In the Forums...
Posted April 8, 1999
Written by: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Nevolution, working as a part of the Instant Access development team, is developing an expansion pack for Shogo: MAD. I e-mailed David Gallay over at Nevolution after he got in contact with me about my Shogo: MAD tweak guide, and we set up an interview. Before we get into the actual interview, I will let David explain his part in the project.
"My name is David Gallay, and I am a level designer on the Instant Access Shogo Add-on team. In addition to level designing I also maintain the project design document and have helped write a large part of the backstory. Plus I do conceptual art for the modelers. Whew! However I'm just a small cog in this great team, and you'll really see their work shine when the pack is released. Anyways, on with the questions!"
Tweak3D: Can you give me a brief overview of the story behind your expansion pack?
David: It takes place about a year after the previous game, and deals with the aftermath of the whole Shogo fiasco. This time we move the focus from Sanjuro to his ex-flame Kura and the threat of a new militia of anti-Kato terrorists. Kura has to deal with the death of Hank, the threat of the destruction of human civilization, not to mention the fact that her sister is dating her ex-boyfriend! There's a lot more to it than that of course, but it's too good a story to spoil it now.
Tweak3D: Are there any console commands / scripts / etc. you will be adding to the Lithtech engine for your expansion pack? Will you be using any of the unimplemented commands (such as bumpmaps) in your expansion pack? Is there a possibility of 32bit textures in your expansion pack?
David: We will not be adding a lot of new engine functionality into the expansion -- like most expansion packs go we are focusing on expanding the content and storyline of the game. The engine is great to work with, and we are forcing it to do a lot of great new things without having to hack into the engine source itself.
Tweak3D: Can you give me an example of what you have been able to force the engine to do?
David: Well larger and more complex areas for sure, level wise. We have an excellent programmer by the name of Thor who is really kicking in some great new AI (something which the original game was unfortunately not known for) as well as my good friend Steve who is coding in some really amazing weapons and effects.
Tweak3D: Will your expansion pack include new weapons / vehicles / etc?
David: Of course. However, we are not focusing on throwing in a dozen new weapons with odd key bindings and secondary triggers, etc etc. You want that, go play an Unreal add-on or a good Quake mod. We do have two new MCA vehicles as well as enhanced versions of the original four. We have several new weapons which really add to the play value and really add a sense of intelligence and strategy to your arsenal (as opposed to the addition of an even BIGGER rocket launcher). This will be especially apparent in multi-player when your choice of MCA really will affect your style of play.
Tweak3D: : The levels in Shogo had some interesting and very creative objectives. Will your expansion pack follow (or perhaps improve) on this?
David: That was definitely the best part of Shogo. Monolith really knows how to create a well crafted game with a solid story and unique level design and objectives. We are trying very hard to continue in this tradition. Just looking at the design doc, I barely see any cliché "find the key" levels, if any at all. The trigger/AI system that 'Lith created really opens the door for our level designers creativity.
Tweak3D: What does Shugotenshi mean? You put it at the bottom of all your emails, so I thought I'd ask.
David: Well it's a translation of the Japanese term for "guardian angel" which is a major theme in our storyline.
Note: I later found out that it is also the proposed name of the expansion pack.
Tweak3D: The screenshots you sent me look impressive. But I was wondering, will there be any unique areas, something that will look little or nothing like what we saw in the original?
David: Yup, check out the screens I included this round (these are from my own levels).
Tweak3D: From the answers to my previous questions, I infer that you will be keeping tightly to the success model of Shogo. What kind of improvements, if any, are you planning on adding to this already excellent design model?
David: It will be much more "movie-like" with a thought out plot and storyline flow. Anime is known for its sweeping drama and emotion as well as it's explosive action and we have mixed in some more of the pure dramatic elements for our design. While keeping an eye on gameplay, we are also trying to make the whole game a more "cinematic" experience.
Tweak3D: Shogo's original story left a few "gaps", particularly in who Hank is. You said that Kura will have to deal with Hank's death. Does that mean we may possibly get a peak into who exactly that man is/was?
David: We do learn more about him, expand on the facts from his history that Monolith has already provided on their official website. We basically take all of the characters to the next step, and hopefully add a bit of closure to the story.
Tweak3D: Thanks David! Shugotenshi is due for release in July '99. From what I've seen, it looks to be one of the most promising expansion packs I've ever seen. Thanks again to Nevolution and Instant Access for making this information available.