Imperial Siege on Derra IV
[Antilles] What is the setting of your level? Tell us a little about the plot.
[Ryan] The original level has actually turned into two separate levels due to size considerations. The first part takes place in the coastal capital city of Derra IV. During this phase, you're are tasked with finding a way to penetrate the Imperial occupation forces that are controlling the city and locating a way into the perimeter of the Imperial Fortress. The second level take place exclusively within the fortress perimeter and inside the fortress itself. Your task in the second part is to fight your way to the System Command Center, where you must disable the LNR defense batteries which prevent New Republic troops from landing. There are more specific objectives that you will have to complete in the level, but I don't want to spoil it.
[Antilles] When do you anticipate having the whole episode complete? How long has it been in production?
[Ryan] I have made a great deal of progress recently, however I wouldn't say that it's close to completion. The architecture of the levels is about 90% finished, but lighting and enemy/item placement still need some work. To give you an idea of the scope of the levels, they number 1100 and 1500 sectors, respectively. I have been working on them since last April, in other words - 9 months. I don't have a definite release date, but rest assured that I am making progress.
[Antilles] What made you decide to do this project? Furthermore, what made you decide to edit levels?
[Ryan] Ever since I played DF, I have been enthralled with level editing. I enjoy creating whole worlds exactly to my specifications. It's just a lot of fun for me to design and bring something from my imagination into "existence" in a level. That's the reason. As for this project, I just got the idea and started construction one day. From then on, I would get out my drawing pad and start designing areas and build them later with JED.
[Antilles] Are these your first two levels? Do you plan to make any more levels?
[Ryan] This episode will be my first two-part "level" since both level 1 and 2 will be released together. I have edited Dark Forces before, so I came into JK editing with an established understanding of what editing was like. In fact, the second I played Jedi Knight, I knew I wanted to edit that game as well. I plan to continue editing after this episode is done, but I'm not sure what I want to create for my next project.
[Antilles] Will you have any new COGs, 3DOs, MATs or AI's?
[Ryan] No MATs or AI's, but there will be new 3DOs and COGs. The COGs should prove to be pretty cool, as there are new effects in my level that I have yet to see in any other level to this date. I can't really say more than that for obvious reasons.
[Antilles] Are you planning to have Force powers in your level? What about gear like the grappling hook?
[Ryan] You probably won't have any gear like the grappling hook, but you will have Force powers. I'm not sure exactly which powers, but some relatively powerful ones will be allocated. Most likely Speed, Persuasion, Healing, Seeing, etc. It depends on how diffiuclt the level is as well. If it feels like you could use a little more strength, I will adjust the Force powers to suit the overall effect of the mission accordingly.
[Antilles] I understand that you first level is in a besieged city. Will we be fighting aliens, Imperials, or both?
[Ryan] Both. There will be mainly aliens (Grans, Tuskans, etc.) in the city, but also the Imperial occupation forces. This will include security checkpoints, watch towers and patrol routes. There will be some skirmishes between the local aliens and Imperials to add to the realism as well.
[Antilles] What's your main purpose in creating these levels?
[Ryan] I have a few reasons for creating these levels. Probably most important is that fact that I really enjoy editing. Also important is that fact that I value good single player missions, and I want to provide other people with a memorable level too. There are never enough SP levels, and though there have been some good ones, I have yet to play a custom level that I can truly say I loved. The other major reason is that I hope other people will enjoy the level. I value a high quality level, and that is what I am intent on producing. (That's also why it takes so very long.)
[Antilles] Any last comments on your level?
[Ryan] Well, at this point, the level is looking excellent. I'm very pleased with the huge amount of work that I have already put in, and I look forward to completing it. And let me tell you, it will be well worth the wait!
[Antilles] Thanks for your time.
[Ryan] My pleasure.