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Pinback's 10 Question with: Ground State
hl2c_articles - Ground State: a HL2 mod | Posted by Pinback on Sep 28th 03 10:09 AM
I got to interview Dan Walters of Ground State. My questions are in bold, and his answers are in italics. Check it out:

Can you give us a brief overview of the story?

Ground State is set around thirty years on from now, you are Yames Harrison, a man involved in a terrorist group and wanted by the law. You have come to a large government contractor's underground manufacturing facility in the desert, with intent to find and expose evidence of illegal practices, accompanied by a terrorist group. On arrival, you quickly discover the base had been evacuated a day or two
before your arrival. The storyline develops as military forces become
involved and details of why the base has been evacuated becomes apparent.
Any previous plans become impossible to follow as the day falls apart, as
your entire life to date deteriorates to meaningless, while the truth of
corporation control over the government becomes clear and meaningful.
The game features a wide variety of styling, including modern close quarter
gun fighting as well as dark macabre fearful situations. More information is
found on the Ground State web site.

What inspiration was there to make the story?

I designed Ground State back in summer 2002, as a game design I was planning
on slowly developing until suitable technology become available. I can't
remember what triggered the initial game design however, without doubt I can
say that I am very strongly inspired by Metal Gear Solid (1 & 2), Deux Ex
and other storyline based games. In a conversation with Ian Pittock, I
decided to develop the design on Doom3, a very suitable engine. However, as
Doom3 became less promising, I ( and the new mod team ) realized Half-life 2
was a better choice of engine.

Is there any sort of goal you are looking to achieve in completing Ground State?

We aim to produce a high quality modification. The involves building the
best design we can, as well as designing and producing the highest quality
art, audio, etc that we can. Allot of team members aim to work in the games
industry and are using this project to increase experience and build
portfolio work. We also aim to break away from conventionality, not because
we want to be different, but because we believe many practices currently
being followed by mod teams are wrong, and there are ways to do things

Are there any special features in GS that you or the team are looking
forward to?

I am personally looking forward to building some really powerful scripting
to work with the storyline. There are some different ideas for code and
programming being thrown around, nothing has been set down yet. I think
allot of the team are looking forward to building up a storyline using
slightly different techniques to those commonly used in game design. We are
looking at multi player as well, but cannot release any information on this
until we can look at what can be done with code.

Any features that you think your fans will especially like?

One feature is the dynamic artificial intelligence to be included in the
programming of certain creatures in the game. The creatures are biological
experiments in engineering dangerous animals. The results are unreliable and
as a result, the creatures will have mutilations; lame limbs, undersized,
oversized, unusual growths, etc. AI programming making couples this
the creature act correctly. Being a single player modification, I believe
features are less crucial compared to the overall feeling of the game. It is
the overall feeling given by the game that will prove to be the best
feature. The game is designed around creating atmosphere, styling, making
the player feel involvement, which is the basis for the key design structure.
Also, working with a non player character through a large chunk of the game
should prove a popular feature.

How long (how many maps) do you think the mod will be?

The design is split into six chapters, each being quite large. It’s hard to
speak in terms of the size of maps as it is hard to know how big we are
going to build levels. However, as far as playing time goes, we expect to
build around 6-8 hours of playing time. It really depends on how development
goes, if we get ahead on mapping we will probably choose to add more maps
and areas in some chapters.

How long do you think GS will be in production for?

A long period of time. I expect it should be between 18 - 36 months
depending on the team. We have already been developing for eight months and
have a huge library of textures ready to use as well as models, skins,
audio, etc. We expect the rate of development to now pick up as we have
become public and are taking on members. With members like Ian Pittock
(texture artist) and Shan Ryan Sherrill (graphic artist), we should have no
problem with rapidly developing material.

Are you looking for more team members? Mappers? Skinners?

We could do with some character modelers at the present however our needs
are always changing and will always consider applicants for any position,
however consideration will be much harsher in areas where we are already
well complimented. Interest should be directed to my email.

What kind of communication is there between the team? Any disagreements?

The team gets on amazingly well. On our private forums we are all active in giving each other positive and constructive criticism and encouragement. The team is treated and organized in a different way to many modifications. Allot of consideration is put into what the artist/engineer would preferred to do and what is best for his portfolio. The team has still to grow, so departments are still to form, however I do not anticipate any problems. Myself and Ian Pittock occasionally scream at each other on msn but we are good mates and have worked together for many years.

How are you feeling about the mod as of right now?

I am very excited about how the project is coming together, as is the rest of the team. We can't wait to see our stuff inside the Half-life 2 engine and look forward to future development. We are also very keen to hear about what people think of us.

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