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On the evening of the 4th of May, I was interviewed by Crymod Mod Missing-String. This is the transcript of the interview that he conducted with me.

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Missing-String:
You've chosen what could be considered a fairly controversial and political setting for you mod. What made you choose this?

J:
I decided to go with Northern Ireland, and the Troubles, as a background setting for the mod for a few reasons. Firstly, it was something that had never been done before - there'd been music, books, and even films about the troubles, but not a game. In my opinion, games are becoming as much an art form as Music, or film, or literature are, and that is what we are intending to create with this work. Also, its an interesting time period, from the point of view of the political setting in the UK at the time - Thatcher had just come to power, and the Falklands War had finished barely a year before the mod was set. In regards to technology, it also gives us something interesting, as at this point the transition to more modern styles of weapon augmentation hadn't been made - such as RIS rails, ACOG Scopes, laser pointers, and the like. It was also a chance to tell a story from a soldier's point of view - all the films that I've come across about the troubles, generally feature the British Army in a poor, or negative light throughout. Finally, I believed that a lot of the films that had been made about the troubles were biased - either in regards to the Loyalist, or Republican side - and I hoped to create something that wasn't entirely biased with this work.

Missing-String:
Ok, following on from that, how historically accurate will the mod be?

J:
We're trying to go for full on historical accuracy, in regards to the equipment, appearance of areas and the NPC's, and music as much as possible - it wouldn't fully immerse the player otherwise, which is our entire aim. While the splinter group of the IRA didn't exist, and while no split occurred during 1983, there were several splits after, and before that point, which gave us some artistic license if you will, to create a splinter group to bring the story to life, and give them more...extreme characteristics than their PIRA counterparts.

Missing-String:
Can you reveal any details on the storyline and plot?

J:
I can indeed. The game consists of approximately 7 levels - 4 being in Ireland, 1 in the Strait of Gibraltar, 1 in London, and the final level being in an undisclosed location, for the moment. Throughout the game, it won't just be the splintergroup that the player will be facing off against - however, for the moment, that will remain undisclosed.

In the lead up to the deployment of the joint SAS/SBS team in Northern Ireland, there had been several attacks on both the populace, and Security Forces, by skilled, well armed and trained forces - something that hadn't been seen up til that point in Northern Ireland in such numbers.

After a failed attack by one of these Active Service Units, 2 of the members were brought in. Several months before the attacks first began, a split had occurred in the Provo's - those who supported Sein Fein's ideal of finding a peaceful solution, and those who did not. Those who did not favour Sein Fein's new direction numbered some 200-400 operatives - nearly a third of the Provo's total strength. Since that split occured, they armed, and trained themselves abroad - mostly in Libya, and Russia.

They called themselves the "Gaelach Saoradh Bris", or the "Irish Liberation Force" - their goal being to free Ireland from British home rule, and to rejoin Northern Ireland with Eire again. By the time the player's team has arrived in Northern Ireland, the attacks have claimed the lives of many innocent civilians, and Security Forces members alike. The taskforce, codenamed "Operation Pathfinder", has been tasked with the elimination, or capture, of senior members of the ILF - with the hope that with their leadership gone, the ILF will crumble, and the attacks will halt.

Missing-String:

You mentioned in your summary of the mod that the squad plays a large role in providing immersion and depth to the mod. How exactly does it achieve this?

J:
The main way that the squad provides the immersion, is by simulating the conversations between team members, how they behave, each having their own skillset, appearance, and personality. For example, Spencer Harvey, the Liverpudlian, is described as a thieving scouser on more than one occasion by members of the team. Each member of the team has their own way that they'll react to a threat, and how they'll respond to certain orders.

The reason we include this, is because we've found that some games are lacking entirely in the squad dynamic - all that differs is the nametag, and possibly the appearance of the other team members. Call of Duty 4 nearly pulled this trick off with Gaz, and Captain MacMillian, to show you an example of the kind of thing we're aiming for. You can also look at Gears of War in regards to the squad dynamics there as well.

Missing-String:
Can you give the community any information regarding the profile of the player's character?

J:
Throughout the game, the player takes the role of 29 year old Sgt. John Casey. Born in Antrim in 1958, John moved with his family to York in England, fleeing the troubles when he was 8. After leaving school at 16, he joined the Royal Marines, being assigned to 42 Commando, before applying for the SBS at 20 years old. While in 42 Commando, he served in Northern Ireland, and when he joined the SBS, the Falklands War. During the conflict, he built up a strong relationship with Dan "Mackie" MacIntyre, the second in command of Operation Pathfinder, after he saved their lives more than once. He was selected by Mackie as part of the operation due to his ability to think quickly under fire, and leadership skills. Casey is also the epitome of what intelligence gathering requires - the "Grey Man", not being too memorable, or standing out in a crowd.

More information on the team can be found under the features section, on our ModDB page.

Missing-String:
Will civilian NPCs appear in the mod?

J:
Yes, I can confirm that they will for several of the levels - as we're featuring Belfast, Derry, London, and several villages/towns throughout the game, they will be appearing. We're planning on setting their AI so that they will react to their surroundings, in regards to explosions, gunshots, or a weapon being drawn by the player, for example.

Missing-String:
And finally, any tips you've picked up along the way, for the aspiring mod developers out there?

J:
A good question. My main tips are the following.
Without a good, clear, art direction, you'll find it incredibly hard, or impossible to progress - at the beginning of development, we were near enough lost until we had an art direction built up, mainly thanks to James Elmslie, our Head of Design - if he hadn't joined us, I doubt the modification would still be going.

Second, is to get your ideas out, and concepts of the environment, the characters, and if the setting demands it, weapons and vehicles. Not to mention, reference images of already occurring media - in our case, British Troops in the Falklands, and Northern Ireland during the 80's being prime sources of reference material.

Finally, you should select the shots for public release which will either tease the community, making them want more - for example, a mockup of a tanker on a rough sea - or your best work, thats been completed - at least, to whatever stage it is at, like the Modelling/Texturing/Animating stage. And also, don't forget about the music, or sound, of your modification - without it, the level of immersion you can bring to the player is severely limited, and it all important to make your work stand out from every other work there is.

Missing-String:
Well, it's been great interviewing you; thanks for providing those final insights, and I hope your mod progresses well.

J:
Thank you for taking your time to interview me.

Comments
chris_sloany
chris_sloany

cool interview! and good tips for the community for modding!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
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