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Discussing Battle for Na Pali


RECIPROCITY: Alas, today we're shedding some light on the highly anticipated and shadowy project that Team UnrealSP's currently churning out, Unreal: Battle for Na Pali. This is a community mod that plans to truly provide us with continuation in the namesake that was severely lacking from Unreal II. But enough intros, Hellscrag, gimme a brief summary on this Unreal sequel.

HELLSCRAG: That's a very broad question!


Unreal: Battle for Na Pali follows on from the storyline of Unreal and Return to Na Pali. At the centre of the plot is the sole survivor of the crash of the UMS Bodega Bay, a disenchanted engineer who was rescued from the wreckage by the Nali. The Nali took the player to their home town and tended to his injuries. With nothing to go home to and therefore no particular desire to leave Na Pali, the player joined the community, and by the time the events of Battle for Na Pali take place has been living with the Nali for fifteen years, during which time he has learned the Nali language. The story begins on a normal day in the player's adoptive home town, high in the icy mountains.

As I recall, two Skaarj factions had risen out from the ashes of the Queen's fall, and they're now warring over expansive planet of Na Pali, correct?

Yes, that's correct. The Gilded Claw and White Tusk are the only surviving factions following a period of great unrest amongst the Skaarj on Na Pali... but now the White Tusk have discovered how to breed Pupae (a secret that has been lost to the Skaarj since the death of the Queen), and are on the verge of stamping the Gilded Claw out.

So what role does the player have in this conflict?

Well, initially, nothing. At the start of the story, the player sets out to return a Crossbow to a hunter who lives in a valley not far from his home... but whilst he's off running this errand, something terrible happens that draws him into the conflict, and he must fight for revenge and for the freedom of his adoptive people.

Ah. That seems to be a new trend with SPs that I'm liking. They tend to be more involving if they touch on the gamer's emapthy systems.

Yeah, it's always good. :)

Will the NEG have a role in this at all? Will any other humans be involved in the story?

Nope. In that regard, we are being very true to Unreal, in which the player is the only human alive on this strange planet. But this time, it's his home - he has cut all his ties to Earth, and to all intents and purposes considers himself a Nali (but without the two extra arms and leet psychic powers). Of course, he's not a Nali, which is why he's able to take certain courses of action that the Nali can't...that the Nali simply aren't built to do.

:D Bypassing pacifism?

Indeed. :)

Truly of the Unreal vein.

Yes... as this is meant to be a sequel to Unreal in a way that Unreal II wasn't, we are staying close to the Unreal formula, but also allowing for a greater involvement of the storyline and a degree of innovation.

What's the progress report on this campaign?

The development of Battle for Na Pali is still at an early stage. Since the development of the mod went private, we've discussed a tremendous amount of material behind the scenes, as any new member to the team would testify, but now the planning phase is basically over and we are working on actually building the thing. A few of the maps are making good progress, and Frieza and zynthetic have done some great work on the music.

SnipaMasta and Howitzer have made progress with the weapon and creature models, and McFarrel and Studio F have already done some excellent work on the textures.

Finally, Enigma and Techno_JF have made some good first steps with the coding, but there's much still to be done.

What new pawns are we going to see out of BFNP?

Well... plenty. As well as a selection of completely new creatures, there will be new versions of old pawns, and of course, Gilded Claw and White Tusk Skaarj.

:D Examples?

One of our leading new classes is the Velshan, who you will meet later in the game. The Velshan are a race of nomadic creatures native to Na Pali, originally underground dwellers but now brought to the surface and pressed into the service of the White Tusk. The Velshan are intelligent, and carry Crossbows equipped with a variety of arrows.

Sounds a little allegoric to the Skaarj-Merc relationship.

Not so much... Skaarj and Mercenaries are typically represented as antagonistic, and that's not a trend we intend to change in Battle for Na Pali. We are also planning on implementing a complete Nali family. Howitzer's Nali Boy model is one of the first creature meshes to be completed and it's looking good.

Oh yeah. I completely forgot about the new Nali class. Again with the empthy bit.

Oh, yeah. If you think it hurts to see a dead Nali, just wait until you've seen a whole family slaughtered!

(cringes) Can't wait...


Something I've been meaning to ask. Is it player vs. all Skaarj or might there be a twist in alliances and deception and all that basic plot stuff?

I don't want to go into details... but there is an element that will add a much more personal aspect to the player's fight for survival.

Hmm...precarious. I'll be watching this one. Any more you'd like to add?

Yes. Because this is a sequel to Unreal, we're broadening the horizons slightly, and Battle for Na Pali will feature a wider variety of locales than the original game, from the icy mountains to the sandy desert and other environments in between. Also, in the interests of interactivity, we will enable the player to trade with Nali for supplies at certain points in the game, and maybe even hold limited conversations with them (the player can, of course, speak the language). The possibility of multiple endings is also not one we have written off.

Wow... The Nali are sure taking the spotlight big time.

Of course... but the Skaarj will have their part to play as well. The player's path through this world will not be an easy one. :)

Ominous words from a rather ominous individual about an even more ominous undertaking.

Lol... It's ominous, all right! But we'll get there eventually. When it's done, as they say!

It's been a pleasure, Scraggy. BFNP sounds like it's all set to 0wn Unreal II.

I hope so, I hope so! Thank you for taking the time to host this interview. :)