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Iâ€™d (Enceladus) like to welcome Arbiter as a guest for this EAWFiles Exclusive Interview. For those of you that do not know him he is the leader of the upcoming mod Thrawnâ€™s Revenge. This mod plans to introduce various new factions during different eras in the Star Wars Universe to bring the modding potential of EAW to its fullest.
Enceladus: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview Arbiter. Iâ€™m sure the public would appreciate some greater insight into the Thrawnâ€™s Revenge mod; especially after the latest news update. The main question going through most of our minds is â€œWhy is the EOTH release gone?â€ Could you perhaps provide some explanation behind this shocking news? What are the reasons behind this sudden change? Is it necessary?
Arbiter: Thanks for having me. I want to start by saying that the Empire of the Hand decision was not a spur of the moment thing. A lot of thought and debate went into this, as far back as 2007. The easiest way to describe it is that once done, the EotH release would simply not have been as good as it could have been. We realised that almost all of the good stuff we had done at the time was going to go back into Imperial Civil War, while all of the stuff that wasnâ€™t quite so good wasnâ€™t in it. From there it was decided that we would cut our losses there, and entirely shift over to ICW. Another thing is that when EotH was done, ICW would have come out several months later, and basically just felt like EotH with new faction names and a few different units, so that contributed to the decision a bit as well. The structure weâ€™re going for also minimizes the time between releases. Weâ€™re now just focusing on finishing the two major factions and we have the freedom to release before 100% of the content is done, and then add and fix more and more until it is all done, while working on FotR on the side. With EotH weâ€™d have done everything, spent months fixing the bad stuff, released it, spent several more months working on patches, then get to ICW, which is the main focus of the mod anyways. In short, ICW provides the team more freedom, ultimately gets the mod to people earlier, and will be (in our opinions) a better experience for the player.
Enceladus: Were you shocked by some of the reactions resulting from this news post you had made or were you expecting them?
Arbiter: We expected worse than we got. People were a lot more supportive than we thought theyâ€™d be. We believed itâ€™d cost us a few MotY votes, and it did, but thatâ€™s life. Weâ€™re more interested in getting it done, and done properly than anything else.
Enceladus: Iâ€™ve heard rumours of a possible shift in the order of the releases in the ICW section of Thrawnâ€™s Revenge. Could you confirm or explain this rumour?
Arbiter: You heard correctly. The original plan was always to have the base release of Imperial Civil War with the New Republic and Imperial Remnant as the playable factions, then while we were working on FotR, expand the Ssi-Ruuvi into a third playable faction, and then release another version with the Hapans playable. After that, weâ€™d have decided whether we wanted to finish off the Empire of the Hand (as a faction), and release a version with them playable. I asked the staff if theyâ€™d rather switch it around so that we finish the Empire of the Hand off directly after finishing the base release of ICW, then moved on to the other two. The answer was a unanimous yes. Itâ€™s just a matter of fixing up and finishing a few units, which is much easier when itâ€™s the only thing weâ€™d have to focus on, and donâ€™t have to worry about the rest of the original EotH release. It may seem small, but there is a big difference. That difference mostly consisting of maps, and the two other factions we had to worry about while still finishing EotH.
In other words: ICW Base --> Ssi-Ruu -- Hapes --> EotH ------------FotR------------> To this: ICW Base --> EotH --> Hapes -- Ssi-Ruu ------------FotR------------>
Enceladus: Why is Thrawnâ€™s Revenge combining resources with Codeuserâ€™s FX mod? What advantages does this provide Thrawnâ€™s Revenge with?
Arbiter: The FX mod started when Codeuser got the particle editor when it was first made available, and started fooling around with it to make new explosions. He offered me what heâ€™d made, and when he started putting his new particles in the vanilla game, he got annoyed with EAWâ€™s game-play. After that, he just started changing whatever he felt was wrong and kept making graphical improvements. Originally we just implemented the new effects (explosions, weapons, etc) but when we decided to move on to ICW, the team came to the decision that instead of just building it off of the parts of Empire of the Hand release we were done, we should combine EotH and the FX mod to get the base for ICW. This not only graphically improves the mod, but improves it game-play wise as well.
Enceladus: Thank you for clearing up some of the mysteries around the latest news update. What motivated you as a modder to create Thrawnâ€™s Revenge as a mod for Empire at War?
Arbiter: Actually, Thrawnâ€™s Revenge is the first modding project Iâ€™ve worked on, unless you count spending large amounts of time making maps in Age of Empires II. The mod was originally just meant to be adding Thrawn as a hero for the Empire in Empire at War. When I posted that I was doing that, I was approached by a few people who were interested in testing it. One of these people, Videoteck then convinced me to expand it a bit and add new units, using the then newly-released Warlords models. I agreed, however, we later decided against using Warlords models in the mod (I have since used them several times as references while modeling, though). It basically just grew from there, and within a few weeks we had a team of nine people (myself, Videoteck, Zer Teron, Lord Grievous, Codeuser, Chaosredsock, Makati, RedCommodore and Xoriss).
Enceladus: What is it like working with a rather large staff team? Do you find it efficient?
Arbiter: This is an area that Iâ€™ve been very lucky in. Weâ€™ve managed to find some very talented people since I started the project that it simply wouldnâ€™t be possible without. Having a large team does provide some management issues; with a team this size, you have to keep whoâ€™s doing what, when everyoneâ€™s available, how much free time everyone has to do what needs to be done, and so on. However, the benefits far outweigh these relatively trivial problems. You get input from many people, lots of feedback on work before it gets put out for public consumption, and, obviously, allow more to be done at one time.
Enceladus: What other mods would you like to see released for Empire at War for your own personal enjoyment or just as a booster to the EAW community?
Arbiter: Iâ€™m particularly interested in seeing what Halo: First Offensive, Covenant at War, and RaW/IA2 have done.
Enceladus: After completing Thrawnâ€™s Revenge do you plan to continue on modding or will Thrawnâ€™s Revenge be the end?
Arbiter: Thatâ€™s hard to say. Thrawnâ€™s Revenge will certainly be the last project I do for Empire at War, and most likely the last Star Wars mod I work on, though Iâ€™ll probably mod a few other games after Iâ€™m done here.
Enceladus: Speaking of completing Thrawnâ€™s Revenge do you have an estimated time of arrival for the Imperial Civil War release for the public?
Arbiter: Sometime this year would be a safe assumption for the base release, at least.
Enceladus: On behalf of the whole EAWFiles team I would like to thank you for this exclusive insight on your opinions and workings of the Thrawnâ€™s Revenge mod for Empire at War. Iâ€™m sure the public will greatly appreciate this.
~Enceladus~ ~EAWFiles Head News Poster~
For more information about Thrawn's Revenge and bonus updates and previews register at the Thrawn's Revenge forums. http://gutr.swrebellion.com/forums/index.php
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