EAWFiles Exclusive Shadows of the Empire Interview

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Hello everyone, z3r0x here and I would like to welcome Jedi Counselor as a guest for this EAWFiles exclusive interview. For those of you that do not know Jedi Counselor, he is the leader of the upcoming and much anticipated mod Shadows of the Empire. This mod is based loosely on the Shadows of the Empire novel which is set during the lull between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The mod will have heroes such as Prince Xizor and his skyhook Falleens Fist, as well as Dash Rendar, and Lando Calrissian. The mods timeline also extends past the ROTJ era and into the New Republic era as well.

z3r0x: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview Jedi C. I am sure this will be really informative for the public. What prompted you to start a mod based on the SOTE novel? Are you a fan of the novel, or did you just think that specific era was underrepresented in the community as far as mods go?

Jedi Counselor: Both reasons in fact. I do love the old SOTE game sometimes still play it. But at the time there was no interest in Dash Rendar or anything SOTE related. I also felt that we have little work done for the New Republic era and so we began to work on campaigns for that era also. This meant creating new heroes and space units to suit that era. We essentially split the mod into two mods, the GCW Campaigns and the New Republic Era Campaigns. I have to say that the way the mod is constructed you can only play one or the other. You can not get NR units in GCW and vice-versa. I made sure to split up the units so that they made sense for the time period they are from.

z3r0x: So tell us more about the mod. Will the focus be on Dash Render or will it be more open ended? Any plans to include the Maglev train from Ord Mantell from the original game?

Jedi Counselor: The focus is on Shadows of the Empire as the primary story campaign. This campaign is the biggest in the mod and has the most planets. I have considered the train yes, but nothing yet has been done to include it for the Ord Mantell map. But it is always a consideration

z3r0x: So give us an idea of what the mod will contain, can you tell the fans what some of the new and exciting units will be?

Jedi Counselor: Well, we have been working on several new things. We have added our model for the Skyhook for example, as well as Dash Rendars Outrider. We added a land Air base for the alliance (SOTE uses air bases for land based fighters) which will be developed as well for skirmish mode. Also we have been working on plenty of new land units such as Snowtroopers and Stormtroopers with E-11 blasters, E-web troopers in cold weather gear, Plex Stormtroopers, and new Speederbike units for stolen rebel versions, and Snowtrooper variants. There is much more that are a work in progress. I also intend to include a fan made cruiser called the Relentless that will act as a carrier and with it you will be able to build units in GC mode while the ship is orbiting around any planet.

z3r0x: Any plans for the famous swoops in SOTE?

Jedi Counselor: The Swoop bikes will be in it.

z3r0x: Will there be any sub-factions for SOTE such as Black Sun? Or will Xizor be an Empire hero?

Jedi Counselor: Black Sun is a sub faction in SOTE but Xizor is a buildable Empire hero. Black Sun is a sub faction in SOTE but Xizor is a buildable Empire hero, along with the skyhook above Coruscant. I have been thinking of re writing this to be honest, but at the moment he's an Empire hero.

z3r0x: I am sure you will be adding in Guri as well? Any plans for her unique abilities?

Jedi Counselor: Yes, I have thought of adding her - I have not given much thought to her at the moment but I expect I would try to copy her skills as she would appear in the story. Speaking of factions by the way, we did away with the underworld and Tyber Zann and replaced it with Jabba the Hutts cartel as a main faction.

z3r0x: Well, I am sure the fans will be glad to hear all of this. So tell us, what is really going to set this mod apart from the other mods that out and or upcoming such as TR. I would expect since your mod takes place in some of the same eras, that there may be some redundancy. What about SOTE is going to entice fans to play your mod over a mod like TR?

Jedi Counselor: For a start and no offense to TR, but I have worked carefully on making higher quality space units all SOTE space units are rigged according to PG standards, ie we took the time to add damage emitters and scorch marks and PG style textures on the Empire starships in the mod. Also I take on campaigns is still more or less unique because you cant play space units or land units across eras, you have to play a specific campaign in order to play certain types of units you cant play GCW era space or land units (unless where you are allowed to) in a New Republic era the SOTE credits system allows you to build massive fleets because the credits you can obtain from planets under your control is more generous SOTE will have still several units that are still unique to play and wont be in other mods.. There are some things people just do not let get out there for everyone to use. Finally the damage modifiers on the space units and land units are designed for realism, and so everything in the mod is rescaled as well to this sort of game play. Because units are properly matched up against each other people will also need to use some strategy in order to win a game, due to the fact that the AI is smart at building units and how to capture resources We are also adding scripts too to make the game more realistic such as SI's script for friendly fire so it will prevent people from just bombing the map etc because they would kill their own troops as well. Also we are adding other idea's to game play all the time that include new abilities and features such as being able to garrison turbo laser turrets and also engineers that can heal and build pads for your faction while on the map. Because the mod is always changing and developing ideas with other mods we are always adding to the mod.

z3r0x: Sounds, very exciting. So in essence you have learned from other mod teams mistakes, and decided to not repeat them.

Jedi Counselor: Well of course! - I do not want to make the mistakes other mods made. In away it has helped me guide my way through things and avoid the problems that have occurred with other mods. I am lucky to have had some very good beta testers and I know they keep asking me for a new beta for SOTE so one will be along soon. I keep saying this but it has been mad lately what with Christmas and people on the mod team at university so were still trudging through and were nearly there completing the maps etc.

z3r0x: You mentioned some very interesting things above, will there be or are there any plans for any new game play changes? If so without giving too much away, what can fans expect?

Jedi Counselor: besides what I mentioned, the fact that even though the mod covers from 3ABY to 10ABY the campaigns are split into two eras. It is definitely not what I would call a mass units mod, because we have taken care to improve every aspect of the game. People playing the mod can expect a more aggressive AI, and a smart one that will be a challenge even on easy mode. Game play changes will include rewards for players that capture certain planets and can then unlock new units or structures. We have also included new structures to the game for different reasons. We also are making use of SI's scripts for new add-ons for the game such as boarding party abilities. The Empire also will have their version of it with more drastic measures to the enemy player.

z3r0x: Wow, this is all great stuff. I am sure most us including the people reading this will be anxious to see this mod come to fruition. The word on the street was that this mod almost called it quits at one point. Care to elaborate on that?

Jedi Counselor: Yes it did nearly get cancelled. I was going to leave the community at one point, because people were determined to ruin my name and kill my mod because of my friendship with certain modders; it is like being painted with the same brush as other people. But anyway my name was being dragged through the mud, and I felt I did not want to mod this game to put up with that kind of thing. People were telling me to withdraw things from the mod and it would have crippled the mod to much for me to have recovered it, it would have taken too long to replace everything I needed. I changed my mind though and it seems there was a brighter horizon after all in the end I decided I still need to complete this mod - even if it is the only mod I make for this game. Besides a few guys on the mod team wont let the mod die and keep assuring me that they will help it finish,

z3r0x: Well, that would have been a blow to the community if this mod would have ended without being completed. I can say that we are all glad you decided to keep working to get this mod into the hands of the fans. Speaking of the community we would be interested to know your opinion on the current state of EaW/FoC and the modding community as whole. Any thoughts or ideas?

Jedi Counselor: Well first off I have been in this community for 3+ years and the EAW community can often struggle with people who see rivalry and glory modding as being the sole cause for modding. People always have their different take on what modding should be, but what modding should not be is people arguing and fighting over whose mod is best, and who can use whose stuff in their mods. Alliances can be made and broken between people in the blink of an eye. The problem is when they are it leaves devastation and some mods never recover from that. I believe people need to be open minded about modding, share their ideas and resources where they can. Also I feel the issue over porting needs to be looked at, because I certain some people use this as a flag to try and attack and ruin people , just because they know people who port. Let me say something about that... Porting to me is anything that was notmade for EAW and has come from another game/mod. So Ej's stuff is ported so what difference is it if it is from another game as well? People can often be hypocritical about this and I feel some people do not understand the word Unless you make it from scratch you can sure bet you using a mod that has ported some thing from another game. End of argument there for me.

z3r0x: Well, sounds like you have really put some thought into this and we appreciate your honesty. We can all hope that things change for the better in the future. I want to get back to you as a modder for a moment. Are there any mods coming out in the future besides your own that you are looking forward to? Either to play personally, or just as a bolster to the community?

Jedi Counselor: I am always watching other mods, and I think the mod I really anticipate that will revitalize the community will be RAW. I do not just say that because I know Z, but it is the one true mod that is attempting to be a new start and beginning for EAW expansions. Not one Clone Wars mod I have seen even comes to the grade of being a true clone was expansion. I do not play many mods but I will be looking at that one. I am constantly looking at other mods but the only other mod besides that I would like to see work would be the FX mod in terms of adding better improved graphics to the particle effects which I know they have been also doing. I am sure there are other mods that will be great, but I am getting skeptical on whether some mods will in fact ever be released.

z3r0x: Well, speaking as myself for a moment, I want to say thanks for the compliment, and vote of confidence. Now you have a large fan base for this mod so I am sure you get asked this all the time. However, I have to ask. When is the mod coming out? -lol.

Jedi Counselor: Heh... ok that is a question modders are always asked, and like other mod leaders I hate to give dates, because you never know what might pop up and screw the dates up for release. I am trying to move the release date to summer at the earliest.

z3r0x: For the record, the mod will be for EaW or FoC?

Jedi Counselor: the SOTE mod is for Forces of Corruption and designed to be an expansion mod. It really basically rewrites FOC as a Shadow of the Empire game with the Hutts as the underworld.

z3r0x: On behalf of the whole EAWFiles team we would like to thank you for this exclusive insight on your opinions and workings of the Shadows of the Empire mod for Empire at War. I am sure the public will greatly appreciate this.

~z3r0x~ ~EAWFiles News Poster~

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