TrashMan talks about his WIP Flames of War campaigns

Questa è un’intervista in inglese pubblicata su HLP il 29 ottobre 2008 / This is an interview in English posted on HLP on October 29th 2008

Mobius:
First of all, introduce yourself. What’s your Real Life name and where are you from?

TrashMan:
Toni Stanicic. I’m from a small coastal town in Croatia, called Baška Voda.

Mobius:
Your WIP campaign, the second release of FoW, is attracting a lot of attention. What have you planned? Is it true that there will be many new ships?

TrashMan:
Oh…quite a few. Since I release everything to the public as I finish, most are already seen. Still, there should be one or two surprises in there.

Mobius:
Easter eggs?

TrashMan:
For FoW, I planned a rather big campaign. It was in the backburner of my noggin’ for quite some time. Concept has changed a bit as time went by, but the core stuff are just as they were invisioned from the beginning. As for easter eggs… Yes. Quite a few. I actually had to drop a lot of them due to time constraints. Never enough time…especially since I’m working on a lot of different things. For instance, I had to drop a really good Derek Smart easter egg.

Mobius:
Who are the team members? What is your role, other than that of project leader?

TrashMan:
My role? Everything. I’ve had quite a few tem mebers come and go. Usually they come in, help with one, maybe two missions, and then they dissapear. So I’m mostly doing everything myself. Some, like Diceman, have been more help than others, but every little bit counts. Even half the mission done is already something. Not to mention the testing. Gods, I make tons of stupid errors and oversights. So testers are a blessing.

Mobius:
That’s not comfortable – have you ever planned to recruit more, dedicated people?

TrashMan:
Yup, but it’s not easy. People have their own projects. And I guess I’m just not lucky in that regard. Seems I have a habit of picking people that have a really busy Real Life. People that would like or help, but just can’t… I lost quite a few good FREDers that way. And to computer failures… not to mention the missions they had but didn’t send back in time… Yup, quite a few setbacks.

Mobius:
I assume that FoW’s development is pretty slow – am I right?

TrashMan:
Not really.. When I work on something, I work 150%. It’s just that it often goes into pause mode, due to many other FS and non-FS related projects. When  I was making my mod for SOTS, I had to put FoW on hold, since it was a colossal project in itself (100 different ship sections in 3-4 months plus testing and weaponry). And there’s always the come-and-go interest.

When I’m on the mood I can sometimes make a mission a day…sometimes. Depends on the mission. Depends on what else I’m doing that day. I play games and have some shadow of RL left too. That eats up time too.
Maybe it would be important to note that I allways do more things. I FRED a little, then switch to Truespace to make a model for one project or another. Then I fire up Soldat or something. Repeat ad nauseum.
Heck, If I had a big, dedicated team like some other projects…I would have been finished LOOOONG ago. As it is, I had to make quite a few cuts..sadly. I completely dropped out branching for instance. But, If I even finish FOW: DOTA, I plan to have branching there. We’ll see.

Mobius:
Are you planning to divide your upcoming campaign in multiple parts? That should help a lot.

TrashMan:
I already have.
FoW was supposed to have 3 parts. The first onr, that I released (FoW: sons of Thunder.. a.k.a. Chapter 1).
The second one, detailing the period between the one I’m making now and the first, on how the pirate wars happened and contact with Earth was restablished. The second one was never made tough… I just made 3 teaser missions, which I’ll ship with FoW: COTS

Mobius:
What should the community expect from upcoming FoW campaigns? Are they going to be advanced under a FREDding point of view? Blue Planet recently demonstrated how a wise mix of mods can turn a normal campaign into an epic one. Have you planned something…well, “unconventional” for FoW?

TrashMan:
I dont’ really think I did anything revolutionary regarding FREDding..no ingenious use of SEXP’s or anything. But let others be the judge of that. That was never really the goal anyway. I’m just trying to tell a story and make interesting and fun missions.
But there might be one interesting mission, from a FRED point of view.

Mobius:
Does the campaign feature in-mission cutscenes?

TrashMan:
Yes. One or two.. and pure cutscene missions too.

Mobius:
Does it mean we’re going to see cutscenes take off, landing sequences and such?

TrashMan:
Maybe. The mission I’m working on now does have sometihng like that. Although I don’t know if you could define it as “launching”…

Not all missions are 100% complete. Yet. At the moment, I got erm..20-something missions 25-26 methinks. They could all use additional testing and tweaking. So yeah, I can add more cutscenes or other interesting stuff I find the mission lacking. Don’t get me wrong, cutscenes are fun – but a campaign is there to play. So I’m trying to not overdo it with too much text or cutscenes.

Mobius:
The first chapter of FoW turned out to be a nice campaign since the very beginning. Are the new releases going to match it, if not overtaking it, in terms of plot?

TrashMan:
I hope so. I do think the overal plot here is more…well though off. Certainly there are twists and interesting battles. The First FoW centered a LOT on the player squadron.  This one is a bit more on the plot, altough there still will be memorable pilots you fly with. I hope. In Fow: SoT (chapter 1) you just switched 2 squadron. In CoTS, you’ll go trough 4-6. So less mission time per character, some old faces will be there too.

Mobius:
Are we going to see new soundtracks, command briefings anis and head anis?[/color]

TrashMan:
I used the FS1 soundtrack (love it)  and added a few more tracks, mostly for cutscenes and special occasions. Lots of new sounds, for weapons and easter eggs, various events. And some new Head ani’s. CB ani’s. Whatever I managed to make and will manage to make by the time it’s done. It’s gonna be a big file.

Mobius:
How many mbs in your latest expectations?

TrashMan:
I can give you a rough estimate.. gimme a moment.
I just .rar’s my COTS folder…everything in it. FS1 music, maps, models – the works. It’s got some extra stuff that will need to be removed, so dont’ treat this as a final number…but it’s around…still compressing…
Methinks 100 Mb or so  for sure. The latest version of all the models used are gonna be in there, with slight tweaks and stuff.
Ooo..holy schnitzel. 237 Mb!
I’m gonna have to do some serious cutting. There’s apparently quite a bit of extra stuff in there :)
And there are double entries multiple version of a model or texture.  I expect 120 MB or so, without FS1 music.

Mobius:
That’s what I was about to say, although there are far bigger modpacks in circulation at the moment. One more question: can you give us an ETA?

TrashMan:
Ouch. A bit hard to say. In a day or two I’m gonna start a testing bonanza to squash some bugs, since the missions are 99% done. Can’t really say. Could be a week, could be a month. I want it to be complete and polished (as much as it can). Go with the higher estimate, it’s a safer bet. ;)

Mobius:
Once again I’d like to remind you that additional team members might be needed in the near future. I guess all community members interested on FoW want to see a bigger team to get the job done.

TrashMan:
It was slow, but it’s practicely done. Heck, I’d say we did better, as disorganized and small as we were, than most bigger projects out there.

Mobius:
Are you going to solve the problem in the near future?

TrashMan:
The staff problem? Hopefully. If enough people are interested in DOTA…..
Bot honestly, from the time I begun working on FoW: Cots, most of the time was spent doing other things. In other words – the project was almost constantly on hold. Considering the amount of time put into it, it’s going very fast.

Mobius:
An announcement should attract more attention. To be honest I thought there were more people working on FoW before starting the interview, I’m amazed on how you’re getting the campaign done by yourself with minor help from other community members.

TrashMan:
I’d say 1/3rd of the missions in Cots had been worked on (started or partially done or almost completely finished) by other team members. They helped how they could, when they could, and for that I’m grateful. Note that mostly these people didn’t have too much experience with FRED or anything.

Mobius:
Overall, how many FoW campaigns are we going to see? Which are they complete names?

TrashMan:
FOW: Sons of Thunder (a.k.a  Chapter1)
FOW: Chapter 2 (you’ll never see this. Canceled.)
FOW: Coming of hte Storm (should be done soon)
FOW: Dawn of the Apocalypse

Mobius:
For a total of how many missions?

TrashMan:
Let me count…
Uuuhh..29. Without cutscene missions. For Cots.

Mobius:
What about the other campaigns?

TrashMan:
How many mission DOTA will have…a LOT. It’s supposed to have a really big branching point with 2 endings.

Mobius:
Can you give us an estimation?

TrashMan:
I’d say around 40. It all depends. The basic story and several critical missions are planned. Ther rest is still changebale. So it’s flid.

Mobius:
They will be a lot, indeed. Can you tell us something about the plot and what we’re going to see without spoiling the storyline?

TrashMan:
For DOTA? Or for COTS?

Mobius:
Both of them…

TrashMan:
DOTA…we’ll, I guess there’s no surprise to anyone anymore that the HoL will be involved.
So yes. The HoL are back. And they have a plan (lol).

Mobius:
You’re going to use the Mefdef, right?

TrashMan:
Yup. All HoL ships. The ships table is full. I had to drop ships out. I was contemplating switching to an Inferno build and for DOTA I will have to. Since Shivans have been practicely removed from the COTS table and for DOTA they got shiny new toys.
And some other ships will be added to the GTVA arsenal in DOTA. So yea… a friggin pile of ships. Say, wanna skeak preview of some of hte Easter eggs(only if you promise not to tell)?

Mobius:
The interview is intended to become public so…no…maybe in another circumstance. Anyways, since you are a superb and prolific modellers you’re surely going to use many of your ships in upcoming FoW campaigns. Will they include civilian liners and logistic ships?

TrashMan:
Yes. I’m re-doing some of them exactly for this purpose. For instance, I’m currently re-working the Sizifus mega-freighter. Adding more detail, improving it here and there. Some other ships may receive the same treatment.

Mobius:
What about new weapons? You have been posting new weapon-related threads for a while and this led me to think that FoW is going to have many original weapons of various power and effectiveness. Is that true?

TrashMan:
I haven’t counted, but there are quite a few new weapons. I’m still thinking of removing a few, since they’re not supposed to be used in COTS, but rather DOTA.

Mobius:
What kind of weapons are those?

TrashMan:
Well, there’s quite a few capital ships weapons (they got a lot of new weapons), but also quite a few fighter weapons. From sniper guns, to massive bomber anti-capital cannons, gatling cannons of various types to missiles and bombs. I expect the campaign to be a bit harder for new players, since all enemy weapons got a lot more power than usual.

Mobius:
Are they balanced?

TrashMan:
Yes…compared to player weapons. Both HOL and Shivans will have vastly improved weapons. They’ll actually be comparable to player ones in damage/second. Some elite weapons for the HoL will be even worse. Facing a elite HoL wing? With max AI, more powerful weapons and the AI profile set to be harder? Not easy. The player gets nice toys too. ;)

Mobius:
Elite wing? This means we’re going to face enemy Aces?

TrashMan:
HoL will have elite wings, yes. I’ve made new AI tables for this campaign. Shivans will rely more on numbers. Of course, they are still no match for the player and his elite wing, but the game plays a bit different then usual. When you’re facing their elite…but that’s not that often. They got regular pilots too.

Mobius:
Are the elite HoL pilots going to be pretty much like characters?

TrashMan:
Not really. If you’re attacking some important HoL asset, expect to see elite HoL wings together with more average ones.
HoL pilots are not much for talking, they’d rather shoot you. And in missions where you’re fighting their elite…there’s a lot of action so Ace bluster talk is really hardt o squeeze in. Your own side is chatty enough. ;)
That does not mean the enemy is faceless…you’ll see.

Mobius:
Looks like FoW is going to exceed the community’s expectations. Are there any other interesting things about your WIP you may wish to tell us?

TrashMan:
Exceed expectations? Well see.
As for interesting things…we’ll, it’s gonna have a good number of easter eggs. Expect one or two in almost every mission.

Mobius:
Are they triggered by the player using certain keys or they’ll appear automatically?

TrashMan:
There’s been a lot of brainstorming about how to implement them. So far, there are 3 versions.
Global easter eggs that have been hard ot trigger any other way, since they appear in missions in a very ankward time. So they’ll be turned on/off via a global variable, triggered by typing something.
The second type is simple. A container will jump in near the player during a mission and his HUD will issue a warning. If that container is destroyed within the next 30 seconds, it triggers the easter egg. If not, the container departs.
The last type is the hidden ones. You just got to find them and they’re the best ones to boot.

All 3 are currently used in various amounts.

Mobius:
Looks like you paid a lot of attention on Easter Eggs – why?

TrashMan:
JAD, Deus Ex Machina…
And I just felt like making them…for kicks…I started doing them when  I was not in the mood to “actually” work on the campaign. So I said “what the heck” and decided to put them in.
It’s almost like fusing a JAD mini-campaign with FOW…

Mobius:
Interesting…this is surely one of the longest interviews ever made on HLP. TrashMan, I wish you luck with Flames of War!

TrashMan:
Thank you. I hope I will deliver.

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Questa voce è stata pubblicata in English, Francesco D'Amico, Interviste, Videogames e contrassegnata con , , , , . Contrassegna il permalink.

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