S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Way of the Wolf
Borovos: Please, can you tell us about you? You are a young English modder, no?
Beacon: That's right. I'm an eighteen year old student from England, hopefully going to University this year, to study Computer Science. Sounds like your typical nerdy teenager, but I'm not! I love to cycle, work out and my friends are my life. I only relatively recently decided on a career in the videogame industry, I used to want to be a scientist - science and understanding the world are a pretty big part of my life.
Borovos: Can you tell us about your career in Stalker modding?
Beacon: Sure! I started modding for STALKER: Call of Pripyat around the end of 2009, and worked on my first project, Call of Pripyat: Redux. That took most of the year, I took a small break after I finished patching it completely, then began work on Way of the Wolf! Before I started modding myself, I was active in beta-testing the original SoC Redux a good few years ago.
Borovos:- What about your team?
Beacon: I have a great team working alongside me on Way of the Wolf - so far we're a four man team of myself, Equin0x (Audio Engineer), Joshy (Artist) and Paravin (Writer). We're all young and devoted, and hoping this project becomes a great success that we can proudly place in our portfolios! We're also looking for a great Lua Programmer willing to help us with the mod, and a number of systems we'd like to develop, so if anyone is interested then please get in touch!
Borovos: Why Stalker or not an other one?
Beacon: I've personally always been a very hardcore S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fan - the series really appeals to me, and the community around the game is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of being part of. As well as that, Call of Pripyat has a very (in some ways!) simple and effective modding system, which is quite nice to work with. I've worked with other engines in the past (CryEngine for example) but STALKER is the first example of a game with a project I've managed to complete. I just love it
Borovos: Why would you like to create a total conversion mod? Is it very different from the Redux mod?
Beacon: Way of the Wolf is going to be very different from Redux. Redux was my first real foray into proper modding, and it's taught me a lot that will help with Way of the Wolf - while I love Redux, WotW is a totally different experience. As to why I chose to create a total conversion, I think it's something I've always wanted to do for the series, and now that it's possible, I thought 'Why not?'. A total conversion is a lot of work, and hopefully it will show that I'm capable of producing a high-quality, large project in a team environment. Redux was a solo project, so now I can show I'm a team player too!
Borovos: What kind of difficulties have occurred in the making of the mod?
Beacon: The X-Ray engine is a temperamental beast, and sometimes things can happen that will seriously hamper progress on the mod (on my end at least). As an example, tiny, almost un-noticeable errors in files can cause the whole game to crash randomly, sometimes with very little explanation... At times like that, you have to step back and rethink everything you've done since the last time it worked properly!
On another side, getting new/altered models into the game is a big headache for our very talented artist, Joshy - the tools provided often don't work very well and it's a real hassle. I'm always grateful for the great stuff he manages to produce!
Borovos: Do you have a relationship with a professional development team?
Beacon: I don't quite understand the question, but I guess you mean a team like GSC themselves? I'm friends with the GSC employee responsible for community management, so I suppose that counts! Other than that, nope!
Borovos: What about maps? How many maps will there be? Will you use old build maps like Darkscape or Old Yantar?
Beacon: We're not quite ready to talk about the exact amount of maps we'll be including in Way of the Wolf yet, but it'll very likely be quite a lot! You'll definitely see old favourites though Regarding old build maps, we're not likely to include them, but we will be including our own maps made from scratch!
Borovos: After seeing your screenshots, you seem to prefer CS levels? Why? Maybe for quality or environment?
Beacon: That's right - where possible, I try to use Clear Sky levels over SoC levels. They're usually of a higher quality than their SoC counterparts (for instance, more detailed) and they're also closer in time to the setting of WotW. As well as that, they are much more compatible by default with the CoP engine, in terms of textures, shaders and suchlike. It's much easier to get them working in game than SoC maps!
Borovos: Will you remake the global map? Or are you perhaps using the global map of super map pack mod for SoC?
Beacon: The global map will be altered, yes, but we'll be using our own version.
Borovos: You make a new map, right? Did you inspire of the real exclusion zone (by google earth, screen, video)?
Beacon: We are including new maps, yes, but we're not quite ready to talk about them just yet I'm afraid! I'll say that they will be inspired by numerous sources and hopefully very genuine looking!
Borovos: What kind of music do you like? Do you have an example of the future music of WotW?
Beacon: I like almost all kinds of music, but I love Rock music. Classic Rock especially! You can find a few examples of the music for WotW on our ModDB page!
Borovos: Will you make new guns?
Beacon: We're very hopeful to include new guns that will fit in the STALKER world, and make sense in-game. Don't expect to see hundreds of new guns or anything, but we will hopefully have a few examples of well modeled, well animated and good sounding new weaponry.
Borovos: Will there be any new factions? What about Faction Wars?
Beacon: Yes, there will be new factions! We recently announced the International Scientific Group, who you can check out in the ModDB article! We're really looking forward to seeing how people enjoy interacting with the ISG, and the other new factions we'll be introducing! Interaction with factions will be very different to what people are used to in the previous games, so it'll be really fun to see how everyone reacts!
There will be no faction war system in WotW as there was in Clear Sky, but factions like Freedom and Duty will of course fight one-another.
Borovos:- What about weather?
Beacon: Weather will be mostly as in Call of Pripyat, but with our own alterations :)
Borovos: And graphics?
Beacon: Obviously WotW benefits from Call of Pripyat's improved graphics, and there will also be additions like improved draw distance, better sun-shaft lighting, etc.
Borovos: What about a storyline? Is it ready? Can you tell us more about it?
Beacon: Way of the Wolf is in essence a free-play modification. That said, there will be a small storyline that the player can follow to guide them along to other Call of Pripyat-style side missions, but I'm afraid we're not ready to talk about that just yet!
Borovos: Do you need beta-testers?
Beacon: We definitely will need beta-testers, and we'll be sure to make a big announcement when we're ready for applications! There will also be a couple of opportunities to win beta-access through competitions in the future
Borovos: Will you release a beta version of Way of the Wolf? In six months, a year, or more?
Beacon: I'm afraid I really can't say, I have no idea! We're really striving for quality in the mod, so we won't be conducting proper testing until most of the mod is complete. As for when, the answer is I'm afraid, as always, 'when it's ready'
Borovos: When will you publish a new trailer?
Beacon: We published our first teaser trailer recently which you can view on ModDB or on YouTube, and we'd like more feedback before we decide if we're going to do more like that. We will of course make a large trailer in the future (no ETA, sorry) but if people would like to see more teasers, then we can probably do more.
Borovos: Would you be interested in a French translation of WotW, in the future?
Beacon: Of course! We're very open to any translations, as we want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to enjoy our work. As soon as the mod is released, we'll be happy to assist in getting the mod translated.
Borovos: Now, what do you need? Apart from the patience of players?
Beacon: Patience is definitely important! As I mentioned, we're looking for an eager Lua Programmer to join the team, but apart from that, all we need is for you to spread the word about the mod! Tell all your fellow Stalkers!
Borovos: A word to finish, please?
Beacon: Thanks very much for your questions, and we hope you're looking forward to the mod!