RECIPROCITY: Today, we'll be sitting down with the guys of FXD and discussing a wide range of topics including their SP project. Now, Lost Secrets of Na Pali needs no introduction. Nevertheless, I'd like to know if you guys have any more of a concrete story going with this project.
FXD|SHADOW: Yeah, we have but I don't want to spoil too much. At this point I can say that there will be more then just Skaarj, Merc etc. I was speaking about new races, also secret organisation will take part in the plot and the missions will be very different.
How has the implementation gone of these new races? Can you give us the specifics of at least one?
Yes I can. The new races (with the old together) are in relations; one race is good in technology and trading stuff so many other races "like" them and want to make business^^ and the other are evil guys just seeking to conquer other worlds, no one really wants to play with them. The implementation itself is very difficult; models have to be brain-stormed, how the planets are looking, their buildings, language, behaviour and so on.
How about the implementation of all these new features? High res textures, emitters...etc. Obviously some of the Oldskoolers are a little skeptical about overhauling the engine that much. How would you respond to such skepticism?
Skepticism is right. Others may think those features are "impossible", but ,for example, take a look at high res textures. RD will have them too. The magical word is 'S3TC'. To the emitters I can say that their development to this state today has taken nearly 3 years because I often changed something until this...well... optimized state. Coding a particle system with 13 is a bit difficult. To the other features like bloom I can say that it's far easier to implement than some might think. Our bloom has no need of DX9 hardware. It's just a controllable blur layer.
Particle effects? Bloom? It seems like you're doing just the opposite to the Oldskool community.
Well next to making that giant mod, we're trying to reanimate modding with the UE1; as we said once before, nearly everything we developed can be used in own mods (with permission by us).
Can you describe what kind of gameplay LSoNP will feature?
The gameplay is wide-ranging and provides a high interactivity. While you find yourself on the first part on Na Pali in a typical SP-like environment, other places offer different tasks, like getting info through talking with people, escorting a transport ship, infiltrating a base in a small group and so on. Though you aren't a normal Major of a Army, (more like a Major of Marines-Corp. or similar Special Forces) you get really interesting missions, nothing like Pic on Artifact after the other or killing everything that comes in your way (as in Unreal2 or Serious Sam..). Most environments can be explored (doesn't matter if alien town, human town, nature etc.) and you will find live-reach terrain.
What kind of places with LsONP feature? Any reduxed old locales?
LSoNP will feature many places. Instead of walking along x-times again on Na Pali, you'll see totally new races and places: the Skaarj Homeworld, the Drakk Homeworld, Krall's Planet, the Earth, also other Dimensions, featuring the unknown evil race the story is talking about. Some Unreal2 places and some Unreal1 places will be revisited in LSoNP, which one isn't clear yet, maybe Hell (U2), The Sunspire Tower (U1) if more places of U1/U2 then deeply changed, like some human outposts on places where once wasteland was or something..
How did FXD happen to be formed?
FX (short for Fanatic Xceptions) is primary a multi-gaming clan from Germany. With the leader of this clan (a friend of mine), I was in a clan. The hard core of FXD (FX Development), since the beginning of LSoNP was: Chaoz,Me,CWF and DaDrache. This beginning was a bad time, the other 3 did there job well, but we were too less, this period I was nearly quiting LSoNP (even before I postet the thread here on UnrealSP). With time (through friends/contacts, like FXD|Apokalypse) we found more members and last but not least through the fusion with the ex-USU Team we merged a team nearly 20.
Wow! Can you tell me a little about your background? I mean, coding all this new and cool stuff must take a little bit of certification and know-how.
Hmm...my backgrounds. For this interesting fact, we must go back in time. Originally, back in 2000, LSoNP was planed as Skater Mod! Yes, it was called "Skate until Death". 2 or 3 Maps were finished, some code and one player model....It was really just fun stuff.. Then 1 year of developing this shit goes by time. After I got information that a Skater-Mod for UT would be a bit senseless (especially because of the loved Tony Hawk's Series) to that time we decided to make an SP-Mod. In the beginning, it was strongly influenced by Operation Na Pali. We made something that reminded us too much of that Mod. I said to myself, "If my Mod (to that time LSoNP in that form doesn't exist) should get any attention it better be something different, new and ambitious than just another SP-Mod." So it came that we were going to develop LSoNP in the late 2003/2004. Really rational reasons or background for this mod I (honestly) don't have, people here would say "just for teh hell of it !" but by the time there came a reason: showing people that UT99 still isn't dead, the UT99 and it's engine still has potential and that people should look back on the game they once loved so much (I know many who only "know" UT2k4 anymore..).
Ya it needs much ability and skill to code and develop all this. For me I can say that I learned coding when I was 11 in class 6 in a math/informatic course. To that time, it was q-basic and basic.. with a 33 MHZ PC lol. For the others I can say that they're completely able to bring the vision of LSoNP to life. All mappers have talent, our coders are pushing the engine forward to abilities I didn't know of, and our modellers make good characters and so on..
Do you think you'll be bringing your talents to the new engine any day soon?
Going to the newer engine.. hm I don't know, to that time it's not important for me, I just wanna finish LSoNP, get school finished and care about my Band. I'll be honest, I don't like the actual UE2 much..
What do you plan to do with FXD or individually after LsONP is completed?
Plan ? Hm...FXD|CWF wants to make an engine together with us. But for myself, I'm not thinking so far.. Maybe he's right and we should make a completely own game from scratch..but I don't know, Definitely is that we'll make short after the release of LSoNP an independent developer pack with all our enhancements for the community.
Do you have a projected release date for LSoNP?
Sorry, only for the Demo, for the Full Version not yet. The Demo is planed around early Summer (May/June). LSoNP takes so much time that I'm happy when we're reaching 30 % next week..
What other projects have you worked on with your expertise? Unreal/not-unreal related..
As I said, this early Skater-Mod years ago, some code work in q-basic and many never released maps (DM-Stargate, MH-Mountains of Na Pali, CTF-NaliTemple to name some unknown for example), but all this doesn't even matter^^.