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Posted by Silencer

Silencer: First things first, what *is* the Ashes of Apocalypse?

Clone: AoA is a total conversion for the game "The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind." It is set in a post-nuclear world in the year 2092. AoA really focuses on the freedom like Morrowind did allowing the player to do whatever he wants. We really set out building this with the idea of giving the player no limit on choosing the path he wants. To set people straight now, it will not replace your Morrowind in anyway, AoA actually runs in its own folder on your computer.

NukeouT: It is a story about mankind’s quest for a war to end all wars. There was a nuclear apocalypse and humanity boldly united in a second Renaissance. Even this period of progression did not last and fell apart due to greed, corruption, and petty squabbles. Chaos (The Radion Wars) erupted once again. The world went on a slip and slide adventure into the unknown. The player starts in an era of uncertainty and disbalance. Anarchist wastelanders roam in the outerzones while the weakened pre-war governments are crumbling to dust. Accults scheme in secret, advanced legions of mercenaries prepare to do battle, while a mechanized entity is rolling in from the southeast to eradicate them, all together. You could stay back and watch, while at the same time be the one to choose sides swing the balance and ultimately decide mankind’s fate!

Silencer: How is the mod going to be different from Morrowind?

Clone: Well first off, it is set in a post-nuclear world. Very much different from the fantasy setting of Morrowind. We use don't use any of Morrowind's files, this means none of their meshes, icons, textures, sounds, etc. We literally built AoA up from the ground using the Elder Scrolls Construction Set. We really wanted to give AoA its own unique feel so you wouldn't feel like your just playing a total conversion of Morrowind, but a complete new game.

NukeouT: Like Clone stated we are drawing this up to be a totally unique and memorable mod for Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind . Not only have we already created ~600+ unique meshes for this new environment, but have also pioneered open ended development. This would allow fans and fellow modders to join in and actively participate in this mods development. Tell us what you would like to see, give us new ideas we haven’t thought of or donate content. There has already been great support for this system, and we are having quite a party pouring through massive lists of various ideas, requests, and suggestions to add.

Silencer: What are the two factions? What does it look like in gameplay? Is it similar to Morrowind, where you had guilds favouring Imperial or native interests?

Clone: There is many factions you will encounter in AoA, but the two sides which the storyline takes place is the Wasteland and Barrier Cities. Both are two completely different groups of people. The Wastelanders are the people of the old world. The poor and non important people who couldn't afford citizenship in Barrier Cities were forced to live in the ruins of the old world. The rich and important people moved into huge Barrier Cities to protect themselves from the ever approaching danger of an nuclear bomb. Both sides soon grew to hate each other and now are on the last straw to wipe each other out. This is where you come into the storyline, giving you the option to chose which side you want to join.

Gameplay is very similar to Morrowind in how you play but the feel of it will be very different. Factions still work the same way in that you can join them and do quests. Some factions we already have created for example are Mercenaries, Scavengers, and Barrier Guard. There will be more of course added after time. Each faction will have its own style of missions and certain requirements to join them. If you are doing the Wasteland storyline, you can't just go and join the Barrier Guard.

NukeouT: In addition we plan to at some point include an extensive alliance system. This would mean that joining different factions would make other groups less friendly with you. Yet you have to keep in mind that some peoples which might be in alliance might be against a mutual faction that they both are allied with and so on and so forth. Getting various quests and cybernetic implants can further irreversibly damage your reputation with various groups. We plan to expand and make this content more intricate through regular AOA updates after the initial release.

Silencer: This will bring two alternative endings to the mod’s storyline, right? Or are you planning on more than that?

Clone: Yes, there will be two alternative endings in AoA, the Wasteland or Barrier Cities. We discussed having more endings, but conflicts just kept coming up. We didn't want to make it that complicated. Of course time makes a big role in how many endings we can make. Also the number of team members to create the quests. We really liked just the idea of being able to fight for the weak side, or join the powerful side and crush the weak. It is kind of like recent RPG games where the player chooses the good or dark path. In Morrowind the world offered the player complete freedom while the storyline was very linear.

NukeouT: There have been plans within the team and other suggested through open-ended development for further endings. How ever at the moment we are really strapped down on C.G.S. team membership and would not be able to complete the mod within reasonable amount of time if all these endings were to be included. Thus Clone and I have decided to keep it simple with two endings and possibly add more in future updates and expansions.

Silencer: So what is the mod’s visual style like? I bet you’re taking great inspiration from the areas beyond Ghostfence Wink

Clone: The eye candy of AoA is really the strong point in my opinion. It really gives the post-nuclear feel we are striving for. Every area you explore in AoA will be a new experience. Nothing will be the same looking ever. Every interior you enter will be detailed with extreme perfection. Early in development I gave AoA a gritty orange look with the sand and the skies. Both blend together perfectly creating a look that takes the player into the world. I'm trying to set the art style of AoA apart from other games out there.

NukeouT: As an art director for Ashes of Apocalypse I have really come to see it as a new world. Some of our outline visuals are planned and go along the already written lore. This includes the crumbling box-like futuristic style of the NCR, sleek metallic mercenaries, an efficient ageless determined robot race. Shanty and sandworn wastelanders with their shantytowns and dying out communities. Although this is relatively set any one coming by our site could potentially have the influence to add new content to lore or the impact to add new areas and meshes. Of course, once again your time to make all this really depends on how many available & dedicated modelers we have on the team. At present there are 4 of us having a jolly good time making 10~40 meshes a week. With major 5 meshes every two weeks.

Silencer: Tell us a bit about the mod’s geography. Is it placed in a real-world area?

Clone: AoA is based in the real-world area of California. It mostly is one big wasteland with desert covering it. It will feature scattered villages and trading outposts across it. But we also wanted to add a bunch of little details to the geography. Old battlefields, trash dumps, nuke craters, gravesites, etc. We didn't want to have endless dunes with nothing in them. The only future tech areas will be the Barrier Cities. So between the Wasteland and Barrier Cities, the look is extremely different.

NukeouT: As voted by the 04 staff and fans the game will be set on the Northern Californian Republic territories in the year 2092. Basically everything Clone said about real civilization only surviving in a couple bubbles here and there while the rest of the outlands is in anarchy where anything goes.

Silencer: What dangers is the player going to face? Will the game have mutant monsters? Will there be irradiated areas? Will you alter the diseases known from Morrowind to resemble the effects of radiation poisoning or mutations?

Clone: There will be of course a bunch of danger to face players! Wouldn't be much fun without danger now would it? From all the nuclear wars a lot of areas in AoA are full of radiation. You will actually be able to know this ingame with our complete new radiation detection system. A warning system is in place to warn players when their near radiation areas. We even created original Geiger sounds for it. If the player stays in the area for too long their health will decrease and eventually die. There is gas masks and anti-radiation pills in the game to protect the player from radiation damage. There also is monsters that have been mutated by the radiation. We also have added cannibals, wasteland bandits, dune rats, mercenary robots, and many more you will see when playing AoA.

NukeouT: We do not want the player to feel like he is in a game but to instead realize that he is staring into another world. If your batteries run out your GPS wont work and you will not have access to an overhead map. If your Geiger counter breaks too bad, try not to camp next to glowing green stuff... If you bring with you 500 bullets, a rocket launcher, and a plasma sword tell ‘em that I didn’t warn you about thirst and hunger. Dungeons will be detailed and well planned. A true labyrinth where you will hopefully get lost a few times. As an additional hazard don’t expect us to put a clear marker labeling something as a scorpion-infested canyon or a merchant camp.

Silencer: Are there going to be a lot of things to scavenge and plunder in the wastes?

Clone: Yes! This is a huge part of development for AoA. There is a bunch of junk in AoA. If you scavenge through the trash, you may find useful resources. Other then a bunch of trash dumps, there is old battlefields where you will find old rifles, armor, and ammo. The faction Scavengers gives quests just for this cause. They travel the wasteland to find profitable junk. You can literally survive in AoA just by making a living off going through tons of trash! Which I will probably end up doing...

NukeouT: By fan suggestions we are planning to implement some sort of simplistic assembly system although its extent depends on the amount of modeling crew we have to go out and make variations of already completed items.

Silencer: Will we see ranged weapons in the mod? If so, what kind? And what melee weaponry have you envisioned?

Clone: Of course, ranged weapons like rifles and SMGs is a must. On our website you already can see our finished guns. We will be adding pistols, SMGs, rifles, and rocket launchers. There will be more guns added overtime. Currently we are in the process of getting animators to make new animations of when the player fires the gun. We already have created ammo boxes you can buy with bullets to use with your guns. Guns is a very hard thing to make work using the Morrowind engine, but we can guarantee we will have working ones in AoA.

Melee weaponry is still being focused on in AoA. Because of all the technology loses and advances during the timeline you will come upon a wide variety of them. Wastelanders will use pieces of crude metal while Barrier Guards will have stun sticks. There will be a lot more focus on guns but don't worry melee people, there will be some in AoA!

NukeouT: We will have lots of guns as well as melee stuff to fit your fancy. Gameplay will be balanced to fit both styles of fighting. Every time I finish all my projects on request list I go searching for more suggestions in our forums. We will amass a fairly large collection of stuff for you to play with by the end of development. And they will work correctly since that is one of the pivotal goals of the entire AOA project development.

Silencer: How *true* is the mod to Fallout and the Fallout setting? You know, the
retrofuturistic 50's feel, the foreboding postnuclear world...

Clone: It is similar to the post nuclear world setting but different from the 50's feel. Since AoA takes place in the year 2092 there is futuristic stuff in the game, just not widely available in the wastelands. We did base some of the look off Fallout, but in no way did we copy any of the game series. AoA is its own setting and not based off any other games. I didn't want to copy anything and give AoA it's own unique feel of gameplay and look.

NukeouT: This is a really good often-asked question. It has to do with several facts. For the start I am a devoted Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics fan. So ever since I started an unfinished comic book production “NukeouT” I have looked for other ways of showing my appreciation to Interplay’s historic Fallout franchise. However there are two other important facts to consider. One is Bethesda with the Fallout license developing Vault 13 adventure number three. Like the Stargate officials making that SG-1 shooter also very liable to sue any modders who might step on their toes into submission. So it’s set in a much farther future away from Fallout. This, however, does not exclude Fallout events from having happened just like “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” does not exclude the existence of Earth in the future. The other one was me looking into 60.000 dollars it would cost to purchase rights to the Morrowind gaming engine, let alone rights to also be able to then publish expansion to the Fallout franchise. So this is an independent post apocalyptic mod made by likeminded fans.

Silencer: I understand you've played both Fallout and Morrowind? Are there any other
sources you draw from?

Clone: I actually can't say I've played Fallout! I have never got the chance to buy the games. I've played Morrowind though of course. I did get ideas from other sources including some movies and real world events. Movies like 28 Days Later gives the setting of an city being wiped out completely because of an chemical accident. Other movies include Appleseed and a big one Final Fantasy: The Sprits Within. One source came from the real world event of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster that happened in 1986.

NukeouT: I'd have to say influences were drawn from Fallout games, various outstanding movies such as Hamburger Hill, The Postman, MadMax etc. And the unfolding events with our American president which majority believes will cause/lead to an eventual apocalypse as seen through the appreciation for a post apocalyptic genre world round. One planet, one country 70,000+ nukes, one anti-matter bomb.

Silencer: But in general, you are trying to capture the same feel as Fallout’s, or is it a different atmosphere you’re aiming at?

Clone: A different atmosphere. I wanted to set AoA apart from Fallout and not be just a mod copying its setting. Some similar comparisons could probably be made but AoA is really its own thing. We created its timeline without any other game or movie in mind. It should have a unique feel unlike any other game you played including Fallout.

NukeouT: I've personally tried to make a statement about humanity and the current world events through this game, if nothing else than though my concept art, models and art direction. The game additionally has much influence from fans like you that come and tell us what they want to see since they will be the ones playing it in the end. Which has a big impact on the overall game as well.

Silencer: Well, you are aware that the Fallout fan community is eager to see a good postnuclear mod, given how Fallout 3 is still a thing of the future. What are your feelings towards them?

Clone: I'm also looking forward to how Fallout 3 turns out. AoA I can say will be a good appetizer to hold them fans over until Fallout 3. But I hope them fans will like AoA in a complete other way. They will like it for what it is itself. They will experience a new take on the post nuclear setting in a game. I hope to please the Fallout and Morrowind fans but at the same time make AoA fans. I want it to be a complete new experience for people. AoA will expand overtime and keep going. After the main release of AoA, we will continue to be involved in the community releasing weekly add-ons, monthly expansions, and much more. I want to keep growing the AoA world overtime. So the after AoA gets released, it's far from over!

NukeouT: How I see it is a totally new genre of game. It not only focuses on playing the game but jumps out of this into a totally new arena. Anyone basically can participate and influence the endless creation and expansion of this world. The gameplay is no longer limited to the game but has been expanded to having fun with the gameplay creation itself. As the game is assembled people can come and tell us what they would like changed, added, altered, removed ect. Once the game is ready for v.1 release it becomes an even more interactive ball game. Every update this world expands officially through both team and non-team added content. We will go back over suggestions and add more cities gameplay elements, dungeons armors. As well as sport contests for official gamer expansions on various game elements. During one week it might be expanding city BlahBlah with as many buildings, NPCs, new meshes as you can. And for instance top two entries will be officially merged and released in the next update. Next week it might be something to go more along the lines of new quests in another city. And as long as it conforms with already existing lore and doesn’t fly away into completely preposterous zones (such as Duracell rabbits In such a way the world will grow and expand endlessly until it reaches the “undownloadable zone”. Even then if technology manages to catch up it might resume/continue further expansion.

There are also some talks about carrying over existing content to Oblivion engine once that comes out. But it really has to do with how much more user friendly and/or technical it will be to mod. As well as the progress of AoA 1.

Silencer: How many talented contributors does the team number?

Clone: We have about 10 at the moment and could always use more! We are in desperate need of animators and modelers.

NukeouT: I am not gonna exaggerate this or write a 3-page paragraph. Just state that at the present we are better off than last years 2 member staff. Yet we still do not meet anywhere near the amount of modelers animators and scripters to deal with the amount of critical pre-release content that must be finished. And then in addition the open ended suggestions.

Silencer: What's your biggest accomplishment so far?

Clone: Well I will go ahead and say my Morrowind mod Sea of Destiny. It was a lot of hard work, a process that took over a year. I felt like I made something complete and was very pleased with the response I got from the community. With over 70,000 downloads currently, I couldn't be more happier with it.

NukeouT: As a student majoring in Product/Automotive design & Game Creation I have already racked up a lot of recognition around my school as well as having some of my art work recognized as the most creative and honorable in the school district. Well on my way to a successful art career I really am looking forward to finishing this mod as a new stepping-stone possibly into the Gaming Industry.

Silencer: Any ‘greetz’ or ‘thankyous’ you’d like to give?

Clone: I'd really like to thank you of course for interviewing me! And of course anyone reading this interview and just a bit interested in AoA. We really love the support we get from Morrowind and Fallout fans. You the people will decide how AoA turns out. We promise to read any of your suggestions and answer all your questions. We would like to make this mod enjoyable by Morrowind or Fallout fans. Without any of you, AoA would still be just a bunch of scattered ideas. Thank you all so much!

NukeouT: Yeah I've really enjoyed answering these questions for you all. I am looking forward to greeting those of you who make it through our simplistic application process on the AoA site. Which is there to make sure team members have at least base knowledge and dedication in the fields they are applying for. Thank you for having us sit down and write this extensive interview to all the fans out there. Most of all thank you Clone for keeping it real as my co-producer buddy through the long production process which has taken place and the work that has yet to take place as well.

Silencer: When is the complete mod due?

Clone: You had to save the hardest question till last huh? The near future release would be public beta and hopefully that will be released at the end of summer. For the main release it is too soon to tell.

NukeouT: Depends on team size. At present compromises had to be made and sacrifices have taken place to at least meet the vague and blurry deadline in the end of summer 2005. But whatever the case as far as I know everyone on our team is having fun and enjoying this development no matter how long it might further stretch out.

More info can be found at the website of Ashes of Apocalypse