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    PlanetQuake | Articles | Interviews | Big Fuzzy Focus: Tribal CTF

Big Fuzzy Focus: Tribal CTF
Tribal gets personal!
— by IceStorm and Pappy-R

 - click for full size image
New worlds through the haze of power!

Pappy: What have been the hardest goals to achieve to date, and do you have them licked or still on the drawing board?

Appendix: For me the hardest goal was to keep motivated when we went through some rough times. We always seemed to manage to keep our heads up though and our small and dedicated team still holds strong. We've been around for almost 2 years now and have seen alot of things go wrong, getting fixed again, losing team members and so on which can get you down now and then. The good side for me is that most of the things we had planned to have in the new game have actually made it in there. Luckily there are only a couple of ideas we had to let go and which haven’t made it into the new version. We have much new material on the drawing board already which will be included in future updates. For now I'm happy with what we pulled and I'm proud about the new 2.0 release.

Adonis: The hardest overall goal has been the integration of the 3-team gameplay In every aspect of the Game/mod. Making a good Hud that gives good and clear information with as less space as possible, creating the right voice sounds that give you info on the state of the game while playing without going overkill with the number of sounds and the length of them. Mapping with 3 different designs but still maintaining balance and just maintain overall balance in the total layout of the whole map both entity and architectural wise. Creating an art and level design that can be integrated into one map.

Another hard part of the project has been the down periods in which things looked really grim and getting everybody motivated again. At some time in the project I was the only one working on TribalCTF cause of real life stuff of other members. That must have been my worst time. But I think after that really dark period we came out stronger with a better sense of what our goals were and how to achieve them.

There's another hard goal ahead of us. You may guess what. Things look good at this moment but it will be a lot of work. They call it singleplayer :). I'm not making any promises but this stuff will be further investigated after this release.

Pappy: Was it difficult getting a team together, and are you still looking for help?

Appendix: When we first started out and Adonis asked me if I would like to do a mod with him it was only him and me for 5 months. We did everything ourselves ranging from maps, art and so on. When the time was ready and we released our first website (at Gameseek back then) some more peeps joined us. We intentionally kept our team as small as possible and it's quite unique actually If you look at the amount of content we have made compared to the size of the team. For a year I was the only artist and had to do all the skins, textures, Ui and so on. Now I’m happy to have Godee at my side who has recently joined to help out with the new artwork. Adonis has always been the only mapper on our team and it must be said: it's absolutely amazing what he's created all on his own. We have a very complete and friendly team of talented enthusiasts which I love working with. We are not in need of extra help at this moment which is cool. There's nothing worse than lacking a modeler or coder when you need one!

Adonis: Initially things went smooth. Getting Appx on the project was pretty easy. We're good friends in real life and I knew he would like the idea. Then there was Sponze our first coder I caught him while he was drunk and convinced him to join :). He had to quit because of school but gave Tribal CTF a basis to work on. Shortly after I caught another real life friend Mit he took over the code part with great success. But then the harder things came: Finding modelers and other mappers. At first it was hard because we had trouble finding the right guys, later on it was hard keeping the team together!. If I look back quite a few guys came and left but nearly all of them without any feeling of resentment. Most of the time they had to quit because of personal stuff. Other times it was because of differences in design philosophy. Still I would like to thank these guys cause, without these people Tribal CTF wouldn't be what it is today. In the end we now have a team we can be proud of with lots of talent and persistence. At the moment we're not really in need of coders, modelers or mappers but more in need of people that could help us with running leagues, servers, testing etc.

Pappy: What do you think are the strongest points or features about your project that will attract players?

Appendix: Of course 3-team CTF rocks and I've never had so much fun with an online game as with Tribal CTF. A good game of deathmatch is tonnes fun but kind of wears off after a while. Our main goal with Tribal CTF was to make it as fun and solid as possible with as little features necessary. We are very cautious about adding all sorts of extra features, classes and powerups for example. New players will have a very hard time getting into the game and will easily be scared off by the shear amount of features and stuff they need to learn before they can actually enjoy the game they want to play. Unlike other large mods Tribal CTF is very easy to understand even for the non-CTF experienced player and new players can get into some fun games right away! That's one of the key-concepts behind our game; it has to be fun and easy to get into. When we held a LAN party a few weeks ago one of my friends who normally don’t play CTF said something that proved just that: 'This is much more fun than normal CTF because it doesn't really 'feel' like you're playing CTF. It's a CTF game but the whole atmosphere makes the game more fun and attractive than just Red and Blue CTF'

Adonis: The Best part for me is that the game sucks you in its world. The feeling of being there is much stronger than in other action Multiplayer game I've played. I also love the fact that with good thinking you can achieve a lot in a game of Tribal CTF. So if you lack the skills of railing you can compensate by playing smart and sneaky. That's the big advantage of 3-team gameplay. It adds so much to the gameplay that comparing it with 2-team CTF is nearly impossible. You can't play the ‘sneaky style’ of game with 2 teams. I love hanging and hiding in the middle of a map waiting to hijack a recently caught flag from a guy who busted his ass getting it :). I could go on with examples why we rock but I think this should be sufficient. Blah!

Pappy: How open do you think you are to community suggestions, and have there been many?

Appendix: I think we're very open to discussion and suggestions from the community. We had quite some feedback on our previous release and we've taken everything into account with creating the new 2.0 release. Community players are often able to tell you what's popular and what works and what not because they play those games a lot. As a developer you look at certain things in a different way so it's good to hear from the people who are actually playing your game!

Adonis: Yes I do think we're open minded. I do demand good backing for features or changes cause people often tend to forget a lot of stuff. But nonetheless that can sometimes still be useful because it leads to other revelations. My only problem is that most of the time only "hardcore" players give real gameplay related feedback. I have nothing against hardcore players. They often give very good feedback and stuff to think about but this also means that the opinion of the more mainstream part of the gaming community isn't heard. Or it must be that those guys just think the game is as good as they can imagine and they don't see the flaws that harcore gamers do.

But the greatest part of the feedback that we act on comes from our own testing team and some of our loyal fans that can't test but still give good feedback and ideas. Suffice to say. Every mail will be read and we're always open to suggestions as long as they don't screw up the core of the design.

Pappy: Why did you choose the Quake 3 engine for your work?

Appendix: When we first started the project Q3A wasn't released yet and we were in the late days of the Q2 engine. Everyone was still playing Q2 but the hype around Q3A's revolutionary graphical engine was beginning to swell. We never really concidered any other engine, the Q3A engine seemed like the only logical choice to us. Team Arena's terrain feature is pretty neat and really proved a breakthrough for us regarding some problems we had with the map capabilities of the regular Q3A.

Adonis: I had been awaiting this engine way before the game came out. I started drawing rough sketches form curve designs combined with brushwork way back at the end of 1998. The possibilities on a map design point of view are HUGE. I also loved the scalability of the engine. The dynamic LOD system really helps tribal a lot more than it does quake3 because I use curves more extensively and they get cut down very nicely at long ranges by the LOD system.

Pappy: If you could have anything you want happen with the project, what would that be?

Appendix: (Smiles) Well if I could have anything to happen I would just love the game getting played online a lot. After all that's what it's all about in the first place. Getting feedback from the players around the world and seeing people having a good time playing your game is the best reward there is. We've been busy setting up a League system for our game and I would love that to take off and have weekly planned matches with online results and stats. We just have to see how it goes. We've worked very hard to make this new release a success and we all hope the best for it. But in the end we just have to wait and see what happens...

Adonis: I agree with Appendix. A cheep ass license from Id and a publisher contract to really publish it and sell it like a game when it's finished wouldn’t hurt either! Then we need many people online so that I can create HUGE worlds to fight in with 8 player teams and squads of four wondering into the mountains to go for the cap. Never hurts to dream does it :)

Appendix: Do we get paid for this?

Related Links:
  Tribal CTF
  Tribal CTF v2 Screenshots

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