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The Ship - Interview

20.07.2004 | 00:38 Uhr | von Toto
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Interview with Simon Hill, Producer and Designer at The Ship Mod

HLP: Hello Simon, please tell us who you are and what you do in reallife (name, age, residence) and tell us something about your function.

Simon Hill: I'm Simon Hill, 28 years old and living in Edinburgh. I'm the Producer at Outerlight and I also work a lot of the time as a Designer.

HLP: What are your tasks, how much influence do you have on the code, mapping, modeling and the other game content?

Simon Hill: I make the schedule in conjunction with code and art, decide on the way forward in design with our creative director and build the maps for the game.

HLP: Is The Ship your first gaming project?

Simon Hill: Strictly speaking no, all the team have worked in the games industry for the last few years but this is our first game project at Outerlight.

HLP: How many people are on the mod team and are you currently searching for someone to help with the mod developement?

Simon Hill: There are currently 10 people working at Outerlight who have produced the mod. We'd be keen to get some support for it to help us improve it. We'll also be looking for support as the core team moves on to full production of the game with a more up to date engine.

HLP: How much time do you spend working on the mod? How long was the mod developed before the first version was done?

Simon Hill: The mod started as a game-play demo for us and a prototype for publishers but we wanted to get some public feedback and allow people to play it. It has been developed off and on for about a year now.

HLP: How comes that we never heard of your mod being developed up to the point when it was released?

Simon Hill: The decision to release the ship mod was only made fairly recently as it was originally designed as a prototype for publishers and game-play testing. We also wanted to be certain about the quality of what we were releasing before we made it available.

HLP: Do you get much feedback regarding the first version of The Ship and if so, is it more positive or negative?

Simon Hill: We have been delighted about the response to the ship and have received a huge amount of feedback, thankfully most of it is very positive and this has had a great motivating effect on the team.

HLP: How did you got the idea of a mod like this? Any influences or inspirations from the real world?

Simon Hill: The idea was inspired by a conversation about a PC game version of the game Killer and developed through countless conversations about what we thought was missing in the world of games. We all like to play FPS games but have become a little bored with the trigger happy nature of deathmatch and few FPS games have really tried to break out of this mould. Anything we thought of which we felt would work, but we hadn't seen before, we tried adding to the game and then decided what did work based on extensive game-play testing.

HLP: What do you think is so special/new about your mod?

Simon Hill: I think our mod is unique and very original and that it could lead the FPS genre in a new direction. We are looking to create an immersive world full of people with different motivations sharing the same space which gives the whole thing some depth.

HLP: Do you plan to work further on the mod and if so, when can we expect the next version and what features will it contain?

Simon Hill: We are working on the next version right now and it should hopefully be ready within the next two weeks. We'll be fixing a few issues such as the quarry changing too often and preparing the game to run on steam as well as introducing at least one new map.

HLP: Will it be full compatible with Steam (because Valve is going to shut WON down)?

Simon Hill: Yes the next version will be fully compatible with Steam. Apologies to any WON users but this is soon to go.

HLP: Is there anything that you can´t realize on the HL1 engine?

Simon Hill: Map size and detail is very limited with Half-Life 1 and we can't get the AI to do many things we would like them to do. Ultimately we reached the limits of Half-Life 1 all too quickly and we can't realise the concept fully using this engine.

HLP: Will you port your mod to the Source engine after HL2 release?

Simon Hill: No comment!

HLP: What is your aim with your mod? Tell us more about your company Outerlight Ltd.

Simon Hill: We want to build up some support for what we are doing and get the online community interested in our games. We also wanted to provide proof of concept for any interested publishers, the idea being that the positive feedback we have received would convince them that this new way to go will be popular with gamers. In the current climate of licenses and sequels it is hard work to prove an entirely new concept or get support for some new IP.

HLP: Have you ever tried to contact Valve regarding your mod? Got any response?

Simon Hill: We have spoken to Valve and they have proven very friendly and helpful though we still look forward to challenging them to a game.

HLP: Ok thanks for your Interview, Simon!
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