Hello everyone, we think it’s time to give you some information on what’s been going on behind the closed doors these last few months, as no doubt you are wondering what the heck is going on with our mod, why hasn’t it released yet, etc. Before I go into that though, I should give you all a bit of a back story so you can better understand our predicament.
When we first started this mod three years ago (yes it really has been that long), we went at it with the intention of emulating a typical multiplayer game with team deathmatch and capture the flag. In many ways we hoped to achieve gameplay alike to that of the Jedi Knight series. We made considerable progress; a team system with 3D previews of the player model you were selecting, a weapon pickup system for distribution on the map akin to Quake and Unreal Tournament, an ironsights system for more precise aiming and a pretty nifty HUD. Art asset wise our team constructed a huge library of various Star Wars maps and props consisting of locations like Dagobah, Felucia, Tatooine, Coruscant, Naboo, the Deathstar and other various locations. After this three year period so much stuff has been constructed one could consider this a total conversion more than simply a mod.
Of course with all these positives there have some negatives in there. We’ve had lots of bugs with the code and many of them have been fixed but the overall glaring issue that has become painfully apparent to me after many beta tests is that the gameplay just isn’t cutting it.
It’s a known fact that the games we play today have evolved significantly from their ancestors only a few years ago. The masses that used to play on servers just to constantly hunt down their opponents nowadays seek out a slightly more tactical challenge. Even the games that still have this older form of gameplay keep it fresh with unique twists and abilities (see Call of Duty). Therefore we are presenting to you the public the following changes which we hope to implement:
- The mod is being ported (in some cases rewritten) to the new SDK template that Valve released not too long ago. This version of the SDK has a lot of the features we were implementing only in a cleaner/easier to use format. One of these features is a class based system with easy to edit attributes. With this we intend to augment the Team Deathmatch mode with classes of varying weapons/abilities.
- In addition to Team Deathmatch we are considering pushing forward the team assault gametype. Originally intended for release 2 I feel it could be easily added in with only a minor bit of coding (an objective completion signal would be needed to award the winning team). Some team members want this feature badly enough they’ve already begun work on maps and assets for it. For example one of our mapper’s; borgking has been working on a Mustafar map with a TF2 payload like objective of hauling Anakin’s burned body through the complex back to the shuttle. Team Assault will also have classes.
- With the exception of Capture the Flag, both Team Deathmatch and Team Assault would have a Last Man Standing game mechanic. If you’ve played counter strike you would be aware of having one “life” and then staying dead when killed until the start of the next round. Adding a feature like this into the mod would help strengthen the gameplay and open up the possibilities for more tactical options.
This proposed plan has been met with some hesitation from a few members of our team. Some feel we are experiencing what is called “Feature Creep”, which means piling on more and more goals, pushing back the release of something to almost indefinitely. I can understand the frustration but at the same time the evidence of beta testing is quite clear to me. Having seen a huge number of mods fail within a short period of time due to issues similar to what we’re having I can predict that releasing the mod in its current state would have unsatisfactory results.
There are upsides to my plan of course, since much of the code is already in the SDK template, all we really have to port is our Capture the Flag code and Heads Up Display. The weapons code is pretty much already in along with the class system and team structure. All we really have left to do is code in the Last Man Standing mode, implement a round timer, and code up an objective entity and the rest is tweaking done with results from testing. Sounds easy right? Your next question then must be “what’s the hold up?”
We’ve had a constant issue from the beginning with coders. For the few we had that were dedicated, most had their lives get a lot busier or complicated enough that they were forced to pull out of development. Others were hired on only to disappear never to be heard from again. It’s annoying but something to be expected when you have a team of volunteers. Currently we have two coders actually doing anything, myself and Emiel Regis, a coder who has been with us since the beginning. Getting these features implemented has been slow as the SDK template has things layed out a little differently than before and we’re still learning the Source engine code.
So here’s our request: If you have any knowledge in coding (esp. coding in the Source engine), then please apply on our forums for a coder position. We want this mod released as badly as you guys do but at the same time we don’t want it to end up another entry on the gravestone of dead mods. Help us get this thing done!
So that about covers everything. You guys know now pretty much what we know. I end this update today with a little flythrough video Darth Hunter made of some of TNE’s maps: