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An interview with Zue.

When Chuck Norris counted to eternity for the first time, she was there to make sure he knew that he wasn’t the first.  After many, mostly successful, attempts to undermine his ego, she returned to the solitude of the wilds and the inhospitable plains of the Midlands.

As we discovered, she now teaches people things, she doesn’t have a clue about and she has joined with Questorian to help him out with his upcoming project, Dark Times : The Confederacy of Malkuth. We asked her about that and even more stuff.

For your reading pleasure, may we now present, “An interview with Zue”.

Tell me a little about what got you interested the game/mod?

I have always been creative and dreamt about creating my own story, people, world. One can do that in many different ways, that’s what art is for. I tried writing, painting, even carving to wood (what haven’t made many people too happy), but I wanted to try modding as well, for it’s different from any other kind of art I know. It gives you opportunity to visualize your ideas, making it more appealing. Gameplay is also more dynamic then writing, though there can be exceptions, so the feeling you have is more intensive and I wanted to be able to bring my ideas somewhere where their potential can be fully shown.

What exactly do you help with?

This is the hard one. Basicly with anything that is needed. I started as a writer, went through retexturing and for now ended up with level building. I also try to take part in proof reading and QA and make sure everything is working.

How long have you been doing level/retexturing design?

Not long. I have never modded before and started with retexturing and level editing accidently. One day I talked to Quest and he suggested we needed a unique look for Dark Times, so I said I could try to change a few textures. With his help I figured out how to start and I have been involved since then.

Level editing is slightly different story, because I did one level before DT, for a mod that was about retaking Couslands’ castle. So when we were searching for someone to do levels to speed up development, I said I could try it.

Have you only done Dragon Age add on mods, or have you done other types.

One of the reasons why I bought DA was to start modding. I haven’t modded before, so I can just assume that other toolsets are not as scary as this one.

What have been the favourite levels/retextures that you have created?

And now you are just going to make me sound like narcissist 🙂 I can’t say which one is my favourite, there are those textures that made me work harder then others, same with the levels. There are also many of those that never made it and I just deleted them, or left unfinshed, so those finished that required more work make me prouder.

Are you happy with the progress that you have made to date?

I sure am. With all the work and time people in team put into the mod it’s hard not to be. When I joined the project I didn’t know what to expect, still there is progress made and new content added on daily basis, what makes me feel all the time spend is worth it.

What has been the most difficult situation with the level/ retexturing creation that you have faced?

Beginning, middle, finish…With everything new there are some difficulties, so even if I’d pointed one exact problem, it’d probably be outdated really soon.

Though I think that the very essence of every creation is inspiration. More you create, more difficult it is to keep it all unique. After some time you are most likely to get an opinion that your work somehow looks the same.

Creating armors with different colors but same pattern can be nice from beginning, but after a while it is like living in the same house, where one room has same furniture as others, but is painted in pink

How did you overcome it?

People from DT dev team help a lot, if they can’t, you just need to search the forum a little bit. Though my problems are usually really specific someone has faced them before. And old truth is working here, overcome problems with patience and love 🙂

What do you dislike at present about the mod, the toolset?

I’m humble person (~~) and I expect anything good must come with bugs. Huge part of my enjoyment in modding comes from overcoming those problems. As long as it’s working I can live with it.

What do you think ppl will like about the mod?

This mod add thing that everyone likes. The story! There are many things I think people will like, we already have shown pictures of new content, textures, levels in our discussion group and there is lots more to come.

What do you think ppl will dislike?

There is one thing…but hey, I’ll keep it surprise 🙂

So what decisions with level/retexturing design do u think are the most difficult?  Cutting a building, lightmapping?

For me personally the most difficult decision is the size of level. Coordinates of outdoor levels can keep me on leash, but when I start with room levels I’m just building and building and building…I’m told what’s the purpose of level so many of things just come naturally. I’ve also spent much time in forests and caves, so it helps my levels a lot.

I might be weird, but retexturing comes naturally, when I pick up good texture or pattern to go with, I just keep working till Im satisfied with result. Thankfully I haven’t encountered problem I couldn’t solve, but I have to say that all the dirty work is done by other people, so that might be the reason 🙂

How do you find working with Questorion and other team members?

Quest is a great project leader, he has managed to keep order in our work since the start of the project what requires incredible effort. Other team members work on mod during the day and (my) night. My respect for that 🙂 I can’t imagine better team. Many of us use skype discussion to talk about…well quite frankly anything, what makes working on the DT even more enjoyable.

How have you coped when faced with conflict of ideas on how a level/retexture should be?

I dont think there has every been a conflict. Like with levels Im given lots of freedom to do it the way I imagine. We share pictures of armor, weapons and creatures through skype, so we can get valuable feedbacks and remake textures according to them.

I’ve got inner conflict all the time. When I’m given a task to create a level I’m also told what should it be for and if there are some specifics that are needed for story progressions, where should they be, or how should player use them. Apart from that I have freedom in creating levels the way I want to. Once it’s all done I present the level to Quest and if there is something that doesn’t work, I head back to toolset and rework it. There is always a way to solve problems the way everyone will be happy.

How do you measure to your performance?

0 – sleeping, 1 – working. Now I sound too nerdy. I’ve never measured it, I’ve never really thought about it in fact. I think there is always something to work on, something to get better in and I think I have lots of improvment to make.

Which part of level/retexturing design is least to your liking?

Opening the toolset. It takes quiet long time what gives me possibility to close it before I start working. And God knows it happens a lot.

Other than that, I really dont know 🙂 I take retexturing as a relaxing thing so I quiet enjoy all the parts.

What was your favourite creature to retexture?

There were several creatures I enjoyed retexturing. I had great time watching succuba changing and I hope people will like her as well. There was also a set of dragons, which originally started more as a joke but ended up in game. I, myself, was surprised how originally its look turned up to be*original

When is the first of your retextured creatures we will encounter?

This sounds like spoiler alert 🙂 Well I can say, first retextured creature, player may encounter, is hidden in the tower, its not a princess, but has really awesome voice ~~

Players will be able to encounter it while doing a chain quest for one of local companies and I can safely say there will be lot of killing involved.

What do you think other level/retexture designers would say about you?

“How the hack does she dare to touch the toolset?!” No really, I don’t know, you must ask them I suppose 🙂

What would your strengths or weaknesses be?

Youth to both 🙂 I lack patience to work on some mod aspects like cutscenes or scripting on the other hand I have patience for level building. I’m also often just too lazy to do thing the hard way so I’m quite likely to start thinking of how to make it the easy, yet satisfing way. Well, for me at least.

Do you find networking within the gaming community a help or more of a hindrance?

Help, deffinetly. Withouth BSN forums, blogs and tutorials I wouldn’t ever be able to work in toolset on level I do now, or improve my performance. People can give you different feedbacks, you can search the forums, find interesting mods to get inspired or, what is the case of DT, start discussion about different things and discover whether people want something in mod or not.

How do you choose who to network with?

I don’t, truth is that I’ll talk to anyone who can keep conversation in polite manner. I find it just too hard to shut my mouth and talk just to few chosen ones.

What is the best advice you can give a new person to the level/retexturing area?

Read toolset installation troubleshooting before starting to mod.

What is the worst advice you can give a new person to the level/retexturing area?

After 4 hours of work 🙂 Press Alt+F4 and then select NO, it’s quicksave hotkey.

What is your favourite food?

Pirohy. dumplings filled with mashed potatoes, curd and thing called bryndza, what is kind of cheese

Want to know how to make PIROHY?  Follow the link. 🙂

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