Jehar interviews the Brazen Team
All I see when I think about Brazen is the satisfactory reloading *click* of a shotgun... but it looks like the team has much more in store for us! We had a radio interview a few days back for the benefit of those who listened in (yeah, both of you!). Unfortunately, teamspeak mangled the voice volume levels in the recording, so it didn't turn out as slick as could be hoped. On the plus side of things, Paril went ahead and transcripted the entire interview, including all of the awkward uh's and hmms! For those of you who don't mind fiddling with some volume settings, the raw recorded mp3 can be found HERE!
Jehar: Alright I'm gonna
go ahead and start things off by, uh.. if
*some sort of sniffing
Jehar: Are you snorting
Paril: Heheh.. no, I'm
Jehar: Okay good. Okay,
well I'm gonna start things off by saying welcome to Quake Expo, it's
been going on for a little more than week now, and it's been going semi-successfully
due to the efforts of Willis and of course the Tastyspleen team and
everyone else who has been involved with kicking this off. And there's
been a lot of exciting projects been going on including and not least
of all the Brazen team which is doing some sort of, I dunno, mod for
Quake2 or.. uh, some weird game that nobody plays anymore kind of thing.
So to all of us Tastyspleeners out here, it is a mod as far as I know
is concerned with single player, which I'm kinda curious to see how
people react with that since Quake2 is primarily a multiplayer kind
of community. Um, so before we get into any of that will you guys just
introduce yourself real briefly and state your position on the team?
Paril: Okay, uh, I guess
I'll go first. I'm Paril, the development head. I do the programming
basically, sometimes a little bit of animating and sometimes a little
bit of modeling, but usually nothing perminent. I've helped out, well,
I've DONE the designing with James and Skies here, and that's about
it for me.
James: Uh, hi, I'm James,
I do mapping and I come up with a lot of ideas for mapping and such.
That's about it.
Skies: I'm Skies, I do
a lot of the mapping and sometimes give ideas.
Jehar: Good ideas is
always a good thing. Well first off the bat, where did the project start
from? I know it was a mod done by someone else and you guys are kind
of revamping it and retooling it as far as I know but, how did you three
guys get together?
Paril: Well that's more
of a.. complicated story. Skies and I have been friends for a while.
We haven't really done many projects together, it was kind of a map
deal that he came up with for projects a long time ago and that's kinda
helped, I invited him, asked him if he wanted to do mapping for Brazen
so that's how that came out. James I had met at the Quake2 café, he
helped me test a lot of my mods because he was really interested in
them and it was kinda neat because I was playing a lot of mods that
Mr. Grim had made which was Brazen originally and uh, him and I played
it for a little bit and I had mentioned that the source code was out
and we kinda threw around the idea of continuing the mod, similar to
what I have done to Dirty but that's kind of more than defunct than
anything now because I kinda went played it again and thought you know
"this is going to take a lot of fixing to be good again [after
working on Brazen]".
But Brazen, I downloaded the source code,
and it was a really good mod to take up. So we decided.. it was a mod
for a while but then we decided to take it to a standalone. Kind of
make it it's own freeware game, that's what we're going for is uh, an
entirely freeware game still in the Quake2 universe, I guess you'd still
have to have Quake2 to play the single player mission with all the monster
models and all that still under their copyright, but that's the idea
is a freeware game. The multiplayer.. the way it would work really is
that the idea of this mod [/game] is a single player/cooperative, mainly
cooperative game-style where you have very little limitations in single
player such as being able to steal weapons right off of dead stroggies,
and use them to save on your own ammo. You know, you've got reloading
systems, akimboing weapons, using different weapon combinations like
right-hand shotgun left-hand pistol, you've got a really advanced inventory
system with weight-based movement and all that. And it's just a really
neat idea. The multiplayer is just linear right now, it's just a kill
each other sort of idea. The design is purely cooperative, I just threw
deathmatch because, you know, that was kind of.. had to be there otherwise
it wouldn't receive very well when I release it.
Jehar: Well I haven't,
just up until today just how much of the focus was on coop, and this
kinda rings true for me and probably peewee and other coop enthusiasts
who really really like the monsters in Quake2, and really like the level
design, and the asthetics of the Strogg, but as far as a stable and
in feature rich coop mod, there has been a huge vacuum in that. I mean
there's Coop or Die, but it.. sucks because you have to have the external
server and everything. And of course the default Quake2 coop is totally
broken. So having this kind of experience could really bring a lot to
it. With that in mind, from the original mind, what has come along as
far as ideas for really encapsolating the coop experience?
Paril: Well, uh.. with
the new mission we were gonna have a lot of, like, new.. uh, it's really
hard to.. explain what we're gonna do with it but we wanted to expand
on his idea of how cooperative was going to work. Um, the original mission
we had [created by Mr. Grim] was using .ent files to basically redesign
the Quake2 mission to be Brazen compatible, this included a lot of monster
changes, there's checkpoints in this and all that. And it's really didn't
play well.. we tried to play through it, to see if it's still compatible,
but usually it isn't, and we come across problems and have to give ourselves
weapons and you know, end up cheating because there's not enough around
to share with everyone, especially with more than two players. So we're
trying to split that to make sure that it's compatible with more than
one player, because that's how Quake2 was designed, was around one to
two players with cooperative and it's really hard to play it with more
Jehar: Did anyone have
any comments on that?
Jehar: I'll take that
as a no.
James: No, we're good.
Jehar: I was curious..
EGL has always been a.. I personally used it with as my main client
for a long time until simple speed made me move over to AprQ2. But as
far as eye-candy rich engines, it's always been actually decent and
it hasn't been full of bugs and promised features that aren't kind of
out of there, and Echon always kind of did a pretty good job at keeping
it bug free and stable and making it run. How did that all play in to
deciding to using that engine as a base?
Paril: Well I've actually
always been a fan of EGL and the first time I looked at the source code,
I was really impressed by how he did everything. I thought, you know,
this engine has potential. The problem was I know nothing about OpenGL,
and I think that's where everything stems around my development in this
engine being bad, because I'm always having to refer to Echon or LordHavoc
or someone for help on this and I just don't have the experience in
mind to know where things go so that's where a lot of problems stem
but I was able to get bloom lighting and multisampling in with no problems
so far, and it's been really good. What I like about EGL is that it
was pretty small, it ran really good and it wasn't bloated with a lot
of unneeded visual features that I noticed a lot of engines have, like
bumpmapping and all that. Even if we did have it in there, we'd never
use it, and it'd just be there and never used and it'd take up space,
you know a lot of memory for that and that's kinda how I like EGL because
it was a base engine for us to use right away.
Jehar: Alright cool,
yeah I was just making sure that the levels were all working, and uh..
Okay. Sorry about that, was just getting complaints about you being
low, but uh, I think people just need to turn their volume up a little
bit more 'cause, I just turned it on and it's a little bit faint but
I can still here. It's.. it's cool. So uh, speaking of development,
where are you currently in that? I mean how far along are you as far
as you would like to be?
Paril: Uh.. well, we're..
I'd say we're somewhere in the middle. We've got basically the game
dynamics done, we need to finish a few things in the engine, bloom lighting
still has a few problems. I had to actually scrap the code I have and
use the one from OpenArena because it was really easy to use. It only
took me like 5 minutes to get everything changed around to work with
EGL. Other than that we have a lot of models that need re-modeling,
I'm not sure when the modelers are gonna get to that but hopefully it's
going to be soon. Once the models are done, we're probably going to
be releasing it as a multiplayer first, while the single player is still
in development and maybe release a demo of the single player, but um..
I've been really out of the loop for the mapping so maybe Skies or James
can pick it up from here and tell us how the maps are going.
Jehar: ...assuming they're
Paril: Having a little
trouble figuring out who's gonna talk.
Skies: I'll go first.
Basically where we are right now is still in development in the first
mission, um heh, we've got a little bit more to go on the first mission,
other than that we could probably use that for the demo, if, uh...
James: We're still fooling
around with a lot of ideas.
Jehar: That's a good
stage to be in. So this might be a little early to discuss this but
how much of the game do you expect to be stock Quake2 assets and textures
and models and things and how much do you plan on doing yourself?
James: We planned on
using pretty much all of the Quake2 textures that came with Quake2
Paril: The problem we
had with that is the whole copyright thing. We're still unsure of how
it's going to work exactly. We might be using the demo assets and the
pak1 assets but I'm not sure what we'll be able to do for this. But
that's the same idea with the models, but we're getting most of the
weapons and done re-mentioned.. oh, remodeled sorry.
Jehar: Well there are
the Quake2 retexture pack, which are technically fairy complete and
I guess they would be concidered free wouldn't they?
Paril: Yeah, actually
that was an idea of mine, thinking maybe we could get permission from
the paks from that one site and see if we can get that used in the final
Jehar: Yeah and several
people have done those like Jdolan and.. I can't even think of who else
but they're definitely out there.
Paril: Yep. So that's
probably what our idea is gonna be for the textures. We're still.. on
monsters models that is our big problem because the Strogg make up the
entire Brazen gameplay and without them you don't have Brazen.
Jehar: Right, and uh..
well you did Lazarus for a while which was notibly one of the few significant
mods geared towards making Single Player a more consistant, and more
better.. more gooder single player experience so how's that factored
into this mod?
Paril: Lazarus, well,
the source code was really neat for that and I was thinking of integrating
a lot of featured from that because Skies actually wanted some of them,
I can't remember which one exactly, I think it was the rotating train
for one, but he wanted some of those. The dynamics for the monsters,
like, they're really good for hiding and all that but we tweaked up
the AI too similar to Lazarus but even a lot more advanced so that they're
actually, you know, good opponents in single player.
Jehar: And how is.. well
working with the other two guys, and this goes for you guys as well,
how's.. have you run in any major difficulties as far as producing the
content and working together simply over the internet as opposed to
being physically together?
Paril: Ooh, um.. James
could probably have a lot more to say on that than I do because he's
been basically my along-side tester since Brazen started and he's been
in-game waiting a lot for me to apply my code changing to my debugging
and he always complained that I debug too much, and never actually get
to play and I'll be playing and I'll be like "Oh hey there's a
bug here" and he'll be like "No don't fix it!".
James: Well not don't
fix it, but fix it later.
Paril: Yeah, exactly!
So we've been running from that for a while but I think we finally got
that fixed out, but uh.. as apart for issues and mapping and that I'm
not sure what they've run into for that so maybe they can fill me in
on what issues for mapping so far.
Skies: Well, um, I think
the main issue is just having the virtual personality, well not really
virtual personality but not being together as a team. We're on seperate
computers in seperate places so it's a little hard to coordinate what
part of the map or mission, which person is going to do or.. you know,
stuff like that.
Paril: Another thing
has come up.. I forget what I was going to say now. Something about
OpenGL.. oh yeah, um, all of our computers are a little different too,
and mine's actually quite outdated, and heh, it's becoming to the point
too where Brazen isn't able to run on my own computer when I have the
visual stuff up so that I can play it. I was really jealous because
Skies is able to run the game as 32 samples with multisampling at 100
fps, but I'm stuck at 1 fps doing trying that so I have to stick with
2 samples. But other than that we've been just going with the flow with
whatever we have for mapping, they've been really good with that, James
and Skies have been working really hard to really get these maps done,
and I tested them out for them, and uh.. so far I like what I see, it
really does remind me of the Quake2 atmosphere, and it's really doing
pretty good for that.
James: And my computer's
even more outdated than his and I can't even RUN the game. At all.
Jehar: And yet you have
Paril: Yeah, well.. I
kinda wanted it. Even though it doesn't.. well it runs good on here,
but it's something I really really wanted because I was really impressed
by bloom lighting.
Jehar: Well me I came
from the Doom community, where there's projects like Zdoom, GZdoom and
Skulltag, and all these of these things focused towards giving mappers
a lot more power as far as single player experiences go, and if you
go to the community these days, it's still a multiplayer community but
the powers that single player mappers have, there's just so much you
can do with that. And that's something I couldn't help notice with the
Quake2 community with the uh, predominance of the multiplayer aspect
thrown in. So how do you think the bulk of current Quake2 players and
Tastyspleens will like, will uh respond to Brazen, or have responded
Paril: Well that was
kind of my idea. What I thought was that because there wasn't a lot
of Quake2 single player/cooperative mods that did well, I thought that
it would actually raise interest in there being an actual game based
on the Quake2 mission, well it's not entirely Quake2 anymore.. well
it IS, but it's standalone now. But um, so I'm really interested to
see if people, you know, just to be curious to see how an actual cooperative/single
player experience might work with Quake2.
Jehar: Yeah, and a lot
of that could be simply just because of the vacuum of there not being
Paril: Exactly, yeah.
And another, uh, I should probably add in here, and I mentioned this
before, not sure if I brought it up again, the in-game entity editor,
which is what I was working on earlier today because we were messing
around with the maps. But basically there's an edit mode in Brazen which
I improved a lot from Mr. Grim's one which was basically checking out
entities to see what they did, but in this one you can actually add
stuff to the maps and take stuff away dynamically. You'd be able to..
the focus for this was that you can have the compiled map with the brush
models and all that and if we needed to add or remove something we can
visually go in-game and add all the entities ourselves visually and
test the maps out right after without having to recompile the entire
thing, and if there's something you don't like you can turn the editor
mode back on and just remove it, try it again, and when we get something
final we can just append the entity string into the BSP and then we
have the map right there.
Jehar: Kinda similar
to what we have in Doom 3.
Paril: Yeah, yeah. That
was something brought up, and I was thinking of making it compatible
with other Quake mods, you know adding your own entity file sort of
Jehar: Yeah that would
be pretty cool. And there are a lot of Quake2 projects going on right
now that are branching off in the main codebase and kinda going into
standalone stuff, still with the interest of being as widely accessable
to everyone as possible.. Uh, so, with that, and especially with you
working on a solo project, well cooperative really, how do you see the
broad community standing today as far as Quake2 specifically goes, I
mean this is Quake Expo and we have the Quake 1 and Quake 3 guys going
on, and TastySpleen is hosting out this year of course and that side
of things is really thriving, but overall, what are you basic views
in all that?
Paril: Uh, like on the
Quake2 community in general?
Paril: Well.. it seems
to be mid-active, like I'm not gonna say that there's so many people
working on new mods, but um, there's still a lot of stuff that's still
being worked on, and throughout the past months, even year I've had
three or four come and contact me and ask for modding help for Quake
2 because they wanted to get into it and there's two of them that actually
stayed in there, there's.. Mango and Kevin, they actually stayed in
here and there's still working on Quake2 related stuff. Kevin's booth
is Corex over at Quake Expo. It seems to be alive enough for mapping,
I've seen a lot of new maps at the Quake Cafe coming in, and uh, at
some other communities. As for engine development, I don't see much
going on beside Quake2XP and Berserker Quake2, and there's the Q2Kaos
that I've never heard of before, and those seem to be going pretty well.
It's alive.. but..
James: Definitely not
Paril: Yeah it's alive
but it's not dead.
Jehar: With the risk
of annoying some people, what are your views on those engine that we're
seeing at Quake Expo right now, Quake2XP and Berserker. What's your
general opinion on them? Careful with what you say though..
Paril: Yeah, I was gonna
say I'd rather not comment on them. I'm not really a big fan of these
whole engines, packed with graphical features and shipping off like
that, but I have viewed a few of them and it was really interesting
to see what they come up with and I wanna try that Q2Kaos engine because
it looks really interesting.
Jehar: Is that the one
with, uh, depth of field?
Paril: Depth of field,
yeah, that looks really really good.
Jehar: Right, yeah, they
seem kind of out of touch with people who are actually playing Quake2,
so uh.. they have more of that portfolio feeling of it, let's see what
we can cram in here.. Uhmm..
Paril: Heh, yeah.
Jehar: So there's just
the three of you now, so are you looking to expand your team, or do
you feel you're getting enough work done with the current number of
things or what?
James: We definitely
need more members. We need animators mainly..
Paril: Yeah we're still
working with md2, I know a lot of people are going to be criticizing
us for that saying you know "md2's bad move to md3", but you
know, for me, I've been working with md2 for a long time, I know the
tricks to getting around vertice swimming, although you can't in total,
there are ways to at least work around most of it so it doesn't.. it's
not really bad, you know. Md2's still a good format, I like working
with it because there's a tool dedicated right to it, Quake2 Modeler,
I've been working with that for a long time, it's really cool. As opposed
to Md3, where I'd have to use several different tools and, you know,
I can't skeletally animate. Skies, you know, he's really into the whole
format thing, and he wanted to make his own model format actually, he
said he dubbed it mdx but I'm not sure how it's going to work so maybe
we'll work on that later.
Jehar: Yeah, there's
always been a certain asthetic with the wobbly vertices that I kinda
Paril: Yeah, I kinda
liked that, it made it look like it was moving a little more than it
did, but we don't use idle animations in this, it's all the Quake3 sway
sorta deal. To sorta take away the idea.. the visual of vertice swimming
so no one complained about it I removed animations in total, and just
made it sway around like Quake3 did, nobody notices it anymore. Skies,
I'm not sure what he's thinking for new ideas for the mapping but I'm
sure he can tell you about that.
Skies: Well in the way
of the mapping, I'd like to see better tools like for instance maybe
a better map debugging tool, or just in-plain functions like keypads
or weight triggers..
Jehar: Yeah speaking
of that, how do you guys collaborate with mapping? I mean of course
there's trading .maps around but is there's any sort of collaborative
drawing program set up or anything of those sorts?
Paril: Uh, usually..
James: Sometimes we use
VNC, 'bout it though.
Jehar: Oh that's nifty.
Paril: That's definitely
our main tool for that, you know, Skies goes on James' and shows him
how to do something and James'll send him back an idea, and I've seen
that happen a lot when I was on Skies VNC, but other than that we draw
little sketches on MSN but they don't turn out well.
Jehar: Yeah I've never
really happy with those before. Actually one thing I was kind of excited
about with id Tech 5 coming up if we wanna jump forward a few generations
technilogically, was being able to map collaboratively within the map
editor within a virtual network.
Paril: Is this supposed
to be a feature in Radiant or how is that supposed to work?
Jehar: Well apparently
they're trying to get away from Radiant itself, and kind of update things
because I think they know by now that that has been an area that has
slid over the years... and don't get me wrong, I do like using GTK Radiant
but when you get into engines like Quake 3 engine and the Quake Wars
engine and there's just so many extra layers with the mapping, it really
gets kinda cumbersome... I didn't mean to kill the conversation.
Paril: We're trying to
work this out on MSN here..
Skies: I actually wanted
to add something about the mapping. Eventually as I'm getting more into
programming myself, I actually wanted to add an interface that allows
me to work with an editor in-game so that you don't have to compile
the BSP or anything.
Jehar: Which would let
you connect it over the network and work on the entities collaboratively,
Skies: Yes, of course.
It would be networked, it would also let me build the BSP structure
and various other things.
Jehar: Groovy. Would
there be a hey, speaking of that, here's just a side idea that just
popped in, if you can place entities can you place temporary blocks
of entities like.. generic 64x64 blocks that you can place around that'll
stack on top of each other so you can block out walls and stuff?
Paril: Now this was an
idea that James brought up a long time ago, well actually not a long
time ago, but then I thought maybe I should make some sort of dynamic
brush model for a map which was what I came up with, which was basically
a fullbright BSP which was like a staircase or a box or something like
that and then you could actually load those in in a func_wall or something
like that, you'd just put the path of the model and it'd load that but
I started writing it and I looked at how Quake2 loaded BSPs and how
everything's kept in static structures and I thought "this isn't
going to work, I'd have to re-write the entire thing" so I scrapped
that idea for now. I'm not sure how it's going to work out later, I
might decide to give a crack at it again.
Jehar: Right, because
there are... go ahead
Skies: I think that the
main issue that we do have to get over is the BSP structure. In order
for me to do my in-game editor I'm going to have to re-write a lot of
the portions of the BSP so it can be re-written dynamically and I think
it has to advance further in that sense before we add structures like
what Paril and James was talking about.
Jehar: Well yeah and
whenever you're compiling a map the BSP compile itself only takes like
a second or two, it's the VIS and the RAD that takes all the time.
Skies: Yeah exactly,
but I was also thinking of adding, um, programmically dynamic lighting
so we can just scrap the entire RAD process in the first place so that
would open a whole new window of options.
Paril: Like per-pixel
lighting and all that.
Jehar: Well I do like..
radiosity compiled lighting because there are things you can do with
the bounces and with sunlight and things like that that take substancially
more steps to do with the real time lighting
Skies: Uhh, yea, that
is true. I guess I could do both then, just have a.. -dynamic switch
Jehar: ..Yeah! So yeah
this is a little away from the mod itself but these are all things that'll
definitely add to what people can do with single player maps. And personally
as a mapper I think a lot of mappers if they're faced with being able
to use these tools for that mod you're going to have a bit of incentive
to make maps for the mod simply because they get to play with new toys.
And, uh, this goes without saying but I'm really excited just to see
a competant coop mod for Quake 2. Because it really just hasn't happened.
Paril: That's what we're
going for right now, is a fully working coop mod and make sure it works
with more than one player, stuff like that so you know, we can have
a [non-]linear gameplay. Actually another feature I wanted to add to,
that uh.. I was going to add another feature which would of been, well
will be, but basically a radio context menu kind of like Quake Wars
but we're not gonna talk about Quake Wars because that's no where near..
well it is near but we're not going to go near that whole stealing aspect
of that.. heh, but it'll be a context menu where you'll be able to,
you know, call on your teammates and all that, because I do plan like
multiplayer too, because a lot of people like multiplayer, and Brazen
does play well multiplayer too, so I was thinking of adding like a capture
the flag and a teamplay gamemode.
Jehar: Well cool, uh,
I think that mostly wraps it up. But before I cut you guys off is there
anything you want to say about Quake Expo or any final words or comments?
Paril: None that I can
think of I don't think
Skies: I would actually
like to add that I'm glad to see that the Quake2 community is still..
there, I mean it's still alive after 11 years.
Jehar: Well that was
actually the reason I started to get into Quake2... (self-conceited
automatic response of Jehar's childhood and how he became the awesome
Quake mapper he is). And that's the way it happens, and it's that kind
of community where you can collaborate things and add things in and
that's the kind of people I want to be involved with.
Paril: Well if there's
any.. you know, anyone who does any modeling, texture work, anyone who
wants to join our team, just drop one of us a line. You'll be able to
find my email at the Quake Expo booth for Brazen, drop us a line we
can definitely use your help, heh.
Jehar: Great, I'll be
sure to forward that along. And that concludes the interview per say,
so I'm gonna go ahead and switch people on the radio back over to enjoying
their music if they were. So to everybody, have a good night, and enjoy