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An interview with Face

Well, friends, welcome to another De-M feature. It's been a long time, but hopefully this will be the first of many to come soon. I've interviewed Face, this time, of Face Designs about his latest project, Disclosure. Tied in with the questions are some stunning screenshots of his latest work. Keep in mind when you see these that they are currently (as of 11-27-01) unfinished works, and treat all blemishes with this understanding.

Also, be sure to see our first interview with Face about Disclosure, conducted back in June.

But first, a little information about the project...

Deus Ex is a first person perspective shooter with a roleplaying twist. Unlike its analogues of Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament and so on, Deus Ex has a complex storyline. In a world where conspiracies and terrorism rule, who can you trust? As J.C. Denton, a nano-technology augmented agent, you must stop the conspirators, but as the plot continues the line becomes less visible, and not everyone is what they seem. Disclosure will be a gripping modification that continues where the original Deus Ex finished, with some 10-15 new missions. Lies, Cover-ups and Deception - the political unrest of the world continues, but something else is on your mind.

The death of your brother, Paul, has never seemed right. Who killed him, and why? Something about it just doesn't seem right, maybe it's just the paranoia of knowing what you know, or perhaps it's the guilt? Either way, you believed it would be best forgotten, until a mysterious message awakens your thirst for the truth.

And now the questions...

Eberon: Who are some of the team members working on Disclosure? Could you tell us a little about their contributions, both present and future?

Face: The Disclosure team comprises of three people. The majority of the storyline has been written by myself but I have a second guy who is known by the name of Xanoman helping with the story development. The only other person on the team is Symbiant who's producing the mood setting music for the entire mod.

Eberon: What story elements does Disclosure have in store for players?

Face: Disclosure has been planned and written in such a way that it continues with all the elements that we've become fond of in the original game. There's a major conspiracy that is inherent with the Disclosure storyline, often we find out that characters aren't always what they seem, something the player will get to see from a very early stage of the "add on". It's up to the player how they get to play, they can take the stealth approach and not have to kill anyone, or they can go around each mission shooting at everyone - the consequences of which the player will have to pay for in later missions.

Eberon: Are there any returning characters you can tell us about without spoiling any surprises?

Face: Disclosure has a number of new characters that are introduced to the player within the first few missions, as for returning characters I can say this, we have Alex Jacobson, Jock and Jaime Reyes. The player takes on the role of J.C. Denton once again. There's also a surprise in store, Disclosure introduces a character that was hinted at in the original game, through character dialogue, and brings them into a major role - that's all I'm going to say as it will ruin the surprise. :)

Eberon: So, what new "features" are we going to see in your project? Is there anything unique in the gameplay or otherwise that will stand out from the rest?

Face: I see the success of any mod being down to a strong and solid storyline with a lot of player-choices and interaction with the characters. The Disclosure Project is less concerned with introducing new weapons and augs than it is with immersing the player inside a realistic virtual environment. It's important to me that the Disclosure mod captures the minds of the players and thus really putting them into J.C. Denton's shoes. It's inevitable when working on something like this that you are going to have to push the engine to its limits to get an end result that truly achieves this. The first thing the players will notice about the missions in Disclosure is the close attention paid to detail, sound, lighting, characters and events.

Eberon: Some people enjoyed the combat aspects of Deus Ex, while still others (including myself) were fans of reading datacubes, hacking computers, and talking with colleagues. Could you explain the balance between combat and conversation in your project? Which takes precedence?

Face: The basis of the project is giving the player the freedom that they want from a game, like I said in a previous answer, I want to immerse the player so they actually believe they are there. There are a lot of conversations that can take place in Disclosure, some are essential to the mission(s) whilst others are not. I don't want to force the player into speaking to someone that they don't think is necessary, so there are many other ways of finding the information that the player needs, either through datacubs, public access terminals or newspapers scattered around. I guess what I'm saying is that there are many potential conversations that can take place between the player and other characters, whether they choose to take that route is up to them

Eberon: Deus Ex was hailed for its gift to players that was the ability to approach each situation in many different ways. Will your project follow this same theme?

Face: There's nothing worse than playing a game and being forced to go along a route as dictated by the games designers (there's a game that caused me maximal pain released earlier this year like that). Each mission has a number of objectives and I've tried to design them so that there is more than one way of completing them, I don't want the player to feel as though they're simply playing out a linear story.

Eberon: What about some of the locales that are featured in your design? Could you tell us about some of those?

Face: What I thought would be interesting for Disclosure would be to place the player in a number of remote locations, without turning their backs on the built up life of the city, of course. What I am willing to say at this stage is that the player will be visiting deserts, rainforests, cities and more, but you'll have to wait and see why you end up at such locations and what's there.

When I mentioned that my next question about his motives behind choosing the particular locations that he did for the game, he had only the following to say: "We've all heard about possible secure military locations in remote regions, now's the chance for you to visit and explore them." Sounds exciting!

Eberon: How many levels are planned for Disclosure?

Face: At the moment I have 10 fully planned missions, 4 of which are complete. However, the storyline could be spread over many more missions, there's so much that I've wanted to include in the mod but have had to cut out due to my own time constraints, but I'd like to point out that where ideas have been cut from the mod, the remaining elements haven't been adversely affected.

Eberon: For some, installing and running mods with Deus Ex has been problematic and messy. How do you plan to distribute your mod?

Face: I want the installation of the mod to be as simple and painless as possible. There is nothing worse than trying to follow some poorly written installation instructions such as those which have been seen with some mods in the past. I intend on writing a custom installation program which will prompt the user for some information, such as where Deus Ex is installed, and the installer will do the rest - all the player has to do is select "New Game" from the new main menu in Deus Ex and they'll be playing Disclosure. There will also be an uninstallation option which will revert the user back to their original settings - all this without once touching a configuration file!

Eberon: Have you encountered any serious limitations in the engine or otherwise that have caused you trouble while trying to create your vision in the Deus Ex universe?

Face: The major limitation is its poor graphics rendering under certain circumstances. Early on it was evident that some of the designed missions would have to be cut back or split up into even further maps to keep the Deus Ex world highly detailed without impairing the performance. Once you start adding NPC's into the missions you really see the fps count hit hard - and that's not good.

Eberon: As for the conversations, do you plan on voicing them?

Face: I hope to get some people to voice the conversations, I'm lucky in the sense that I have an audio studio here so anything that is done regarding custom sounds/voices will be of a high quality. If I can't get good voice actors for the parts then I'd rather not have them at all.

It's anticipated that Disclosure should be out in the first quarter of 2002. In the mean time keep checking out the Face Designs website for all the latest news and information. And if you really can't wait to see what's to come, you can download the recently released Towers 2 map; a modified version of the 4th level in Disclosure, for some multiplayer goodness."

~Eberon, 12/05/01

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