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Frank Niemann kindly took the time to answer a few questions for this month's interview.
Q: How many members does GamesArk’s team have? How long did it take you to create Star Assault?
A: Right now there are 3 members in our team. At first there were 2 more team members, but they had to quit because of some personal problems. In the beginning we couldn't invest too much time into Star Assault because all the members were already working at other companies to earn their living. So the first year wasn't very efficient because of the other jobs. All the team members were self-employed during the 2nd year of development, so all their time was used for Star Assault. After three years of development Star Assault was finished at the beginning of 2007.
Q: Are the levels as big as they appear to be or do you trick the player into thinking that he or she is exploring a vast area?
Q: What was the most complicated part of the game? Why?
A: A really difficult problem was to give the player the illusion of the vast universe. With the first tries it looked like there was a high speed race in the universe. Later tries looked like a snake rally. Only the interaction of all the previously mentioned tricks helped make the player think that he is in a vast universe.
Q: How did you create those great looking red engine jets for the ships?
A: We have created an mdl model which was built out of several crossed rectangles; you can see this in most of the older games. The jet sprites were always created out of several crossed sprites, so that the player can see them from any direction. The model is mapped with a grayscaled texture; it is scaled depending on the speed and size of the ships and gets any desired color. That's it!
Q: What shaders are you using and where?
A: Much to our regret we unfortunately didn't have enough time to create any shaders. The usage of shaders would have made Star Assault look much better. The only namable effects in the game are the bumpmaps.
Q: How did you create the in-game cut scenes?
A: All in-game cut scenes were created with Autodesk's 3D Studio Max 8.
Q: How well was your game received on the German market? Any plans for an English version in the near future?
A: We don't have any information at this time because Star Assault won't be released until the 5th of July in Germany. An English version is already done. Unfortunately, there isn't any information about a release date at this point.
Q: Please give us a few tips for the beginners.
A: The best tip we can give is this: plan your project! Even if it is a small project it needs planning. We had many problems because we didn't take the time to plan everything.
Thank you a lot, Frank.