Doom 3 : Chronicles - a chat with the head honcho

Doom 3: Chronicles (or "Doom Chronicles" to give it its correct title) was a user and fan based modification of id software's Doom 3 which was ostensibly a multi player-only modification that at it's core revamped the multi player experience with the addition of many features. The following interview was with the then project lead, Cody64, who managed the projects team and development [Doom Chronicles appears to be no longer in development as of mid 2008].

In conversation with Cody64

katsbits: how are you coping?

Cody64: good :) this is the first "major" mod that I've worked on... So better than I thought I would... It was odd, going from a "small time" modder, to the leader of a huge d3 mod...

katsbits: you are the projects 'lead'?

Cody64: yeah

katsbits: lots of organisation skills needed then..!

Cody64: yeah.... which is the biggest thing I've needed to work on, and am still working on :S

katsbits: that's not something you can just do.. It's ok when you only have yourself to answer for but when others are involved...

Cody64: yeah.. and its a pretty big team... At one point, consisted of 23 people... Though we're down to 16 now..

katsbits: that's still pretty big

Cody64: yeah

katsbits: they all have the same amount of input, the 'core' team members?

Cody64: well, some definitely work more than others ;)

katsbits: lol

Cody64: and, you can probably remove a few from that final number... Because some are just concept artists, and voice actors... So, I only speak with them when they are needed...

katsbits: you keep them in the loop though right?

Cody64: yeah, always include them in the group conversations

katsbits: good to hear that

Cody64: and, the opinion of the team is very important to me... I wrote the story... But, I allow input from everyone, and have changed and modified many parts of it... I figure, we're all doing this for free, so I prefer that everyone gets equal say in how things turn out

katsbits: flexibility with a common goal

Cody64: yeah

katsbits: I reckon that's one of the main reasons why a lot of mods fail.. Not just the recent crop of D3 'dropouts' but in general people are doing this for 'fun'

Cody64: yeah... So many leaders are just way too pushy... And bossy... And have it "their way or no way" ;)

katsbits: lol

katsbits: the team must be pretty 'jazzed' on this demo release?

Cody64: yeah, everyone is very excited. Also, the level of motivation has increased, after seeing all the positive feedback the demo is getting :)

katsbits: yeah, in many respects this was probably the hardest part... getting to this point with a releasable candidate for the pubic to see

Cody64: yeah... And we've had to "delay" this release many times... Originally, we wanted this out before Christmas.... But things kept coming up, and we kept adding more features, and optimising old problems. We wanted this to be the best that it possibly could...

katsbits: that, with hindsight, was probably a good thing

Cody64: yeah ;) and still... There are many things that I would have liked to release with this... But could not.... One of the big reasons is because of a lack of new models... However, our modeling squad has finally started to get things rolling :)

katsbits: ooh yeah, now *that* is a time consuming thing...!

Cody64: yeah

katsbits: it's a tricky one to get your head around

Cody64: yeah..... I've learned a little bit on animating... Though not very well (as you'll be able to tell when you play the demo, and use the "melee" attacks..) We've recently got a new animator though, so things should start looking better in the future :)

katsbits: so you're starting to get 'dedicated' team members now?

Cody64: well, we've always had dedicated members. However, we've gone through a few different modellers, and an animator. Our lead modeller has finally got to a point where he can work more often now, and this new animator is working out great so far. We're doing pretty well on the mapping side of things, and everything is coming along well there. And the coding part of "chapter one" is at least 80% finished now, so that is looking great :). Overall, there is not a too extreme of an amount of work left to be done on the first chapter on our mod. And the guys we got working now are all the most dedicated (any that were not as dedicated have been "removed" or have quit...)

katsbits: so that sounds like you're developing around each 'chapter' rather than doing the Full Monty and *then* releasing?

Cody64: yeah, our mod is separated in to 4 large chapters. Chapter one contains about 10 large levels..

katsbits: and you're coding each as they're done?

Cody64: yeah, we are working on one at a time...

katsbits: interesting way of doing it, makes the project more manageable though right?

Cody64: Yeah, that also has to do with our name ;) Doom Chronicles... The first chapter being called: No Escape. And yes, it makes the mod more manageable. Plus, it allows us to get large sections of the mod out to the community sooner, rather than forcing them to wait for the entire project to be complete...

katsbits: ooh heh, I didn't even think about that.. Chronicles... nice move sanches..! :(|) (monkey face)

Cody64: heh

katsbits: actually, that makes a lot of sense

Cody64: yeah... Unlike MP mods, you can't really have frequent releases with an SP mod... Unless you want to give out all the "surprises" that your levels have to offer..

katsbits: yeah, tell me about it.. had the with RtCW SP maps.. Do you release now or wait until it done

Cody64: yeah... That's what I considered when I decided to make the mod like this.... I thought: "Are people really going to want to continually play through the same levels over and over... Only to see a few modifications?" I rather give a small taste, and leave people drooling for the rest ;)

katsbits: You can shoot yourself in the foot otherwise

Cody64: yeah

katsbits: Well based on the feedback so far you'll at least be starting to gather a fan base
Cody64: yeah, I hope so ;)

katsbits: what sort of final target are you aiming at.. Or is that a 'when it's done' question..!?
Cody64: that's a "when its done" ;) I'd like to get stuff out fast... But I don't believe in "rushing" stuff... It takes time to reach the level of quality we're going for...

katsbits: well that's good to hear at least... you don't want to release anything that's half baked..!

Cody64: No, I don't ;)