Red Alert 2 Apocalypse Rising Development Team Interview

Welcome!

We at CnCFPS have been alive and kickin’ for about a month now. So, in honor of being alive for a month, we’ve decided to conduct an interview with select members from Apocalypse Rising’s Development Team, including One_Winged_Angel, cfehunter, and dtrngd. Unfortunately, not all three were available at once to conduct the interview in one fell swoop. We have, however, managed to make the interview as seamless as possible.

We apologize beforehand for the format; it is our first interview and we will try to work out any issues with the format and questions. We would like to also extend a call for questions, which can be submitted through our suggestions email we have setup. These questions will be used for our next interview, next month, with Chronojam and select members of staff.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Well, whenever dtrngd gets on, we’ll ask him the general team questions. For now, let’s start.

Hello. I am Zack from CnCFPS. Before we begin this interview, I’d like to thank One_Winged_Angel and cfehunter for making time for us. I’d like throw a bit of thanks out to Goztow at Renegade Forums for his RenCom interviews he’s conducted.

Let’s get a start here. Could you give us a *brief* bio about yourselves? Name? Age? Job or College, both? And what is your role on the team?

cfehunter says: Seeing as OWA’s going to get a drink i’ll start. I’m Pete “cfehunter” Ellsum, i’m 20 and i’m a student at the university of staffordshire which Ben also attends.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Ah, the college route? or do you have a job?

cfehunter says: i’ve gone completely academic since leaving school and don’t really have the time to work on a regular basis due to coursework and lectures unfortunately, Ben’s pretty much the same way

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: What role do you play on RA2:AR?

cfehunter says: I can do most things but since we founded the project i’ve slowly moved focus and now my main role in the team is as a texture artist

One_Winged_Angel says:  I’m back

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: OWA, Could you give us a *brief* bio about yourselves? Name? Age? Job or College, both? And what is your role on the team?

One_Winged_Angel says: ok, I’m Ben, I’m 19 and I’m a student currently studying games design at staffordshire university. I have been part of the C&C community since 2004 along with cfehunter who I’ve worked alongside on Apocalypse Rising. I am currently lead producer of AR, but I can also model, unwrap and texture as well as having limited skills in rigging, animation and level edit. I also contribute by voice acting and editing sounds too. So I’m a jack of all trades.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Ah. I remember that version.

One_Winged_Angel says: it was pretty wild. Even if it did use a lot of reskinned Renegade stuff.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: I especially remember RA_ShallowGrave.mix playing on my mom’s, now old, laptop because my computer couldn’t handle renegade very well.

One_Winged_Angel says: Ah yeah, ShallowGrave was .993, good times.

cfehunter says: i started playing renegade in 2004 when a friend of OWA and myself showed me it (the same person that introduced me to C&C as a whole incidental), from the first time I played it I was hooked to the multilayer. After all it was C&C in first person and I’d liked C&C for some time previously.

I had earlier dabbled in RA2 modding and as such had some ties to the community, Strangely I owe finding the early versions of APB to AircraftKiller. I had a lot of respect for his artwork and I found APB because he was leading it.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: What made you stay and not move on to other games, like steam based games?

cfehunter says: The same reason I still play red alert 2. Playing online against my friends made the game great for me, planning strategies to out play people that know how you think is a completely different experience to playing against people that you’ve never met.

Also the game itself just had an arcade style, a lot of games take themselves too seriously and renegade never suffered from that.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: One_Winged_Angel, same question as well

One_Winged_Angel says: I stayed because I had made friends in the community and we had something good going. We wanted to make an RA2 FPS and the w3d engine was the easiest way to achieve this. The thought did cross our minds once or twice, but in the end we decided to stick with w3d after watching what happened to APB when ACK decided he wanted to make a Battlefield mod (which failed miserably). The fact that we can make our games standalone now only reinforces my beliefs that we made the right choice back then.

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: Yeah, I have to agree there, the amount of options a modder has on the w3d engine is just massive

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: yea. Look at what Tiberian Technologies is doing. :)

Cool new shaders, etc for newer computers

One_Winged_Angel says: We’re working with TT right now to get the best from the engine. Our testers are what essentially propell the project forward in some cases.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: How does Apoc Rising benefit from TT?

One_Winged_Angel says: Well, we are currently using an early build of scripts 4.0, which opens up many development options for us. It’s really where w3d is going, so we’d be fools to miss out on it. danpaul88, our main coder, is also one of the coders working on the TT project, so that reaps benefits too.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Yea, I’ve blogged about some of the stuff I’ve seen. Is stuff like the building weak points and repair points made further possible by TT?

One_Winged_Angel says: That isn’t TT specific as such, since the scripts are made solely for AR by danpaul88. The work TT does tends to account for all w3d games that use scripts 4.0.

However, those scripts will be making an appearance in 4.0 so other mods may use them if they wish for a similar weak-point setup to us.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Ah. sweet. I could think of some other mods that would like that.

Getting on topic now, can you guys give us a general overview of the work you’ve done, have to do, and are still deciding what to do?

One_Winged_Angel says: As a whole, we’ve got quite a bit of art left to do. Most notably characters, which is my job, heh. We hopefully aim to release with all of the units up to Radar Tech and then patch in the country specific units.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Ah. I remember something about a script danpaul wrote to do that country selector

One_Winged_Angel says: indeed, it’s still around.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Remind me how it works

One_Winged_Angel says: basically, at the beginning of a game the selector picks a country for each side and the extra country specific unit (or power) is then granted on the purchase list accordingly. This opens up different strategies for each game. E.G, if Soviets get Iraq picked and Allies get Britain picked, the Iraqi desolators will be ineffective against the British snipers. Other scenarios are likely to occurthat would put the Soviets in favour though.

It’s a real “luck of the draw” system that should play out really interestingly.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Ah. I see how it works. :)

What motivated you to create a Renegade mod based on Red Alert 2? When did you start this mod?

One_Winged_Angel says: Basically, at the time that we started, we looked out onto the Renegade modding scene and saw APB and Reborn. Each a mod that turned RA1 and TS into FPS games. We realized that there was no RA2 FPS mod out there, so we started and fit our niche.

cfehunter leaves the interview for personal reasons.

dtrngd joins in on the action

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: Hello dtrngd, Tell us a little bit about yourself. Age? Job or College, both? What is your role on the team?

dtrngd says: Well first of all, I joined the AR team about 1.5 years after it kicked off, in 2007 summer. I’m 19 years young (not old), and attend university now. I joined as a mapper but throughout the years in the staff I managed to boost my skills in some other modding areas like unwrapping, a bit of texturing, but mostly modeling. That’s why I am doing the buildings and whatever comes my way now. I’m not a native English-speaker, so sorry if I don’t speak perfectly. I’m from Hungary in central Europe

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: no it’s fine

dtrngd says: Oh and my real name is Dániel Szabó which translates into Daniel Taylor in english, which is the dt part of my nickname, the rest if the consonants of Renegade. May I know my interviewer? :)

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: My name is Ford from CncFPS. I basically help Zack manage this site, I’m 18 and from Canada

One_Winged_Angel says: That’s cool. I think CnCFPS is a great site really. We were planning something with RenegadeX and others a while back called the Omega network, but it never kicked off.

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: When did you start playing Renegade?

dtrngd says: I must first say, my father likes gaming too. He brought the C&C games home and then I could play them too. He also brought Renegade in 2002, although dropped it shortly afterwards since it wasn’t a strategy game. I’ve found it pretty amazing compared to the other FPS games we had home at the time. I only played it offline until 2004, then I went around and checked the servers, finally joining the Black-Cell community.

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: So a Renegader right from the beginning eh?

dtrngd says: Indeed! After a ton of massive long gaming with it before I got bored of it, Black hand studios released core patch 1 with new maps. It got me back fulltime into Renegade! Later I hosted Mars.mix online where I met the man who got me into modding, all my thanks go to him now. His name is metalfej I started mapping in 2006 February and then about 1,5 years later got hired by One_Winged_Angel says, who is sitting next to me – hey, wake up! my AR work history is a different story, so that’s it for Renegade.

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: What made you stay and not move on to other games, like steam based games?

dtrngd says: Well first because my wallet can not keep up with the new games, my PC neither. Second, I haven’t really looked for new games. I was happy with Renegade even after they called it outdated, especially when I checked the renhelp.net website and then some mappers showed off some pretty detailed maps on various sites. I saw that it’s not the engine outdated only, it’s the models and textures which are low quality compared to the newer games. Yes, I can’t do anything about the way the engine renders the models ingame, but since the Tiberian Technologies guyz are out there and working on this engine, I feel like staying here now. At least for a while, who knows what will get my attention years later!

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: Do you guys have a rough release date for it or is it is a “done when it’s done” kind of deal?

One_Winged_Angel says: I wish I could give a release date, but it’s hard to predict when things will be done. Something that is supposed to take a week can sometimes take a month. It’s just the way it goes really. I don’t want to make mistakes when giving out release dates; mistakes that could potentially dissapoint our fans.

dtrngd says: That is also because we are dudes who do this modding in our free time, and we don’t get paid for it. Most of us are students, but there are a few team members already working for real, so we all got something to do apart from modding.

One_Winged_Angel says: But when we do release, it’s going to be something special.

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: At what point do you consider a model or other piece of the game finished and mark that off the todo list?

One_Winged_Angel says: Well, recently we’ve stardardised our work submission. So the model has to be posted at certain stages of development to make sure that it is up to standard. Once it’s pretty accurate, well modelled and the team is happy with it, it goes onto the next stage, be it unwrapping or texturing. We use a file server to upload our files to, which keeps them in order. We make all of our models in 3ds max 8, since it’s one of the only versions that will work with the w3d tools.

dtrngd says: Well the gmax RenX gamepack works as well, but it misses a ton of great tools and additional things that makes it easier for us.

One_Winged_Angel says: And there’s the fact that it doesn’t support modelling in quads properly.

dtrngd says: The most notable to me at least is that 3ds max 8 is a lot faster than RenX, when i rotate the camera around.

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: How do you go about recruiting a person to work on AR? Are you still recruiting testers or has that passed? If you are, how can people apply?

One_Winged_Angel says: Although we need to get some of the w3d rigging equipment into max 8, when we do that, we’ll release some blank rigs for people to rig their own objects into the game.

dtrngd says: Oh the recruiting. Now that is a goddamn hard thing. As much as we like sticking to w3d engine, artists out there who we’d like to recruit, don’t feel  the same way. Which makes it very difficult to convince them to help us.

One_Winged_Angel says: when we need a hand with things, we’ll generally post up on moddb and in the blogs for help. We get a few applicants from moddb, most of them wanting money. A lot of our team came from inside the community really.

dtrngd says: Well once we had a guy from poly-count, but he got extreme busy or lost interest in us after modeling us the Harrier, which is a pretty nice model though. Pity he didn’t stick around more.

One_Winged_Angel says: We share testers with A Path Beyond, which works out really well. Deadpikle organizes test games every so often which are usually a great success. We aren’t hiring testers at the moment, but when we do we great a great response from the community. We can’t hire everyone, but those who don’t make it in the first time will have a higher chance the second time round.

We usually say when we’re hiring testers in the blogs.

dtrngd says: Yeah, with more than caps-locked text.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: How do you manage your team with such a big mod? What tools do you use to accomplish the end-result? How do they work?

One_Winged_Angel says: We manage our team using the forums over at http://www.apathbeyond.com/forum/, it’s basically our HQ. As well as the forum we have several IRC channels and we also keep in touch via msn. So we’re pretty setup for communication.

As for software, we use 3ds Max8 for modeling and commando level editor for just about everything else. Photoshop is used for texturing 99% of the time.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Do you have other Renegade-related plans for the future? Or something totally different people could be interested in? Here’s your chance to tell the world!

One_Winged_Angel says: It’s not really something I’ve thought about a whole lot. I do have plans for a full campaign for AR once most of the assets are done. It’s all planned out in my head and seems like it could work well.

dtrngd says: Indeed, but which hasn’t stuck hard in your head, is a tutorial map which I’d REALLY like to do. And will do no matter what. It will put the player into an advanced tutorial map, which also teaches you how to do awesome teamwork, which is a key element in this game. Think about the Renegade Tutorial map, but bigger, nicer and longer.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says:  Do you have any questions for us? Or do you have anything else you want to add?

One_Winged_Angel says: How are things going with the website? Seems like it’s gotten off to a good start.

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: I think it’s coming along pretty good, right now we need traffic, specifically on the forums

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Anyway, our site needs activity right now

One_Winged_Angel says: I’d like to add that AR is awesome and we’re all down-to-earth guys. So if you have a burning question, feel free to come find us and ask it.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: At CnCFPS, We’re taking a play from the playbook of Renegade-X.

dtrngd says: Yeah, sometimes I get spammed in APB online, everyone asking when AR’s gonna be released :P

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: We’re going to be conducting interviews this year.

dtrngd says: Sounds awesome, good luck with them!

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Any suggestions for us?

One_Winged_Angel says: It’s all pretty solid stuff. You could possibly throw in a couple of mod-specific questions that everyone wants to know.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: When we get activity, I’ll be asking the community for question input, but that will be at a later date. ;)

One_Winged_Angel says: So with AR you could ask something like: Are Kirovs going to be that tough, or will they get watered down in comparison to their RA2 counterparts

One_Winged_Angel says: ?

One_Winged_Angel says: That’ll be cool.

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: How’s the Chronsphere coming along? That’d be a tough one to pull off it seems

One_Winged_Angel says: I have a model for it’s exterior. But the interior hasn’t been started.

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: Are you going to be doing all 4 super weapons?

One_Winged_Angel says: Of course

dtrngd says: Hell yeah…And I’ll teleport your Apocalypse Tank into the ocean.

One_Winged_Angel says: The nuke and the Weather control device aren’t going to use beacons either.

CnCFPS(Genesis2001) says: Interview concluded. Thanks for allowing us to interview you. :)

CnCFPS(Lone0001) says: Thanks for the interview

One_Winged_Angel says: No worries :)

dtrngd says: It’s been a pleasure.

 

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