In the Shadows
AL9000 Interviews In The Shadowshl2c_articles - | Posted by AL9000 on Jun 14th 04 12:13 AM
I got a chance to speak to In the Shadows’ MagicGangsta, leader and creator of the horror themed mod for Half-Life 2. The mod will take elements from horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s work and will introduce some new and exciting types of gameplay unheard of in any mod to date.
AL9000: First off introduce yourself and tell us about your role in creating In the Shadows.
MagicGangsta: My name is Christof aka Magic. I'm the project leader for In The Shadows.
AL9000: How many people are working on this project?
MagicGangsta: Right now we have nine dedicated team members. We have two coders, two mappers, a professional writer, PR guy, research, texture artist, concept artist and painter... and lastly a music engineer. Our modeler had a personal emergency, which has left us in need of a modeler. Unfortunately, the models he had done went with him.
AL9000: Give us an overall synopsis of your mod, in a sentence or two.
MagicGangsta: Well, ITS is a multiplayer mod where you take on the role of the humans or the monsters. But it is so much more than that. It’s essentially multiplayer horror. You can play either role.
AL9000: It sounds like your mod will be concentrated mainly on multiplayer, will there be a singleplayer game as well?
MagicGangsta: Yes. It's not our main focus right now. But we are currently building staff to create singleplayer AND coop as well.
AL9000: For the singleplayer portion of the game, will storylines be lifted directly from Lovecraft's works, or do you plan on writing something completely new?
MagicGangsta: Both actually... we want people to be able to interact not only with HP Lovecraft's horrific masterpieces but to live out some twisted tales of our own. This is why we have brought aboard Qusoor (John). He has written professionally for many years. Not only will he create tales for singleplayer and coop but he will give the multiplayer a polish that most mods never see.
AL9000: Will the singleplayer game follow one storyline, or will it consist of several or more unrelated short stories?
MagicGangsta: Mostly short stories, with some branching out further. There will also be a tight tie-in between the coop, single and multiplayer maps... as they all revolve around interactive stories.
AL9000: Lovecraft's stories usually took place in the early 1900's, will the storylines be set around this time, or can we expect to see a more modern setting?
MagicGangsta: Actually all of the above. We are planning not only 1920's scenarios but modern ones as well. We even plan to throw in some post-apocolypse and some 1890's gaslight ones as well.
AL9000: Will you take measures to ensure that your mod will be as scary as any of Lovecraft's stories, or will it be more action-oriented?
MagicGangsta: I can absolutely guarantee it will be frightening. The action will be slower-paced than standard run-n-gun, but not any less thrilling.
AL9000: Can you give us an idea of what types of weapons will be at our disposal?
MagicGangsta: Anything that would fit into the scenario. Sometimes you will have to scrounge for weapons. Sometimes you might not have any. We all know that the people in Lovecraft's writings didn’t all pack weapons. We have many surprises in store for players that like to improvise the situation ;-)
AL9000: You mentioned that the multiplayer portion will have humans versus monsters. Will this be a class-based battle like TFC? What other types of gameplay modes can we expect to see?
MagicGangsta: Not really class-based per se'. The multiplayer will be an interactive story where you choose your character or role. Similar to an RPG but without all the character creation nonsense. Well, I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but we will have some zany gameplay modes. Once we get the SDK and test them out. We will let you know ;-)
AL9000: Your mod is unique in that it uses a Lovecraftian theme, but what else will set you guys apart from the other 300 or so projects going on right now?
MagicGangsta: Our multiplayer lets you choose your role in a story in which you decide the outcome. You can be the human professor or the Deep One. The outcomes of the map will change our multipath maps and their objectives. An ambitious project but already has been proven it can be done.
AL9000: For how long has the mod been in development? Also could you give us a rough estimate of about how much of the mod is complete at this moment?
MagicGangsta: We've spent the last year just concentrating on gameplay and design. The whole mod concept has been going along for at least 2 years. Right now the mod is about 20% complete. We have all of our map schematics done. Our scenarios and characters are coming along. Once we get the SDK, it’s a matter of getting the models and maps made and to start play-testing.
AL9000: So would you say Valve's decision to withhold the SDK so far has hindered your progress?
MagicGangsta: Yes and no. We support Valve 100% and believe they did what they had to. In the long run, it gave us more time to iron out stuff that we normally would've overlooked.
AL9000: You guys have some beautiful concept art posted on your website as well as a few renders on the Mod Database from last year, but you haven't put out any new media in quite awhile. When can we expect to see some more concrete media rolling out?
MagicGangsta: Oh yes. We just hired a new mapper who is building some amazing concept maps in HL1. Once we get the SDK in our grubby little hands expect a lot of media to start popping up. I have to give huge credit to Divad, our very talented and devoted French painter.
AL9000: Okay, now for the fun part. Lovecraft's stories often deal with an inquisitive individual unearthing some terrifying secret or encountering some horrible beast. What's the most sickening thing you've ever walked in on?
MagicGangsta: Hmmmm, it'd have to be waking up from a smashing drunken party the night before to see myself in the mirror naked. True story! Ahhh, the college days...
AL9000: Ah yes we've all been there before...one last question, will Cthulu make an appearance in the game?
MagicGangsta: ...maybe *evil grin*
AL9000: I'm tapped out on questions, so I wish you and your team the best of luck. Any final statements you'd like to make, or any announcements?
MagicGangsta: I just want to let everyone know we are still hiring talent. So if you dig horror and want to work with a talented team that's messed up in the head, visit our site and drop us a line!
AL9000: Thank you for your time, I sincerely look forward to playing what all of you put so much hard work into.
MagicGangsta: Pleasure was all mine.
Again I would like to thank MagicGangsta for taking time out of his busy schedule to conduct this interview with us. I was originally going to interview both Magic and CoyoteRys, but unfortunately CoyoteRys fell ill with the flu shortly before the interview, so we hope he gets well soon!