The Price of Peace Interview + Exclusive Screens! - Mods
Posted by: Jdawgg on 01-10-2005 @ 06:14 - Source: RapidFire Entertainment
This News Item has been viewed 6,252 times
Greetings everyone! I've got a very special update for you all. The Price of Peace project lead Ipox has given me the opportunity for an exclusive interview along with exclusive images from their new maps. There is a boat load of new information (Ipox sure can ramble ) but it is definitely worth it. Read on if you are really interested in the upcoming ET Total Conversion from RapidFire Entertainment, and check out the awesome screens!
Jdawgg: To start, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to sit down with me today and give me this slough of exclusive information to provide the ET community. Is there anything you’d like to say before we get started with this interrogation?
ipox: Hi everyone. It’s a pleasure to speak with anyone about this thing we’re doing. We’ve been at it a long time, but I think this is the first interview we’ve done with rtcwfiles.com. How about we just jump right into it?
Jdawgg: Great. I think a good place to begin would be with my understanding of PoP. I understand it is an Enemy Territory Total Conversion (so it changes many aspects of the game, not just weapon models and maps). What would you explain to someone who had just asked the question: "What is PoP?"
ipox: Whoa, that question could have me rambling on for quite some time. I'll give you the short version; PoP is the acronym for "The Price of Peace," which is a completely FREE, multiplayer, WWII realism-based first person shooter using the Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory engine, which is ALSO FREE.
Jdawgg: Let's dive a little deeper. Aside from the conventional textures, models, skins, and weapons, what will The Price of Peace offer in terms of originality that will separate it from ET and other modifications of ET?
ipox: By "originality", I assume you mean actual new game features. Textures, skins, and maps are implementations of game features and rules, in my opinion, but truly new games feel and work in different ways than what came before. We have long decried the seeming lack of a true WW2 game, and in that light, we aim to please with PoP. New fundamental game types are a big addition we are planning to the game-play aspects of ET. As you said, The Price of Peace is a Total Conversion, and can thus be considered a new game in and of itself. Sometimes we hesitate to claim such lofty things, and I think at this point I can rest assured that relatively soon the game will speak for itself.
Continuing along, all teams doing projects based on ET have the game source code, which basically puts few-to-no restrictions on exactly what we can modify. We are limited in certain ways such as file formats and rendering specifics, but as our Lead Programmer (Technical Director) says, “We have source code: we can do anything we want!” I’ll focus on game types. Our most relevant game type, for instance, which is nearing its completion much to the coders' satisfaction, contains an entirely new way of looking at FPS games. We are all very proud of the game rules it embodies, as it is in essence an extrapolation of a real battlefield to just about as close a degree as is possible taking into account the nature of FPS games, while still maintaining the all-important “playability”. The mappers are already able to specify all the things that will be needed in the maps, with new entities and features to support the coders’ modes (MDK in development). In the last couple of weeks, we have even started getting questions from some custom mappers about how and when they will be able to start fabricating. At this point the difference between making a PoP map and an ET map is solely in the planning. GtkRadiant will work for both, q3map2 will work for both, and all a mapper will need in order to make a map work in PoP is a knowledge of the scripting differences (mostly simplifications), possession of a few extra Radiant add-on entities (MDK) for our functionality, and the thinking-process involved in planning such a map (not so simple).
Jdawgg: I'm sure all the custom ET mappers out there will be very excited about that last paragraph and what PoP will allow them to create. If I remember correctly PoP will feature quite a few server-admin-friendly options alongside the new game modes. What can server admins expect?
ipox: The game type that we tout so highly has several variants and options to make it moderately customisable for server administrators who want “Instant Action” and “Sudden Death” among other things. There is even a variant full game type planned that will use all the same map-defined items to play the game out fundamentally differently and yet with each individual item functioning mostly the same. You can think of it the way ET uses Single Map Objective mode to create functionality for Last Man Standing and Stopwatch. Yes, by the way, we intend to support competition-style modes, particularly with offensive bias or some equivalent for pure and fair competition play, and this variant looks to be a candidate.
Server administrators can expect to be able to dial up and dial back the “realism” on their servers, with such simple-yet-useful features as being able to turn on and off crosshairs (our simplest example, but representative of the level of customisability we plan) on the server side of things, so that all clients on that server can use a crosshair. I should point out that this type of feature and detail can create some very problematic experiences for users who want certain settings on their games and do not want to log in to a server that has certain settings. For the most major and fundamental of these settings, we will include, on the Server Browser, simple icons and filters for quick reference and selection of servers that have exactly the settings desired by that player.
Jdawgg: You mention "realism", and I recall that this is one of the important parts of PoP. What kinds of things do you intend to include to make the game “real”?
ipox: So PoP is staged to focus on reality. Weapons in WW2 functioned in a certain way and we intend to replicate that as well as we can with our limited budget. *coughs* We will be providing a game feel that can only be referred to by the phrase “it makes sense”. We want to create weapon-features that have been seen in other games (Iron Sights, Supported Weapons, Ammunition Resupply), yes, but extend them to their logical ends. Admittedly, this is a dangerous task, because we won’t get it all right in the very first version, and we don’t intend to get it all done in the first version either, because we have to do this in stages if it is to get done at all. We are planning a PoP feel to it all, distinctive and natural so that players can get used to it quickly and love it forever.
Particularly, I might point out that down to each detail of the game, including game types and such, we are attempting to provide first the realism modes and such, to make the game believable, and then to allow some players who might not like some of the things (no crosshairs, complex battle-field dynamic game-play, etc.) to disable them, mostly on the server side, for fairness. The game may be realistic, but it will be a seamless realism that even new players (as we all will be at the beginning) will be able to relate to because the realism features don’t force all kinds of knowledge and learning curves. As players become more experienced, they will learn to take advantage of the “hidden” features that are constantly working behind the scenes.
Jdawgg: Iron Sights (Aiming Down the Sights) is often a controversial feature. How will your team make it happen and what does it require in terms of animations?
ipox: Animated Iron Sights on weapons will be the most immediately obvious addition to the ET engine that we will be making. Take Call of Duty, for example, and how when a player wants to bring up their iron sights they just press a button and a nice fluid motion takes the gun to the player’s line of sight. The Price of Peace accomplishes this just as well, only depending on the animator to make the motion feel natural. It’s going to be a development process and we hope everyone agrees with us that we should be able to get the essence of PoP into our very first version (v0.1), but that we can’t possibly get everything we’ve ever thought of into our very first public version, unless we want to delay it forever, and we think it’s been long enough. Those things will have to be developed and added over time in a series of updates (v0.2, v0.3, etc.).
Jdawgg: Well back to game types real quick, how many game types are you looking to add to the mod? What are some of those game types, and can you give us a rundown on how they will play out in-game?
ipox: That is kind of a dangerous question for me, as I tend to ramble on the subject. Let me see. Currently, the game of PoP is planned to include no fewer than 12 game types, but that is misleading, of course. 4 of those 12 are actually ET’s original 4 game types (Campaign, Objective, Stopwatch, LMS). Unfortunately, there are some difficulties there that I won’t get into here. Suffice it to say that we may not be able to come through with that promise, but we’re for sure going to try.
The other 8 include 3 that I cannot at this stage talk about, but I can talk about 5 of them, and there have been some interesting revelations recently that add to this list, but those also I wish to make no commitments about:
1. PoP Team Objective Conquest Mode (Objective Mode or OM or OC for short)
This game type is our main game mode on which we focus most of our thinking and efforts. It will encompass large maps with Stages laid out containing Primary Objectives (almost always “flagpoles”). The offensive team starts at one side of the map with the defence right in front, and the offence must then capture the map by capturing the Primary Objectives in each Stage. If they make it through, they win; if they do not, then, after a set period of time, the defence wins. And while it will be a very easy and clear process for the players to play (and it will work naturally and seamlessly, I promise), still the act of describing it takes many pages and graphics and … So it wouldn’t fit here. The idea here is one of an offensive force taking a battlefield from the defensive enemy in a realistic war environment.
2. PoP Team Objective Elimination Mode (OE)
This Mode is the variant described in an earlier section of this interview. It will use all the same layout and structure as OC mode, but will allow for far more competition-like play, particularly with features for mappers to decide just how the ownership of objectives is set up to begin with, unlike with OC, which is far more rigidly designed. Also, scoring and winning will be done quite differently, with a kind of a maybe-optional, maybe-not ticket system used for balancing, spawning, and timing. Details are to be worked out after OC is finalised, but the idea of OE will be one of Eliminating the enemy’s ability to wage war by pushing them to the brink of the map and “removing” any stragglers, just like with OC.
3. PoP Team Elimination Mode (TE)
Team Elimination is intended to be a very fast-paced variant of Last Man Standing, sort of, with implications for competition and public players alike, especially with a focus particularly on 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 5 vs 5 and anything similar. It will be a limited-life (default 1), round-based firefight based on TDM (see below) but will include a team-set-up system that we will call “Volunteering”. We’re very excited about this mode, not that it’s particularly new to have limited lives TDM, but that people might like to see how long they can stay on top, or how long their team can stay on top. Full implications for actual competition-play are to be figured out at this point. And sorry for being too vague, but we want to keep some surprises. (That’s another way of saying that the design hasn’t been fully drafted yet)
4. PoP Team DeathMatch (TDM)
What needs to be said about this? The difference for us is the fact that this and DM are very different modes from our heavy focus on Objectives and realism. Players who don’t want to commit to the time-involvement for capturing a whole map (or a whole campaign) can log in, frag, test their skills, and log out. Players who want a more complex game don’t have to use this mode, nor servers running it. We include this mode just to make sure that we don’t forget any basic kinds of players. Later on we may add other simple modes at players’ requests.
5. PoP DeathMatch (DM)
Obviously similar to TDM above, but without teams, as you know.
Jdawgg: Sounds like fun! How much of the animation aspect of the mod do you have completed?
ipox: You ask, because we have had very publicly-known animator and animation problems. Animating has finally started with two-to-three members deciding that enough is enough (with my cajoling in the background) and they are learning to animate from the ground up. We've had animators join, not accomplish our goals, and leave... we've had them bail for God-knows-what reasons... We really haven’t had any dedicated animators join our team. That would obviously be very helpful, but our team is improvising and is doing an okay job at it thus far.
We had been toying with making changes to the player models and reanimating them. We decided that we have to hold off on that for now, because of a few too many difficulties with the process and the fact that we have no one who already knows how. Nevermind issues with the MDM and MDX files, our first v0.1 release will probably reuse the ET animations and models in a “best fit” capacity for 3rd person views, with placeholder high-res re-skins, and we will have to cut this corner for now until we can prosecute the issue properly. We’ll cross that bridge as we come to it, and we guarantee that anything we do in early releases will have enough of the essence of what we would want in a final to be properly representative of the whole. (Leaning to the left and right will not be a problem.)
Jdawgg: So in terms of animating, there really isn’t too much material yet?
ipox: That is correct, unfortunately. In fact, animation and the game type coding are what have been stopping us from having a 4-map test build. As I said, the game type coding is just about finished, so I’ll let you do the math on what obstacles remain. I can say that in the last two weeks there has been monumental progress and learning-curve-reduction for animating, and that little else remains as a serious obstacle.
Jdawgg: Does that mean you have weapon sounds, running sounds, and fragment sounds (bullets hitting people, objects, etc) all implemented into the game as well?
ipox: Not exactly. We do have many sounds in-game but the list is very large and we only have one person (and a person who has offered to do a few on the side) working on sounds at the moment. The first release will see cutbacks in some areas but we're working on it as fast as we can. I do not consider sounds to be a serious obstacle at this point, as I mentioned, and they won’t hold up the release at all.
Jdawgg: Keeping with the Sounds theme, what has the mod done in terms of weapon sounds and ambient/environment sounds? Have you created all your sounds from scratch, or have you elected to use community-pak sounds?
ipox: This is another semi-problematic area for us. Much like with animating, though to a lesser degree, there have been personnel setbacks while expectations outstretch actuality. We do have one very dedicated sound engineer, roland, who has been hard at work creating original music for us. We've now put him in charge of making the actual in-game sounds which has been moving along steadily since. He has the assistance of a former-member with less time-availability for specific smaller tasks.
Jdawgg: Well those are some great updates. Now what can you tell me about the mod as a whole, at this current point in time. Where does the mod, in general, stand, and how has the mod’s status and progress been as of recent weeks?
ipox: I have actively worked on our team-motivation and -momentum directly for a month and a half now, undertaking specific actions to boost these two things: specifically building momentum and creating a SUSTAINABLE situation for the team itself where members don't have to do more than they are capable of, and yet the pressure is still somewhat on to make the members feel they are accomplishing something. This has been met with incredible results in my opinion. The team is on fire... all the members are activating where many were unsure what to do... we have something for everyone to do right now, and it's a grand sight to see, especially from the inside. I pat myself and my team members heartily on the back for having had the wherewithal to make such a situation occur.
In terms of the status of the mod itself, we have made vast changes to the way ET does things and have more planned for the programmers and the technical side. The idea of “what the mod is to be” is very clear in everyone’s minds, and that’s always a good thing after more than a year of development; having a focus for everyone to see as the goal is quite beneficial to production. Mapping has been basically done for months. This situation has caused problems for us with some members’ not knowing what to do, and our not being able to tell them. We have since fixed this problem, but I can’t really go into that right here. Models wait on animations, but all the models are done and skinned, basically. And now that the holidays are over, the final rush can commence. We’re very pleased. I hope I answered your question.
I suppose I can say that a certain part of Rapid Fire Entertainment (RFE) is working on… oh how should I put it…? A side project not related to The Price of Peace at all… This project is where our mappers are spending much of their time.
Jdawgg: Could you please elaborate?
ipox: I hesitate because we plan an announcement just as soon as coding is 100% certain and we learn where we can definitely take it. We have a small portion of our team (one coder, a little graphics-ish, and several mappers) working on a side mod… A mini-mod intended to give something to the ET community directly. PoP, you see, is not exactly “for ET players”. We think they will be pleased and will like the changes to the game pace that PoP will have and some things like that, but we are aware that some people will long for ET’s original styles. We saw a hole in the stock features of ET and we decided to fill it with this little mod. Until there is an official statement, however, I'm not going to go too much further into it... Suffice it to say that we hope ET fans and custom mappers will be pleased with the opportunities we will present. The mini-mod we are discussing will be “ET”, and players will find that it works almost the same, but simpler. I cannot tell you how many great maps, from an architectural standpoint, there are out there, but which flounder due to lack of coding/scripting capabilities by the mapper. Our side project will make it so easy for the mapper, that he or she should be able to add one of our game types to their map in a matter of minutes like with many other games.
Oh drat! I’ve gone and given it away. Now ask me if it was intentional.
Right now it is just a matter of doing it. Producing it should also shine light on the capabilities of the RFE team, our vision for games, and our hopes to continue doing this sort of thing for some time to come. It will demonstrate the bright horizons we are headed towards with our much larger ET modification, The Price of Peace.
Jdawgg: So to clarify that to our gamers, this extra thing is an ET project, not a PoP project, so it will be for ET mappers, players, and specifically the Enemy Territory game, NOT the Price of Peace game, correct?
ipox: 100% correct. A separate mod.
Jdawgg: The Price of Peace has a rather infamous history. It started off as “Operation: Overlord” for Call of Duty, then changed to “The Price of Peace” for CoD, and finally switched to ET where it’s been standing for about a year now without a release… What was the problem with CoD? After switching to ET because of that problem, what has been the hold up?
ipox: Despite the fact that we no longer focus on this part of our history, I will answer the question somewhat reluctantly. We had two major categories of problems with Call of Duty:
Firstly, there was the technical aspect of the engine. This side of things was a major problem for us, particularly, because we wanted to be something more than a map/model/skin/sounds mod and the Call of Duty engine wouldn't decisively give us that opportunity in Multi-Player, or at least not to the heavy degree we wanted to. The CoD developers (Infinity Ward) had basically removed much of the necessary coding needed to do complex things, such as making bots in the Multi-Player game. Spending enough time fiddling, we would have been able to fight our way through and accomplish several things, but one straw broke the camel’s back: A very clever scripter of ours (there are no CoD coders, no source code, and most importantly, no debugger!) did a great deal of work figuring out a particular feature we wanted. It was working in v1.1 of CoD. Out came the 1.2 patch and suddenly our scripts didn’t work anymore, with no warning by IW. This wasted time and effort, and, by the scripter’s estimation, there was no way to reproduce it under the new architecture. CoD’s engine does not support big animations (certainly no Movers nor AI) in multiplayer, there is no swimming, and all in all it became obvious that this was not the place for us. (PS: the players look like “hobbits” running around.)
A large and complex (and incredibly robust, I’ll admit) scripting system, such as exists in CoD, is quite the feature, on paper, but in fact, it doesn’t provide the functionality we needed, and not being able to use a debugger on it is just too much. ET has source code. We moved where we could do our work the easiest and the best.
Our second problem was with Infinity Ward itself. When we began modding for Call of Duty we, and other mods, were promised major support which never materialised. We, in particular, went to great lengths to set up a meeting with IW, during which we explained what we wanted to do and then eventually we realised it was never going to happen. When we left the CoD engine, citing our grievances clearly, and focusing our attention on the shining beacon of light that was ET and their developers, Splash Damage, we noted that within days IW posted a FAQ with a couple of answers and instructions as to how to go about adding questions to a queue that would then be answered in order. Nothing has come of this effort, as I understand it, and it just adds to my own trepidation about the whole thing. Splash Damage are truly the epitome of friendly and hopeful for the success of their engine and games/TCs/mods based off it, and boy, are they helpful.
Jdawgg: You’ve been at this on the ET engine for some time. Why haven’t you expanded your team to accomplish more in less time?
ipox: Almost a year we’ve been working on the ET engine, dealing with personnel problems and learning as we go. At this point, we don't really have the need to expand our team, member-wise, with the exception of a skilled animator or two, which we have been trying very hard to find for a very long time. Every department has been moving along smoothly because of their long-term dedication to this project. Right now all we could really wish for is an experienced animator to come along and stick with us for more than a couple of weeks at a time.
Also, as most other groups will tell you, it isn’t necessarily easy to find the skilled individuals a team like this actually needs. We don’t need more skinners, for example, and we don’t need more modellers. We have 6 working mappers and that’s got to be enough in-house mapping for anyone. Coders? Our Lead Coder often jokingly claims to want to do the whole thing himself because it’s so difficult to find a person with Q3/RtCW/ET coding experience, dedication, and willingness to do this. A lot of ET modders have been attracted away by the likes of HL2 and Doom3. It is our opinion that the Q3 engine has not been tapped to its full potential yet. We aim to try, but we don’t really need more people at this point to do it. And we’re quite comfortable with this group that we have at this point.
I could add as well that the more people we have, the more work I have… and I have enough.
Jdawgg: There’s been a lot of controversy, even on your own forums, about how there has been a distinct lack of updates The Price of Peace has been giving the community. Granted, the recent updates were enormously appetizing, but nevertheless, why such inactivity with regards to mod updates?
ipox: Well, there are two points I could make. The first is that there is no loss to anyone if we don’t ever release this project. We’re adding to the global game environment, not staving off a loss. So if there’s no information for a while, it’s not actually hurting anyone. We had some personnel and personal difficulties, a death in an important member’s family, a loss of team morale from vacations over the summer. We’re back on track, and I hope that’s all that matters at this point.
Secondly, I want to point to the existence of invisible successes. Recently we showed the community some screens and then a video of a working weapon and it was torn apart for inadequacies. This was no fault of the commentators, of course, as they were merely commenting as they would about anything. But the problem is that Work In Progress is a dangerous and often-ignored term. Showing half-done items and features only makes people comment about what’s missing and/or stop-gap. This phenomenon speaks directly to the reason we have delayed a v0.1 for so long. If we release it now, everyone will look at it as unfinished and thus crappy. Most players will dismiss it and NEVER look again, and we don’t want that, now do we?
In the case of the released weapon video footage, we weren’t showing people the weapon because we thought it was the be-all end-all of weapon animation, but rather that we had something after all this time spent hoping- and trying-to-find-animators-for, and finally one of our own stepped up, learned, did it, and WOW (to us). We really shouldn’t have shown anyone, because the act put it under public scrutiny when it had to hold up against successes by such other groups as TCE (who have done a remarkable job). The main reason for our lack of updates is simply the lack of content “suitable” for updates. We've shown everyone the lion’s share of the content-work. It’s left to finalised coding, finalised maps, finished animations, and putting it in one big package with a bow on top. Videos and demos aren’t possible until there are weapons fully working, but with the weapons scripting system our Lead Programmer constructed, all the guess work and pain is removed, and it comes down to the animations and animators themselves. We’re almost there and over the next while you can expect more and more finalised progress to be displayed on our web site in bold.
Jdawgg: I have to ask, and you knew it was coming… When is Price of Peace expected to release its first public version?
ipox: Yes, we get that question quite a lot, and deservedly. The Official Statement remains "When it's done"; however, internally we're aiming for something around March. It would be nice to see PoP v0.1 before the end of February, which will be our one-year mark for development in the ET engine. Who knows? If a skilled animator lands on our doorstep tomorrow you might even see a release this month!
Jdawgg: Excellent. Well this certainly has been an awesome opportunity to learn more about The Price of Peace mod. Hopefully we can look forward to a beta release of the mod within the first 2 - 3 months of 2005…
ipox: From your lips to God’s ears. Honestly, we are circumspect after a year and more of development. We have learned a lot in this time, and I find it gratifying that our roster of 18 fully-active members only includes 1 person “hired” within the last 6 months. We as a team have a long-term commitment to this process and to this project. We are here to make it happen and see what comes after. And we have a policy to listen to any comments people make, so we think everyone is going to benefit at least from giving us a chance. Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you and the rtcwfiles.com community. Happy New Year!
Well there you have it. Now that 2 hours have likely passed, you probably want the screenies, am I right? Well here they are. I hope you enjoy! I sure did! I'd also like to thank Ipox once more - he gave a lot of his time responding, and gave me a lot of extra work to do . I am sure everyone is just as excited as I am about The Price of Peace. I'll keep nagging RapidFire Entertainment for some more content as they approach a state of readiness!
Be sure to go to http://www.priceofpeace.net for further mod details!
01-10-2005 @ 10:11 - FilesNetwork Re-Launches 4 Sites! Breed, AvP, Devastation, and SFC3!
12-31-2004 @ 10:11 - Happy New Year's!!! "FN's New Year's Bash"
The following comments are owned by the user that posted them. RTCW & ET Files is not responsible for their content.
Total comments: 7 | Last comment: 02-01-2005 at 10:40
Joined: February 19th, 2004
|i have been on for PoP forums for ages, but those screenies are very good, lucky you got them exclusively, nice work, nice long interview |
Joined: September 9th, 2004
|i too have been a member of the PoP community, for over a year now =) great interview ipox, cant wait to finally play |
Joined: October 24th, 2004
|in marh a year from me..mohaha..i hope they release v.01 at my one year day hehe |
|Guest (188.8.131.52) |
Joined: December 31st, 1969
|The screenshots released above suck!!! ; ) Visit PoP's official site and take a look at the weapon images. Awsome O_O!!!!!! |
I think they are pretending to turn enemy territory into somthing more like bf1942 (where you have lots of vehicles) since i saw a LVPC moving in one of the sample videos!!!! There is also a pic with a sherman but no idea whether we would be able to drive them or not.
Joined: October 24th, 2004
|well..their not gonan make drivable veichles...sonuk/ipox correct me? that LVCP is for transport on the omaha bach map |
Joined: December 1st, 2002
|ps gimme a beta to test |
Joined: February 1st, 2005
|Very Very Nice, and Very well explained. |
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