This mod has been in the public eye for some time now, and yet despite numerous breathtaking media releases have never really opened themselves up to discuss the progression of their mod.
Just a few mandatory formalities I'm afraid, could you please introduce yourself(ves), giving us your responsibilities on the mod, and a brief overview of what Hexen: Edge of Chaos is all about.
I'm Bastian, teamleader for the Hexen:Edge of Chaos TC. The team currently consists out of 10 active teammembers working on their different specialities.
I'm Adam, one of three mappers. So far, I'm having a blast testing my mapping skills with the Doom 3 Engine. We promise to provide an enriching game experience in open, beautiful environments.
I'm RazorBladder, I take the liberties of texturing the black void that is the maps as well as most other assets like map objects and characters, I also model any miscellaneous objects that need doing.
I'm CodenniumRed (real name's Chris), another of the mappers here at HeXen. For this project I aim to create new themes and architectural styles that work in this engine, and contribute to gameplay aspects as well.
I'm Slyrr, 3D modeller, animator, idea person and Heretic/Hexen mythology wonk. I make monsters - I make them as fearsome and cool as I can get them to look.
The Doom 3 modding community has had a somewhat rocky childhood. Doom3: Jedi, Doom 3 Team Fortress and Doom 3 : Hell on Earth are just a few of the mods that seemed extremely promising but have since died or switched engines. I've found the two most common reasons dilapidated teams have given for this, are recruiting problems and criticisms of ID's technology. Do you feel that such reasons/issues are justified, and have they effected your team as well?
Bastian : I don't think that we can judge whether their issues were justified or not to either switch engines or call it quits. I think each team has their own unique challenges, depending on which project they've chosen to make.
As for the technology in Doom3; for our specific sets of challenges it's certainly the best engine, available from the engines that we can choose from. Doom3 is allowing us to present the player with what we think a sequal of Hexen should look like with next generation technology.
RazorBladder : Those mods certainly had some promise and I was sad to see them go, however I do tend to find that a contributor to the problem would be the modders own knowledge of the ins and outs of a next-gen engine, or lack thereof. Next-gen technology has only really caught on to the modding community recently and thus it takes a long while to get acustomed with new techniques, hence the rocky start with Doom3's modding background. We've certainly touched upon potential problems during the process of this project but we've always found a way to counter them with research.
CodenniumRed : From my own personal experience, technology, recruiting, and inspiration all play a role in he sucess / failure of a mod. Firstly, it takes much longer to map in modern engines than in past ones - I've spend many a night sleepeless to get that extra amount of "work" in. DooM 3 lighting is hard to get to look right in something like HeXen because our TC is overall brighter than DooM 3 was, and the extra lights are what directly harms framerate. But, we have both workarounds and careful planning in regard to that. Also, real life tends to get in the way alot, which is the case of many people who end up quitting their mods. But I feel there's no need to turn around from what you're passionate around; you've just got to adapt your schedule if possible. And this coincides with having inspiration... oftentimes people don't follow through with a level because they lose inspiration, get "mapper's block," etc. A good mod with solid people, enthusiasm, etc automatically helps us drive each otehr forward - it rocks way more than solo-mapping!
Slyrr : Actually, I hadn't noted all that much difference between the HL2 modding community and the Doom3 modding community. Both games have numerous mod teams who are making lots of content, but haven't released jack-bo-diddly-squat. Only difference seems to be that HL2 seems to be mostly multiplayer oriented stuff, while Doom3 modders are more single-player content.
From what I gather a necessary foundation for any mod is having strong concepts, but its always an entirely different matter getting them and all their factors into the game. Have you found Dooms tools have really allowed you to do this or has it been a struggle?
BloodRayne : I think that any total conversion with all new assets made from scratch is a large undertaking and sometimes tedious struggle for any team. Each asset has to be made, tested, checked and tweaked and then quality checked. There are literally hundreds of assets for the TC, divided into different sets for the different parts of the game. For now, the Doom3 engine is certainly providing us with the tools that we need to make the game we set out to make. Working within the limits of any engine can be frustrating at times because some concepts ask too much of the renderer. But working within the limites gives new insights at the same time while working out those concepts. So the concepts change and match the engine technology better, which helps in establishing a recognisable style throughout the game. Many of the aspects that we've come to love in the old games were made the way they are, because of engine limitations.
CodenniumRed : Earlier on I had maps that were completely different from the ones I was using now. At first, I tried to imitate DooM 3 architectural styles (mostly Hell-like of course). But I then began to take inspiration from textbooks, College classes, other games, anything - and tested out completely new themes to see if they'd work in DooM 3. The good news is that ideas are always numerous, so it's easy to take a gander around at anything to see that there's a gold-mine of insipration that can be warped to feel like HeXen, and even Heretic to a small degree.
Slyrr : The Heretic/Hexen mythology IS a strong concept for a mod. It's a good storyline no matter how you look at it. And it has lots of things that can be done since there were so many unanswered questions left by Raven Software when they apparantly gave up after Hexen2 Portals of Praevus....
What has been the main factor behind wanting to remake Hexen? Has it been something you've wanted to do for a while but never had the right technology, or was it more spontanious?
BloodRayne : We are all fans of the Hexen and Heretic series and each of us in one way or the other were imagining what Hexen would like with the Doom3 engine. A remake was inevitable.
RazorBladder : I personally have always been a fan of the Hexen/Heretic series and I always wished there was a sequal but it never came to fruition. When I got a heads up from Placid (team member) that a small Hexen modification was in the works, we just had to jump aboard and help the guys out. Eventually as our team grew, so did our aspirations of what this project was to be.
CodenniumRed : I joined this team because Heretic and HeXen themselves were a big part of my childhood - a pivitol time in one's life. I remember that time that dad took me to the now-defunct EggHead studios and I saw the Heretic shareware running on a computer. I was thinking that it looked like DooM, and sure enough it used the same 'engine.' As for being a mapper, it's something that I did alot in my spare time when I was younger. I used to build block fortresses and insert these small Micromachine toys called Z-Bots when I was a child, and pretend I was playing DooM or Heretic - I eventually started
learning various game editors, but haven't actually released anything until rather recently. I have some DooM, HeXen, and Unreal Tournament 2004 levels out there, but my biggest regret thus far is not having a bigger online portfolio.
Slyrr : Again, Raven has always done great job on story and content. Hexen was fun and immersive. It's only limits were a game engine that was only 2.5 dimesional. Now those limits are removed, there's so much more to the story that needs to be addressed....
Whereas Half Life 2 mods are generally quite varied in style/gameplay, the vast majority of mods for the Doom 3 engine basically seem to be expanding on the Doom Universe/storylines (the whole space meets hell saga). Do you feel this is in anyway a reflection on the accessibility/potential of the two games engines?
BloodRayne : I don't know much about developing for the Source engine so I don't really know in what way it's particular set of modding tools influence a modder in his choice of mod. I have played the game and loved it, allways was a Half-Life fan. Not having modded for the Source engine, I can only speak from my own experience with the Doom3 tools. There is such a world of difference between the two engines that I think comparing them is nonsense.
In anycase; many of the Doom3 TC's have nothing to do with futuristic science fiction settings. Anybody interested in our TC should also certainly take a look at the Dark Mod for the D3 engine, as well as Excommunicated....
RazorBladder : I honestly don't see much of a connection between engine's potential and the modder's choice of direction. There are mods for every game that simply aim to expand on the game or wish to keep within the theme of the game. But certainly it's also true that there are "mods" for every game that want to take it a step further by breaking it's ties with the game and practically becoming a totally different game in it's own right.
CodenniumRed : I have to agree with the others - it depends on the individual mod moreso than actual limitations. Granted, maybe more DooM 3 mods choose to stick to being like DooM 3 than HalfLife 2 mods, but I'll leave that to a psychological choice / desire made by modmakers - maybe how Half Life 2 has more outdoor areas in it, people figure that they can do more with it? I honestly can't say as I don't have enough grounds to support such claims, though.
Is there anything particularly new that you're aiming to bring to Doom 3's gameplay?
BloodRayne : I can't say anything about the new stuff that we're implementing into Hexen:Edge Of Chaos. We are not enhancing or changing or bringing a Doom 3 gameplay experience, we're hoping it will feel a lot like the original Hexen 1 gameplay, with many of it's characteristics.
CodenniumRed : Ditto for that, but what I *will* say is that it'll be similar enough so Doom fans enjoy it, yet have an original feel enough so that new people will, too. Death, playerspeed, etc will all be tweaked ever-so-slightly, and the cumulative result must be carefully balanced. Even things like a new sound of a weapon, new huds, etc all create a psychological illusion to make it 'feel' different.
What do you have planned in terms of music? Are there plans for any new scores or are you going to use music from Doom 3?
BloodRayne : There is no music in Doom3, other than the mainmenu music. The very talented Justin Lassen (http://www.justinlassen.com) is creating an original orchestrial score for the game. Justin recently finished the orchestral/industrial/electronic soundtrack for the IntelR dual-core game 'RoboBlitz' that was unveiled for the new PentiumR D Processor Extreme Edition to the world at IDF'05, GDC'05 and E3'05 by Naked Sky Entertainment. Justin has over nine years of experience in the music, film, and game industries. He has produced remixes for artists like Madonna, Garbage, Blue Man Group, Lenny Kravitz, Robert Miles, Majandra, Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park, Evanescence, Tweaker, as well as many others.
Make sure you read the personal inteview with him over here
RazorBladder : We're attempting to make this as much of a TC as humanly possible for us, every single asset we use will be from scratch whether it be visual or acoustic. Our music will be all new, but we hope people will find it maintains the essence that was oozing from the original hexen.
CodenniumRed : I always liked videogame music and appreciated simple aspects found even in later games, such as the fact that music might chime in during a scene, or go silent - to help create mood. With constant planning and communication - as well as having completed level themes at our disposal - the end result will be spectacular. But, we'll let the mod do the talking when it's released... erm, *singing* lol. *Wink*
Any chance of a release date or is it still a case of When it's Done?
BloodRayne : It's done when it's.....
...I think we all know what's coming next! Thank's to the Edge of Chaos team for their thorough responses and I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say I can't wait to this to be released. You can see work from the Edge of Chaos team at their homepage here Hexen: Edge of Chaos