BlueWolf72: State your real name, job, place where you are from and age!
My name is Mark Parker, I live in the north west UK, I mainly do contract work for various different employers but am currently looking for something more stable. I'm 23 and live in a flat with my girlfriend.
BlueWolf72: The AQ2 LTKTBM mod was thought up when? Why the AQ2 LTKTBM mod? Is the mod like another game or mod in your opinion?
LTKTBM started off while I was at uni, going back maybe 5-6 years ago now. I was heavily into AQ2 but after returning home I was stuck on a 56K modem and wanted something to play against, It actually started off as two projects, spawned by a late night dream that led to writing several documents about a new form of general AI, which I then implemented in the LTK bot source to see how it worked, those days were crazy, Quite often I'd scare myself when they would invent some new tactic and I'd not touch it for days while I contemplated the implications that the AI presented.
BlueWolf72: How long have you been working on The AQ2 LTKTBM?
Well initially it was a year in the making, but I was plagued by frequent crashes and lack of decent route finding code. I wrote the pathfinder project while I was considering bringing it over to counter strike, that took about 6 months on and off, but CS never really did it for me, sure I'd spend hours playing it, but it never felt as balanced or as well made as aq2. Then, just before Christmas this year, I found the ltk 1.22 source, an updated version to that which I had used, thinking it would solve the crashing issue, I quickly put in support for the pathfinder project, and copied over some of the original TBM code. Unfortunately 1.22 was no more stable than 1.1 and I had to completely rewrite the entire code. This brings us to the present day, with a stable backbone of aq2 and new LTK, with more and more TBM (team-play AI) features being implemented, as and when the previous versions have been tested thoroughly. With the release of the q2 source, it also meant I could work on putting together a complete install for all the different packages.
BlueWolf72: Describe the best feature in the mod in your opinion? What should the person look for that they might miss?
I think, probably the best feature is simply the team-play factors, LTKTBM bots make for good single player, but once a games started, it runs just like a normal game server, even when bots are connected, meaning friends can connect to your game and join in the fighting. The full install can also connect to standard AQ2 servers, meaning there's a whole host of ways to play.
BlueWolf72: Describe the weapons and what the weapon you will use the most and why?
The Weapons have been kept the same from standard AQ2, you get an MP5, M4, Shotgun, Hand Cannon/sawn off shotgun, sniper rifle, and throwing knives. This may not sound like much, but as those who have played AQ2 before will know, these are simply the best balanced weapons there are, each has its own use and balance, as to which you will use the most, well, it depends on the map, there is 15 maps included in the stand alone full install package, with many more available from the AQ2 map depot. From long range ones which call for good sniping skills, to the up close and personal hostage 2 where the devastating close range power of the shotgun and hand cannon come into their own. The bots have weapon selection built into the AI, which is learnt dynamically as a map progresses, bots will chose the most effective weapon for a map, depending on which they find is most effective, I have included a command in this release which lets you see what weapons the bots recommend for each map, but this will change depending on your play style. Throwing knifes provide a great level of light relief, and provide a nice bit a variability to the game, especially since if you get hit with one you'll soon know about it!
BlueWolf72: How is the damage system in The AQ2 LTKTBM?
The damage system, again is the same as AQ2, you get 3 main damage zones, headshot, chest/stomach and legs. Combined with a bleeding effect. If you get shot, you have to bandage, otherwise you'll bleed to death pretty sharpish, while you're bandaging, you cannot shoot and have to take cover, it's a constant balance between staying alive and not running away too soon. If you get hit in the legs you limp, and can't jump, it can be great fun shooting a foe in the legs so they can't get away.
BlueWolf72: Game plays what's your favourite? Explain them all please.
You get the two standard AQ2 game plays, Team play, and Death match. In team play, its one team vs. the other, last team alive wins, in death match it's everyone for themselves. The LTKTBM bots provide further additions to this, the possibilities of which are simply endless, play on your own against a large opposing force, or in a team with other bots, or get a friend or 5 to join in and all the combinations that follow. My favourite is probably, me and my brother, vs. 3 or 4 bots on the opposite team, but I can't say I dislike any of them, except maybe death match, but that's just because I've never been any good at it...
BlueWolf72: Describe the players/classes for the mod! Explain them if you can?
It doesn't really have 'classes' as such, the players are model'd after your favourite action film heroes and you can switch between weapons as and when you want.
BlueWolf72: Explain a neat feature in the mod that someone might not know about the mod! Also talk about the buy system and how it works!
The versatility of the bots is great, they are not limited to what you or I decide for them, and once the final AI structure is implemented, it will make implementing a storyline based game both easy, with a high degree of variability, mission coders will have to restrict bots capabilities for missions, rather than previous single player type games, where mission coders have a job getting the game AI to do very much at all.
Another neat feature with this mod has to be the environment sound capability, that q2ice/lazarus mod has just helped me to implement, Its always been something that AQ2 was missing, with the different footstep noises, along with the upgraded graphics engine you cant go wrong. The buy system is nice and simple, in team play, at the start of each round you pick the weapon you want to start with, which also comes with the standard pistol and knife (which you can either throw or stab with) along with a special item to go with it, such as a laser site which improves a guns accuracy or Kevlar which protects your stomach, or maybe a bandolier which comes with extra ammunition and IR goggles, but if you don't chose carefully you'll wind up dead. Death match involves finding weapons on the map, and trying to keep hold of it as long as possible. I like the way the ammunition is set in team play so you've got just enough to last the round; run around trigger happy and you'll find yourself empty and trying to slash other players to death, or maybe kick them, booting people off buildings is always good for a laugh.
BlueWolf72: What mods do you like?
Well this one of courseJ. I used to play counter strike a lot, but that was just for the graphics which we have now, Action Half Life is good, buts its never really managed to keep my attention long enough to play it properly. I play a bit of UT for Quake 3, but again, I always feel like there's something missing. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on Navy Seals for Quake 3, Those guys have done some fantastic stuff, I used to spend a lot of time on their forum, providing suggestions, advice and what-not, but ended up forgetting about them for 2 years, then when I finally come back and find they've released, their web server dies 3 days later, since then I've just been to busy with this.
AQ2 LTKTBM Edition is a combination of several HUGE projects, brought together in one neat package for your playing pleasure, I only hope I've not missed some1 of the credits, dealing with a project which draws on so much input has been fun, but almost a full time job.