What once was two is now one. Recently, two of the larger MODs out there in the Battlefield community combined to form one: Trench Rats + Battlefield 1914 = Trench Rats: The Great War. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Sgt Gimp of the Trench Rats team to answer a few of our questions.
I must apologize for the lateness of getting this interview up as it was created near the start of the month. Nonetheless, the interview:
the Junkyard: Please introduce yourself to the community.
Sgt Gimp: Trench Rats - The Great War is now currently the only WWI mod for Battlefield 1942 having merged what were formally two rivals into one united mod with more members and more knowledge to work from.
tJY: Descibe the concept of Trench Rats: The Great War. How did the idea of combining Trenchrats and Battlefield: 1914 come about?
Sgt Gimp: The concept of TR:TGW was to create a fun yet realistic depiction of the First World War/The Great War starting off with a few battles and eventually working it's way up to have a greater and more accurate scope than DICE created with 1942. The reason we wanted to do WWI is because it's a time period that is cruicial in 20th century history but one which people sometimes forget the significance of, and yet the only decent game set in this period that I can think of is Red Baron. BF1942 and Medal of Honor were the first games that looked like they could really create something good as both proved you could have strong historical accuracy but still retain excellent gameplay.
The merging of the two mods was the idea of Scottweil4nd (BF1914), and he and myself smoothed out all the logistics and internal squabblings that it created. Merging was not the smoothest of processes but alot of people managed to swallow their pride in order to create a better mod in the long run.
tJY: So now that Trenchrats and Battlefield: 1914 are combined as one, does the purpose of the mods change? If so, how?
Sgt Gimp: Now that the mods have merged the purpose of the mods remains almost exactly the same. In fact if anything the purpose has grown, Battlefield 1914 was going to focus mainly on the begining of the war while Battlefield 1916 (Trench Rats) was focused on the period from the middle to the end. Now that we've merged we're going for the total war experience which will involve more work but we have more team members to utilise, so it works quite nicely.
tJY: How is Trenchrats being designed?
Sgt Gimp: Not sure what you mean by designed but as much as possible we're keeping things historical. We're trying to do all our modelling off pictures and blueprints of the actual objects while the skinners are also trying to create historical accuracy. The maps themselves create an element of artistic licence as the battlefields were huge, just as those in BF1942 are 'based' on the battlefields they represent. With certain maps, we know there was a town or a wood and we know how many rows of trenches there were, the width of nomans land and say that, the germans held high ground with concrete dugouts for example. We then just have to create something that represents what it could have been like, adding things like aerodromes and vehicle pounds as we go along.
tJY: Do you have any prior experience in mod making? If so, how it influence creation of Trenchrats?
Sgt Gimp: In our team there's a wide variety of different backgrounds of people who have worked on different mods. I myself though started my modding career on the original Trench Rats which is the mod for Medal of Honor: Allied Assault which then branched out to cover BF1942 but using many of the models/skins we already had. I started work as an historical researcher (A role which can't be overlooked when you're targeting such a time period) and from there taught myself 3D modelling, skinning, UV mapping and coding for the game. So you can never underestimate someone who wants to help but has no skills yet, you work on the mod and see people producing this great stuff and you want to be able to do it too.
tJY: What type of gametypes will be compatible with Trenchrats?
Sgt Gimp: I'd imagine the gameplay types that are in at the moment would be compatible, though it would be nice to bring in a few new types to stir things up a bit. I'd imagine conquest will be a prominent gametype as it suits the styles of attack and capturing trenches quite nicely, though it would also be good to tweak a few things with that system so you need more than one soldier to capture a control point. Ideally, teamplay will feature alot within the game, many of the vehicles become MUCH more effective with more than 1 person, while some are almost useless with a lone driver.
tJY: What about the maps? Weapons? Soldiers?
Sgt Gimp: Well if we were being lazy we could just keep the maps the same, but that's not really what we want to achieve. We will eventually be implementing custom maps which should hopefully suit the gameplay much better and give a much better WWI feel. Trench warfare was obviously a large part of WWI and we will be reflecting this in our maps, though many will deviate from this as on some fronts it played a lesser role. Weapons are quite different to the ones we're used to in BF1942, the bolt-action rifle was the order of the day, though things like machine guns will also play a prominent role. To make up for the lack of automatic weapons though we may add things like flamethrowers, rifle grenades or (code allowing) poison gas.
tJY: As far as weapons go, will you attempt to introduce chemical warfare such as mustard gas to the battlefield? If so, how do you plan to go about it?
Sgt Gimp: At the moment I'm not sure how we'd really do this... Of course we would like to as it was an integral part of the war, we'll need to do more thinking on how to do it, but I'm not sure how good an affect we can achieve without an SDK. It is pretty definate, that unless someone comes up with a massive revelation about how to do it, it wont be in an early release.
tJY: How will the various countries be represented? How will they differ?
Sgt Gimp: Eventually we would like to represent all significant combatants in some way or another. Certain countries give us difficulty such as Canada in particular, as they used the same equipment, flag, vehicles, etc for the most part. In some cases it will have to be a case of saying 'OK, you're canadian on this map'. For other countries things are much easier and they will have completely unique equipment where appropriate, no more of these british thompsons, american mosquitos and japanese kubelwagons...
tJY: What classes do you plan to incorporate?
Sgt Gimp: The classes at the moment aren't completely decided as we would like to limit certain vehicles to specific classes to even out gameplay. For example, we don't want the most heavily armed class jumping in a plane, popping behind enemy lines and destroying and entire army from the rear. Things like the planes and tanks are incredibly powerful weapons when used right so it would be good if when the pilot/driver class is not in his vehicle, he isn't a 1-man fighting machine like the assault trooper, he should be a bit helpless. Hopefully also we'll have limitations on the number of players allowed to play a certain class, so the majority of the team will be composed of your common infantryman, but that need not be a bad thing if you have to play as one as they will be a powerful, mobile class.
Also expect to see some sort of engineer, medic and also an officer class.
tJY: Do you plan on making this game historically accurate? If so, how do you hope to accomplish this? If not, why not?
Sgt Gimp: We're trying to make the game as accurate as possible but obviously we have to make some allowances for gameplay. Vehicles will play a much more significant role in battle than they did during certain parts of the war, because that's just how the gameplay in BF1942 works. We're trying to keep the vehicles pretty real though, they're all slower than the BF vehicles though and should have an accurate armament. In an ideal world we could create exactly what we wanted but we are always limited by the engine and by the tools we have, so sacrifices have to be made in realism, but nothing too large we hope.
tJY: Is there any chance on seeing a beta release soon?
Sgt Gimp: There is indeed, or if not a release then possibly a demo. It's really a hard one to call, when you release, as you want to make sure everything's right, but you can't hold off too long or people lose interest. As such there's no definitive date set on a beta but you can probably expect something playable from us soon...
tJY: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about Trenchrats or the Battlefield community in general?
Sgt Gimp: I myself would like to thank any of the people who have supported and helped us on IRC and on the forums. Rexman needs to be given special credit for the tools he's created, though EA/DICE still needs to help us out by giving us a full SDK. The official poll indicated it was the number one desire of the battlefield community, so are they going to listen to the needs of the community or just let people shoot from the jeep? I really hope it's not the latter...
tJY: tJY would like to thank you for serving the community as you do! Good luck, and thank you for participating in this interview!
Sgt Gimp: Thank you, feel free to drop by our site and show your support or even join us if you think you could help. We are currently looking for skinners and coders, though anyone will be at least considered.
There you have it. We're all looking forward to Trench Rats: The Great War and will keep you updated on its progress. Once again I'd like to apologize for the delay in getting this interview posted; better late than never though .