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    Interview with Digital Extremes


    Toxin has done it again! This time with Digital Extremes staff! Reptile is Dan, gwot is James Edwards, James is James Schmalz, XceptOne is Pancho Eekels, and Dave is Dave Ewing.

    <Gamesurge> so we can start by introducing your selves and what you do
    <Dave> I'm Dave Ewing worked on Unreal and UT Unreal for sounds, UT level design, textures and sounds
    <XceptOne> Ok, My name is Pancho Eekels and I'm a level designer and model along the way, some textures
    <XceptOne> I worked on Unreal and UT
    <James> I'm Game Design/Programming/Art
    <Reptile> Hello, my name is Dan.....................
    <Reptile> I was responsible for weapons skins, pickup skins, as well as some voices
    <Speuger> Steve Sinclair, graphics programmer, new to the team
    <Gwot> James Edwards, animator/3d guy

    <Gamesurge> How did you guys contribute to the development of Unreal and UT?
    <James> I started Unreal myself
    <Gamesurge> you started it?
    <James> As a lone wolf type project
    <James> It kinda grew from there
    <Gamesurge> so then why is it Epic's game?
    <James> Well, it's an Epic/DE game
    <James> It was very collaborative, but I worked on it for about 10 months by myself. Then I hired Cliff Bleszinski on.
    <James> Then Tim started making the editor and Dave Carter was hired.
    <James> It sorta snowballed from there, with both companies hiring new people at a fairly rapid rate.
    <Dave> I did all the sound effects for Unreal, and for UT I did 4 levels (including Overlord and Morpheus) , a texture set and some of the sounds
    <XceptOne> I did the outdoor areas in Unreal + trees,some plants, textures, The little two legged bunny
    <XceptOne> In UT I did more levels and the rocketlauncher
    <XceptOne> And a boatload of pickups which in turn were skinned by Dan

    <Gamesurge> Ok, now that UT is done what are you guys planning to do?
    <Gamesurge> a new game?
    <James> We are already well into our new game
    <Gamesurge> Can you reveal any details about it?
    <James> It's a 3d Action game. And we plan to have a team of 15-20 people work on it for 2 years.
    <James> It's going to be _huge_
    <Speuger> Yeah its an ambitious game
    <Dave> to say the least
    <Reptile> lotsa great ideas here..................

    <Gamesurge> what engine will you be using?
    <James> Most likely the Unreal engine.
    <Speuger> We've been prototyping alot of new technology
    <James> Actually, a super heavily modified Unreal engine.

    <Gamesurge> isn't that going to be kind of old (in 2 years) especially with the new Q3 engine, and Epic's upcoming engine around the corner?
    <James> It will greatly surpass anything out there.
    <XceptOne> Nope, the graphics will be stunning.. you'll see
    <Gamesurge> Doesn't the Unreal engine "constrain" you a littele bit....?
    <XceptOne> Not the modified engine
    <James> Every part that ages will be replaced.
    <James> Or revised
    <James> There are a lot of Unreal engine components that there is not need to reinvent.
    <James> It's a very modular engine.
    <Gamesurge> are you guys thinking of using some parts of Epic's upcoming engine?
    <James> We still have to work our the details, but hopefully we will have access to all the improvements they make.

    <Gamesurge> how'd you guys get together?
    <Dave> James founds us all
    <Dave> wandering the streets
    <XceptOne> That James...
    <Reptile> I was introduced to the company by a friend who already worked for James.
    <James> I was hired by myself.
    <James> It took a lot of convincing.
    <James> But I managed to offer myself a salary that I could accept.
    <Gwot> I was referred to DE by James Green (Epic animator now)


    <Gamesurge> What do you guys think of the UT models compared to q3 models?
    <XceptOne> The style is different...
    <James> I like the diversity in the Q3 models, but we had a different focus, and different needs.
    <Gamesurge> UT models weren't too spectacular.
    <Gamesurge> Q3 models look great though.
    <Dave> well different tastes I guess
    <Dave> no doubting that the q3 models are cool and all, but we kinda thought the ut models were just as cool
    <Gwot> I think both game's models have strengths and weaknesses but it has more to do with the engines implementation of them than the artist's "skills"
    <Gamesurge> UT models weren't diverserse enough.........
    <Dave> not as many true
    <Dave> but made up for (hopefully with many more skins, WAY more levels and gametypes)
    <XceptOne> It was clearly a design decision..
    <Gamesurge> The flak cannon has a cool looking projectile :)
    <Gwot> flak cannon is one of the coolest weapons ever
    <Speuger> flak cannon rocks!
    <Speuger> yeah!
    <James> did you see the smiley face?
    <James> ...just before you died?
    <Gamesurge> thats what I was talking about, the smiley face :)
    <Speuger> so cool, gotta get hit with the alt fire of it
    <Dave> we all think q3 is a very cool game, no doubt about it, we both just went for variety in different way

    <Gamesurge> What genre will your new game be?
    <Dave> FPS
    <James> thats all we can say for now.
    <James> Give us a couple of months and we will have some real badass screen shots to show.
    <Gamesurge> will it be a "real world" FPS or one of those kill everyone for no reason type FPS?
    <Dave> more real world and strategic
    <James> No more running down the endless corridors, find the key, open the door, kill the monster, rinse and repeat!
    <James> I hate that shit.
    <Gwot> I like that shit....but then I'm somewhat of an automaton...
    <Dave> hopefully we will be putting in some VERY cool gameplay inovations, but we are keeping a low profile for now
    <Gwot> yeah, avoid the spotlight till ya got sumpin to show for it

    <Gamesurge> Some people think UT will "fail like Unreal did". What are your thoughts on that?
    <Gwot> no way
    <Gwot> UT is solid
    <James> Not a chance
    <James> I haven't seen a review less than 92%
    <Dave> well, Unreal failed in the multiplayer, but shined in single play
    <Speuger> The initial reviews have been amazing
    <James> Unreal didn't fail
    <James> There a millions of reasons why Unreal didn't fail
    <Reptile> a lot of Unreals shortcomings were more than improved for UT

    <Gamesurge> What do you think is the best part of UT that will get most people hooked?
    <Gwot> Instagib!!!!
    <James> All the different game types.
    <Reptile> mutators
    <Speuger> mutators!
    <XceptOne> Kickass teamgames
    <James> And rich feature set
    <Dave> The diversity of gameplay
    <Speuger> team play with bots!
    <Gwot> yeah the bots definitely work in teamplay
    <Reptile> MINIGUN rulez!
    <Gwot> the weapons are very well balanced as well
    <Speuger> crazy, the weps are so balanced

    <Gamesurge> ok, what do you guys think about "tacitcal-strategy " games, such as rogue spear and spec ops ?
    <Speuger> I play all sorts of games
    <Dave> I am all for playing games that make you use your head
    <XceptOne> they are fun..
    <James> They are very cool. There are a lot of games like that coming out.
    <Gamesurge> Do you think the genre is getting "overcrowded'?
    <James> There are good games and not so good games in each genre.
    <XceptOne> It doesn't matter what kind of game it is, it needs to be done well so that the player can have fun
    <James> People will always play the good ones.
    <Gamesurge> what i meant to say is that like a year ago noone even heard of the genre now everyone is busting ass to try and make a new game for it which in turn makes games suck :(
    <James> Yeah, it's great when someone invents a new genre or cross genre games. Some will suck and other will rock. It's all in the quality of the developer.
    <XceptOne> yeah... well it's good that the gaming world is not stuck in a loop
    <Speuger> I think the game industry is influenced by fads as well
    <Speuger> so you get alot of knock-offs when a 'different' game does well

    <Gamesurge> what about software piracy? What do you guys think of it?
    <XceptOne> Software piracy is not cool
    <XceptOne> It also discourages gamecompanies to make games
    <James> Well, it hurts everyone.
    <Dave> its hard to see someone rip off a couple of years of your life I guess
    <Speuger> Totally
    <James> Especially the honest people who pay for games because they have to pay more.
    <Speuger> Exactly
    <James> Due to the loss because of piracy.
    <Gamesurge> but lets say someone wants a game. there is no demo and they buy like a few games a year and don't want to waste their money on utter crap
    <Speuger> Reviews dood, same like a movie you don't go in a shoplift from blockbuster
    <James> They can play it at a friends.
    <Speuger> you ask around, read stuff
    <Speuger> supply and demand, hard reality
    <Gwot> I'm all for demos
    <XceptOne> But in most stores you can return it and try out another
    <James> Demos are good.
    <XceptOne> Demos are cool
    <Gwot> and shareware
    <James> I wish shareware would come back strong!
    <Gamesurge> do you like CD keys?
    <Gwot> no
    <Gwot> I don't like any kind of protection myself
    <XceptOne> CD keys suck but they are a nessecary evil
    <Gamesurge> i know that Blizzard made a cd key sysetem in SC/BW and war 2 BNE then all of those cd key generators came out
    <Speuger> Protyeah, that sucked
    <Gamesurge> It once happened to a friend. Really pissed him off.
    <James> Nobody likes protection, but like Pancho said, it's a necessary evil.
    <Gwot> yeah
    <James> There is no one good answer to the piracy issue at this time.
    <Gwot> nope

    <Gamesurge> what about the pay for play stuff such as AC/EQ/UO?
    <Gwot> don't like it
    <James> I don't like that too much. But it's a financial issue.
    <Gwot> I was on the UO beta test
    <Gwot> when I found out what the game was going to cost + pay to play on top I dropped it
    <Gamesurge> why should u pay 50$ and then 10 more a month?
    <James> If you pay, then the developer can support the product more and make it better.
    <Speuger> there is something to be said about maintenance of persistent games like that tho
    <James> Yeah, those servers cost a lot to run.
    <Gwot> that's partly my point too
    <Gamesurge> I would like it if the client was free
    <Gwot> the quality of the experience didn't justify the cost imo
    <Gamesurge> and you had to pay 10$ a month or whatever
    <James> It's either that, or the free style of play with UT
    <James> The free client would be good too.
    <Speuger> I'm going to pick up EQ this weekend actually
    <Speuger> they have 'dm events' which is totally cool
    <Speuger> and worth the subscription alone
    <Gamesurge> but woudln't it be great if you can get the game free, and pay for the months you want to play?
    <Speuger> sure
    <James> That would be good.
    <James> I'm sure that will happen in the future.
    <Speuger> thats just the way they sliced it, financially
    <Gamesurge> if you buy Everquest , then you pay out of "obligation" since you paid $50 you have to keep playing it thats what sux.

    <Gamesurge> What is your website?
    <James> www.digitalextremes.com
    <James> it's not up yet though

    <Gamesurge> are you guys hiring?
    <James> Always
    <James> For the right people

    <Gamesurge> are you guys happy with how UT turned out?
    <James> Very happy
    <XceptOne> Yes very happy
    <Dave> very.... the extra months polishing really show hopefully
    <XceptOne> We were happy the way it has been received sofar too
    <Gamesurge> do you guys have a favorite map?!
    <James> DM peak is very cool
    <Gwot> November rawks
    <Gwot> in ctf
    <Gwot> all the outdoor maps too
    <Dave> I enjoy the ctf maps a lot
    <Dave> lava giant
    <James> Yeah, Lava Giant is very cool
    <XceptOne> I like the map that Inoxx started and me finnished: DM-Hyperblast
    <XceptOne> I like DM-Liandri

    <Gamesurge> Favorite Gun?
    <Gwot> sniper and flak
    <Dave> pulse gun :)
    <Dave> the shaft....

    <Gamesurge> Can you say ANYTHING about ur secret project?
    <XceptOne> No.. it will be something to look out for though
    <XceptOne> I can guarantee you that
    <James> Yeah, there isn't much to talk about yet. Everything can change at this point.

    <Gamesurge> What textures did you guys do?
    <XceptOne> For unreal and UT?
    <Gamesurge> yea
    <James> We did most of them.

    <Gamesurge> how long have each of you been working thereat DE...
    <Dave> 2 and a half years
    <Gwot> I just started about a month ago
    <James> 5 years
    <XceptOne> I worked at DE for almost three years

    <Gamesurge> You guys planning to move down to the USA? Epic did
    <Gwot> hehe
    <James> Nope
    <Gwot> no way
    <Gwot> our offices rock
    <XceptOne> No.. we stay here
    <Gamesurge> like being in Canada?
    <Dave> we have a kickass office here and everything we need
    <James> We even have a weight room.
    <XceptOne> Canada is not bad at all....
    <Gwot> yeah!!!
    <Gwot> and I might even use it sometime!!!!
    <James> And showers, a music room, the TV, a full kitchen. We even have our lunches prepared in house for us.
    <Dave> you don't hear about canada much but there is a LOT of really good talent up here

    <Gamesurge> What are your plans for future projects besides the secret project?
    <James> We are focused only on this project.

    <Gamesurge> What do you guys do in your free time when you're not working on games?
    <Dave> play them
    <XceptOne> Playing them
    <Dave> read reviews :)
    <XceptOne> Yeah, they all play games too

    <Gamesurge> Where are your offices located?
    <Gwot> London
    <XceptOne> London Ontario
    <Dave> London, Ontario
    <James> Canada
    <XceptOne> hehe
    <Gwot> hehe
    <Dave> North America
    <James> hehe

    <Gamesurge>Thanks again for your time and I wish all of you and the rest of Digital Extremes staff great luck in the future.
    <Digital Extremes>Sure, thanks no problem!
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