Guess who just crossed my "line of death"!
Pappy: Have you been encouraged by the Betas you've released or Alphas you've tested under a closed atmosphere?
Bjoern: Testing with the other people working on MFQ3 is quite difficult because they come from all over the world and often only have 56k modems, so this is not really an option. I did some tests with them nevertheless to find out how the game handles in high-ping situations. I have had a couple of test-sessions with my colleagues at work though (which is a good thing because I am working at a gaming company and the feedback from the colleagues is therefore really very helpful), and the game turned out to be good fun even though it is still in a very early stage.
Pappy: How long has the project been in development, and using this as a guide, how long do you expect it to take before it's a completed work you can sit back from and smile?
Bjoern: The plans for making MFQ3 are quite old already (as it is the sequel to AirQuake2), but the actual work began in October/November 2000. With all those ideas from the community it is pretty much "open end". But I would like to get the basic features (planes, helicopters, ground vehicles, infantry, guided weapons, training mode, single mission, campaign, special mulitplayer modes) all done as quick as possible and release that as version 1.0. And from then on it will be "add-ons" like extra gamesets etc.
Pappy: What have been the hardest goals to achieve to date, and do you have them licked or still on the drawing board?
Bjoern: The hardest goal is to get a game done that is easy to play and still offers a lot of functionality, and that can satisfy a lot of people. There are for example two groups in the community, one of them preferring Quake-like controls (ie like the current point-to-fly system), the other preferring more sim-like controls that allow all those special maneuvers like barrel rolls and looping etc; for that group I will soon start working on a sphisticated control system -for which a joystick will be recommended- and I guess this will be the hardest challenge...after all Q3 is an action-game and not a sim. But I am quite confident that I will be able to code something that will give them what they want
Pappy: Was it difficult getting a team together, and are you still looking for help?
Bjoern: Actually in MFQ3 there is no real "team", I'd rather call it a "community project". That way I hope to keep the motivation for people higher. They don't have to stick to deadlines and dont get their work from me. Rather they can choose which vehicles they would like to see in the game, and can build them and send them to me. This also allows people working "full-time" on other projects to still contribute this or that piece to our mod. And if they don't feel like working on it for some time, they can just have their break, and come back when they feel like it again. Of course this system requires quite a few people to be working on the mod to really get a lot done, but I think when I provide new features with the code I write people will get the motivation to build models and maps for it. The main reason for me to release the mod at this early stage is actually to find more people interested in working on the mod, at the moment we are in need for maps and also models (+skins).
Pappy: What do you think are the strongest points or features about your project that will attract players?
Bjoern: It offers people to play Q3 in a completely different way - flying and driving around, but unlike sims this is very easy to do, and it also offers faster gameplay than games with a similar scope.
Pappy: How open do you think you are to community suggestions, and have there been many?
Bjoern: As I said, MFQ3 is meant to be a community project anyway, and many of the ideas came from the message boards of our homepage. And if I have a new idea I often just bring it to the message board where we can discuss it and find all the pros and cons before actually implementing it. Of course not everything can go into the game, because there is some kind of "outline" of what the mod should be - and it should also be fun for me to work on :-)
Pappy: Why did you choose the Quake 3 engine for your work?
Bjoern: Mainly because I was already familiar with it after working on Quake2 before, and also because I think it offers the most possibilities to change the game into something you want it to be.
Pappy: If you could have anything you want happen with the project, what would that be?
Bjoern: Get all the planned features in. :-)