Interview with SoUlFaThEr
Posted on: 16.09.2015 22:37
Let's have a conventional start, please introduce yourself to the readers.
My name is Tim "SoUlFaThEr" Lippert and I am the Producer/Project Lead/Lead Level Designer of the game, Kreedz Climbing, otherwise known as KZmod :D BAAAAM I am a Cisco Certified Network Admin for a well known ISP during the day, game freak at night :D
So you've got a lot of experience in IT engineering or whatever you call it? Helped a lot with KZMod development huh?
Actually working with a companies LAN network or configuring BRAS/DSLAMs on the real WAN, has nothing to do with what I do in the game, but I frickin love it none the less. This whole IT stuff started when my Dad bought me a Commodore64 when I was like 10 or 11 and I turned a Dungeons&Dragons module I wrote for TSR into a screen by screen quest game. From that day on, I wanted to make a real game. The rest is like, extra because none of it helps you create a map or organize a team to make a game :D
I see. It's a known fact that the KZMod development team consists of you and Raptor, can you once and for all make it clear about each one's responsibilities and fields of work in game's development?
Well in short, (lol not really) Raptor is the C++ Master-Mind Programmer/External Program Programmer and at the same time goes half with me on the creative game design factors. I am mainly the Lead Level Designer, but also do a lot of other crap like texture creation, voice acting, sound creation, soundscripting, organize the games base Library and basically keep an overview over the main direction of the game and those who have had anything to do with it in the past. Seriously though, we are a democracy and always have been. No decision is made alone. We made this together. There are a TON of people to mention though that have helped us over the years. I thank them all right now yet again!
Is there an interesting background behind the two of you making up the team? How did you guys get to team up or have you known each other before all this?
Well, this may come as a complete Shock (pardon the pun there!), but I televised that we were looking for a Programmer after Beta1 was out, and this punk ass 14 year old kid from Scottland wrote me. He blew my frickin mind and was hired. After a short while I realized how incredible we was going to be, like stocked to the brim with intelligence, and I did everything to keep him around, and also did a few things to chase him away. *wink* That's life, but we became REALLY good friends over this whole thing and It is his fault that basically my dream of making a game came true!
Pardoned. From your words, it sounds like you've had a head start before you both met. Who has been coding the whole thing back then?
Yeah, in fact I had a total of 3 different guys "attempt" to write code for a timer entity, change some movement parameters, give godmode permanently. One guy changed some simple movement parameters and quit to go make Battlegrounds 1 and 2 with his best friend, another gave Godmode but the Source code was way over his head, and finally the one that deserves a serious mention was back in 2006 about 4 months after the release of the HL2DM source code, is Kaos_Nyrb, who finally gave us a working timer, helped create the entity work for the "Dance" map type and the Bungee. He did a lot of other small things too but those are the most notable. He helped us to a release of Beta 1, which already hit 1 million downloads, then had to go on to other things in his life. He actually showed up at our big Beta 4.2 release. Raptor has since fixed all of his old "interesting" code hehe.
It's now a month since KZMod has been integrated into Xtreme-Jumps and although it might yet be a short time frame to tell but are you per chance satisfied with what's shaping up? Is it yet too earlty to draw an analogy to kzmod.com (previous game's home)?
Well, so far I am happy with it's progress, thanks mostly to Coppenst. Fame has helped out a lot with page coding etc. too. There is a ton of room for improvement and we fully know this, however, I must point out that expectations seem to be extremely high here on XJ. You can't really expect 2 guys to be as organized as a full admin team, banging shit out left and right. XJ used to have up to 15 or 20 admins working to make this site what it is today and somehow people forget that. We are doing our best, but this will grow slowly and we can only do this with increased initiative and help from the community *Hint-Hint*. Me, Pete, and everyone else who helped us out creating this game only wanted to deliver you the best possible game you could have for this awesome Kreedz community. We created it for basically everyone here.
That community we had on the KZmod site, other than 2 individuals, was perfect harmony. No flamers, everyone was very helpful. They all got involved in their own way making it what it was, and everyone respected each others strengths and weaknesses. It was extremely mature on that site. We have to earn that here yet, I think, through action.
The game is really good, in my opinion. The only thing that is missing as of now is proper promotion. Have you considered getting the game into Steam's Greenlight?
You are absolutely right about the missing promotion which requires money, an investment to get the name out there. Unfortunately, since we give the game for free, and always will, there will be no classic promotion unless we magically get big donations. We WOULD put this into promotion too. About Greenlight. That is definately the plan. We want all of you to have an easier way to get updates more frequently. We would like to reach a larger crowd. We would like to have Achievements and a Workshop. We have a few issues to iron out and a something super special to finish, and then we are going for it. We only ask for support in this: VOTE FOR US!!!! (when the time comes you will know).
This sounds like a promising plan. You mentioned game updates, would you say KZMod is technically-wise a nearly complete game or is there still a lot of work to be done?
I had some rather large goals for this game from before I even had a programmer to help with it, that still have not been tackled yet. Technically, the game is presently VERY smooth and polished in many ways, but doesn't meet the AAA Quality by any means. I was flattered by the words of a Valve Employee I recently spoke to who flat out said our game is far better than many that made it through Greenlight, but in my eyes, it is far from being "finished". Yes, there is still a LOT we could do. Any of you CS:GO players out there know a good modeler who could give us a hand? Sorry for that pun too hehehe
You mentioned finishing something super special.. care to expand on that?
That's an "ObsessionSoft Secret".Maybe shouldn't have said it at all, but its true; it is special. Unfortunately, I can't reveal that yet, because we are unsure if this "Thing" will work as we hope it will. It does look promising and will blow everything else away that is similar to it. How's that?
Sure does sound thrilling, I will personally look forward to it. However, I've heard there were complaints on the ingame animations being not so nicely made, have you considered improving this?
Of course, we have. This is what I meant earlier when I said the game is far from being done. I would honestly like to look down in the game and see my own legs, for example. I don't really know who I have to kill to get an animator that can help us out with more professional animations. Again, this would be possible if we magically had a big Donation because most who have this ability, do it for a living. We are going to be stuck with these Source HL2DM animations for a while. People are complaining about Valves work here and may not realize this. It's only cosmetic anyway. It doesn't affect the gameplay at all. So far, we have one guy who COULD try it, but he won't. I hope he reads this....
That's a really nice idea, would feel much like parkour, some real life experience in the game, that's fantastic. So you never believed in the donations idea?
Well on the KZmod site we had a donations button and only 3 people used it and donated for specific game features which they also got. It was invested in a server for 1 month. We made it a point to be free of charge to play. Donations are absolutely welcome of course but we have no place to put a button for the game, but this will soon take place we hope. We have also thought about Kickstarter and Patreon, but I am not 100% sold on the idea that those sites will even work in our favor. Our crowd is very young.
Please keep us up to date with that. Something I have been curious about: in the early stages of development, did you think of implementing any special features into the gameplay that we didn't get to see in today's Kreedz Climbing 2.0? Maybe something you wanted to do but didn't have enough resources and/or in the end, decided it wasn't necessary?
Yes, there are a few things wanted but not yet achieved. One of them was a built-in Tournament mode that would run automatically when turned on. It was meant to constantly run 1-on-1 battles on regular jump maps and would be using an old CS1.6 Bot Waypoint navigation technology. A Mapper could deliver his map including this waypoint file that marked each jump so the "Mode" would know who got further. A few other things were hand models for each player model that so far hasn't happened, and one thing that actually MIGHT finally appear soon: Ghost mode, where you can race against your last attempt. I wanted a Ninja player model since Beta 1 but....Modelers/animators are hard to find who are interested in doing anything but guns. Player models, and those who can make them are expensive.
Oh the ghost mode, this is something soon to come in 1.6 and I love the idea of it. Why didn't you get to finish the tournament mode?
We actually never started the tournament mode because so many other things had a much higher priority. One thing that seperates us from so many other mod developers is that we listen very closely to what the players want. Fixing bugs and delivering things they want is number one. Adding new features is always second place.
And while we're at it, I was holding this question for you, do you see Tournaments for KZMod? Is it ready for that? Is it technically possible? You know, the simultaneous start and such.
Principally, we have a working cup plugin, but something changed with the Sourcemod Server plugin and it no longer works as it used to and hence, requires us to get in touch with Allied Modders to have our game added to the database or whatever. Then it would be possible again to hold more serious cups. I honestly can't wait for that.
This is something to look forward to. What about new features in KZmod like Rocket-Jumping?
Dafuq?! Now you want Rocket-Jumping? :D
I'm just trying to understand what this amazing engine is capable of. What other wild ideas do you have for disciplines?
Well for starters we could do basically anything we want with this engine other than making an Open World, randomly generated MMORPG out of it. Within its BSP Technology limits, we COULD add more disciplines like rocket-jumps, grenade jumps like they are done in CSS, and also add the entire movement scheme of CS:GO just like we added 1.6 movement. Is that what people want? I think only very few want this kind of stuff. Our point with the game was to unite all movement based "disciplines" and specialties from the various Source games starting with jumping, bhop, and surf.
Wow, what a blast of information, thanks for being such a kind SoUl...fadda :D I wish you and Raptor all the best for KZmod. Anything you want the community to know before we end this?
Thank you for the interview, it was fun :D What do I want them to know? hmmm I want them to know this wasn't possible without the highly tuned talents of Raptor. I want them also to know that it makes both of us very happy to see people playing the game, setting records and making maps again. We made this for you. Keep on playing it because we strongly believe the game deserves this attention. Vote for us when we attempt Greenlight. One word: Automatic downloads and achievements! Peace!