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Kaka on The Chosen One


RECIPROCITY: Joining me today is Kaka of Dead Cow Studios to talk a little of his upcoming SP, The Chosen One. Can you provide our readers with a brief summary of what the Chosen One is?

KAKA: It is an FPS/RPG mix. Actually we were referencing to Deus Ex a lot while making the whole TCO "gameplay system" - let's call it that:). People can see why it takes so long to make such mod. Because of all those neat RPG features that it uses. :P

How does that affect the way the maps are made?

There will be over ten huge main maps - which will be important to visit. Some of them although have alternate maps. Which one the player will travel to depends on his decisions. Of course, there will be a possibility to backtrack to previously visited maps. There will also be maps which won't be necessary to visit by the player but they will contain useful information, items, or just some nice looking locations:).

Nice looking indeed. The architecture in this game is unparalleled by any previous SP pack. What made you decide to go with such a unique poly-heavy method and has it proved to be worth the effort?

I hope everyone likes the theme of all those Nali buildings, towers, cities, etc. Yeah, I think it was worth to use such a "heavy-poly" method that is why TCO is recognizable in the community. Although there are sometimes problems with, for example, building interiors of all those whirled windmills and towers, it takes some time, lots of time actually, we're all hoping, as in the TCO team, that the high poly character of the architecture which will sometimes slow down the PC won't discourage any Unreal gamers out there.

Does your team often reach bottlenecks as far as polys go? I mean, the you can only get so detailed before the lag-troll comes to eat your Processing power whole. How do the mappers avoid this while maintaining the lavish architecture style?

All i can say is that TCO won't run fine on a PC's which specifications where mentioned in an original readme for Unreal. What I mean is that I wanted to make good use of the today's fast PC's. If you bought a PC not longer than two years ago, you wil play TCo without problems. As for the avoiding the slowdowns, there will be many performance options to configure like decals, particle effects etc. We also make good use of a bHighDetail option.

Very happy, it's good to hear you're being smart about it. What's the plot look like?

Don't want to spoil too much right now. But after a standard beginning, the player will be thrown into a middle of a tornado. Getting out of it will mean for him a big sacrifice. Actually, the story in TCO is all about the sacrifice. Won't say anything more about it.

Ah. How about weapons? Are we bringing back the Unreal staples? (Nali, Skaarj, Biterfish, etc.)

As for the weapons - old ones along with lots of new guns. Some of them can actually be a big surprise I hope.:) Something new about the armory is that there will be few weapon categories (but not standard ones like explosives and rifles believe me). And all of them will have few levels of advancement (level up system). Each levels make them more powerful, shoot faster or even more, depends on the weapon...

As for the evil monsters :P...

Of course the player will meet good old Skaarj on his way. Nali of course too but the main aggressor is something really innovative. Of course I won't say much about it. But prepare for a lots of mysticism.

w00t to new enemies!

Can you reveal anything more about the gameplay innovations?

Two new vehicles, lots of talking and a subquest. After accomplishing subquest, player will be awarded with some additional experience points which he can use to gain higher levels in one of available abilities - for example when the player decides to spend his EP's for the Moving Ability, he will have access to places he was unable to enter before. For example, higher rocks or crates...

Lots of new artifacts and really innovative spells (forget about the standard fireball, ice ball, snow ball, magic arrow etc.).

There are gameplay features which of course won't be revealed right now, but i can assure you - we have few really exciting things in TCO worth checking out.

Truly RPG-like. Though, with you mention of a Moving Ability, it sounds a little "Platformer". Would you say that some of your upgradable abilities follow this trend?

Moving Ability - the higher level the higher the player an jump, make longer dodges, and generally moves faster. Browsing through the list of the abilities you will be able find rather standard ones - healing, weapon skills, use of mana/spells. We didn't want to go further in order not to forget that Unreal's a first person shooter mainly and the goal was to deepen the experience, not to change it completely. One more thing about the skills...

It is not going to be like Experience Points falling from a sky. It will be quite hard to earn enough experience points to gain the next level.

(nods) How has the development been on this one?

Actually Raven did the most work with the whole RPG system. It was his idea. It's his merit that we can finally see true RPG stuff in Unreal. And it didn't take a lot of time for him to code it. I think the planing was the hardest part but of course, there are new ideas which will surely be implemented before the release - this goes also for spells.

The mapping? :D

The mapping ,from the beginning- took me.. almost two years:p But lots of things have changed. I have learned a lot and there isn't much work right now. Other mappers in the team include: UWeasel, Charon (will provide their maps soon..) so lets hope this part will be over soon.

All the models are ready except for one vehicle. wilku did a great job and surely will do another great model. Lately Xeptizz agreed to do some skinning work for TCO so we hope to have some really good skins for the Vehicles. The rest of the team also did a good job. Especially Redi with the music which is really atmospheric.

Ah. So do you have an estimated release date?

Hopefully February 2006!:D

Excellent. What features are you most proud of?

Actually, I can only be proud of my maps and the story because I'm the author. But RPG system, sub level/ backtracking system and all the possibilities player has (trading spells, lots of guns and lots of conversations, decisions on what to do/ where to go) - the whole freshness makes me really proud - but let's wait for the release and see how will people react for all this. :)

:) Good idea. Thanks for sitting through an interview with me, Kaka.

Thanks for the interview.

No prob. See you around the forums.