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Interview with Michal Marcinkowski – Part 2

This is the second half of our interview with MM, for the first, click here.

Player Affinity:  I played A LOT of Soldat, at least 2000+ hours. I would come home from school, play Soldat, do my homework, eat, and play more Soldat for about a year of my life, and even after that period, I still put in quite a lot of time. What do you think will draw us old Soldat farts to Link-Dead?

MM:  First of all don't expect to be consumed by any game like that ever again. You're probably much older now than you started. Maybe you finished school and have other responsibilities. Maybe you have matured a bit? Still you like killing dudes in your free time and watching their heads flying? So Link-Dead is for you. It is like Soldat just much more sophisticated, gives you more weapons and possibilities to kill your enemy (like placing traps, remote detonating someone, impaling someone on a spear etc.). So you will get drawn in by the depth of the game. It will take a lot of time to explore all the game features and for you to pick the style of combat you prefer most. After that it is the same old killing and mission objective gameplay as in Soldat CTF.

Player Affinity:  What would you say is your greatest source of inspiration for Link-Dead?

MM:  There isn't anything I can pinpoint. Link-Dead is a real thing I hold in my heart, so I draw inspiration just by imagining it. There isn't anything out there that is close to resembling Link-Dead. But of course nothing comes out of nothing so here is a list of inspirations in chronological order: Terminator -> Jagged Alliance -> Starcraft -> Prince of Persia -> Parkour -> Predator

Player Affinity:  How has the programming knowledge you've gathered over the years affected Link-Dead development? I assume when you started Soldat, you were still getting the grip on things?

MM:  Yeah I was clueless when I made Soldat. I still am, there are much better programmers than me with less experience. However I've got my "street smarts". I know what works and what doesn't. This is why I can code a network code that "just works". "Just works" is a term I use that comes from John Carmack. I like that philosophy of writing code that just works. It doesn't matter how you write it, what language etc. Just make it simple, make it do what it's supposed to do and let it be flexible. This means it is easily rewritable. I think ideally every subsystem of the game (like particles, collision, GUI etc), the core of it, should be written in 1 day. Of course if you don't know how to do it, it will take longer. But if you know, write it in a way that will take you 1 day or 1 night whatever you like. Every code that works good in my games took that amount of time to write.

Player Affinity:  Do you ever plan to make an epic return to Soldat development, such as with a version 2.0.0 where there are achievements and unlocks and 3D tv support and polygonal gosteks and you can akimbo M79s and do front flips and have airstrikes, or do you think that Enesce has taken over development for good?

MM:  That would be awesome. There's definitely potential in a Soldat 2. Everyone knows this, everyone can imagine what good stuff might be in it, akimbo guns is just 1 idea. I'm not saying that I will do it, but I would like to have another Soldat made on the Link-Dead engine, it is perfect for that. Enesce is not developing Soldat anymore, we've got a team of around 4 guys that are doing it at this moment. So there is still a good future for Soldat 1, wait to see what they come up with.

Player Affinity:   What can we expect the pricing model to be like?

MM:  Haven't decided yet for sure. I know I don't want a subscription model. I was considering it but it doesn't feel right. Ideally I would love to give the game away for free like Soldat, but I gotta make money too. This is my job.

Player Affinity:  Is there any game that you're really into right now?

MM:  Link-Dead

Player Affinity:  Do you have any words to all the aspiring game developers out there?

Write down your dream game. Realize it's probably gonna take a couple years to do that. Write down a step by step plan what you need to do/learn to make that dream happen. I make games full time and I tell you it is worth it, so go pursue your dream.

Player Affinity:   When do you think Link-Dead will reach beta status? How can the people play right now?

MM:  I think it will be around autumn, not earlier. People can play the alpha version right now, which constantly changes, new stuff is added, some are removed, everything evolves. It's a great experience in itself because you can see the game forming by playing the alpha, instead of buying a finished product and putting on a shelf to rot.


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