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volume 1, issue 30

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:

The Top Shelf: Jason "loonyboi" Bergman checks out Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.

The Top Shelf: Jason "loonyboi" Bergman checks out Blood 2.

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.

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

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Put a Little Love in Your Pocket!: Trying to understand Pokemon? Our loony editor got to the bottom of the GameBoy phenomenon.

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Chillin' WIth Jason Hall

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman

 

You actually had two games in development simultaneously, not to mention the engine, and you still shipped on time. What's your secret? Whips? Chains? Cheezy poofs?

The doors only work one way, you walk in and can't leave (joke). The real reason is the people. We have many talented people that work very hard to make sure we stay on target. One thing that I feel proud to say is that Monolith has never SLACKED OFF. We have made mistakes, yes, and from those we continue to learn from - but - I can honestly look any gamer in the eye and tell them that Monolith has given them a 110% effort on its products from the very beginning!

We have learned (and continue to learn) many valuable lessons during our productions. From bugs, to patches, to .plan files, etc., we have made many realizations and have furthered our resolve to serve the game community the best we can. Monolith is now a very experienced developer with the many scars to prove it. We are taking the knowledge that we have gained and are using it to make even better products, and even a more satisfying gaming experience. Monolith has always appreciated the support it has received, and will continue to work hard for the game community.

Why was the name changed to Shogo so far into the game's development?

Trademark issues.

Are there any plans for a Shogo sequel at the moment, or is that still up in the air?

No comment. Super-top-secret. What I can say is that we aren't working on anything at this time but we plan to continue the Shogo universe.

Any plans for an in-house mission pack?

Nope.

Have we seen the last of the Shogo patches, or are there still tweaks to be made?

There are some small fixes that are still being looked at. The high-ping problem that occurs on a single modem is still being tracked down. For the most part, there will be no more major patches.

Blood 2 has noticeably less smooth internet play from Shogo...is this because of changes in the game's engine that are specific to Blood 2, or is it just that you're still working out the kinks?

Blood 2, the game rather then the engine itself, does many things different then Shogo for multiplayer. We will continue to support Blood 2 just as we have with our other products.

What's new in the Blood 2 add-on pack?

Two new weapons: Combat Shotgun and Flayer. New models: Male Cultists, Soul Drudge, Prophet and Female Cultist. Levels: 6 new single player, 6 new multi-player. And much much more!

Has development started on Blood 3 yet?

Nope. GT Controls this.

Are there any lines from Army of Darkness that haven't been used in a Blood game yet? :)

Blood used lines from Army of Darkness???

You've mentioned before that the possibility exists for a joint Shogo/Blood 2 mod where weapons and models could be freely used between the games...any plans for a Monolith-developed crossover level?

There are many things that can be done with Shogo/Blood 2. Monolith wishes to give the opportunity to the users and mod community. This is why we decided to release the source code of the games and the engine tools. There are no plans for official mod releases from Monolith, but the Blood 2 source will be released soon. Once it is released, it should be fairly straightforward for anyone wanting to do the crossover.

Actually I believe I saw something about this on the net (a Mod group doing a mod called "LithWars" I think).

How many LithTech licenses are out there right now?

Most of our licensee announcements are under an NDA, so I can't give you specifics on all the licenses. I will confirm that there are at least 5 though (not counting what you listed below). Please remember that we try to limit our number of licensees to the maximum number of licensees we can support at any one time.

Care to comment on some of them?

No comments from me on them. It's better to ask the developers themselves! We try to keep a lid on this sort of thing. We take engine licensing as a very serious business and treat it as such. It is important for us to respect our licensees confidentiality. I WILL say that there is no shortage of interest.

What's planned for the next version of the LithTech engine?

Heh heh heh! I can't tell you that - YET! :)

We will be giving a private "back room" showing of LithTech 2.0 at E3. At that time we will unveil to the invited press what our engine team has been busting its ass on all this time. Seats are extremely limited to this event.

Is the engine modular? Could these new features be worked into previously released games? (IE: Shogo with true bump-mapping, etc.)

The engine is highly modular with a very advanced design. It is our goal to always make future additions as backward compatible as possible.

Regarding Sanity: this game looks to be way out there, dude. What were you guys on when you came up with the concept for this thing?

The design for Sanity is very abstract along with the Monolith humor people have seen in our past games. Sanity is the design work of Aaron St.John and the rest of the Sanity team.

What was the genesis of the project? Were you inspired by any particular game/movie/comic?

There are many influences for Sanity. An old board game called WizWar combined with the style of Tim Burton's Beetlejuice would be the two biggest influences.

What's the current planned release date for Sanity?

Winter 1999

Since the game is LithTech, will it be possible to use pieces from previously released games in Sanity, or is the engine too modified?

Yes you could use some of the content from other LithTech titles. However since we are doing many new things with the game and engine you would need to make some changes for things to work correctly.

The bizarre nature of Sanity is pretty much a testament to how versatile the LithTech engine actually is. Is it proving a major challenge to do the sort of interface changes that you're implementing for the game, or is the engine designed from the ground up to allow such modification?

Showing the controllable top-down view perspective and the huge fully 3D talents really shows the power of the engine. The other important factor is how quickly we implemented these.

Got any unreleased screenshots lying around? ;)

Yep, here you go:

click for fullsize image!

Thanks Jason! Check out all the Monolith goodness at http://www.lith.com!

 

- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is the editor-in-chief here at loonygames. He's really dang tired.

 

Credits: Illustration © 1999 Michael Krahulik. This interview is © 1999 Jason Bergman & Jason Hall. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't try it...or we'll give you a publishing deal with Microsoft. Muhahahahah.