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Mr. Prophet on Residual Decay

UnrealSP.Org is pleased to present a further interview with Team Red Nemesis leader Mr. Prophet, this time talking about the impressive upcoming project Residual Decay. The inspiration for the project, who is involved, and some of the weapons and creatures we can expect to encounter as we play it.

HELLSCRAG: Mr. Prophet is joining me to answer a few questions about the upcoming project "Residual Decay", which looks set to be the most awesome yet to emerge from the Team Red Nemesis / Team Phalanx cadre. My thanks to Prophet for joining me today.

MR. PROPHET: No problem. Thanks for the interview. :)

HELLSCRAG: It seems that there's no shortage of quality projects in the works at present, such as The Chosen One and Unreal: Battle for Na Pali, to name but a few. What made you want to work on this one in particular?

MR. PROPHET: Well originally it wasn't supposed to be such a big project. After 7 Bullets we were more interested in doing a mappack for some new Xidia Survivor Mode gametype ideas. We had an idea for a pack of special AS styled SP maps that would be more like COOP and feature XSM elements. You could play against other players who fought alongside monsters or just monsters and they would be like SP maps for UT.
Pretty much it was an idea to incorporate SP to UT a little more since that gap hasn't quite been filled yet. But somehow things got turned around into a new SP itself to follow 7 Bullets. I think it was because 7 Bullets was a learning experience for most of the team and we all still wanted to work together with straightforward SP.

Residual Decay
Residual Decay promo image

HELLSCRAG: Tell us a little about the title of the mod - what does it mean, and what are its implications for the protagonist?

MR. PROPHET: Well Residual Decay is a scientific term for negative side-effects to futuristic teleportation. I bascially strung the title together while looking for a cool way to word it by googling science links. The title for 7 Bullets was pretty cryptic and I wanted something that sounded cool and was easy to understand.
Basically the word has a double meaning but that gets figured out as the game progresses. The concept behind the game follows a depressed and recently mutilated war soldier named Jones who just days ago experienced the events from 7 Bullets.
You start off in a wierd situation that progressively gets wierder, and increasingly dangerous. The game requires the player to undergo a series of long distant teleportations that effectively wear down the character and provide a creepy atmosphere as the world about him begins to distort itself.

HELLSCRAG: Jones again! Poor guy, hasn't he been through enough after the events of The Xidia Incident, Skytown Redux and 7 Bullets?

MR. PROPHET: Clearly not. :) He's tougher than he looks and the game will testify to that. When you get your first look at him, he's covered in fresh wounds sustained from the Scarred One in 7 Bullets. So basically you start the game off without a real "break" from the last installment.

HELLSCRAG: But either way, it's a pretty inventive concept. What gave you the idea? Was it inspired by anything in particular?

MR. PROPHET: Certainly. I had the idea for a wierd sci-fi SP scenario since I first started mapping. But back then I was pretty shitty and never had the resources to pull off what was in my head. Since then I've had various inspirations, from movies and other games. Most recently I can think Silent Hill: The Room, which I finished playing shortly before writing the story.
It just seemed like a good time to do something like this. The team we have right now is very talented and I'm actually surprised at ALOT of what we've been able to pull off.

Residual Decay
Jones returns in Residual Decay

HELLSCRAG: So how did you get involved with your co-conspirators in creating this project? UArchitect and darthweasel weren't that widely known in the Unreal SP community prior to their work on 7 Bullets; what are their respective contributions to Residual Decay, and who else is involved?

MR. PROPHET: Well darthweasel was an unknown DM mapper when I asked him to sign up for 7 Bullets and since then he's been releasing some popular maps for the community. He's just an easy mapper to work with since he'll listen to your ideas for what he has to map and simply do it. In 7B, he had never done a real temple map, let alone a SP map and when I approached him with the task of doing a particular... dead temple with minimal activity and with tarydium crystal lighting, he didn't really hesitate. He's the kinda guy that will do anything even if he has no idea how the hell to do it.
To be honest I didn't think UArchitect had much going on prior to the grass script he made for 7B. Before that I had seen one DM map he did (which wasn't all that interesting:)) and a Krall skin he made for Déjà Vu - Gryphon Revisited. Boy could I have been more wrong. I can't imagine how crappy this project might turn out without the work he has contributed. This guy has done more to this engine than anyone else I have ever seen in this community do before - and he never complains.
Zynthetic is the other involved member and the four of us make up the core team. Besides doing the complete soundtrack, Zyn is doing a training map and contributing alot of talent to other aspects of the game. He's always around and part of the conceptual development of the project.
eVOLVE is returning as the voice of Jones, as well as several new voiced characters as well and UsAaR33 is returning as our veteran coder. Aside from that we have Eightball Maniac as a tester and Frieza as the 4th major mapper (which technically means we have 5 mappers come to think of it).
Basically everyone except Darthweasel and UA came from the SP community and the two of them seem to have been assimilated by our collective.

HELLSCRAG: Your existing publicity material gives a long list of new features, presumably implemented by the combined efforts of UsAaR33 and UArchitect. There certainly seems to be a great deal of custom code content involved in Residual Decay, more than in your previous projects, and more than we can go into huge detail about here. Has this complicated the development process?

MR. PROPHET: Actually developement has been smooth. UA really knows what he is doing and UsAaR33 is happy to work with another coder. Surprisingly, all these new features seem to be coming along with little or zero problems. So easy in fact I almost can't believe alot of the ideas we're putting to use haven't been tried yet.

HELLSCRAG: Are there any worries that the game will cease to feel like Unreal with all of these changes?

MR. PROPHET: Not at all. These are things myself and most Unreal fanatics I know have been waiting to see implemented to the SP style for a long time. The game follows the groove of the previous chapters, but is still very much within the Unreal universe.

HELLSCRAG: I'm glad to hear it. :)

Residual Decay
Residual Decay promo image

HELLSCRAG: You promise 17 new and returning weapons - how are these being managed in the inventory and on the player's HUD?

MR. PROPHET: Well the HUD is new but we currently have no particular style set on how weapons are stored. The Unreal way has a 1-10 limit and I'd like to try something different. Maybe a select icon at the bottom of the screen that cycles whatever gun you want in a single slot and numerical quick keys will still be used normally.

HELLSCRAG: Any clues for us as to which weapons will be returning, and will the returning weapons all be the 7 Bullets variants?

MR. PROPHET: Well all the 7 Bullets weapons will be returning except for the Spammy Grenade Launcher,the BloodPack Ripper and the CARmk3. Returning from Unreal will be the Dispersion Pistol. Weapons from Xidia will include a much improved Mining Tool and very modified guns from UT. All these weapons, even the Dispersion pistol, are getting hauled with new skins, new projectile/partical effects, new damage effects, and other features. So alot of them will be familiar...but none of them will be quite the same.

HELLSCRAG: Aw, I liked the Bloodpack Ripper, it was particularly useful against turrets. What will you be providing instead?

MR. PROPHET: A new variation of the Skaarj Disk shooting weapon. One that is much more effective than previous versions.
I should mention that the game has 5 melee weapons and 3 completely new weapons. And we may include more.

HELLSCRAG: I like the sound of that!

Residual Decay
A minisub in the depths

HELLSCRAG: While we're on the subject of the armoury, talk to me about vehicles...

MR. PROPHET: Well atm the only vehicle we're talking about is the Minisub. It will be accessed via Use key (not the enter button since that confused with items) and will include two views; First person with a modified HUD and for fans of UT2K4, a 3rd person view as well. It will be fully controlable with reverse, forward, sink, ascend, and stop controls. And to top it off, you will be able to fire torpedos.

HELLSCRAG: There was some criticism about the Terran Pirates in 7 Bullets being too accurate and being, well... bots. Will they be returning in Residual Decay?

MR. PROPHET: I had to consider it for a long time. At the present moment, no they will not. But if they do, and they just might, they would be altered heavily in movement and skill to be more like casual video game humans and not UT bots.

HELLSCRAG: What about the Skaarj? To what extent will your previous modified Skaarj classes be returning, and will there be any place for the old Unreal favourites such as the simple Skaarj Warrior and Skaarj Officer?

MR. PROPHET: I know alot of people missed the Skaarj in 7 Bullets. There was even only one warrior in that game. We've taken into account the Unreal community's natural love for the Skaarj and are including both troopers, warriors, and several new classes.
The troopers themselves come back in full force and even have some new attacks that will surprise most players. I'm sure players are sick of troopers anyway after playing 7 Bullets, but the warriors are back in full numbers as they were in Xidia. Depending on the difficulty you're playing on, you may even catch a glimpse of the new Praetorian class (though they are presented in a much different style this time).

HELLSCRAG: Will we see a return of the Mercenaries, the Brutes and the Krall?

MR. PROPHET: Yes, yes, and yes. Krall and Mercs are a first for the Jones series and they are coming into the fold with a vengeance. The Mercenaries never got a decent thematic map as far as I'm concerned and I felt compelled to change that. All three Unreal veteran beasts have new classes as well as new attacks (as do alot of the enemy classes).
The Krall were a class of Unreal monsters that never really left a lasting impression on me. When they reappear in Residual Decay they have new attacks and pose a serious threat. In Unreal they were the kinda enemy you'd see and ignore to shoot stronger creatures first. They didn't really have much personality. In Residual Decay they are actually quite cruel and when you encounter them they are on the verge of social disorder after having been left to maintain a terrible torture dungeon on Na Pali. They are restless and let out their wasted aggression on the prisoners locked away in the fortress.

HELLSCRAG: Sounds excellent. :)

Residual Decay
The Skaarj return in Residual Decay

HELLSCRAG: Will there be any completely new creature models this time, such as a new boss?

MR. PROPHET: Depends on how you behave yourselves. But fans of the Xidia / 7 Bullets boss fights will be pleased since the ones for Residual Decay are shaping up to be the most epic yet seen. So far there is only 1 new enemy pawn.

HELLSCRAG: I'm intrigued! And the boss fight text - is it in, or is it out?

MR. PROPHET: I think it worked ok in 7 Bullets not to include it. I think we'll simply leave the text lines to the map intros. This way players won't really be warned before hand.

HELLSCRAG: "Refined SP gameplay with several new features" - anything else you're particularly proud of that we haven't yet covered?

MR. PROPHET: The blood / injury effects are really quite cool, and it's about time too. Also, alot of the gameplay is more balanced between combat and puzzles. Every map has a complicated brain teaser to work out.

HELLSCRAG: I guess you're making sure that the puzzles will be penetrable by first time players? Valley of Alshar, for example, had some really bad sticking points that weren't explained at all.

MR. PROPHET: Well that's an interesting question. While None of them are unfair and most of them can be figured out by seasoned FPS'ers, they are also difficulty handicapped. On easier difficulties you'll get brief hints (i.e. quick camera scene) while on Unreal difficulty for the most part, you'll need to figure it out without a helping hand. But none of them are obnoxiously irritating. In fact they are pretty much the kinda solutions most people will consider at least once.

HELLSCRAG: So would you say that the feedback you received on your previous projects has been heavily reflected in your approach to this one?

MR. PROPHET: I would say so, but mainly what was said about 7 Bullets.

HELLSCRAG: And finally, how many maps? :)

MR. PROPHET: Currently, we're at 14. That's about the same as 7 Bullets but we haven't had to split anything yet or incorporate last minute maps as per usual with these projects, so we'll see.

HELLSCRAG: Well, the more the merrier in my opinion!

Residual Decay
Residual Decay promo image

HELLSCRAG: Once again, my thanks to Mr. Prophet for being here to answer my questions. I would ask about a release date, but it'll just be ready "when it's done", I suppose? :P

MR. PROPHET: Right on. ;)

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