Interview with Darth Veda
BHG Scenario Design Intern
Feb 11, 2006
Can you tell us a bit about your background? Education, Hobbies etc?
[DV]: Video games are my obsession. Ever since I played my first console game I've been hooked. The first PC I got came with no games--imagine my disappointment. So I grabbed every book I could find from my local library that had anything to do with game design or programming. Eventually I got into modding existing titles, authoring scenarios or maps. I really got into modding civilization 2, which eventually led me to other games, including RoN. While I was in my senior year of college, studying Computer Science at Michigan Tech; I authored a whole slew of scenarios for Rise of Nations. I was really excited when I won a bunch of awards and got a lot of good feedback on them. Eventually that helped lead to a job here at BHG.
How did you end up getting a job at BHG?
[DV]: Some of the above. After sending in my résumé, sometime in July of '05 I got an email from Tim Train asking if I was available to interview for an internship position they might have for me. After an over-the-phone interview, BHG signed me on as an intern- and I was more than a little excited. I think my head was spinning for a couple of weeks after that!
How has BHG been treating you? Did it mesh with your expectations of working in the gaming industry?
[DV]: Everything I could want and more, he BHG crew is fantastic! While I've been here I've gained all kinds of new insight into what makes games fun, how different people approach strategy games, etc. It's all been a very enlightening, fun experience. I mean working on a video game, this is awesome!
How has the transition from amateur scenario designer to profession been?
[DV]: Pretty smooth. I think the biggest transition (a good one at that) has been going from being a one-man show to working with many talented people. It has really helped changed the way I look at a lot of design decisions, not just in Rise of Legends, but when I play other games too.
What is your favorite new feature in the RoL scenario editor?
[DV]: Well if I toss out all the new engine features (lighting and environment effects, terrain height and texturing, etc.) and get down to the basics. I think my favorite feature would have to be the way it handles how units and buildings can be grouped and controlled from the start of the map. Don't let that surprise you- there are TONS of other new features that are absolutely fantastic. But coming from RoN, it was hard to just grab and find the specific units you wanted to do something cool with- like crush the player. So I really appreciate that one being in there.
Which scenario are you most proud of that you made during your amateur days, and which one is that for RoL?
[DV]: I like all of my scenarios... but if I have to pick? I'd say my Red Front campaign. Sure it's 12 scenarios but I don't think I could pick an individual one out of them. They sort of all stand together or not at all. World War 2 is one of my favorite times to visit when doing any kind of modification, just because there is so much material and history to explore. As for RoL, I have a couple of favorites in all three campaigns.
Which RoL race was the most fun to design scenarios for you personally?
[DV]: The Alin. There seems to be a nearly infinite number of ways to explore these guys.
What is your favourite unit or building in ROL to use when you're designing a scenario?
[DV]: I don't suppose I really have a favorite when specifically designing a scenario, namely because the maps and situations are so different. As for a favorite unit from the game, I really like the master units. Not only are they gigantic, but I get excited when I get one because I know how it's going to make my opponent react when it shows up on his/her door. Of course it's also fun to slip a few of those into the single player campaign.
What is the biggest improvement in your opinion of the new RoL scenario editor over RoN's editor?
[DV]: The whole cast window system. In Rise of Legend's editor, the cast window system is a tree view for just about everything in the scenario. Units, Buildings, Scripts, Triggers, Sounds, Timers, and more. From here you can give a name to any object so it can be better identified by scripts. It allows the developer to create groups of units, buildings, define x/y locations on the map, among other things It just makes it so much easier to define unit groups, building groups, locations, regions, etc. I like the control it gives me.