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The Mutation

Interview by ‘The Mutation’ (April 6, 2003)

Could you tell us who you are?

Just call me Chicken+Ribs Combo. It’s much better than my real name, Gum+Peanuts Combo =p

C’mon, tell us more!

I’m a 24 year old horror game freak and I’m going to scare the wits out of you! I graduated from an artschool a long time ago and have been in love with computer graphics since. Back in highschool I used to write stories and comics and make board games all the time. (Those games broke more friendships than they’ve made, so you know they’ve got to be good!) I always wanted to make a game but never knew how to go about doing it. Nowadays the game companies themselves provide us with the tools needed and there are a billion tutorials on the net, so basement development games are back baby! =p (And really, my name is Gum+Peanuts Combo, I used to get picked on because of it!)

Could you please present us your mod?

Out Of Hell is a single-player TC for UT2003. It’s a horror game that will pit the player against several types of demons and undead. It’s a slower paced game that will take the player through a desolated town filled with flesh eating monsters. The game will focuse primarily on hand-to-hand combat and avoidance to survive. You WILL value your life, you WILL conserve your ammo and you WILL run away like a scared little girl! 😉 The reason being is that there will be no quick health fixes. (That’s right, no health power-ups!) I’ve opted to have the players health regenerate slowly over a period of time. It won’t be enough to help you in the middle of a swarm, however, if you find places to hide, it would serve useful (and believe me, you will be swarmed from ALL sides and there’s no feeling quite like being surrounded and being right in the middle of a slow but indestructable wall of zombies) This will force the player to be cautious and paranoid, and you’ll probably find yourself killing one or two monsters, then running away and hiding under some stairs for a while before venturing out again. 😉 There will be 4 long-ranged weapons, but ammo for weaponry will be scarce, and the player will be forced to conserve for the stronger and quicker monsters in the game. Speaking of which, many of the zombies will be slow moving, but there are some types that move fast and are going to chase you. Others come armed with knives, pipes and shotguns. A typical attack from an unarmed zombie will take out 30% of the player’s health. An armed zombie will take anywhere from 30 – 50%, and anything carrying a shotgun will take off 70% or more. There will be smaller monsters as well as boss characters but it’s too much to get into that right now. 🙂 This will be a atmospheric experience, and you are going to feel outnumbered and helpless. 🙂

And what about the storyline, can you speak about it, or is it still secret?

You’ll be playing the role of a character who is living through the aftermath of a demon invasion from hell. Most of the towns population has been consumed while the rest are turned into mindless walking carcasses. In the begining, the main characters boat malfunctions (he lives in it) and he drifts into a nearby dock. From there, he’ll make his way into town where he’ll meet others who have survived the ordeal. Who he meets and what they all decide to do will be revealed as the story progresses. (I’d hate to spoil it right now, so I’ll just leave it as it is. Sorry. ) Sorry for being so tight lipped, but I’d like it to be a surprise.

This mod represents a lot of work, isn’t it “too much” for only one man?

I guess it depends on how you look at it. I’ve been an artist all my life, so creating things like models and textures don’t take me long to do. I don’t have a big problem in staying motivated, so I pretty much work on it everyday. Certain days I may only put 2 or 3 hours into it, but most of the time it’s 7 or more. Everything is planned out, so it’s simply a matter of sticking to those guidelines and staying motivated enough to do the work. Sure Out Of Hell may sound super ambitious, but I made sure that everything introduced in the game was within my ability to do.

Damn, you’re very impressing. I’d like to know, why choosing the UT engine? why not waiting for Doom 3 which engine seems better that type of mod (dynamic lights and sounds for scaring athmospheres, for example)

Ahahha thanks! 🙂 Well, the doom 3 engine looks absolutely beautiful, but it’s going to take a a big rig to run it. It’s also a ways away, and I need to vent my creative side now! 😉 I suppose I could wait, but when Doom 3 hits, something prettier and even more powerful is going to come by. I’m afraid that if I get trapped in that mindset, I’ll keep jumping from engine to engine and Out Of Hell will never be released. UT2K3 has basically everything ‘out of the box’ to start modding with. There’s a big and supportive community, lots of tutorials so anything is possible, and not too many big name mods out yet, so it’s the perfect place to start. Currently, I think it’s easier to make a single-player type mod using the quake or lithtech engine, but I fell in love with Epic since UT, so I ain’t leavin’ yo!!!. =p

Will you be able to move backward as fast as forward, or will he (they, if it also work.s for NPC) move very slowly like in Resident Evil games?

Currently, the character and all friendly NPC’s run at 50% of the default UT2K3 characters. In-game it feels slower, but not unplayably sluggish. As far as moving slower if you back away, it won’t be applied in the game. I’ll start out by telling people exactly what to expect from Out Of Hell as far as movement and other coding effects go. You may as well slap one of those propeller hats on monkey and get it to start writing .uscript 😉 I have no coding experience, so anything pertaining to physics won’t be changed. People will be able to continuosly jump as long as they want with no affect to their overall speed or attributes. Carrying heavier weapons will not make a person slower either. I know that this may hurt the game in the end, but it’s really too early to tell until I have a playable beta. If ultra-realistic physics were introduced, people may not like how hard it may become as a result. Some things will be changed to make the game more realistic, while others won’t in order to keep the game fun.

Ok, now, next one : That may seem a strange question, but, will the maps be linear? I mean, mutiple paths, or even just a few hidden area, or areas that aren’t needed by the story (like an open house where there’s nothing to do)

Well, the story is linear in that it won’t change according to any decisions you make. But as far as getting from point A to point B, there will be a few different ways of getting there. For example, after the police station, the main character makes his way to city hall. After leaving the station, there will be a couple of different routes he could take that would all eventually lead to city hall. As for hidden areas, there will be quite a few in almost all the levels which would contain weapons and extra ammo. I’d better mention here first that the character won’t be able to enter every building he sees. Every hidden or open building will either contain weaponry or something pertaining to the story. Don’t expect to stop by some apartment building, break into it, go to room 203 and start going through a guys underwear drawer. 😉 It’s simply too much work and wouldn’t serve more than a temporary distraction.

Cool, here comes a big question : will Out of Hell be a first person view mod, or third person view (Resident Evil and Silent Hill)?

It will be a first person game. Everytime I play a 3rd person horror game I always wished it had a first person option. Personally it feels more immersive and scarier to me. 🙂

Sounds good to me. Do you plan a cooperative mode (released as a patch for example)?

Nothing of that sort planned right now, but that doesn’t mean it’ll never happen. 🙂 The levels aren’t big enough to accomodate 2 players, and I’m not sure the type of horror I’m trying to achieve would work as well with a co-op mode.

Here we go for the last question : When do you plan to release Out of Hell, and do you have something planned after OoH?

Hopefully around september/october at the rate things are moving now. Things may change so don’t hold your breath on that date. I hate making people wait but tons of effort needs to be put into making sure it’s a quality and satisfying experience. 🙂 After OOH is released I may start work on a sidestory or I may start work with some other mod teams, but nothing is concrete yet. 🙂

::Hehe, thank you Chicken+Ribs Combo for this interview, please hurry, we want to be frightened!::

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