Seas of Venus: A Game Mod in Space and Water
Over the past few semesters, a group of dedicated game programmers and designers created a modification of Battlefield 1942, using imaginary weapons that were never developed by both the Axis and Allies. For more information, see the Operation Anubis web site and an earlier story in What's Happening about the mod.
Core members from the Operation Anubis mod, along with UAT faculty member Ken Adams, have moved on to create a new mod with Battlefield 1942, but this time it will be based in the future. And on another planet. Instead of World War II-era planes and ships on Earth, they must create spacecraft and a Venusian environment, complete with man-eating foliage.
The new mod's story line is based on David Drake's sci-fi book Seas of Venus. Ken Adams explains the goals for the mod:
Why Seas of Venus? What is it about the plot and setting that makes it easier to adapt?
I chose Seas of Venus, because I am a fan of David Drake, the author. The planet is basically a death trap on the surface and there is some interesting possibilities for changing the gameplay of Battlefield 1942. It might not be as easy to adapt as Operation Anubis was, but both the team and myself thought it would be a challenge to do.
How did you get the author’s permission?
Very easily. I went to his web site and emailed him and simply asked his permission to do the mod. Mr. Drake was very excited about it.
What are the unique challenges of doing a sci fi Battlefield mod?
Putting in the new avatars (characters) and animating some of the foliage (there are man eating plants in the book) are going to be some of the biggest challenges.
Have any other mod group done something similar?
There are several SciFi mods of Battlefield in progress right now.
Are you adding features and characters and plot line to the Seas of Venus that were not there originally?
One of the things that was not covered well in the books was the ground vehicles, so we had to take some liberties with them. Additionally, the surface ships carried very sophisticated point defense / anti-aircraft weapons, so the only aircraft where gliders, since they don’t have an engine signature to give them away. We will have actual powered aircraft in Seas of Venus.
Who are the mod group members and what are their duties?
Mark Parisi: Team Lead
John Mead: Assistant Lead
Mark Whitehill: Program Lead
Katie McGee: Level Design Lead
Chris Lakso: Art Lead
Dennis Crawford: Website Design and Artist
What lessons that your group learned from the first Battlefield mod that are applicable to the Seas of Venus mod?
The biggest change is the fact that we will not have to learn how do everything over again. That set us back when we did Operation Anubis. Also improved team work (don’t get me wrong, I think I have the best mod team at the school) is a big factor. All of our models will be done in 3D Studio Max, not in Maya and then converted, the conversion process caused a lot of little problems, none where difficult to fix, they took time. Also, I am running a ‘tighter ship,’ so there will not be long discussions on “I think it should be this way instead of that way…”
What are the goals for this semester? Next semester?
To complete all of the models and get as many textured as possible, as well as starting the level design and beginning to put some of the models into the levels. For the spring semester, we will be finishing up placing the models into the game, finish up creation of the static models we are putting into the game, play balancing, and final level adjustment.