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2, Issue 12
February 14, 2000
Not Easy Being Green
interview by Russell
randon "GreenMarine" Reinhart was one of the original
members of the Orange Smoothie mod team, those wacky guys that
brought us the OSP Tourney Mod (an early prototype for NetGames
USA's ngWorldStats) and their infamous Potato Gun in addition
to other things, but these days, he's best known for his work
at Epic Games, where he was one of the programmers on Unreal Tournament.
He is currently hard at work on the Playstation 2 version of the
rank, and last time you fought in the Mordain wars?
if you want me to write some bombastic crap, we should probably
do the interview later, since I don't really feel like it now....
to be in a certain mood.
interview I did, the guy sent me the interview and I wasn't going
to do it since he was throwing me a bone. I'd rather just burst
into that stuff when people aren't really expecting it and I've
just come off of a Bal-Sagoth listen or something. I left the
interview and came back later when I felt like writing something
to use whatever I'm writing in your interview. That might make
it more interesting. A realistic interview instead of me being
odd. Shrug :)
did you join Epic and what position do you currently hold?
programmer. I was asked by Tim Sweeney to do contract programming
for Epic a little over a year and a half ago. After my contract
period they asked me to move to Raleigh and I've been here ever
date, what's been the best part of working on Unreal Tournament?
Are there things that come up (such as feedback) that make you
look back and say, "Damn, we hit it right on there"?
part of working on UT has nothing to do with the game, its the
work environment. Epic is an amazing place to work, its probably
the most liberal game company in the industry. I'll come in to
work at two in the morning or something and a bunch of other guys
are already here making content or playing games. I've made some
really good friends here.
as "hit it right" parts of the game. I dunno. There
were things that you know are working out well and things that
don't. You cut the ones that don't. With UT, it was a very gradual
progression. I can't even remember when the game stopped feeling
like Unreal and starting feeling like something unique.
two in the morning? Was that only during crunch-time or is it
a regular thing?
a regular thing. None of us live on base-24 days. The married
guys tend to stick to a recognizable pattern, but the rest of
us work until we are too tired, sleep (either at home or at work),
and come back when we are done.
new furniture for my apartment, but I haven't bought bedding for
my new bed and its been a month or so. I just sleep on the mattress.
Before that, I slept on a foam pad for a year. My money goes into
savings and investments because I don't have time to spend a lot.
I don't watch TV, which gives me a bunch of extra time.
I do have
spare time, but its mixed in with the work.
Do you have a computer at home or is that just a silly question?
I worked at home, I'd have a computer there, but I'd rather work
at the office. I can listen to my music as loud as I want most
of the time and I can easily communicate with the other team members.
If I want to get away I'll go home and read.
talk about Unreal Tournament on the Playstation 2. What kind of
hurdles are you looking at in terms of the code you're responsible
responsible for everything Playstation 2. I got script execution
up and running and the game running in Wireframe. We then starting
to shift our focus more on PSX2 so Tim took the rendering code
and I implementing minor things like input and so forth. You can
actually play UT completely on the PSX2 right now. Its not very
fast though. I'm not into graphics programming and I'm really
not into low level programming, Tim is much better. He faces the
big challenges of working out a fast rendering strategy and making
necessary changes to UT's renderer.
though...our UT project is completely playble, but without fast
rendering. The exact opposite of most game development projects
do you know to-date about the control systems (input) that will
be available? Are you able to plan ahead?
extra features for new types of controller is pretty easy. Right
now we are focusing on the Dual Shock and Dual Shock 2. I'll add
support for the older non-analog controller also. The input code
is more or less done for now. As we get more into the gameplay
side of things, input could change. (And things like...menus to
select your configuration and so forth).
do you think of other FPS games that have been ported to consoles,
in terms of interface? Do they adequately capture the first-person
shooter feel, or will you be trying to better that?
really that impressed, but what can you do with a pad? A hardcore
first person shooter doesn't really work that well on the console
to begin with. The audience is alot different. We all play a lot
of games though, so we'll probably come up with a bunch of good
configs to choose from (or customize). So far I like using the
left analog stick for strafing, the right for looking, L1 for
duck, L2 for jump, R1 for fire, R2 for altfire.
funny, but there's been numerous attempts by manufacturers to
redefine our PC inputs, yet we stubbornly stick with keyboard/mouse
combo. Has anyone sat down and said, "Why don't we just stick
a keyboard and mouse in the box?"
consoles are becoming more and more similar. At some point, you'll
probably see keyboards and mice coming with the console at launch.
Right now though, most console developers and designing their
games for console gamers. These kids play a lot of RPGs, sports
games, fighting games, and platform jumpers, but not a lot of
games that require keyboards... I mean, I'm sure they wouldn't
mind attracting more PC guys to the console, but its probably
much lower on the goal sheet than selling a game they know will
do you like programming on the PS2? Is it easier/better/faster
than the PC? Than linux?
is programming. I'm not bothered by programming for any specific
platform, so much as I'm bothered by things like making sure my
NT box and my Linux box and sourcesafe are all working properly.
I would say programming for the PS2 is hard in that a PC programmer
has a lot to learn about the hardware. A lot of low level code
to write. The APIs for PS2 aren't really APIs, they are more like
simple tools to help you set up your DMA transfers and such. You
write a lot of code that deals with registers directly. Like any
new programming task its just learning the new tools and experimenting.
talk power. How much more powerful is the PS2 than the original
know, really. I don't know a lot about the original Playstation's
hardware. My understanding is that the power of the Playstation
2 lies less in the CPU and more in efficient use of the vector
units. Since I'm not doing any work with the PS2's rendering code
now, I've not been pursuing PS2 technology very closely. You might
want to ask Tim, but there is a lot of stuff we can't talk about
because of NDAs.
what I understand, the PS2 will be internet ready though it won't
be shipping with a modem out of the box. Will you be plugging
´net functionality into the code in preparation for Internet
know anything about Sony's plans for network support. I have not
seen any APIs on it or heard any information. If we get information
on it, we'll support it.
you were part of the Orange Smoothie team. What do you think of
their work on Netgames USA?
cool. ngWorldStats is a lot of fun to play with, it adds a lot
of value to the game. The Net Games guys are really hardcore.
They were all professors and research engineers at the University
of Kansas and one day they just said "lets go for it."
So they quit their jobs and decided to rough it with their gaming
company. That's cool. Its funny because I remember Craig Sparks
telling me about his idea for the stat tracking stuff and I used
to tell him about how I'd work for a game company at some point.
Lo and behold everything worked out.
Kansas must have some kind of gaming enchantment cast on it. KillCreek
is from there, you know. So is Scott Dalton from Legend. They
both went to KU.
very cool. Did you help with the agreement to put support for
ngWorldStats support into UT?
for granted. We worked up an agreement, but was there any doubt?
It was a really cool feature and it didn't take much work to add.
I think it really helped give UT some extra replay value. Now
you can feel like your nightly game sessions have some impact.
all the NetGames/Epic communication and implemented the features
they wanted. Mark took care of getting their logo on the box.
It was extremely smooth. I still owe those guys a dinner sometime.
it's a great feature, except that it shows some of us how poorly
we play UT :)
just one more question: What's next for you after the PS2 and
I don't plan ahead. Takes too much time and its against my nature.
"RadPipe" Lauzon is currently exhausting all his free
time researching Beer Goggles.
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