterworld, Postman, Hell Comes to Frogtown, Wedlock, Fortress, Escape from NY / LA, Akira, A Boy and His Dog, Babylon 5, Sliders… all helped shape his love for the post-apocalypse. He does admit that it was the Fallout games that truly changed the course of his life.

Another goal is contributing to the post-apocalyptic community world-wide as much as possible. I owe a lot to this genre, it helped me find my way in life, meet many interesting people, it helped me grow. It has often been the prime motivator for me to get out of bed in the morning and it has been the motivator for me to study design. And it is full of awesome people, so I see it as one of my duties to give back by helping the whole genre grow and the people who enjoy it find their own way, too. It´s one of the reasons I´m doing the video tutorials. – Dimitri Zaitsev

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European LARPs

Dimitri also takes his time to LARP, though he’s unsurprisingly a bigger fan of the post-apocalyptic genre over the fantasy LARPs. In fact he helps co-organize player groups in both Oldtown (the largest post-apo LARP in Poland), F.A.T.E. (the largest post-apo LARP in Germany and probably Europe) and Zombie Apokalypse (Another German LARP made by the same team that do F.A.T.E.) He also lists the Polish LARPs Zakonki, Zieme Jalowe and Atomicon as worth checking out. And of course; the danish City of Cities.

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On LARPs, Dimitri has the following to say:

Going to a LARP is just like playing a computer game..But not entirely 😀

First of, it is similar to gaming as that it helps you widen your inner world enormously. You probably know that cool picture that has been going around the internet a while ago, saying “I am a gamer. I don´t have a life – I chose to have many”. (If no, then here, check it out.)

It totally IS like that with role-play gaming, and no different with LARPs.

Other than that, the first LARP experiences are extremely intense, they tend to be way over what you can experience in a PC game. For me it was less about stuff like “story” and “playing your character thoroughly”, and more about being in a community of post-apocalyptic people in a post-apocalyptic setting. It is just like being in a different world, surrounded almost entirely by people who are amazing… I don´t even know how to describe it, it´s just something I didn’t feel since playing in a sandbox, it is totally liberating.

A deeper look, reveals that different people have different reasons for LARPing. Some are there for the hardcore 100% immersion character-play and some just for the atmosphere and the community feeling There are as many reasons as there are people I guess. For me it was mostly about “Holy shit, I am surrounded by like-minded awesome people. This is like Fallout, but REAL! And I am here with the people some of whom I know from the internet for 10 years now, but for REAL!”

But going to a LARP does not just mean fun and new friends – going to LARP helps you understand yourself, the world, and your current place as well as your desired place in it. It helps you find your way in life. It helps you put things into perspective, see your own life from a distance you can otherwise never achieve. On and after a LARP you might realize that your job is not what makes you happy, you might realize your relationship has flaws, and that your “friends” have been dragging you down – or vice versa. You might realize just how happy you really are to have your job or your partner or your friends, or learn a TON of other things about your own behaviour and inner wishes, etc.

Whatever it will do to you exactly – it WILL move you, that is for sure. Just make sure to carefully analyze the data you collect from it, and make conclusions.

 

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The perfect playground

Dimitri also stresses that LARPs are a perfect playground to test stuff out. How would you do as a businessman in the real world? What happens if you negotiate way more aggressively when making deals? Play a merchant character on a LARP and find out! Or what will you REALLY do when you have only one life; your friend is injured, and you can fight to death to protect him or run away, saving yourself? This kind of thing works great at the F.A.T.E. LARP, where your character is permanently dead if you die.

And here is something more about coming back from an event: a specific process I call “Reality Shift” which happens when you come to a LARP, and especially after you go. It is basically a huge cultural shock every time – LARPs tend to be really involving and intense, and a mere week on a LARP feels like..I dont know man, it passes really fast, but after it did, you feel like half a year passed? So after coming back from such an event you end up being disoriented, missing the environment and especially the people, and having a hard time finding back to your “normal life” for a while, and most importantly, questioning what “normal life” actually even MEANS. It passes after some time, but during the time it lasts you will feel like shit, disconnected and lonely. On Oldtown we call it “Oldtown Blues”. The newer you are to this whole thing, the more Blues you will experience. I have been to over 10 events already, and I still experience it every time. But just shows how awesome the experiences and the people you will meet are I guess.

 

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The Team

So what people did Dimitri meet at LARP and who’s on his team? Dimitri’s active in lots of areas and thus has plenty of people he works with. Here’s a rundown of a few he’d like to mention.

Amin Oussar, a friend of Dimitri and a brilliant Director of Photography, see his showreel here.

Claudio Oliverio, a fashion photographer and reporter for VICE magazine.

Lost Ideas org team, the guys behind the F.A.T.E. and Zombie Apokalypse LARPs.

Dr. Hassgard, a.k.a. this guy, he is a marketing genius.

The coolest marketing director ever.
The coolest marketing director ever.

 

Phil Brown a.k.a. the Wolf Man, the founder of the famous post-apocalyptic marketplace/artist network “FALLOUT 6 BAZAAR“, which Dimitri is also a part of.

Romain Gierenz, the director of “General Pimp”, (NSWF) a post-apocalyptic movie (you’ll notice Dimitri’s done the website for the movie. May we suggest he makes the costumes too?).

Christoph Künne from DOCMA, a German magazine about digital picture editing.

And then of course there are my best friends who I am working with on our computer game now, my girlfriend Katja, my costume assistant Laura, my programmer nerd friend Max from Plexworks who programs most of the websites I design, and many other people who helped me make my works happen, people who I am thankful to for succesfull collaborations and good times 🙂 It would make this list a mile long if I listed all of them.

 

More from Nuclear Snail Studios

Do you enjoy Dimitri’s stuff? We at RPGBooster do!

Find him here:

Nuclear Snail Website (NSFW necessarily)

Nuclear Snail Youtube Tutorials

Nuclear Snail on Facebook

Nuclear Snail on Etsy

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