To start off: Could you please introduce yourself?
SNIPER-X: My real name is "Matt", though my nickname is "SNIPER-X". I am leading the mod for STALKER S.O.C called "STALKER Theft Auto".
What other mods have you worked on (other games)? How long have you been active in regard to creation of mods in general up to now?
SNIPER-X: My past work experience has been with engines such as "Unreal","Cryengine","Hammer",& soon "X-Ray". Currently i'm learning Unreal 3 engine at my college here in CA. My last mod project was in the Far Cry engine, for a mod called "Drug-Wars" which sadly came to a close because of lack of Cryteks community and mod support. But now it's back up. Currently it's "S.T.A" for STALKER and "Entropy" for Half life 2 & "Drug-Wars" for Far Cry. All of this probably adds up to 2 years of experience, accumulated gradually.
How did you get to know S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl?
SNIPER-X: Hmm...About 3 years ago, just browsing the web pages. I read on GameSpot about a beautiful new game in development. I didn't have an account to see it's trailer, so I went to the www.gametrailers.com website and checked the trailer out, and was amazed by how much the level of detail the game carried. The sort of environments it was rendering seemed too real for my own eyes to handle, that I knew from that moment, GSC was certaintly bringing something next gen to the FPS genre, and the level of DirectX9 with in it's graphics engine.
How do you estimate your friends’ and other players’ knowledge about the game at your place of living?
SNIPER-X: Well at work, there are about a few hundred pre-orders for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. I personally don't know any gamers around here in my area that are into modding, but some whom do work for EA Games and Dolby Surround. However, I got a response akin to "holy s^*t! ,no way! ,That looks soo real!" when I showed S:SOC to two friends that I hang out with during the weekdays.
For those who do not know your mod yet: Could you please tell us about its concepts?
SNIPER-X: Well "STALKER Theft Auto" is basically a "Grand Theft Auto/Postal 2/The sims/fable" just being brought into the powerful "X-Ray Engine" based in a modern living day society. It's all about freedom. You have the choice to be violent, friendly, or ...just whatever. Though the focus is on Freedom you can do absurd things in the game, such as have the old "in'n out" with a side street hooker to regain 10% of health. Or drink yourself healthy, but think lose your sense of direction, ect. There is no real plot to it, to be realistic. Basically it's all about having fun with a game doing the things you know you'd get in trouble for doing in real life. Yet I do hope that this mod can become popular enough in the future to become retailable with more stuff than it would carry in the mod. Let's just leave it as a game/mod as a "Action stress reliever" for a mod reference. ;)
Does it support multi-player?
SNIPER-X: Yep, a mod surely isn't made for only single player. Because without the mp, what the hell else would there be to do. (To me it's like buying postal 2 and not having it's "share the pain" mp.) that would just suck. But now that I have 2 mod teams doing STA, you can expect a good amount of maps/chopped up pieces of the town and city in maps or just 1 whole building to battle out in a single map. The modes will be Deathmatch, TDM, and maybe Capture the (Flag, Car, Artifact, Drugs, Flag, Whore, ect,). In the multiplayer menu, you'll be able to see which servers are playing which modes, so you can play exactly what you feel like.
How many different types of vehicles are planned?
SNIPER-X: Well, I plan to have 25-30 Vehicles at the first release. All brand cars, like BMW, Honda, Volkswagon, Ford ect,
How many % of your mod are already done? And what have you already achieved?
SNIPER-X: I would give it about a rough estimate of 8-10% out of 100% done. Mainly Weapon modeling has been achieved. Next is the Car's, and the continue of my character sketches.
What editing tools are you using?
SNIPER-X: Currently, I am using Maya 6 Unlimited. A little bit of 3d Studio max 6, XSI: Softimage & Animation Master. Hopefully very soon the X-Ray editor!
In contrast to editing tools of other games - what features should the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. SDK utterly contain and what features are a pain in the neck and should not be implemented or rather in an improved way?
SNIPER-X: An SDK should carry a great tutorial for each individual version of a modeling program & especially the Games engine. Crytek for one did a horrible job with this. Which is why mod teams have quit working with Cryengine/Far Cry. It should not specialize in only 3ds max but also in Maya, Maya PLE and Maya's 6 unlimited (for exporting/importing: props, weapons, characters, vehicles ect,). Not to mention other's like XSI, Lightwave, blender, ect. I just pray that GSC will live up to their word as they putted it in the modDB interview " you can expect extensive support from us!". I will depend on that assertion of theirs in making STA. I know they are doing a great job so there are no worries. Just as long as it is bug free!
What is hindering you from going on with your main work, that is, constructing the city, the place of happening, so to speak?
SNIPER-X: Not having the "X-Ray Editor". I personally would like to make a deal with GSC to get the Editor and no "STALKER"( ingame maps, weapons ect,) just a couple of textures and a reference guide to make the city with ahead start. As an offer to give up my spot in the mp beta. (but if can't be done, then i will do the beta).
You previously stated that you got in “trouble” with Take 2? Would you mind telling us about the incident in detail?
SNIPER-X: Well, it was the matter of them knowing because "GTA" is a big hit in the console franchise. It was a concern because of using the copyrighted name in another engine. Though the possiblility of R* having a problem with remodeling the cities that they vastly worked hard at making. (in a way like taking a more powerful engine and laughing at their face saying your game sucks now, but doesn't mean that i can't remodel them and use them.) I just figured after reading peoples opinions about the mod and the remake of an original "GTA" city just might bore everyone to death because it's already been done and played out. So i've decided to do my home town for something new.
GSC showed some interest in your mod (actually they do in every mod). What did they say? :)
SNIPER-X: Well, the only main response was to know more info on the mod, because of their interest, and to what they could do to improve the SDK as it is under construction so it can suit all those that want to make a total conversion, or those that have certian programs, ect. But again, I thank them for their support :)
Which elements are you working on right now and which do you intend to start working on in near future?
SNIPER-X: I've finished modeling every weapon as i've listed. Though some are being postponed because of the matter of work that needs to be done. I'm picking out vehicle and player concepts, as I browse the web and play various games. But as soon as I get the editor, I will start modeling houses, buildings, hotels, and offices of my area. Which all can be done in a good fast pace.
Any difficulties that you’re facing?
SNIPER-X: Modeling characters, vehicles, and animation,programming, and recruiting a good trustworthy, amount of positive talented people to work with.
There has been scepticism by quite a number of community members that realising such a mod was sheer impossible with all of its life in the world and the whole complexity such a project bears (those evil evil boys :)). Now seriously, looking at it realistically: What is your response?
SNIPER-X: Well, it's only impossible if you look at the impossiblilities it would take to produce. Simply I don't take things too seriously, which I guess you could say is why I think it's possible. Not to mention, I still day dream new concepts when I daze off. Because i want to make this into something everyone can love. Don't take it wrong though, I do look at what faults it may carry. Which is why I frequently or never say anything because i want everyone to leave the mod up to their speculation until I offically announce something. Though experiencing "CryEngine" out of all engines that promote non-linear gameplay. I feel that the editor will be something like it. Because out of all FPS engines that carry an editor. Crytek has only been the one to promote a non-linear Action/FPS.
Currently, STA is a one-man-project. In what sectors would you be grateful for support?
SNIPER-X: Actually now i have gotten 2 mod teams to collide into STA as one mod. Only because we have very very same gameplay concepts and some not. But, I would definitely love to have some talented car and character modellers! Not to mention programmers, and animators, compared to what we already have. Just so that we have a huge mod team willing to make something big for GSC's STALKER and let those really know that half life 2 isn't the only great game out there to be chilling with for mods.
Any last words?
SNIPER-X: Well, I hope many are looking forward to the mod as much as I work that much harder through my free time to make it. And if you feel you can give an honest willing effort with talent, and not be negative as a member of the team, I would be glad to have you aboard. To check out the frequent updates, go to Moddb.com Soon, I mean very soon, we will have a much better website where we can provide tons of info, and hopefully one to add to your favorites list. ;)
Thanks, SNIPER-X, for answering the questions!
SNIPER-X: Sure thing!