Thale Cres Interview (PC)
Strategy Informer: Firstly, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Fredrik: Hi, I'm Fredrik, programmer and co-founder of Thale Cres. I'm currently studying Computer Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, beginning my second year this fall. On my spare time I like to develop Thale Cres, listen to music and hang out with friends. I'm developing Thale Cres together with Magnus, my brother, and Nikolas, who's doing the music and sound fx for us. Magnus is the concept artist for the game, and he also makes all the models, animations and textures for the game. He just graduated from Schillerska, and will (probably) be studying game design this autumn, at a school called Playground Squad in Falun. He also likes working on Thale Cres on his spare time (of course), and playing computer games, hanging out with friends and other stuff. Nikolas is a composer and sound designer, living in London with his my wife and two naughty kids. He is currently doing his PhD in composition amongst other things.
Strategy Informer: We've had a bit of information on the story line for Thale Cres, could you tell us more about it?
Fredrik: As you probably already figured out from looking at our concept art, the world of Thale Cres is inhabited by two major races; Trolls, which can be almost any size, from the smallest gnomes to the largest stone troll, although most of them are a little shorter then an average human, which is the other major race. But they aren't alone in the world, all sorts of mythical creatures inhabit the dark and dank forests. We take most of our inspiration from the Scandinavian mythology. But don't start to think about barbaric Vikings wielding large axes and all that stuff, which people commonly seem to think is typically Scandinavian. We take our inspiration from the folklore, what the people living here actually more or less believed existed hundred of years ago. One artist that described the trolls and other mythical creatures very well with his paintings is John Bauer, which is our main source of inspiration. The story line isn't really finished yet, but we will probably add a background section for our homepage sometime in the future.
Strategy Informer: You've told us about some of the features of Thale Cres, is there any we don't currently know about that you'd like to share?
Fredrik: The main feature of the game is how dynamic it's built up; all the game logic is scripted and most of the gui, and therefore we can easily implement new features as we go. For example, we call the game logic the "server" of the game, and currently we have two servers; game and editor, which are both 100% scripted. If we want, we can create a new server, say for example a fps-server similar to any fps game available (with limited graphics though of course). That server could then run the same maps as the other servers, i.e. you can play a map as an adventure map, and then run another server and get a completely new experience of the same map. Though, we don't plan on releasing any other servers than editor and game for the moment being, though we hope to be able to release some documentation on how to create a "server" for our fans out there. We will also take advantage of this when we create maps, you won't really know what to expect, anything can happen :)
Strategy Informer: What can you tell us about the graphical and physics features?
Fredrik: Graphically the features are more limited, we have got per pixel lighting using pixel shaders, but that's about it. Though the aim with the game is not to be a graphically speaking high-end game, but instead we focus on creating a nice atmosphere with limited resources. We have done a lot to make the textures fit with each other, and we've got some small, but neat, features that gives the atmosphere an extra touch, such as fog and "wisps" which comes out in the night an illuminates their surrounding. There is currently no physics and we don't intend on implementing it, because we don't feel that it would add anything to the game.
Strategy Informer: What kind of support do you plan to give once the game is released?
Fredrik: We plan on putting up a forum for the game, and users can always feel free to email us if there are any questions.
Strategy Informer: Are you planning to release a demo for Thale Cres?
Fredrik: We're hoping to be releasing a beta this summer.
Strategy Informer: Can you tell us about the single player aspect of the game?
Fredrik: We want each map to be a small adventure for the player, where he cannot know what to expect next. It will be small puzzles to solve, combined with skirmishes.
Strategy Informer: You plan to create a multiplayer option in the future, could you tell us a bit about this?
Fredrik: This is not really decided upon yet, though we don't say that we won't implement a multiplayer option in the future, we're just not sure about it yet. If we do implement it, it will be mainly for co-operative maps, allowing something like 2-5 players co-operating to complete the map.
Strategy Informer: Could you tell us about the creatures that we'll see in the game?
Fredrik: The trolls, which I have already told you about, are the major evil race, and they have all kinds of allies - monsters, undead, etc. They inhabit the dark, deep forests, attacking anyone daring to venture there. This is a large, silent world, If you would walk up on a high hill or a mountain somewhere in the world all you would probably see is a vast ocean of pine trees, stretching as far as you can see, and mountain peaks in the horizon. It would seem completely still; like no living creatures existed there at all (much like it is looking at a forest here is Sweden, actually). But what you would see would just be the surface of it. Deep within the forests is a world ruled by evil, twisted creatures. The creatures in the game are inspired by partly John Bauers work, and partly old Scandinavian myths. We want the game, and all the creatures in it, to have a very ancient feel to it, like an alternative version of how the area stretching from northern Europe, through Russia, and to the northern parts of Asia even, was in ages past.
Strategy Informer: Could you tell us about the characters we'll get to play with?
Fredrik: In the first map we will release you will play with a small group of human warriors, led by a pretty high ranked captain of some kind. They are patrolling the forests, hunting down trolls, and making the roads safe to travel on.
Strategy Informer: As a gamer, what's your favorite part of Thale Cres, what makes you proud to have helped create it and why is it a game fanís will want?
Fredrik: What I like most about the game is the feeling of it. When dusk falls and the fog closes in (we'll release screenshots with this soon...) and the music kicks in, while looking at the trees and the units breathing, and this is also what I'm most proud of. We're in the progress of making some interesting maps too, and the combination of the feeling and a map that is fun to play will be what drives this game.
Strategy Informer: We know there are only currently three people working on this project, but do you still have a set release date?
Fredrik: Not really, as I said we hope to be getting the beta out this summer, but we don't have any final release date for the game.
Strategy Informer: What has been the hardest part of development so far?
Fredrik: There's always hard parts involved in the programming, though they are always solvable just giving some time to it. The hardest part has actually been the world and the creatures living in it. We've recreated the world numerous times and each time it gets a little better, though the latest "version" has been around for some time now, and we feel that it works great for the game and vise versa.
Strategy Informer: Well we've come to our last question, is there anything you'd like to say to the fans of Thale Cres which are eagerly awaiting the release of this free title?
Fredrik: Hold out, the beta is on its way.