Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wolfer Q&A: Codetech

NickName: Codetech84
Location: Finland
Website: KFH Games

Q. Where did your nickname come from and why did you choose it?
A. This was after the source code of Wolfenstein-3D had been released, I used to go to the old Brandon Farmer's message boards for coding tips. I wanted to start it with Code as that was my main interest and then I came up with Codetech because it sounded very, "techy" and cool at the time. Then I just added the decade and year of birth to the end as it was the popular back then. Before working with Megabyte I also went by the name of Codetech Software and did some mods which were never released.

Q. When did you first play Wolfenstein 3d?
A. I'm not exactly sure but I did get the full version on a couple of floppies from a friend. I thought it was cool that you could kill Hitler and you could actually recognise him saying goodbye to Eva as he died, also the "Let's see that again" used to be cool. You couldn't really make any sense of most of the sounds and the "custom interpretations" were usually quite hilarious. When I discovered Schabbs he became my favorite boss, because of his maniacal laughter and bloody outfit. Besides, you gotta love evil Nazi scientists, that's for sure.

There was this version of Wolfenstein-3D on a school computer that had weapons replaced with *ahem* male private parts. Finnish name for the mod was "Kyrpenstein", which would translate to "Cockenstein". It was probably the first wolf mod I ever saw and it was based on the shareware version of Wolfenstein. It may as well be where I first got WolfEdit, but I'm not sure.

Q. How did you come to be part of the Wolfenstein 3d Community?
A. When iD released the source-code for wolf I started posting at Brandon Farmer's source code message board and later on the Tekkoudan message board. Some veteran wolfers were also on these boards, Chris, Leo, Luke Strauman, and Nayt Smith at least spring in my mind.

The reason I started posting there was that I wanted to learn more of changing the game itself and later I wanted to do some advanced stuff like body armor, separate ammo types and the rocket launcher we saw in Beyond Wolfenstein II SE and the sitting guards of Western Wall and stuff like that. I was never satisfied with the original game as I'm a bit of a perfectionist. In the message boards I was one of those requesting for the rocket launcher tutorial and the BW2SE source code.

Later on I joined the DieHard Wolfers and Wolf3D Haven. I have no recollection where I found about DieHard Wolfers though, but I have been there the whole time, the forums I mean.

Q. What is the best part about being involved in the Wolfenstein 3d Community?
A. Well at first it was a good place to get help and find tutorials, but nowadays the best part is to share a common interest with bunch of people from around the world. Because the community is quite small, you really feel like home there and it's also the perfect audience for mods I suppose.

I have a bad reputation of being this arrogant guy who doesn't release any tutorials for any of the more advanced stuff. For my defence, I'm a pretty competitive and I find releasing mods to be a sort of a competition of who does what first and I keep secrets mainly to not allow some of the stuff I've done to become "mainstream", from a community standpoint that's wrong and I've been correcting this behavior a bit by helping out when I can.

Help is readily available at the forums and it's definitely a good thing. More members would of course be nice, but I guess due to the restrictions placed on registering, the forum is slowly dying as people silently leave the forums and move on.

Q. How did your collaboration with Megabyte come about and how do you decide who works on what?
A. We know each other in real life and I knew he was working on Haunted House, it was an interesting concept and I decided to offer some of my reloading of weapons and inventory code I did for a mod of mine that I never finished. I Also ended up doing weapons and some sprites and we haven't done much by ourselves since, kind of funny when you think about it, we still have the same roles we had back then.

Q. Your first release, Haunted House, showed great promise but unfortunately only made it to being released as a Demo. What caused this not to proceed any further?
A. We lacked skill in all areas of modding. But where it failed, was quite simply, the planning. We never had a story or any ideas for the levels, enemies or anything. We just made some graphics, which by today's standards are quite horrific, did a basic mansion layout from the outside and filled the blanks with ripped graphics and repeated rooms. The basic idea was to make a game with zombies, werewolves, Frankenstein and stuff like that, and fit all that to a small haunted house, it was a recipe for total failure.

We quickly hacked up a story in five minutes, zipped it and shipped it and the five level demo was released which became a cult classic I suppose. And when I look back the code for it, *sigh*, I completely understand why I never managed to fix the shotgun reloading bug.

It did end up having like 20 maps or so, but we ran out of ideas what to cram in a house. We had like five libraries and five toilets and studies per floor, we just didn't want to release that.

We did try to reboot the idea a couple of times and it failed to the same thing, planning. Only thing I can say at this point is that do not make a fan remake about Haunted House. I will promise you one thing, if and when it's done, the wait will totally be worth it.

Q. Details emerged recently that some of your HH artwork was taken and used without permission which may have contributed to HH not be finished. What is the truth in relation to this?
A. We tried to protect the graphics by renaming the game files, but eventually someone figured it out and posted the information on how to get Haunted House open with an editor.
I only remember two incidents with Haunted House graphics, one of them was the tombstone graphic that was in Sensemann and the other was Resident Evil mod that took all the weapons and bunch of other graphics and sounds, neither had any impact on the development of Haunted House.
We did however realize that we would have to start making more original artwork. Wolfenstein Reloaded featured a lot of our own graphics, but it wasn't until after that when we made it as our policy at KFH Games to create all original graphics, no more taking from anywhere (apart from Klooni).
Bygones be bygones on my part, I'm not holding any grudges, hopefully I get the same treatment back. But people please, remember to give credits where they are due!

Q. Where did the idea come from to redo all the original Wolf 3d releases for your 'Reloaded' series?
A. It was Megabyte's idea (again), I wasn't even on the project. He started to graphically rebuild wolf while I was working on something completely unrelated, if I remember correctly it was "a-star pathfinding" and grenades. I had some trouble with those and I started working on code for him, I think it was called 'Wolfenstein 3D Gold Edition' at that point. We had to come up with a name that hadn't been seen in Wolf remake before to avoid confusion, so I came up with 'Wolfenstein Reloaded' and we both agreed it was ok. It was well received and we decided to do the whole series, but keep somewhat uniform line through all mods.

Q. There has been a few Wolf 3d mods released where modders have had a go at doing Doom in Wolf 3d with very mixed results, what led you to have a go at making a Wolf 3d/Doom mod?
A. This was something that both of us had wanted to do for a long time. Being competitive I wanted to go "all in" and redefine the whole concept of WolfenDoom, so 'DoomTC' was born. I guess one reason would be the desire to make maps to Doom but with the editors and mapping for Doom itself being complex' it was only natural to bring Doom to Wolf. At one point I came up with the name 'Klooni' for what had previously been 'DoomTC'. It's a Finnish word that means "clone" and I chose it because I could easily convert the DooM title text to it :P. It wasn't very stable and it was received in a very mixed way, some praised it and some felt that we did a poor job. We are currently updating it to the current generation, which is 4SDL, and I fear people are already dusting off their pitchforks for the second coming!

Q. Do you feel that 4SDL will allow you to add or do more things with future mods that haven't been able to do in your Dos mods?
A. Oh yes, definitely, if only I could show you what some stuff that I have been working on in secret! The main reason for going with Wolf4SDL is to be able to work on projects in their natural environment, DOS has died a long ago and it's time to move on. It will also bring new possibilities like higher quality audio and removes the 640k restriction. Also with 4SDL, a wider audience can be reached.

Q. Do you have plans for another mod and do you also plan to do the 'Wolfenstein: Lost Episodes' releases as 'Reloaded' versions?
Only Return to Danger, the other mission pack only deals with a tunnel network under Reichstag. We already covered the F├╝hrer Bunker in 'Wolfenstein Reloaded' and the underground tunnels sounds very boring environment for a mod.

Q. What has been the most rewarding thing that's come from Wolf and your mods? A. Seeing that people play your mods and comment on them. Also when you do something new that hasn't been seen before, it is always nice to get the reactions. Actually all of the above is only the second best thing, the most rewarding thing is to actually get something done, when you work and struggle with something for a long time and you get it out, that's when you really feel satisfaction regardless of what people may think about it. What people think about passes on to the next project however.

Q. What are some of your favorite Wolf 3d mods that you've played, other than your own?
A. This may come as a shock, but I don't really play much mods, I do check out the most promising sets however. When I play something, I immediately think how I would've done something differently. I have played through Spear Resurrection however, it was revolutionary at the time. I also thoroughly enjoyed Orb of Dilaaria, it was quite something. And to confess, I watched the walkthrough of WSJ's Castle Totenkopf SDL on YouTube and it had some very good ideas and the sound and music gave it a lot of immersion, I did try it myself for a few levels before watching the videos.

Q. Why do you feel that Wolf 3d has such a long lasting legacy being it was released so long ago?
A. I think it's the fact that it's so easy to pick up and play. Without the release of source code and editing tools, I doubt it would have as many followers though. And now with Wolf4SDL I think the legacy is safe for another decade.

Q. Any words of wisdom you would like to leave us with?
A. A wise man once told me... least may have told me...
...could have told me if I had met one...
...ah shit, I'm just making this up... goes...

"Giving up is always the easy way out, never take that route."

Codetech's Wolfenstein Mods, Contributions & Utilities
Mods Released
Haunted House Demo (2002)
Wolfenstein Reloaded (2006)
Klooni (2008)
Spear of Destiny Reloaded (2010)

Mapset Contributions
DHW Map of the Month contests (2007);
- June 2007 - 1 Level (Luger me Now!!)
- July 2007 - 1 Level (Familiar Shape)

Final Fight 2 (2010) - Coding

Utilities Released
Check free Databytes (CFDB)
Project Manager

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