Looking to get a little mecha in your life? Or at least, in Tribes 2? Well the Mechina MOD for Tribes 2 does just that - you get to go head to head in giant HERCs. Now what can be more fun than that? We sit down with Martin Hoover aka 'Founder', Producer / Director of the Mechina MOD to get some of our questions answered.
the Junkyard: Please introduce yourself to the community.
Founder: My name is Martin Hoover aka Founder and I am 30 years old. I was born a Texan so I could die a Texan. I have a background in classical art and a degree in commercial art.
tJY: What is your role in Mechina?
Founder: I made the 3d models and animations for the Hercs ,Herc Weapons, and most of the other added dts models. I did a couple of the skins, and some of the core code. Of course thats some of what I've done, my role is Producer/Director along with Zod. That might be a bit misleading, as this has been very much a team effort.
tJY: Briefly describe the concept of the Mechina mod.
Founder: I think our slogan describes the concept best; to bring a little of the Mecha genre to Tribes2. The mod is fairly simple and stright forward, basically adding Mecha to the arsenal of tools for playing the game types (currently limited) of Tribes 2.
tJY: There have been many attempts at bringing the world of Mecha into Tribes 2, but they have all failed. What do you think makes Mechina unique?
Founder: We set goals for Mechina that were practical and obtainable. We had no intent to take any pre-existing game and make it into a Mod for T2. Instead of adhering to any particular convention, we designed it to work with T2.
tJY: Do you have any past experience in mod making? How did this influence the creation of Mechina?
Founder: I assembled an obscure mod for Tribes 1 called Fuel Injection. Then in Tribes 2 I made the original Mechina and MTC mods. During that time I have learned a great deal about different game Balances. The balance that players SAY they want, the balance they really want, real balance and the balance that players will actually play. Ever since the release of Tribes 2 I have been working with Zod and we have learned a lot from each other. We do well together and I think that has had the most influence on the mod.
tJY: What motivated you to create Mechina, and what are your goals with it?
Founder: I think it was started because Zod and I wanted to make a TC. We had discussed it off and on for months, often about how to make Mecha work. Then I just made up a Herc model and we got it in the game. After realizing how practicle it would be we started on it earnestly, and 11 months later, here we are. Our goals were as simple as the concept. We wanted mecha in Tribes, in a mod that is fun; something we would like to play ourselves.
tJY: There have been many mods that started out in Tribes 2 but eventually moved to the Torque Engine. What influenced your choice to stick with Tribes 2?
Founder: I believe the motivation behind most teams move to Torque is not only its tiny license fee, but its lack of limitations. In modding tribes 2 you can accomplish a great deal, provided you are not trying for something radically different than what T2 is as a game. Once you try to do anything very different, then you run into the very limited nature of T2's modability. For most of these limitations we were able to compromise or script our way through, since code-wise Mechina is not radically different from Tribes. But to make a game on Torque requires a huge commitment. It takes years just to create all the raw materials a game needs, from 3d models to sounds all the way down to the graphics for a mouse cursor. Tribes 2 has all of those things, while Torque does not. We had no intention on making this the "perfect" Mecha game, nor of making it our lifes work. Torque has a lot to offer to unfunded teams for making a game, but we wanted to make a mod. For fun!
tJY: As a Starsiege fansite, we have to ask... as a prominent mech game, did Starsiege influence Mechina at all? If so, how?
Founder: The best answer is, I wanted it to. While I was never much of a fan of Starsiege, I dearly loved EarthSiege, far more than any MechWarrior game. During the development of Mechina I was hoping to find some little bits, pieces and capabilities that Dynamix might have put in with an eye to making a sequel to Starsiege. But alas no such small bonuses were uncovered, t2 was just too much different. So now there are few similarities, and those are not very evident.
tJY: With the recent release of Beta 4 of Mechina, how has the community reacted to the release? Are you pleased with the feedback that you've been getting?
Founder: For the most part players like and enjoy it. Unfortunately there seems to be a fair number of people who expect Mechina to be some magical culmination of everything they liked from every great mecha game. They eye it with a very serious and commercial glare and compare it to actual mecha games rather than taking it on its own merits. But for those people playing it for fun, they are certainly finding that there is fun to be had. We are getting a good group of players now that seem to understand what we are trying to do, and are making some good suggestions for balance tweaking. What we haven't seen is the nasty mod slamming normally surrounding the release of a T2 mod (odd isn't it?)
tJY: What's the next step for the Mechina mod?
Founder: Beta 5 will be out fairly quickly,as we like to get out bug fixes and improvements quickly. We still have the kinks one might expect in a beta version to work out. As community interest is growing we hope that by the time Mechina goes gold that we will have plenty of maps well suited for the mod. But beyond that, well we aren't going to be making any public commitments.
tJY: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add or say about Mechina?
Founder: At the risk of being redundant... If you try out the mod, do so for fun. Mechina was made for fun, was made to be simple and fun, but if you are not having any, then you are looking at it the wrong way.
On behalf of the community, the 'Yard would like to thank Founder for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Keep an eye out for Beta 5 soon!