General FreeSpace > Interviews

FreeSpace Wars: The Return of Machina Terra

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Stormkeeper: Today, we have ShadowWolf of the MT team. In case you're not in the know, MT stands for Machina Terra, I believe.

ShadowWolf IH: Yes it does

Stormkeeper: A project that went into stasis some time back. So, now Shadow is leading the drive to breathe new life into it. So Shadow, why not introduce yourself?

ShadowWolf IH: A little background, I found FS2 as a demo when I needed a space combat sim to integrate into a MechWarrior 3 league.  First project I worked with was Casualties of War, then I went to work on MT.  After that Casualties of War 2, along with a couple of other pet projects, MT Origins, and Mercenaries.  I FRED, play with POF's, and tables voice act things as such

Stormkeeper: So when did you join HLP?

ShadowWolf IH: Late 2001 I think.  Maybe early 2002. I’d have to look to get an exact date.

Stormkeeper: Mmm. When did you start FREDding?

ShadowWolf IH: 2001, on a Sunday, after I finished FS1 which I bought that Friday.

Stormkeeper: Started on FRED 1?

ShadowWolf IH: yeah.  that's where i cut my teeth with FRED so to speak.

Stormkeeper: And the first project you FREDded was Casualties of War. What was that campaign about?

ShadowWolf IH: an S.O.C operative extraction in the Vasudan Upuaat system needed extraction.  you were a member of the S.O.C doing the job. Aldo was the project head. Awesome models.

Stormkeeper: And after that you worked on MT. So tell us, what exactly is MT about?

ShadowWolf IH: Wow.  I don't want to give too much away.

Stormkeeper: The basic premise, then.

ShadowWolf IH: Machina Terra is about a reopening of the node back to Earth. It has everything you've come to expect from FreeSpace; religious zealots, Shivan incursions and a few new things. To me it is very logically the next step in the FS story.

Stormkeeper: So who was originally working on it?

ShadowWolf IH: Styxx.  This is his brainchild.   His vision, we are just keeping it going now.

Stormkeeper: Other than Styxx, who was the original team?

ShadowWolf IH: Icefire, Shrike, basically the "legendary HLP guys".

Stormkeeper: Those of legend, eh? So how far was development along when it stopped?

ShadowWolf IH: the models were done, the missions needed tweaking, chatter, and dialogue.  not to mention my horrid typos needed to be fixed, and the final mission needed to be finished.

Stormkeeper: So it was almost finished, then?

ShadowWolf IH: Yes and no.

Stormkeeper: What d'ya mean?

ShadowWolf IH: probably in 8 months it would have been releasable.  but we fell into the SCP’s newest and shiniest trap; changing things to take advantage of the SCP.

Stormkeeper: Of adding new stuff.

ShadowWolf IH: Now we have to remake all of the models for HTL and all the textures. We're combating it though.

Stormkeeper: But the models are unchanged?

ShadowWolf IH: Other than HTL?  I can only think of one model in which the low poly version was scrapped, and that was by Styxx, who built it in the first place, and he redid it. New one looks better, lol.

Stormkeeper: Any screenies to show?

 ShadowWolf IH: that's one thing I am trying to organize, getting all of the old screenies, figuring out which ones are still viable, gather new ones from the team We should have something soon enough.

Stormkeeper: So who's on the new team?

ShadowWolf IH: Eliex, Raven2001, Spicious, Gloriano, Dark-Shadow, Freespaceking, Pecinipecik, (I can never spell that right, I just call him Pec) Kie99, and me. Those are the active members at the moment, but I’m hoping to pull some of the inactive members out of retirement.

Stormkeeper: So how much do you have to do now to get MT fully functional again?

ShadowWolf IH: Well.  a ton of modelling with the HTL stuff, the missions are functional but need dialogue and chatter, polishing and tweaking. Right now we are going through the mission doc and revamping a few things. What works, what doesn't; finding ways to make things work. We love the story, and don't want to see it change from the original vision.

Stormkeeper: But you said the original MT was nearly finished; just had to re-do the textures?

ShadowWolf IH: low poly models were finished. We’re doing the high poly models now and of course the mapping and texturing nightmare inherent to that. Between Pec and Raven they are doing a great job, and freespaceking’s textures are awesome.

Stormkeeper: You never thought about releasing a short demo using the low poly models?

ShadowWolf IH: Thought about it yes; going to do it, no.  In all actuality, we look for the demo to be released hopefully for Christmas. I'm confident that we can do that, eliex is working very hard on the FREDding aspect of it, and he's good. Damned good.

Stormkeeper: So we can expect a demo round Christmas?

ShadowWolf IH: Yes.  I will go on record as saying that MT will give HLP the demo for Christmas.

Stormkeeper: Awesome.

ShadowWolf IH: Well that ought to get us motivated. Lol.

Stormkeeper: It'll go on the record. We have two witnesses. Well, anything else you wish to add, Shadow?
ShadowWolf IH: A lot has happened in MT though the years, same with BWO, I think that they fell into the same traps we did.  For a long time there was so much excitement in the MT camp, and then I had to go on a 4 year break, and then Styxx had to do the same. Work is continuing, and when it is done, I'll be working once again on MT Origins.  Which is my own brainchild and with Styxx blessings for where I plan to take the story.

Stormkeeper: A sequel?

ShadowWolf IH: Yes.

Stormkeeper: Don't suppose you can tell us about how it'll go, can you?

ShadowWolf IH: Yeah I can tell you about it. After the close of MT, we find a fourth race, we find out why Bosch did the things he did, why he doesn't like the Terrans and Vasudans keeping company, and why he was freaky about the Shivans. We find the Shivan motivation.

Stormkeeper:   Wow. I can hear the rumble of anticipation from HLP.

ShadowWolf IH: Actually if I don't do something about the mission doc Origins will be released as a trilogy.

Stormkeeper: Learning from Blizzard, are you? :p

ShadowWolf IH: 108 missions total.  A very ambitious project, but with minimal modelling needed beyond MT.

Stormkeeper: So it's mostly FREDding?

ShadowWolf IH: Mostly yeah, with cutscenes, and a wild ride of a story. In it we learn that the Shivans didn't attack us first.

Stormkeeper: So will it be a separate mod or a campaign add-on for the main MT mod?

ShadowWolf IH: Probably a separate mod, with the 4th Race and all. Well, 5th if you include the ancients, who also appear.

Stormkeeper: Sounding like quite a party.

ShadowWolf IH: Machina Terra is so much larger than what you see in HLP.  I told you, I see MT as the next logical step in the story. I think that a lot of her design elements would have been present in FS3. Maybe not the story as we are telling it, but something similar.  Wonder why I love MT?

Stormkeeper: Mmhmm.

ShadowWolf IH: To me, story is everything, and I believe in what we've accomplished with this one, it is something worthy of the FreeSpace name, much the way Episode 3 was worthy of the Star Wars name

Stormkeeper: Hmmm. I think some people might want to contest that. But there's no doubt in my mind, that you definitely have a passion for MT. It will undoubtedly be interesting to see how both MT and MT Origins turn out under your guidance.

ShadowWolf IH: I'm very optimistic. We all have a different story to tell.

Stormkeeper: I can see that.

ShadowWolf IH: Right now we are getting focussed again, and then the work will start to really come together. Dark Shadow and eliex FREDding, Pec and raven modelling, freespaceking texturing, Spicious in the mix doing whatever is needed, and he is powerful in his own right at what he does. Kie99 is my spell check and tester along with Gloriano. And crap...Snail. Snail is awesome.  He understands the original vision as I do. He is working on FREDding as well. It's awesome what is happening there right now. I'm very proud of the team.

Stormkeeper: This is one Christmas I'm sure that many HLPers will be looking forward to.

ShadowWolf IH: So will I.

Stormkeeper: Most of the current HLP, however, hasn't really heard of MT, beyond its name. How do you think they'll react to the release of MT's demo?

ShadowWolf IH: Trepidation. I think we'll be received well enough. I hope we can meet the expectations of the veterans, and maybe get some new fans. I'm nervous about it, but I am always nervous about a release

Stormkeeper: I hope so too. I'll tell you know that I'm very interested in MT, although I wasn't really before.

ShadowWolf IH: Well good, our first new fan. There is one other MT surprise that Snail and I cooked up, hopefully that'll come to fruition in the very near future. The thing that MT needs right now is modelling help.  Turning the low poly models into high poly models.  We need someone to help eliex with the music tracks.  And we need someone to do cb anims.  Other than that, stand by for voice action soon.

Stormkeeper: So now MT is lacking modellers and musicians?

ShadowWolf IH: Yeah, we need some help there.

Stormkeeper: Thanks for stopping by. I'm sure MT is in very good hands with you at the head.

ShadowWolf IH: Thanks.

Colonol Dekker:
Informative, and to honest i'm glad MT is still on track. The supercap was the first mod-ship i ever used. Waaaaaaaaaaay back in the days.

Sweet :D Now all I gotta do is find a way to use time compression to skip forward till Christmas.

Awesome. MT still has -IMHO- one of the prettiest websites on HLP, and the fiction is quite catching as well :yes:

But... 108 missions in one mod... Dude... Even when made as a trilogy, each act beats the FS2 campaign in sheer amount of FREDding.

I split and moved the other discussion, because although it's a valid topic for discussion it has a broader scope than just Machina Terra.  (And I don't want to pick on them specifically. :))


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