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volume 1, issue 18

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Real Life: Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!

User Friendly: Updated daily!

Related Links:

Microprose: Makers of Klingon Honor Guard.

The Top Shelf: Jason "loonyboi" Bergman plays Klingon Honor Guard deathmatch, and reports from the launch party in Las Vegas.

T-Shirts: Stylin' loonygames t-shirts from Berda Compugrafix!

Artwork: Hey, dig the artwork on loonygames? We're selling some of the original art.

Feedback:

You've got an opinion...voice it! Drop a line to our Feedback column...you could end up with a free T-Shirt!

Random Feature :

Blue & Levelord Get Drunk: Truly the definitive interview with Levelord, Stephen "Blue" Heaslip and the Ritual level designer get drunk and talk about the gaming industry.

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romuluSngan HoH!

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman

 

Was there anything that you wanted to put into the game but weren't able to because of time constraints?

I think that every designer will tell you "that list is too long to fit here".

Delays of Unreal aside, you guys were actually on time, weren't you? That's pretty impressive, considering the engine was in development while you were working on it.

The process definitely taught me to prepare and to think about every possibility you can before you commit. This way you avoid costly delays from going down the wrong path. Oh, and "keep your ego out of the box".

Once you commit the game to paper it is not yours it is the team's, then the world's. Remember that and you won't get hurt.

Got any weird stories to tell about the development process?

The funniest story is when I came back from a PR show to find my entire office filled to the ceiling with KHG boxes.

Did you oversee the production of the cinematic sequences? What was that like?

Yes I did. When we designed the game we mapped out each cinematic sequence. After that it was pretty easy. Just sit back and watch you artist make magic. I am still dumbfounded by how real the faces look in the briefing animations. Barb Bents Miller is a genius!

Did the actors involved have a difficult time adjusting to the game setting, or was it more of a non-issue?

Surprisingly no. Tony Todd was jazzed. All of the actors were consummate professionals. We didn't even have to be there during the recording sessions. We directed it all over the phone with ISDN connection for the DAT tape.

What kinds of references were you provided with for the design? I imagine Paramount is chock full of reference materials that you have to adhere to.

Everything you could imagine. Set walks, reference photos, even talks with Dan Curry the special effects advisor and creator of the Bat‘leth and the fighting style associated with it. They also helped with setting up the actors. Paramount was a true member of the development team.

Are there any plans to get GameSpy support in for KHG?

Already in the works.

Any plans for an add-on pack/extra deathmatch levels?

I don't know that yet.

How has the fan reaction been? I'm speaking of both standard game fans, and Star Trek fans in general.

Excellent overall. For our first FPS I think we did very well.

Playing the game, I noticed some interesting changes in the characters: for starters, the running. When you run, you start slowly, and gradually build up to top speed. How did this come to be in the game?

It was an effort to make hand to hand combat possible. If the player could run like a superhero no one would ever get close to him. The Unreal physics engine made this easy.

Another thing I noticed, was the fact that certain Klingon enemies will shoot at you a few times, stop, rush in and pull out the bat’letlh and try and kill you that way. It's all very "Klingon". Was it hard to rewrite the AI to "act more Klingon"? In what other ways did you modify the code?

It took time but was not hard at all. The Unreal scripting language is very extensible. It allowed us to do quite a bit with our AI.

AI aside, what other changes to the Unreal codebase did you make? It didn't look to me like you modified the graphics code at all, but I could be wrong. :)

There were no changes to the graphics code. There was however, quite a bit of scripting done to create things like the beam in effect for our creatures, weapons, pickups, AI features, etc.

Were any changes made to the networking?

No. We were in contact with Tim and knew that he was working on a fix for the problems.

If you had to start over, is there any aspect of the game you would have done differently?

Once again this list is way too long. <bg>

I noticed that as a promotional thing for KHG you released one of you weapons for use in normal Unreal (there's also an unauthorized thing out that allows you to run regular Unreal maps in KHG). Was this especially easy to do?

Yes it was just make sure that you have the proper files and bingo! Epic created Unreal with the mod maker in mind.

Did your level designers take easily to Unreal's editor?

Yes, it is pretty intuitive and it was created with artists in mind.

How did you come to be at Microprose?

Seven years ago I was designing software for AT&T when someone at the local computer games store suggested that I should work for MicroProse. (I bought ALOT of games back then.) MicroProse was into coin-op games back then and was testing them in a local arcade. I made sure that I was in the top ten every week. Eventually I came in for a focus group begged for a QA job and six months later joined the Simulations Group on F15 Strike Eagle III.

What games had you worked on prior to Klingon Honor Guard?

Well, Strike Eagle III, F117A, Civilization, Gunship 2000, F14 Fleet Defender, and Pacific Air War Gold. I also helped out on a lot of other games over the years. During my time at Microprose I had the pleasure of working with and learning from the best in the biz. My mentors were Sid Meier, Sandy Peterson, Lawrence Shick and Jim Day. Klingon Honor Guard is my first project as the sole designer.

Did you always want to design games, or was this a late in life decision?

I started gaming when I was fourteen. D&D and Traveller were my first hardcore "games". Being an inquisitive guy, I would immerse myself in the rules. Hating to lose, I would exploit every loophole I found. This led to me correcting those loopholes when I would run a campaign. That led to creating my own game systems. The rest is history.

I truly believe this is what I was born to do.

What are your favorite games of all time?

Well let's see how old you readers are. I no particular order:

Rip Off, Disks of Tron and Asteroids. (I got my first job so that I could play these three at the arcade) Also: Traveller, D&D, F19/177-A, Civilization, Call of Cthullu, BattleTech, Doom, Half-Life, (Thank you Harry and Wazzup!) Metal Gear Solid. And let us not forget: Defender Stargate.

qatlho'! And romuluSngan HoH!

HISlaH! Much romuluSnagam HoH!

Credits: Illustration © 1998 Mike Sanzone. romuluSngan HoH! is © 1998 Jason Bergman & Christopher David Clark. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, dangit.