Heres just a little interview I conducted with zaWasp from the Final Strike Team. Enjoy.
moddatabase: Hi. Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself. Like where you come from, what you do for a living and maybe even your age.
zaWasp: Hello. Ok, to get to the point... I was born in Timisoara, Romania (that's somewhere in Eastern Europe) in 1980. As some of might know, Romania used to be a communist country, until 1989. So I had no idea what computers are, not to mention the Internet until I was like 11-12. Back then; my family couldn't afford to buy me a computer, so I only bought magazines to learn about them. Because they fascinated me, my parents made an effort and bought me one when I was 14. I can still remember that computer, it was from the old 8086 generation, something like Bill Gates used to work on back in the 80's. Nevertheless, it helped me a lot in school, because I had computer courses, and everything came to me much easier with a computer to work on at home. Being fascinated by them, I applied to "Grigore Moisil" Computer Science Highschool, in Timisoara, and took the exam. I studied hard for that exam, because I was promised a real PC. And I got it. It was a AMD 486 DX4/100Mhz, 16MB RAM, 600MB hard-drive. It was a kick-ass computer at that time. During highschool, I exasperated my informatics teachers with hacking programs I used to develop in Pascal. After highschool, I went to college and now I'm a student at Politehnica University of Timisoara, where I study Automation and Computer Science Engineering.
For a while, I worked in two places, first doing webdesign & internet applications, then as a Project Manager for those companies. Of course, everything I earned I spent on computer parts. Now I'm part of Defensive Games.
moddatabase: How did you come about to work for Final Strike? What is your position in the dev team and how long have you been doing it?
zaWasp: Well, I got 3D programming with my highschool project "3D objects: scaling, rotating and translating", a simple program I made for my degree diploma. Back then, one of my best friends, whom I know since 1st grade (we were class-mates until college) convinced me to work on a game project he had, which turned out to be MeDiavolous - The Tale of Bon. Step by step, since the two of us were programmers, assembled a team (from our friend group) made from 3D artists, 2D artists, architects, musicians and soon we were like 15 working on the project. We gathered at someone's home from time to time and had long meeting on the game-design document. That project didn't go very well, because of our lack of a space to work in, together and we halted its development last winter. Then we met "Meme" (Mihai Titoiu), accidentally, you can say, and he became our lead artist, level designer & such. Because we stopped the work on MeDiavolous, he had the idea to start a new project, which he thought about 3 years ago, but had no team to work with him. That's Final Strike - The Cyber Menace. That was in March, 2002. Defensive Games was born with the start of that project, with a smaller team, of only 5 (Meme, Valentin - the friend who convinced me to start working on games, Adi - my high school class-mate and friend, Cristi - my... umm.. how do you say it... junior high school? grades from 1 to 8, and yours truly). We all do different tasks in the team, but mainly Valentin & I are coders, Meme is the texture artist & level designer, and Cristi and Adi are modelers/animators.
moddatabase: Tell us a bit about Final strike. What are the general ideas and concepts? How will it all work?
zaWasp: Final Strike will be a nearly massive multiplayer FPS, with elements of RTS. It will accept 100+ players in the large maps. Right now, we finished a small demo, with a (very) few of the characteristics, which will be found in the game. The demo is built as a Serious Sam: The Second Encounter MOD, but we hope to find a publisher who's willing to invest in our project, to make it stand-alone. We wanted to implement more features, however our "technology" is not helping us very much. We got to the point where I can't even run the level on my own (very old) computer, to test the code, because of the complexity, so I built small one-room-no-texture levels to do that. Also, the lack of a network connection between our PCs made it even harder to anticipate how will it behave in multiplayer. Sometimes we were sure everything is ok, and when we tested it on a borrowed HUB & network cards, it just crashed, or bad-synced. Even now, we know some features behave strangely, or the demo just crashes for no apparent reasons. Anyway, we still sent the demo a few days ago to a few publishers, to ask for their opinions. We are waiting for that answer, and I tell you, this waiting is killing us. After 6 months of 18-hours/day work, we want to learn that some good came out of it.
As we speak, the Final Strike site is being redesigned, and we want to give you a full package of news: a new host (Seriously! Which was kind enough to host us, the Defensive Games official site, an in game movie of Final Strike, and, of course, the Final Strike demo).
moddatabase: Very Wicked.You say you can have up to 100 players in the game at a time, how will that work? I mean wont netcode be an issue?
zaWasp: Well, we want to have 100 players in the game... Right now, it is an issue, but hopefully, if we get the full engine source, we might be able to tweak it a bit. We're studying document specs for mmorpg's now, i.e. how the server handles all those clients. I know it's possible to have even more than 100, because I played the Neocron beta (impressive game, btw).
moddatabase: What about the maps, are they open enough with heaps of different features so they dont get really boring after a while.
zaWasp: The large maps will be very open (and very large). Remember those maps will have vehicles, and it won't be practical to use such machines if you can get from one part of the map to the opposite in just 1 minute or so. Besides aircrafts have an even much bigger speed, let's say...600km/h and it will probably take you 10 minutes or more to get to the other end => map will be 100km in diameter. We didn't set these details yet, for good, I mean, so right now I might be talking crazy. All the maps will be dynamic. Maybe not in their design, although we can insert some random details in them (random vegetation, rocks, NPCs) but your mission will be interactive, in the way that when you start the level, each time will be a bit changed. (waypoints, objectives, etc.). Also, during the game itself, each team will receive subobjectives, their completion affecting the outcome of the game. Note that on the large maps, there's no time limit, and you can develop, plan strategies and attack for hours, just like in RTS's. I think it won't be boring, and both RTS and FPS fans will enjoy this.
moddatabase: Well, this sounds like a mod to be looked at and waited for! I know I cant wait to get my hands on it! Hopefully you guys will fullfill your dreams and make it a stand-alone game and just go full out with it. I hope you can do so. Good luck with it all and if you want to check out the Final Strike Website, go to Defensivegames.com or you can visit the Defensive Games Website at Defensivegames.com. Don't forget to go head over to their moddatabase mod profile.