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Vol. 2, Issue 14
February 28, 2000

To the Extreme

An interview by Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon.



hile they may not be quite as high-profile as their counterparts at Epic Games, Digital Extremes is responsible for a large percentage of the work in last year's ultra-successful Unreal Tournament (and prior to that, the original Unreal). With those two games under their proverbial belts, they've started work on their most ambitious project to date - a massively multiplayer, persistant world deathmatch game called Dark Sector. We sent Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon to their Canadian offices to get the scoop on what the game will be like, and how they feel about Unreal Tournament's success.

- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman, editor-in-chief.


Why donít we start with, one at a time, your name and function, and weíll go from there.

Dave Ewing: †Okay.† My name is Dave Ewing and Iím Ė


Ewing: Yeah.† E-W-I-N-G.

Like the Dallas Ewings?

Ewing: Like the Dallas Ewings, right, which we watched religiously when I was a kid.

click to enlarge!

Some spiffy new Dark Sector concept art. (135k).

Yeah I did too.† Not that I meant to, but we only got two channels where I grew up.

Ewing: Yep, that was the same with us too.

Pancho Eekels: And Dynasty!

And Knots Landing!†  

Ewing: Good old CBC.

Anyway Ė

Ewing: Anyway, my name is Dave Ewing and Iím a Level Designer.† Actually I also did sounds and a little bit of textures for UT, but for Dark Sector Iíll pretty much exclusively just be doing levels.† Iíll have to do a lot more than I did for UT.

Eekels: † My name is Pancho Eekels and Iím Lead Level Designer now at Digital Extremes.† Thatís what I do, just level design.† Some textures here and there, yeah for Dark Sector there will be a lot more levels.

Youíre Lead Level Designer now?† You werenít before?

Eekels: No.† I wasnít with Unreal and Unreal Tournament.† Epicís Cliff Bleszinski is Lead Level Designer there.†

Ewing: Even though we were two teams we were basically doing the same project and we broke it down so we were one team for those two projects.

Yeah Iíve been interested in that whole process because there was two geographically separate teams working on the project.† How did you manage coordinating all your efforts?

Eekels: Well it didnít go to well and what happened was that for the last part of Unreal it was pretty obvious that we all needed to be together and thatís what we did so Epic came to Canada and we finished Unreal.

How many people came up?

Eekels: <mumble> ÖTimÖ <mumble>

Ewing: <mumble> Ö EricÖ<mumble>

A boatload.

Ewing: So yeah like 6 or 7.†

Eekels: And then there was a few guys popping in and out.† And it was a very small office.

Ewing: <laughs>† Yeah it was a small space.† Hot.† On the weekends, of course, there was no air conditioning.

Eekels: So we had a string of fans around the office.† It was terrible.

That was back when you were in Waterloo then.

Eekels: Yep.† And for UT, Digital Extremes went to Raleigh.† Thatís where we finished UT.†

It was your whole company that went?

Eekels: † All the people that were needed.

Ewing: Like the level designers, texture artists.

Ok.† What was Digital Extremes role in Unreal and Unreal Tournament?† Did you split up the level design and that artwork and the engine?

Eekels: We covered everything.† We did a little of coding, Epic did most of the coding, and we did half of the levels.† And basically a little bit of everything.† It wasnít a defined role where we said, ďYou guys are doing this, and we were doing that.Ē†

Ewing: We acted as one team.

Eekels: † Yeah we split everything up.

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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Allan "Machette" McKay. This interview is © 2000 Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon, Dave Ewing and Pancho Eekels. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. So don't do it, or we'll deport you.