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To the Extreme

Vol. 2, Issue 14
February 28, 2000


I’m interested to know how much you’ll be able to use from Unreal Tournament in Dark Sector, from tools to engine or whatever.

Eekels: We can almost take anything.  Like all of our tools that we have, which is basically the Unreal Editor and some of the modeling tools, and we can take those with us and use them as a base for Dark Sector.

And the engine as well?

Eekels: Yep! 

Or are you building a new engine from scratch?

Eekels: No!  But we will be coding a new renderer. 

And enhancements and features.

Ewing: Everything that we will need to keep Unreal state-of-the-art.  We already have a bunch of ideas.  There will be lots to do to it I’m sure.

I guess that will significantly cut down on development time then.

Eekels: Yes.

Ewing: Yes.  Oh yeah.

Any idea on what kind of release date we’re looking at?

Eekels:  No.  <laughs>

Ewing: Nope! <laughs>

Well you knew I had ask right? 

Ewing: It’s just that you get asked that so many times, even if you just make a guess at something, it always turns out to be: “It’s going to be released at this time!”  and when we just meant hopefully, so we decided it’s a better policy just to say –

Eekels: “When it’s done” is one of the best lines ever. 

Ewing: Oh yeah.

Eekels: In the games industry.

Ewing: It sucks to get everybody’s hopes up.  We’re like that when we’re looking at other games to come out.  Delayed again! It’s just so much better this way.

Do you know what gaming network you’ll be using to support the infrastructure for Dark Sector?

Eekels: At this point we won’t have an answer until we actually signed with someone.

Have you looked at it yet?

Ewing: Yep.  That’s one of the big things. 

If you’re looking at it, then you must be guessing at how many people you could potentially have world-wide connected to the game at any one time, right?

Eekels: Right now we’re looking at the current games --

Ewing: -- like Asheron’s Call and Everquest and what kind of numbers they’re getting.  We’ll generally setup, we’re pretty sure, the same sort of style that they’re doing.  Where they have a bunch of servers worldwide.

Eekels: Several universes of the game.

That’s probably a really good way of doing it, because if you get overloaded you just pop in another server right?

Ewing: Yeah you can pop in another server but I think we’ll do it the same way as in Asheron’s Call, where your account will work on any world, but you can’t bring your character.  We’re still not sure but we’re still working on it.

Parallel universes.  In games like Asheron’s Call you have people online all the time who are support people, who help others, watch for problems, etc.  Are you thinking about something like that?

Ewing: Yeah I would kind of like to see that because I’ve been helped out several times by support people.

Eekels: Again that’s something we have to look at in the future.  It’s one of the many things on the list that we are looking at.

You’re still in the design phase, I understand, so a lot of this stuff is still on the board to be talked about.   Are you still working on the design doc right now?

Eekels: Yeah we have the overall design doc done, but of course there’s going to be tweaks.

Ewing: And added to.

Eekels: And taken off.

Ewing: If there’s one thing we found from development of both UT and Unreal, things change.  When you’re designing a game, especially with the open concept that we have, things change so often, not drastically, but there’s so many changes and shifts, minor shifts, and even some major shifts in direction that go on.  Having a hugely detailed design doc before you even start is sometimes a waste of time.  That’s how a game gets to be, and it really helps the game to be able to change with the times.

Eekels: The design doc is designed to give the team a direction, and how you get there is not important.  It’s a starting point.  The major elements in the game that dictate gameplay, you can think that out beforehand, but along the way you’re going to have to tweak and massage that.  In the end you’ll have a nice game that you will have fun playing.  You don’t want to have something in the design doc that turns out to be an annoyance factor in the game.  You want to be able to redirect that. 



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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.