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Interviews | Major Headache / TerraNova
Website: terranova-exp.com/ 1,533 Views Added 01/30/2004 Add Comment PermaLink

Hello there Mr. TerraNova spokesperson, Name / Handle:
Major Headache

Will you please give us a brief description about what TerraNova is / does:
TerraNova was formed specifically to create an expansion pack for the original Delta Force. Over time we've grown to offer a number of different utilities, as well as expansion packs for all 3 DF versions. We also support the game with technical support forums.

What is your role in the TN team:
Founder, Owner, CEO, I don't know...I like to think that my role is in giving other more talented and creative people the tools and opportunities to get their work out to the DF community. While I do posess way too much technical information about how the games are put together, I still rely on way smarter guys like DV to do the heavy lifting.

Who was the founder of TN:
Me =). What happened is right around the time DF2 was about to come out there was a lot of activity in terrain building and map making, and FwO Raven had figured out how to add grass to DF1 terains, but all those things required all players have them installed. It occurred to me that the solution was to take the people who were most active at the time and create a universal expansion pack that hopefully most people would know about and be able to easily install. We started discussing various things and next thing you know, here we are.

When was it set up:
We started talking about it originally around August 1999.

Why was TN created:
To solve the problem of all the new terrains that were being created but hardly anybody having them installed. Rather than fracturing the community into lots of small pieces, I thought we could bring more people under one umbrella.

Who thought up the name? ( It's good BTW ):
Thanks, that was my idea. I remember I was thinking about what to call it while my wife was in labor at the hospital. It was about 2AM and I thought about the latin for New Land (new terrains) and “TerraNova“ was born. (6 hours later, so was my son =))

How many Expansion Packs has TN created and which is your personal favourite:
There are 3 main expansion packs, one for each version of DF. We have another huge one in the works for DFLW and another great one almost done for DF1. Both of those add tons (I guess it's tonnes for you guys) of new objects. Choosing a favorite is like picking a favorite child. THere are things I really like about all 3. I love that we were able to add grass to DF1 and that it was the first EXP. I love the level of integration and detail we were able to provide with EXP2. I also liked the new voice overs and sound effects for EXP2. In EXP:LW I really liked terrains, the sound effects, and the installer which compressed 4MB TGA files down to ~300k jpg files.

Have you a record of the number of EXP downloads, if so how many have there been approximately:
For DF1, about 14,000. For DF2, over 30,000 (Wow, even I didn't know it was that high!) For DFLW over 23,000 (Wow again!)

How long ( roughly ) does it take to complete an EXP:
In the beginning we thought it would be like 2 months, but it usually takes more like 8 or 9. This new DF1 project has been in the works in some form or other since the summer of 2000! I guyess it would go a lot better if we had some corporate office where people just worked on these things all day, but that's not how we operate. it's all volunteer work done for the love of the game in our spare time.

What gives you the incentive to continually develop the EXP's:
You tell me and we'll both know! I've spent thousands of dollars on hosting for the site (don't tell my wife!) and even more hours working on them. It's just a passion I can't explain.

What do you feel is the appeal ( if any ) of the DF series to Modders:
Well DF is not easily modded compared to other games. I think you have to first be dedicated to the game (which I know all DF modders are) then you figure out how to make it do what you want.

What do you feel is the appeal ( if any ) of the DF series to Players:
DF is a unique environment. The expansive terrains give players endless paths to choose from on all maps. DF has been many things to me, but one thing that stands out is the commraderie among the players. When you play DF, you meet great people, and the cross talk very different form what you might see playing Quake, Half Life, or one of it's kind. Its very cool, and I really enjoy it.

Why would / should DF fans download TerraNova's EXP's:
For the most part the EXPs only add to the game without removing any functionality or playability with non EXP players. Plus it's free! I just don't see the downside.

Have you ever had any contact / feedback / support from NovaLogic with regards to to the EXP's:
When NL had their Gold Sites, which was about a dozen fan sites they considered “worthy“, we were on there. Plus I've corresponded via email with their director of international marketing when she was filling in for what Marcus Beer does now. She told me they knew who I was and were aware of the EXP. Other than that we have not been officially acknowledged, which doesn't bother me at all. It would surprise me if they did.

Would you like / do you think Nova Logic should provide some kind of support to 'Modders':
The one thing I think they should do, and I've told them this, is to create another area in the lobby for “modded“ servers. So in addition to NovaWorld's servers, public and password, you would have a “Mod“ area. This would cut down on people getting punted when they try to join a modded server without the mod installed.

Would you think a game company such as NovaLogic could be slightly offended about people releasing add-ons that are made to improve a game that they have made, or do you think they would see it is a good thing as it could help extend the life of their game:
We were initially very concerned they might sue us. I'm still not quite sure of where we fit in their scheme of things. IMO we do add life to the game, but maybe once the next version of DF is out they don't want it to have more life...?

Would you like to see a MOD system like - for example - Ghost Recon, where MODs can be added easily and you can only play that particular game if you have that particular MOD:
In a word: YES!

How important do you think MODs are to a game and / or its community:
I don't know about the importance of mods in general, but it definitely seems to me that the community really grew as it became possible to make maps. As long as there's something to discover and new challenges there will be communities rallying together to discuss it =)

What is the single most limiting factor in terms of modding the DF series:
We can't create new objects. The 3DI format is so proprietary there's nothing out there that can be used to build new buildings or vehicles.

Has TN got anything in the works at the moment - Land Warrior, Task Force Dagger? or is your work classified :
As I said before, we definitely have some great stuff in the works. The new LW project should easily cross-over to TFD too.

I recently encountered some comments that associated Mods with being on par with Cheats and Trainers! Are you aware of this? What is your view about this and what can / have you done to eliminate any association with cheating:
Well that's an old problem. It's true that when you start disassembling the game you will find ways to give yourself an edge over other players. However, that certainly doesn't mean that anybody making a mod has that goal! We've always had a strong anti-cheating stand. We won't release tools that could be used to cheat and we try to make sure that any mods we do release don't give players an advantage over players without the mod. We're very self-concious about it.

Is there anything you would like to say to the TerraNova fans out there:
Thanks for the support! Every once in awhile I'll get a nice email from somebody who just discovered the EXPs and who just wanted to say “thanks“, or “great work“ and really that's the closest thing we get to a paycheck, and it makes it all worth it =)

Is there anything you would like to say to NovaLogic:
You have my address, send me free stuff! And give the players a mod lobby, and pay more attention to cheating!

I heard a rumour that the TN crew are slackers! Is this true?:
I have a lot to say about this matter but I'm too lazy to tell you!

OK, well thanks for answering these questions for us, keep up the great work. Thanks!