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Forsaken Interview
hl2c_articles - | Posted by AL9000 on Aug 21st 04 07:06 PM
AL9000 here, and I got a chance to interview Shrill of the post-apocalyptic themed mod for Half-Life 2, Forsaken.

First introduce yourself and tell us about your role in creating Forsaken.

Hi, my name is Greg Fleming aka Shrill, and I am the lead developer and co-founder of the upcoming post-apocalyptic mod “Forsaken” for HL2, my secondary skills include coding and web design.

How many people are involved in creating Forsaken? What are their duties?

We currently have a team of 11 members including myself, they are: Shrill (leader/coder), Rovient (co-leader, mapper & concept artist), Arrakis (Graphics Artist), X-Convict (weapon modeller/skinner), n30g3n3s1s (player modeller/skinner), Tumababa (Music composer), Legi (concept artist), Boheme (Graphics Artist), SQuid (coder), Fishwalker (coder) and TSK (coder / sound Technician).

We are looking to expand to around 15 members in total when the HL2 SDK is released, and are currently looking for some talented texture artists and animators.

Describe the overall game play experience of Forsaken in a sentence or two.

The year is 2009; 3 years after a super-virus nearly wipes out human life on earth.

With a strong emphasis on urban warfare, team play and realism, 3 remaining factions fight for control of territory and resources in the abandoned cities we once knew as home.

It will take place in mainly urban environments in the cities of New York and London, and consist of round-based games fought over locations that will tie into the rich storyline and feature various missions between the factions involving territory & resource capture, assassination, destruction of targets, and other in-game objectives.

Oops, sorry that wasn’t a sentence or two, but should get the idea across nicely :)

What will set your mod apart from other Half-Life 2 mods?

In general we’re aiming for a quality over quantity with Forsaken.

Gameplay wise we’re pretty excited about the 3-way team play element we have, and in addition we believe the whole story and background that has been created around each of the different teams will further enrich the experience and atmosphere for the players.

One of the grander ideas we have planned is an extended game-mode where your team must push the other faction back over a series of locations all the way to the enemy’s HQ/bunker and finally destroy it, this game mode will be called “Territory War”, and will feature some other unique concepts not yet seen in a mod.

Another aspect that will allow us to stand out will be the use of authentic textures from some of the real-life locations that we will be mapping. For instance in some of the London maps we will be modelling famous street layouts and using authentic photos as textures taken from the actual walls of the buildings on-location.

On your website you mention that the game will have a "Last Breath" feature, can you explain in further detail what this is?

Ahh... I see someone noticed that :)

I'm afraid at this time we cannot go into too much detail as we would like to keep some things top secret until release. However as a quick clue, the "Last Breath" feature will be important in stopping campers and should add an extra level of unpredictability to the game.

I also read that you are considering not having a health bar, is this still under consideration or is it definite?

It’s still under consideration at this time; it will be one of those things we will be beta-testing extensively before any public release. We are going for a pretty minimal HUD and have discussed the lack of on-screen health indication as a possible way of adding to the realism and more natural, instinctive play we hope to achieve.

Why did you decide to leave out the accuracy decrease while in motion for the pistols/thrown weapons?

This would come under the realism vs. fun angle of things, we are determined to keep things as realistic and believable as possible in the Forsaken world, however there are certain areas where we will selectively bend these rules and allow for the game play to be a little more open and approachable. Allowing for grenades to be thrown fairly accurately whilst on the move making them an even deadlier weapon, for example.

While we are concentrating on realism, things like this may lead players to explore a more experimental style of play, perhaps fancying their chances with a quick pistol fight or accurate grenade throw. While it’s pretty likely they will put cut down by heavier fire, it will allow for more varied styles of play to emerge.

You have a very original and well thought-out background story for the mod, which would make for a great singleplayer experience. Have you considered creating a singleplayer portion of the mod as well?

Thank you, I’m glad you like our storyline.

We have considered a single-player experience since our story does lend itself to it quite nicely. However at this stage we will be putting our full effort into the multi-player experience.

Currently no single player is currently planned, although this could change in future.

Have you used any movies/books as references in creating this post-apocalyptic world?

Rovient (Dan Leaver) and I are the original founders of Forsaken, coming up with the concept during the summer of 2003 and then sitting on the idea until the time was right and we felt the release of HL2 was finally looming.

We have used various sources of inspiration for the Mod including the movies; 28 days later, Equilibrium, Matrix, Face Off, Reign of Fire and Mad Max, to name a few. We have also been broadly inspired by the Fallout game series, and several other post-apocalyptic games and mods out there.

However, saying that, all of these were only used for basic inspiration and the Forsaken world and storyline is an original creation thought up over several months and is the outcome of our own concepts and game play ideals mixed with a healthy amount of inspiration and creativity.

When can we expect to see some new media?

We have another content update scheduled very soon. :)

What weapons are going to be available in Forsaken? Is this subject to change?

We have purposely kept the weapon selections in Forsaken fairly minimal for now – this is so we can focus on the game play elements and general feel of the game before we expand the arsenal and maps.

The list of weapons currently planned for our initial release is as follows: Taurus Raging Bull, H&K MK23 Handgun, Walther P99 (Dual Pistols), Beretta 1201F Shotgun, Ingram MAC M10 (Dual Uzi's), SA80 Assault Rifle, AI L96/ AW Series Rifle, RPG launcher, Fragmentation Grenade, Molotov (Petrol bomb).

As for new weapons - we shall add them to each faction logically over time whilst being careful to keep things well-balanced and as realistic as possible.

About what percentage of the mod is complete at this moment?

I would estimate we are around the 10% completion stage at this time.

If your team were given the opportunity to go retail, would you go for it?

It’s hard to say, we probably won’t be able to really make that decision until ultimately faced with it.

The mod team has not been put together with a commercial product in mind and we are certainly not in this for profit. It’s purely for the enjoyable experience of creating a Mod, working in a team towards a common goal, and watching your idea grow from concept to creation and take shape in the form of an enjoyable game experience.

I can confirm at this moment in time, we have no plans whatsoever to charge gamers for playing Forsaken.

I would like to thank Shrill for taking the time to do this interview for us. We are all eagerly awaiting HL2 and all the great looking mods such as Forsaken that will surely follow.

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