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Quake Expo 2008 - Hosted by Tastyspleen.net
Celebrating 12 years of Quake!
Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive Interviews

Jehar interviews Motorsep


[BTF]Jehar: So, first things first - how the hell did this project start? Did you begin with a gameplay concept, or did it evolve from playing around with the technology, or some mixture of the two?
motorsep: The project itself started probably in 2005 - I was working in the sign industry and I got bored of it. Games have been my passion since high school, so I figured out that if I want to start I need to start now. That is how the kot-in-action.com project was born. I didn't have definite plans for our current project (Prophecy) by that time and I was working on a small game aimed at kids. Eventually I got to the point when I began to think away from that game. It was not something I really     enjoyed doing, since I am more into FPS / TPS / action RPG games. There is a notebook (paper one :) ) in my cabinet where I write down some thoughts and ideas about "upcoming" projects. There was an outline about the world of Prophecy and it's characters. By that time I have established relationship with LH...
[BTF]Jehar: Speaking of LordHavoc - tell us a little about the team that you've formed; did you find them all in the community, or are there any real-life connections?
motorsep: The Team is me, LordHavoc and daemon currently. Very small team :) For me, there was no way to find real-life like-minded folks. As far as I can remember I joined the IRC channel #darkplaces in mid-2004. There I met LH and tried the DarkPlaces engine. I got in touch with daemon by the end of June this year. There is one other person I would like to mention - his nick is VorteX and I believe he will have something sweet to show for this QExpo. I met him in #dp couple of years ago, but due to his involvement with his own project he has not been able to contribute to Prophecy much. Actually, VorteX has re-designed rt lights editor (new GUI done via CSQC) that he will contribute for the project.
[BTF]Jehar: What made you decide to go with Darkplaces as an engine?
motorsep: Well, since we are not backed up by any kind of monetary resources, I had to choose from what was available for free and what I would be able to deal with without spending too much R&D time. Since I already fiddled with Quake modding in my college days, I decided I would go with iD Software's engine. Quake was released under GPL and it was the best gift indie developer could get. Engine mods would pop up one after another and all I had to do was choose between them. As I mentioned earlier, I met LH and found out about DP engine. The set of features was impressive, the person behind it was a good guy and I decided that that's what I am going to stick with :)
[BTF]Jehar: Yeah, I think we could speak for many people in saying how thankful we are for LordHavoc's work. So how did you decide on making it a third person game?
motorsep: I didn't :D The game is an overhead action-adventure ;)
[BTF]Jehar: Well, as opposed to a first-person action-adventure.
motorsep: I tilted camera a bit so audience could see main character's model better. But it was never intended to be a TPS game. I was thinking of FPS at first, but when I came up with the list of art assets and when I thought about competing titles out there, I figured out to start off small :) The other thing is that there are a bunch of FPS and TPS games out there from big teams backed up by publishers and big money. I wanted to bring some nostalgia back - an Old School game. 
[BTF]Jehar: Can you get away with lower-resolution textures because of the distance of the camera? 
motorsep: Certainly. The current demo uses low-res textures for the world, no bigger than 256x256.  
[BTF]Jehar: How has working with a small team been going?
motorsep: It's been pretty good. Sometimes I wish we could have better communication and concentration on the goal, but due to nature of the indie business and differences in sleeping habits (and difference in time zones), it's not a big deal. It pretty much comes down to good design document and precise assignments. Also, I must admit, very good ability to listen to each other's advice. It's very important.
[BTF]Jehar: I totally agree - that fluidity of communication is one of the true advantages of being on a smaller team. In what areas have you wished for more manpower most?
motorsep: I would love to have another artist on my team that would be able to make levels along the way too :) On the other hand, being the only artist on the team allows me to learn a lot more and improve my skills.
[BTF]Jehar: And it allows the end product to be really visually distinct, besides.
motorsep: true. On the other end, when you have few artist on the team, one of them should take a role of Art Director also, to ensure consistency in style.
[BTF]Jehar: You've mentioned kids games - what audience is Prophecy aimed at primarily?
motorsep: We hope that Prophecy will appeal to a wide range of gamers, from hardcore to casual gamers. By casual gamers I don't mean people who play card or puzzle games here and there. To me, casual gamers are gamers who play games when they have time and they will play a game if it's not over complicated or a game where you can manage to pass at least one level without dying and starting all over :) Following the ESRB rating system, I would say it will be T+.
[BTF]Jehar: So no gibs? :P
motorsep: Well, if we end up putting range/projectile weapon in the game (fireballs or something like that), then I would certainly like to see gibs :D I believe that teenagers can play games where you gib monsters and such. I have no problem with that.
[BTF]Jehar: From the gameplay video, it looks to be pretty well suited to the casual type of player you just mentioned. Will players be able to ramp up the amount of carnage they encounter from minute-to-minute?
motorsep: Meaning that the game will get more brutal as you make progress through it?
[BTF]Jehar: That, coupled with difficulty settings, yes.
motorsep: I don't think we will have level of brutality as seen in God of War series :P (though GoW is very inspirational game for me). As far as difficulty goes, I am not sure. Currently we have three levels of difficulty that you can choose from. The farther you get in the game, the more monsters and challenges you will encounter. I would love to see AI advancing towards the end of the game. So in short, yes, it will get harder.
[BTF]Jehar: What gameplay aspects do you expect to bring some unique "wow" to the experience?
motorsep: Let's see.. Easy-to-play melee combat coupled with spell system, hordes of bad@$$ monsters (unfortunatelly can not be seen in the demo video), huge world to explore alone or cooperatively, no save / load game system (can enter most areas right off the bat), secret areas (for some reason are gone from many modern games), quests and final score (oh, and plenty of easter eggs!).
[BTF]Jehar: So are you going to be pusing the exploration aspect of the game, giving it an almost metroid-ish  or rogue-ish quality?
motorsep: Shame on me, I have never played Metroid :( I played the Diablo series and Warcraft series. A variety of the places to go is important in my opinion. It is one of the main reasons we going episodic with the game. Combat aspect is very important too. It's not much fun to have only one attack move and have to watch it along until the game is over. So I would say combat + exploration. In the Tomb Raider series you explore for the most of the game. In Prophecy you would have to fight first and then explore :)
[BTF]Jehar: Have you encountered any real difficulties in development yet?
motorsep: Sure thing. The most difficult thing is being able to dedicate enough time for development and stay focused. I think it is the biggest challenge of all for an indie game developer. Another difficulty is the absence of artist-friendly, properly working tools that would speed up production. It took a while to develop a pipeline for art assets to be incorporated into the game. Yet, it is a time consuming process.
[BTF]Jehar: With those considerations, how solid are your plans for finishing the title?
motorsep: I have very solid plans for delivering the game. I have been working on it for a while and I have a vision of the finished product. It will take time, but I am going to finish it :)
[BTF]Jehar: How has the art production process been going for you?
motorsep: It's been a challenge. Making low-poly 3D models is not new to me. However creating hi-poly models, and basic meshes for models that has to be sculpted was new thing to me. Rigging characters was absolute challenge. Blender (software I use for modeling, sculpting and animation) has no pre-designed rigs, unlike 3DS MAX with it's Character Studio or Character Animation Toolkit. So I had to learn the art of rigging first, and that took a while. Along the way I discovered that I can create decent concept art and character skins. That helped a lot. And again, getting animated models out of Blender and bringing them into the game was a pain. I gotta mention Riot, Black and whiskas who helped us with certain tools that made our job easier - big thanks to them! 
[BTF]Jehar: Lastly - Is there anything particular you'd like to say to the Quake Expo crowd?
motorsep: First of all, thank you for participation. Without that crowd we wouldn't have Quake Expo. For modders I wish happy modding. Keep it creative, don't give up, evolve from mods to games using Quake engines. For visitors - please, play our mods and games, you support us by doing that. Keep Quake alive!