Friday, November 10, 2017

Wolfer Q&A: WLHack

Name: Toni Salonen
Location: Loppi, Finland
Wolf3D nickname: WLHack

Q: Where did your nickname come from and why did you choose it?
A: This nickname is a pun... Nearly all the files in the Wolf3D source code start with the prefix "WL" and as I was trying to hack said source code, hence WLHack.

Q: When did you first play Wolfenstein 3D?
A: I played the game back in 92 - 93 (memory is quite fuzzy but I was around four back then).... Also back then I had a computer with only a PC speaker available, so when I learned that Wolfenstein actually had voice acting and music, it was a mind-blowing experience.

Q: What is the best part about being involved in the Wolfenstein community?
A: People openly sharing their ideas and thoughts. Also the fact that you can ask help for nearly anything, as there is always someone to help or support you.

Q: Who is your favorite modder?
A: This is quite a hard question actually... From the current modding scene I'd say Doomjedi. However, if you had asked who influenced me most, then I would have answered WSJ or AReyeP.

Q: Is there a mod of your own you're particularly proud of?
A: Operation Wintersturm, due to its atmosphere and ideas.... one day I wish to remake it in SDL, where I would expand the content.

Q: What has been the most rewarding thing that's come from Wolf3D?
A: Meeting interesting people and learning new things. And of course being able to help people with their projects.

Q: What is your favorite Wolf3D mod that you've played?
A: Again a hard question, as there are actually three that come to my mind: End of Destiny, Totenkopf SDL and Operation Eisenfaust: Legacy. All of them are so different from each other, so it is quite hard to say which one of them would be the very best.

Q: You have a couple of unreleased mods that looked quite interesting, is there a chance some of them will still be released at some point?
A: At some point, yes, if I have the time and inspiration to do so... My biggest problem is that I have too many ideas and when new ones come, I usually momentarily lose interest in the previous ones.

Q: Everyone has an ultimate mod they'd love to make, if coding and graphics weren't limited. What would yours be about?
A: Something within these lines:

- The setting would either be space or some alternative universe where technology has advanced differently.
- Story is told not only through intermission screens but through paper scraps and articles which the player can find on the levels... Player can view all the found story pieces whenever they want (alongside bestiary).
- Game has choices that affect the story progression and also multiple (either temporarily or the whole time) playable characters.
- The game has both a good and a bad ending.
- Hub level, so instead of linear progression you can choose the playing order to some extent.
- Multiple paths for the player to take like in Orb of Dilaaria (e.g. you find the key to the mines in one level so you can use that key to unlock the mine entrance in the hub).
- Levels have more than one exit aside from the regular one (e.g. one that requires player to sneak undetected through the enemy lines, or it will be close and requires item from another level to open).
- Levels have height differences.
- Upgradable weapons and skills à la Absence.
- Maybe some sort of shop system for the upgrades and other items.
- Enemies have more animations (e.g. for being killed with specific weapons) and capability to use different weapons and items they pick up from the ground (vastly improved AI).

Or something completely different: A stealth based puzzle-game where you combine the drone mechanics from Team Raycast's Green Arrow with the shading from Wolfenstein Lite.

Q: You have your own Youtube channel, on which you do playthroughs of various games. What made you decide to do these playthroughs?
A: Mostly to showcase the games and mods that I personally enjoy playing and hopefully get other people to play them too.

Q: Why do you feel Wolf3D has such a long lasting legacy?
A: Well, first of all we have strong fan and modding communities like Diehard Wolfers, Wolf3D Haven and Team Raycast that are working together to keep the legacy alive.

Also despite not being the very first 3D shooter, due to its technical innovations it had a huge impact on gaming, basically creating the basis for the FPS genre we know and love today. I believe that has helped in keeping people's curiosity up for the game (especially now due to a nostalgia boom).

As for Wolf3D itself, the game is quite easy to get into and despite being quite simple by today's standards, it is also highly addictive and provides quite the challenge. Wolf3D also has great replayability due to its varying difficulty levels, hidden secrets and time challenges (par times). So for these reasons it is a game that is suitable for both old and new, casual and pro players.

And we can not forget the fact that modding Wolf3D is not hard, as you have good tools and (as mentioned before) a strong community to help getting started with it. This has made Wolf3D a good platform for people to express their creativity and get started with game modding (Heck, I am quite sure there are other people like me who started learning coding through Wolfenstein).

Q: Where would you like to see Wolf3D go from here?
A: I would like to see more experimental mods and also modders who have the courage to deviate from the typical Wolf3D setting that is WWII. Also new genres of gaming like survival horror to be applied.

Q: Any words of wisdom you would like to leave us on?
A: When it comes to modding, never stop experimenting.....

If you have an idea you would like to try out, no matter how stupid it might be, just try it out. Even though the result would be something that you can not use, at least you have learned something new and when someone else has a similar idea, you can help them out.

Also, I know this is a bit of a clich√©, but I honestly believe you should have fun with the things you do.... When it comes to creative work like this, if you are doing something because you feel like you have to, I don't think anything fruitful can emerge from that. If you are not enjoying what you do, do you think the people you are doing this for will enjoy it either? 

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