Interview #1 - Blood Angels

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A while back, DoWfiles hosted a number of interviews with modteams, and I aim to bring this back. Each week, I'll select a mod team, and stalk them until they answer my questions, erm I mean buy them a coffee and discuss modding related items, what what.

First of all, it's the Blood Angels mod - led by Delta7, with Stevocarty as well.

Dowfilesinterview.pngAbbadon: Let’s get this started then. Personal things first, what are both of your names?

Stevocarty: Mine is Steven Cartey

Delta7: Delta 7 or Bobby Bassnet, or is that the other way around?

Abbadon: Heh, and what are both of your positions on the mod team?

Stevocarty: Texture artist/2d art.

Delta7: I’m mod team leader, modeller &animator. (Stevo is being coy; he’s contributed more than artwork over the years)

Stevocarty: *embarrassed look*

Abbadon: Is someone a bit modest then? We’ll have none of that!

Delta7: Modelling, animating & Object Editor work can be time consuming; Stevo has driven much of the progress for the Mod over the last few years especially! When I am unavailable, Stevo really works to keep us going!

Stevocarty: I do what I can; we both go through busy periods, like work, where we can’t do much work on the mod. Luckily for us, these periods rarely coincide.

Abbadon: So, roughly, how many hours do you spend modding, and do you have a schedule?

Stevocarty: Well for me, I try and put in 10-12 hours over the weekend, and when I have holidays, a few hours everyday.

Delta7: I’m very reliant on RL priorities, but I try and spend as much free time on this as possible, anywhere between 10 – 12 hours a week. Sometimes this can be more, and now that I’m off I can complete some more modding work.

Abbadon: Indeed. Moving on; what sparked your interest in modding?

Delta7: Well, for me, I’ve always been interested in CAD. I have qualifications in AutoCAD drawings and designs...3d modelling was the next natural step, and then I heard Relic were making DoW, and finding the tools gave me a reason to get busy.

Delta7: I have been a massive fan of WH40k...and first & foremost the Blood Angels Chapter, I wasn’t really convinced with the generic Space Marine version from DOW...and I love the unique characters within the Blood Angels like Stevo, I wanted to see the Death Company, Commander Dante...all my favourites in DOW...

Delta7: I always state that our mission statement is to give a truer realisation of the Blood Angels Chapter within the DOW game engine...The characters, the troops & the battle creed of the Sons of Sanguinius.

Abbadon: So before you started the project, did you do any research or did the knowledge just come to you?

Delta7: Knowledge of the subjects i.e. the Blood Angels was easy, we own the codex's, we've read the books...and we love the that part was straightforward...we knew what we wanted to see & play...the tough part has been the how...

Delta7: For both Stevo and myself its been a learning curve...learning to use the 3D tools and the Relic Mod Tools...its not a simple task...many, many reference books and stupid questions posted on forums...and plain old trial & error, have allowed us both to really progress and produce the art content we have now...

Stevocarty: Yep we both redid a lot of our work as we went along when we have gotten more experienced and learnt new techniques

Delta7: Stevo has a drive for perfection that has seen him produce some superb textures to dress my models.

Delta7: We also need to acknowledge the third part to our "axis of evil"...Shingouki has been the coder/FX artist for the Blood Angels Mod for a long time...he is truly talented with his Code work, and has really been the glue bringing all the parts of our art content to life in-game.

Abbadon: And currently, how far are you with progress?

Stevocarty: Unit / model wise we have only two left on Delta model list, and we are finishing one off at the minute which I will texture shortly.

Delta7: We are looking now at another internal build that should see us into Dark Crusade Beta testing with a closed group...before looking to get a polished final build together that is Soul-Storm compatible...that’s the general plan outline, but as we all know, plans are fluid when people freely give their spare time to a project...

Delta7: I have really stayed away from giving hard deadlines or milestones...I like the idea that we can all express ourselves without pressure....relying on the teams eagerness to get complete tempered with their drive for perfection (Stevo!) to produce quality results... But hell we all want to get finished and show everyone what we have been up to for the past 4 years!

Abbadon: Indeed, a lot of modteams do that now – seems to get it done though, and allows for problems to be solved, however if a major issue pops up, how do you resolve it?

Stevocarty: Well to be honest we haven’t really had any major issues , maybe only people leaving the mod and trying to replace them , which happens from time to time, Other than that we tend to agree on most stuff and make compromises when we don’t.

Delta7: Well, personally I feel lucky to have such a good relationship with the core members of the team...we can generally iron out any problems or clashes very simply...that and I bully them all into submission with my terrible sense of humour!

Abbadon: Wee for leadership!

Delta7: Hell yeah!

Delta7: As a team we have been fortunate to have contributions from esteemed members of the modding community, the likes of Compiler (Modding God!), Thudmeizer (BA Mod Cheerleader!) & Lleman (Fluff maniac!)...any issues encountered (like Relic Patches that break mods) we have been able to get assistance and advice from a great group of people with the Relic Modding Community.

Abbadon: I doubt there is a modding community as good as the DoW one.

Delta7: Yup, it’s the best I’ve seen for sure.

Abbadon: However, do you feel that there is limited material in 40k, and due to the large amount of mods, people are starting to develop their own ideas, what do you think about this?

Stevocarty: Well maybe but mods have become very like TT converting in that people are creative and bring their own ideas to models the way TT gamers make conversions of the miniatures, but most are easily recognisable as being part of 40k.

Delta7: I feel there’s a large amount of armies still available to be modded into DoW, there are only a handful of chapters being made, and many more are out there.

Abbadon: So do you feel that modding is no longer about copying GW’s designs, and that artists are starting to modify these ideals?

Stevocarty: Yeah very much so, very few mods make carbon copies of GW’s miniatures.

Abbadon: Is this a good thing, or is it conditional to fluff-maniacs?

Stevocarty: Yeah, I believe it’s a good thing. If someone’s spending a lot of time on something, they should be creative and make it how they want.

Stevocarty: For example, with our commanders, we’ve used the GW designs but put creative spin on them. There are enough fluff maniacs to remind us of the originals, though.

Abbadon: Indeed. Which brings me on to an unrelated question, are there any unique gameplay mechanics the BA will have?

Delta7: We have tried to push the boundaries & challenge the DOW engine, Shingouki has produced some interesting branching ideas that, although not totally new concepts, give the BA Mod player a choice of tactics with unit choices...without straying far from the Blood Angels assault ethos...

Delta7: The biggest difference will be seen within the unit models and animations...I have created hundreds of new animations to portray the BA models as fluffy as possible – this will make playing against vanilla Space Marines interesting.

Abbadon: That sounds excellent, so you really aim to make the BA a truly unique race?

Stevocarty: Well we want the Blood Angels to feel different than vanilla space marines - we don’t want people to think it’s just the SM reskinned.

Stevocarty: They will look and play differently to vanilla SM (and destroy them!).

Abbadon: Excellent, so unless you have anything more to add, I believe we are done!

Abbadon: Thanks a lot, and good luck with the project!

Stevocarty: No problem, cheers.

Delta: Abbadon, thanks for your patience – now get back to the Black Legion before the Dark Mechanicus break something.

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