Here the first interview for DooM Italia with the mod leader David "DaveTheFreak" Scholze from the Desolated: The Crying Fate modification for DooM 3. Here David will explain all the work behind the modification plus more.
Thanks for taking the time on this interview. Lets start, can you introduce yourself?
No problem. My name is David"DaveTheFreak"Scholze, 18 years old living Germany. I'm now in the 12.th grade and having my final exams. Except of mapping, modeling etc. I'm a freerunner and I like to do crazy things.
Reading the info available on the official site the story is about a lone man who lost his friends and family, and a mention to no differences between good & evil. This mean we can choose between two different ways to play the game? If yes how will it impact the gameplay?
Well, in my first modification Hell Island you had the chance to choose, but not in Desolated. It's also not like you know it from most of the Bioware games, it's a different way to handle this kind of theme. Everyone knows, it's basically just good fighting against evil. But what if evil isn't evil and what if the good is the real bad one? What is good and what is evil? And those questions will be answered during the story.
An interesting feature of Desolated is the graphic improvement on the Doom 3 engine, this is the first time where a Doom 3 mod take full advantages of new shaders and post processing effects. But is this only for eye-candy or will it effect on the gameplay?
Those features weren't planned right from the start. But then another modder and friend of mine, working on a multiplayer project, got the bloom shader from maha_x and they allowed me to use it, so my coder implemented it and now it's in. Then the parallax mapping was a simple idea by myself, I was creating some floor textures but they looked like crap with the basic normal-mapping from the main game. Therefore I asked Junkguy to use his parallax-mapping shader and he agreed, so now we also got parallax mapping. But: those features will have no effects on the gameplay, only the atmosphere is increased.
The most interesting feature in the game is the buy/sell system. How is it working and how much will be accessible during the game?
The money system was first just a test for my coder, MacX. We did it just because it looked kinda nice but after a while the system became more interesting. We made it that the money value got saved in the savegames. And so it's really cool, you can weather buy the best weapon available from the beginning and then just buy ammo. Or you save your money and so you'll be able to buy better weapons in the following areas. The amount of it depends on your style, are you a person searching every single corner, you'll find more money than a rusher just playing through. To give a number: the maximum money amount is 99999$, but you won't find that much legally.
Weapons & Monsters. From the videos we can see the old DooM 3 weapons and monsters enhanced. Can you tell us something about the new weaponry/bestiary?
There are no real new monsters or weapons at all, just new skins and new effects. That's not that much but so it looks a bit different from the main game. About the weapons, they all got new skins and only the plasmagun is changed that much being completely different from the older version. To come to the enemies, they also got different skins and the night-imp is the only real different monster although using the old model, he's invisible and can only be killed by a shockwave (grenades). We'd like to have fresh monsters/weapons in the game, but our team is too small and we can be happy if we finish the mod in the next 3 months. But if we can make it, maybe there will be a new weapon/monster, now a fireball is work in progress.
From a desert to old towns, from a dungeon to the hell. The level design is great improvement to what Doom 3 offered with the original campaign, and also a challenge for the limitations on big open areas. But judging from the videos and screenshots you have done a great job. Can you tell us something about the develpment behind the level design and construction?
The level design is the main aspect of this modification. What I like is to have a big variety of settings. The original Doom 3 just offered the player indoor areas who looked similar all the time and just 2 outdoor and one real hell level. And this was one of the biggest problem the game had, if you just go through maps who always look the same you don't really wanna know what'll be next. For me as a mapper I definitely wanted to change this and I also like to experiment with settings, therefore the big amount of different locations. It's fun to don't just have a theme and then only map for this. But this isn't that easy, especially if trying to create big outdoor levels for Doom 3. The hugest area is the desert, more than 2 times 2 miles big. I had to model the whole ground to make it playable, only the details are inserted with the editor (houses, flora etc.). Another big trouble with it is the fact, that you can not place too much lights, more than 2 and the performance will be down. So finally it's challenging and I have to work hard, but the final look will be worth the time invested. To the basic development, we're using the scrum system for our project. That means, we have a meeting two times a month and there we talk about the things we did and every single member can choose some tasks he'll fulfill during the next two weeks. With this, we have a big flexibility for everyone and it's not becoming boring. But except of this, the mapping part is not kinda like starting from the first and ending with the last playable map. If I'd like to continue with catacombs, I do, and for that I even cancel another level for a while. Using this kind of development the final result will be better, than only creating an area cause it's planned from day x to day y where the quality will suffer.
Hell Island was your first production as mod, and the games was aiming for deliver fun to all DooM fans. But the community were divided on this, someone enjoyed the mod from the start ot beginning and some pointed the voice acting and some level design choice as bad production. How much did you learn from this experience?
I learned more than I ecpected. Hell Island was born out of a joke, I was mapping with a friend and than I had the idea to make a single village map. Than two, three etc. ... And so the idea of village was born, my first mod released. After a few months it became boring to map only village like areas and so my new passion for different settings was born. So I continued working and found a few people who helped me but they all were beginners just like me, so was the sounder, that's why the strange voices. Finally the point of Hell Island was the fun to play through, not the graphics. And it was also fun to create the whole modification. But it definitely wasn't the first time for me to create custom things for a game, first I was doing maps for Dungeon Siege, Warcraft 3 and Morrowind (but I never released them). It was just my first shootergame I made something for.
Doom 3, Quake 4, Prey have a good collection of mods, but not as other game-communities. A great part of the modders are interested on games like Half Life 2. Some pointed out the fact of the poor mod tools avaible for Id Tech 4. What do you think about this?
That's nothing more than a lie, I tried to get used to the hammer editor but it was in comparison to the doom 3 radiant less good. With Doom 3 you have every possibility like with Half Life 2 (or even more), you got a radiant with a particle, light editor etc. and for the rest you use external tools like 3DsMax (modeling), GIMP (Textures). For coding Doom 3 got a sdk, like Half Life 2, to edit anything just use a C++ tool. Half Life 2 even got an (for me) unknown kind of texturefils (not like Doom 3 with tga). Ok, to be honest, the md5 file in IdGames is a bit complex to edit or some, but that's all. And if anyone says Half Life 2 is better for outer areas, than it's not completely true, therefore there are more loading screens in the maps. So it doesn't matter what you choose, as long as you're comfortable using it (and got a clue how to work with the engine).
Talking out of Id Tech 4, you know John Carmack presented on the QuakeCon 2007 for the first time the new engine called Id Tech 5. Judging from the videos, the engine will feature more solid editing tools other than new graphics improvements. Another feature is the Megatexture technology presented on Quake Wars, too, which allow the developers to reach a new process of game development. What do you think about the direction Id Software is taking?
The IdTech5 looks amazing and the tool itself is going to be great as well. Especially the new floor editing looks promising, using bump mapping for the details on the ground which will save a lot of memory. And then the megatexture technology is something I'm really impressed of, looking forward to some great outdoor areas with tons of details. If they tell the truth, that you can place as much details as you want, it'll bring the gaming into a new dimension and only raytracing can overwhelm it.
First Person Shooters are a popular genre nowadays, and we load of different games which sometimes are short to finish and long to develop. Many software houses now are switching over to the consoles, leaving the PC community or developing poor ports of console games. Id Software seems to be interested in the console world with games like Orcs & Elves, Quake Wars, Rage for the future and the next Wolfenstein game. You think consoles in the future will effect the PC gaming?
This is a difficult question. Most people say, that the consoles will even kinda kill the PC and a minority says that the consoles will be gone in a few years. I think more, it's going to be a middle, same like today. There will be games just for conoles or the PC but mostly both, like nowadays. What will be more important is the multi-platform aspect, that games will be developed first for Xbox or PS3 and then will be ported for our computer. But that's all, it's not like the PC will be extincted. Why? All the professional games are made using the PC, and there are still a lot of gamers playing with the PC. Finally I would say, there's no effect but the multi-platform system will be increasing and more portings will arrive.
With Hell Island done and Desolated near the completition, any plan for the future?
Oh yes, definitely. After finishing Desolated I gotta join the army, in Germany it's a must to weather go there for a minimum of 9 months or to do some social work. If this is done, I'll may study game design and producer in Holland or I'm gonna search for a job in the game industry. If I'm lucky, I don't have to go to the army immediately, then I'd have time to get used to the Unreal Engine 3 and maybe a simple map pack (single player) will come out.
Now, you must hate this question, but fans want to know. Any release date for Desolated?
The release date, the most important question of anyone. Planned is July/August this year but who knows what happen. Still, there's one thing I can promise: the mod will come out, no matter what's gonna happen!!!
Thanks to David Scholze for this interview. Here some important links related to the mod:
ModDB Page: Moddb.com
Official Website: Davethefreak.scholze-wsb.de
DooM Italia Page: (soon)
-Nicola "Neurological" Capecci for Doomitalia.it