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Team-Ty-NT

When it comes to Doom addons, TeamTNT is king. Their over 224 original levels have included the single-player megawads Icarus and Eternal Doom, the deathmatch megawads Bloodlands, Grievance, and Pursuit, and the id-Software-endorsed Final Doom. Their ranks have been hiring grounds for such companies as ION Storm and Valve Software.

In this interview, the leader of TeamTNT, Ty Halderman, answers some questions about TeamTNT's upcoming Doom TC, Ragnarok.

Doomworld: You say that you restarted Ragnarok. Does that mean start-over-from-scratch, or just sort of take a step back, breathe a little, and then start doing more stuff?

Ty: The latter. We just sort of stalled some, and are getting going again. Need a head of steam, which is building back up now.

Doomworld: So is Ragnarok going to be a TOTAL conversion, i.e. Hacx? Or are some id materials going to slip in the side door?

Ty: Total, yes. Nothing from DOOM. We're even changing the sprite names, to get away from that silly way they named and then renamed their items.

Doomworld: Is the .DEH going to be noticable (i.e. WotDOOM), or will there just be a few tweaks here and there (i.e. STRAIN)?

Ty: I think it'll be impossible to see that DOOM is involved, really. Too many other TC's have just done some minor things with the monsters, and you can always tell that "this used to be an imp" or such.

Doomworld: So there's going to be a huge .DEH, I suppose. All monster behaviors are drastically altered?

Ty: Well, we may just integrate our changes into the source rather than using Dehacked, but the result will be the same. Really it's more like we just have all new monsters, rather than thinking of them as existing monsters altered.

Doomworld: So there might be a monster that throws a fireball like an imp, but you don't really think of it as having used to be an imp.

Ty: Well, think of it as a monster that fires a fireball. The monster won't look like anything you've seen, the fireball won't either, the sounds of firing and impact will be different, so really you'd be making something up yourself to think of an imp at all.

Doomworld: Another question: are the weapons "cool"?

Ty: Weapons: Sure. We're trying to avoid cliches like the fast DOOM weapons and flame throwers and so forth. Like the id advanced weapons, they're just different from stuff you've used before.

Doomworld: So all medieval stuff?

Ty: No, there are several eras in which action takes place, but the weapons are more a matter of materials and other factors than technologies. Hard to describe without going into more detail that I'm going to go into :)

Doomworld: How are you planning to get the player involved in the plot? Do you expect them to read the whole thing right off the bat, or quit the game and read the next chapter, or what?

Ty: If the storyline lovers want a story they'll have one, but I've never been a fan of anything where you have to understand the story to play the game.

Doomworld: So you could read the whole storyline before you played the game, and still be OK? (Unlike Galaxia, for instance.)

Ty: Yes, we could publish that as a book (delusions of grandeur...) and no one would even have to know there was a game. You wouldn't be "cheating" either. I've been spending time writing the storyline, and need to get a bit further along to help direct the other activities. I've got 8 chapters of about 17 so far. Each chapter is about a 20KB web page, if that's any indication.

Doomworld: So the plot isn't like the story of the Doomguy running through E1M1, or anything.

Ty: Hah--those lame books? (sorry to whoever worked hard on them) No, but they were written after the fact and had to do stupid stuff like explain why rockets were pocket-sized so he could carry so many. By the 3rd book they didn't even have that to stand on, unfortunately.

Doomworld: Are you planning to have any horrendously difficult monsters?

Ty: Sure. No fun if you can beat them easily. Maybe some monster might be invincible except to a certain weapon, unlike the DOOM ones that can eventually even be punched to death.

Doomworld: So does the Doom source cause you to rethink any of your future projects, i.e. what direction you'll take them in?

Ty: I imagine that we'll do any of the future projects with an enhanced engine. Based on current estimates I can't see any projects being done before at least the first phase of the engine is ready.

Doomworld: Please tell me that TeamTNT will never sink to implementing jump, crouch, and +mlook.

Ty: Heh. I don't think (personal opinion) that those are DOOM. We aren't trying to make a new game. If we were, we'd use an advanced engine like Q2. This is still DOOM and is just going to be an improved environment.

Doomworld: What kind of stuff would you like to implement, then?

Ty: Let me get back to you on that in a couple of days once we've got our yes/maybe/no lists figured out. Those will be at a high level, but should help outline the boundaries, at least for phase I.

Doomworld: Are Ragnarok levels going to be more Icarus-sized, or more Eternal-sized?

Ty: Rag: more Icarus-sized. One might say "normal" :)

Doomworld: Does the blocky nature of Doom slow you down when it comes to medieval environments, which usually tend to me more rounded?

Ty: Not really--Eternal had a lot of that, and it was handled pretty well I think.

Doomworld: Are you ever planning to leave Doom? Is Doom 2000 going to definitely be your last Doom project?

Ty: How can I answer that when it's 700+ days from now? I don't know what's happening next Tuesday.

Doomworld: I hear you're going to have a regular news page?

Ty: No way--it'll just give you some direct information to talk about. The old "it's TeamTNT so it's secret" stuff has to go.

Doomworld: So you'll actually be... OPEN FOR A CHANGE?

Ty: Maybe :)

Doomworld: And do nice things like release screenshots of Ragnarok?

Ty: Well, let's not get carried away. Hey, I'd better run. Family is making dinner noises. Thanks for the chance to talk.

Doomworld: Sure... keep up the good work.

Ragnarok sounds as if it's shaping up to be one of, if not the, greatest Doom conversion ever created. For up-to-date news on Ragnarok progress, be sure and check out the TeamTNT homepage. You might also want to check out some of their other great works, which reek of the quality which is sure to prevail in Ragnarok.

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