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Interviews | Major Headache [Jan 2004] / TerraNova
Website: dfarena.com 3,205 Views Added 02/01/2004 Add Comment PermaLink

Hi Major Headache, for those who do not know, can you just briefly (or not) tell us about your connection with TerraNova.

I founded TerraNova when we decided to make an expansion pack for DF1. Initially we were just a bunch of guys trying to put together a unified collection of terrains so that a larger number of people could play on the new terrains that people were developing when it was first discovered how to do it. Once we had something going, I figured a name was in order. I remember working on the name while my wife was in labor, around 2AM. I've been running it ever since and paying for it out of my own pocket.

So it has just been that time again, when TerraNova releases one of its highly anticipated MOD's for the Delta Force game series. Relieved to have finally finished?

You have no idea! We've had this project in the works since the day BHD came out. Sometimes we were working like gang busters, sometimes it languished while we worked on our real jobs. There have been many highs and lows along the way, but the day you release it is awesome! Of course, immediately you start thinking about what's next, what to fix, etc. And then Team Sabre came out and broke some of our integration, so it starts all over.

Are you personally happy with the finished product?

Yes, of course! I'm quite pleased with what we accomplished, it was much more than I first imagined. Adding terrains, skins and C4 objects was a given, but beyond that were emplaced weapons, corrected collision models, new sounds effects, brand new 3di objects from scratch, new camo for arctic and jungle terrains, new skies, and so much more...it far exceeded anything we've done before.

Did you plan to get your MOD finished just before the release of Team Sabre? Or would you have preferred to have been finished a few weeks earlier?

I definitely would have preferred weeks, or even months before. Team Sabre sort of stole our thunder, but our next release will be even better, and work along side Team Sabre quite nicely!

Did you set out with goals to do modifications that have never been seen before in any of the previous TerraNova MOD's?

I'd like to say that we're that organized or ambitious, but generally speaking it's more about figuring out what we CAN do and how to best take advantage of it. But we added some new and very talented people to the crew on this project, along with the regulars, so we were able to go a lot further than ever before.

What part of the MOD are you most proud about?

There's so much I'm proud of, I hate to list any one thing. However, having completely new 3di files can't be overlooked. Also, giving the players the new camo enabled us to add jungle and snow terrains and thus 2 completely new dimensions to the game. Running around in the snow wearing desert camo really wouldn't cut it.

What were the major difficulties with the MOD for BHD?

Once we imported the 3di files from C4, we soon relaized that a lot of them had major problems. Since they weren't originally designed for a first person shooter, they had a lot of flaws. PArts of objects you could run through, parts you should be able to get into that were blocked, Non-functioning ladders, the list went on and on. Against my better judgement, A.Bullet, Dare Hacker, and DV dug into the 3di file structure for days, weeks, and months. Slowly but surely, they worked out various aspects of the file structure to enable us to fix a lot of what was broken. There's still a lot we don't know, and things we couldn't fix, but overall, we've come a very long way!

How many people were working on the project, and is that the biggest team you have had working with TerraNova?

The team always fluctuates over time. And some guys have their own specialty areas that they stick to. There were about four guys working on the highly technical modding, a few others working on terrains, a few working on weapons, and of course a lot of overlap, so some of them worked on all aspects. And yes, this is probably the biggest team so far, even though I think the team is small overall.

I've been quite fortunate to have been able to work with many very talented people at TerraNova. I often think that I get too much credit for the projects that come out of there. The crew behind me is doing asll the heavy lifting and making TerraNova look great.

Are there any bugs in the new MOD, and would you make a patch for them?

There are a few issues that could be improved. I think as we develop the TS mod, we'll be considering whether to apply improvements to the first EXP. One major issue with that is fracturing the player base. Mods work best of course when all players have the same package, flaws and all. At this point, the best I can give you is "it depends".

What is the general opinion of the MOD from the DF gamers?

We've gotten mostly positive feedback, which is very rewarding! (It better be rewarding, it's the only reward there is, lol). There have been criticisms too of course. Some justified, and some ridiculous. But you can't please everybody, so no surprises there.

Ok the MOD has been released, so now what next? I know that you won't be just sitting back twiddling your thumbs. Maybe some new things with the MOD tools Novalogic has been promising?

As I already mentioned, a TS compatible mod is our next hurdle. We'd like to take what we've done already and go even further. Turn-around time should be fairly quick this time. The mod tools present a bit of a dilemma for us. If they come out tomorrow, we can use them to do some really cool and unique things. But they might not come out for 6 months, or at all, for all we know. (Remember they were originally slated for last summer.) So we press on and do the best we can with the available technology. Hopefully it all works out!

Do you / did you receive any help or comments from Novalogic about the MOD's you release?

Help, no. Not much in the way of comments either. TerraNova is on their mailing list for press releases, and on their list of fan sites, so I guess we are OK with them. When BHD was originally released, I was among the fan sites who were invited to the launch event. (And the only one to show, lol). At that time I got the impression they appreciated our efforts, but it hasn't led to any help.

Is it true Novalogic told TerraNova not to add drivable vehicles to the MOD?

They never mentioned it to me at all.

What do you think about the MOD Nova have just released A.K.A Team Sabre?

Anything that expands the game is always welcome in my book. I didn't find as many all new objects as I'd hoped, and I thought the installation process left a lot to be desired. To me the really interesting thing is how if you have TS you can now join non-TS servers as the new and superior SAS character with a new weapon not available to BHD players who haven't purchased Team Sabre. How's that for a marketing strategy?

In your opinion is Team Sabre the last addition to the long standing Delta Force series?

Hard to say...certainly not the last you'll see from TerraNova, I can tell you that much =)

Would you like to leave a message for Novalogic of they ever read this?

I'd REALLY like to know when those tools are coming out..

Alien vs. Predator – who would win?

Well, Predator has a gun, camoflauge technology, and is pretty smart. Unless he accidentally backed into Alien, my money is on Predator.

Big thanks for answering those questions MH, best of luck with your future plans.

Thanks for asking =)