Kreedz Climbing has few things is common with other mods. If you tried to list the similarities you might end up with the first-person viewpoint, textured surfaces, and not much else: the culmination of several years of community spirit, KZMOD is all about reaching the top of a map and not the top of a scoreboard. That itchy trigger finger will get you nowhere!
Intrigued, we jumped to it and spoke to design lead SoUlFaThEr about exactly what to expect from his unusual project...
Let’s kick things off. Who are you, and what do you do for KZMOD?
My name is Tim "SoUlFaThEr" Lippert and I am from the USA but live in Germany and am 35 years old. I am the project leader, 2D texture artist, and lead level designer of Kreedz-Climbing/KZMOD. I am also an Admin in the climbing community as a whole. In Kreedz' absence I help with some of the decision making on certain issues: we recently consolidated 3 of the English-only climbing websites into www.xtreme-jumps.net for example, which is now the main portal for the English CS 1.6 scene (there are also websites and IRC channels for France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Holland, Poland and possibly others!). www.kzmod.com remains to promote KZMOD itself.
Sounds like KZMOD has a bit of history about it. Where did the idea come from? And when?
This unique concept was not created by me. It was thought of by Kreedz, hence the name Kreedz Climbing. A few years back he was jumping around in some Counter-Strike standard maps and got the idea of a map with only jumps in it and that's how it began. Kreedz maps have become a pretty big thing considering that it was a mod inside a mod for about 3 years. I am simply one of the mappers that came along one day to find it and after a while I decided it needed to be its own game and I began searching for a team to make it happen on the Source engine.
What happens once you’ve beaten every map a few times? Is there any playability past that point?
First of all, there will always be new maps as long as I am alive (and from my soulmate mapper Millet too!), and there are many many other interested mappers waiting for its release.
The central challenge for each KZMOD map is the amount of time it takes you to complete it. Each map has at least one Timer, and many have more than two (for different routes or for minimaps within the map). If you have completed the map in 10 minutes, maybe you can really make it in 9, or even less. Since there are many jumpers, the arena for competition is quite big. "Am I the fastest one on this map?". Today yes, but tomorrow maybe not. Players will send in demos of their runs through a map where the timer shows his final time. If you successfully completed the demo with standard settings, this demo is placed in the list for download with your fastest time (World Record). The re-playability is then quite high if someone comes along and beats your time.
We also have "cups" to promote replayability. Cups are tournaments with different sets of rules, presently run only with the CS 1.6 maps through our main mIRC channels with special plugins. I think we can easily work this plugin to function with the MOD as well.
Later I hope to have a tournament mode (like Ricochet's Arena maps) integrated into the game that will send statistics directly to a website to help us keep track of the top players. I only need to find the person who can program that! If I do find this person, the concept of the game will be complete.
Do Source’s physics play a part in the mod at all?
They do not play a "big" role at this point. One of my mottos is "too much of a good thing is bad". My biggest need for the mod is that the maps are playable for everyone, so they are not yet completely filled with high amounts of bumpmapped detail and physics things. It will take some time yet for most of us to raise enough money to get the computer that is necessary to run Source at its fullest capacity. Until this day I think it is best for this mod to run very smoothly on the average machine. When I notice people are all updated with better equipment, we can begin to go crazy with the bumpmapping textures and physics traps and fun stuff like domino maps with the func_physbox without having major FPS hits, lagspikes, and other bad things that you might find right now on those beautiful CS Source maps. I am paying close attention to the comments of this KZ community and about how they feel about the Source engine. I think once they see how playable these Kreedz Climbing maps are, they will change their minds about how good it really is.
What does the Climbing Tool 'weapon' do?
The tool is used to break the breakables that might be found in the maps. Other than that, since this mod is non-violent and it is not possible to die, they have no other purpose at this point. To make it more interesting to have them at all, there will be a larger array of player models and "tools" and you can interchange however you like. I welcome any modeller who thinks this game has a cool concept and has the desire to make something for us other than M4A1 Colts and uniformed anti-terrorist models. I have a lot of very interesting ideas to fill these model slots. As an example a ninja with a sword is being made as we speak just for some fun.
I hear you’ve had coder problems.
Yes we have had some problems with unreliable programmers. Most of them said yes they would work on it and did nothing, some of them tried something and didn't finish it, so I am presently sitting on a few DLL's that were made by 2 different people who have left without finishing. I am happy to say that Lord_Draco, a super nice guy, who is also working on Battle Grounds 2 and PD Source, has come back to us recently and will help us fix the movement code he made and will be preparing the rest of the small checklist of things to do for a release. This is very good news because at the beginning he wasn't experienced with Source programming and now knows a lot more. I think he will stay this time.
What should mappers know before attempting a KZMOD map?
I would say that it is best to learn how jump a little bit first. Learn how to strafe, learn how to long jump. Then the rest is taking that what you know (Hammer and the Source engine) and making a nice jump route through a map. There are absolutely no guidelines to KZMOD maps pertaining to appearance (or to 1.6 maps for that matter). As in the info about the game, the map can look how ever you want it to look. There is much more creative freedom in our mod than almost any mod out there. One thing is true for all MODS though: The better it looks and plays, the more it will appear on servers. One advice I can offer would be to avoid bumpmapped textures and a lot of physics tricks because they lag most players at this time.
Do you have a release date estimate?
Since Lord_Draco's return we have accomplished quite a few things. We are really hoping for a Christmas 2005 BETA release. I cannot promise this but, we have one working player model with a tool, and 13 completed maps, 10 of which I made myself. For a first release, this is much more maps than most mods can offer because usually programmers are waiting for mappers, but in our case it seems to be the other way around! Keep your fingers crossed!
Any final thoughts?
Kreedz Climbing is a unique game. Simply put, it's gamer vs. gravity. It is also the first First Person Shooter that is non-violent...because gaming needed a change.
Thanks for taking part!
Gladly, and thanks for this interview!