This article was written on an older version of FileFront / GameFront
Formatting may be lacking as a result. If this article is un-readable please report it so that we may fix it.
As luck would have it, there's a guy working for Raven who has a special place in his heart for the mod community. Michael Gummelt, a Gameplay Programmer, has taken some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few more questions about Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy for us. :)
1. Will JK2 models, maps and hilts be available for use in JA?
We were going to release a converter to convert JK2 models to JA format, but one of our programmers (Gil Gribb) decided to just make it so that Jedi Academy could load JK2 models, recognize they're from JK2 and automagically(tm) convert them to JA-usable models. So all downloadable player models from JK2 should work in JA!
Sabers should work too, plus modders will find they have much more control over adding lightsabers (using a new external data file for lightsabers - using the extention .sab, not unlike our .npc files for NPCs last game) and easier to add them to the game (it will find the .sab and automagically(tm) make them available in the menus).
JK2 maps should also load okay in JA.
2. Even though JK2 models will work in JK3, there are more sophisticated JK3 models, right? Modeling for JK3, I suspect will be a slightly more advanced process, right?
Well, no, not if you don't want it to be. We did do stuff to make our models look better in JA: we raised the poly count, did higher-res skins (I think), added multiple passes in some cases (specular), added the ability to have multiple legs/torso/head models in one model (for the customizable player models), added clothing/skin tinting (for further customization), etc. But we kept the model format the same, so it should be just as easy to make models for JA as it was for JK2.
3. We see rideable tauntauns and vehicles. What is the potential for flying vehicles and/or beasts?
Adding ridable things is super-easy, all you need to do is make a model with the right anims (use the tauntaun as an example) and add a "rider" tag on the model and you can have a ridable vehicle. The vehicles are actually just ridable NPCs (so we could make use of all that code and just add the vehicle part to it), so it would be easy to
have, say, a ridable Wampa or Rancor or... Luke?
4. Aside from Chewbacca, we have heard some rumors; from Mark Hammill voicing Luke Skywalker, to Han Solo making an appearance. Can you comment on this?
Sorry, can't discuss story details or any spoiler-type stuff. :)
5. What can you tell us about the official modding tools that may be released?
We'll release everything we did last time, I'm sure. Maybe more, but probably won't be necessary. I do intend to write up a doc for modding sabers and NPCs and release a couple sample mini-mods myself as an example of how to mod those things.
6. Why did you use .glm (Ghoul2) format for the models instead of .md3, and what are it's advantages compared to other formats?
Ghoul2 lets us do all sorts of things: it's skeletal, so we can do bone overrides (used to looking around, playing different animations on differents parts of the body at the same time, lip-synching, ragdoll, etc.), it lets us bolt things to the model (like sabers, weapons, burn marks, etc.), it lets us turn surfaces on and off (useful for the custom player models and general model variety and dismemberment) and it lets us have per-poly hit detection (so you don't just hit a big square box around a character and have no idea where you hit him).
7. This is a big one for server hosts...is there a difference in dedicated server resource usage (RAM and CPU, especially CPU) and bandwidth requirements for JK3 as opposed to JK2? Meaning, basically, will I be able to host as many JK3 game servers on a box as I would for JK2? Or do players incur more CPU/RAM usage and more bandwidth per player?
Well, there's more stuff in JA than JK2, so, I imagine, it will use more RAM and (possibly, depending on the conditions), more bandwidth.
I will work these answers into the JK3 FAQ very soon. :)
Also, I just want to thank Michael very much for sharing with us this exclusive info. We appreciate the time you've taken to help the mod community. And if you'd like to discuss anything else about JA, I'll give you my phone number. ;)