For those new to Dark Forces and Jedi Knight, Jereth Kok is the author of two of the best DF levels made, Star's End and Assassinate Darth Vader, as well as co-webmaster (with Geoffrey Elliott) of the Jedi Knight Academy. Jereth is also a member of the Code Alliance, the group responsible for creating the best Dark Forces level editor to date - WDFUSE.
Question - The Jediknight Academy has been along time in the making, are you and Geoffrey Elliott happy so far with it's success?
Yes, we are indeed. We have put a lot of time into it up to this point (especially Geoffrey, who has done almost all of the artwork), and are very pleased with its progress. The response has been overwhelming as well, and we thank all our visitors for their support; especially those who have contributed postings to our forum.
Question - What are you and Geoffrey planning for the Academy in the future and how will the page change once JK is released?
I admit that right now things have slowed down nearly to a halt. We are at the stage where we are sitting on the edges of our seats, waiting for Jedi Knight to be released, so that we can mould our page around it. Until then, there isn't very much more we can do with the site. However, there are still a number of things on the drawing board:
We are also planning to design a set of periodic awards for addon levels, and thinking about organising and hosting a team tournament over the Inernet; we will be developing this plan further once we see Jedi Knight's full capabilities.
Question - Things have been pretty quite on the WDFUSE front for a while, are any future versions planned by the Code Alliance?
- A "Training Area", where a variety of instructional documents will be available. These will include a Level Creation Guide, a Review Writing
Guide, as well as any tutorials or help documents related to Jedi Knight that arise in the future
- An "Auditorium", where we will be hosting monthly features, including a special spotlight feature of one selected addon level per month. Other
features will include interviews, reviews of new utilities, big news features, and so on.
The team has decided that there will be no further development on 16-bit versions of WDFUSE. However, David Lovejoy plans to continue on towards a full release of version 2.5 of the 32-bit version. As well as some bug fixes, there will be a 3DO<->ASC feature, and Alexei's Container Manager will be incorporated into the application to replace the old GOB and LFD file managers.
Question - Lucas Arts has decided not to release it's level editor, Leia, with the game...how long do you think it will take for an 'unofficial' editor to surface and do you think the Code Alliance will be the team to make one?
The Code Alliance is definitely devoted to starting work on a Jedi Knight Editor the moment the game is released. We have all been inspired by Yves Borckmans and his wonderful work with creating WDFUSE, and can't wait to begin the process of hacking into Jedi Knight and writing a level editor for it. In addition to Alexei Novikov, David Lovejoy, and myself, we have been joined by Frank Krueger, an expert in the 3-D realm, and Peter Klassen, who is a very notable figure for his Dark Forces addon levels and utilities. We also have a number of Mac correspondants as part of our team.
Question - How long do you think people will continue to make Dark Forces levels and what kind of future do you think there is for the game at this point?
I anticipate that Dark Forces will not die quickly, and should remain popular into early next year. I'm sure a few more addon levels will surface during this time, before people become able to create levels for Jedi Knight. Dark Forces fans can feel sure that any DF levels that are released in the near future will be of a very high quality - we have reached the peak of DF editing at the end of its era, and the best levels are
definitely ones that have been in development for a long time.
Question - I hear you are teaming up with Peter Klassen to create a small FX packed level, will this level be like Sensation or Perplexion, ie. just a demonstration type level?
No, this will be more or less a full level. We have concieved a plot and mission objectives, and the level will have a very involving layout,
setting and design. We have been joined by Steve Miller, a new face to Dark Forces, who will be providing us with some much appreciated general assistance. As you pointed out, we will be concentrating heavily on special effects in this level, rather than size and structural complexity. The level will star a few new 3D objects, and many, many VUEs...
Question - Your two Dark Forces levels ( Assassinate Darth Vader & Star's End) are up there with the best levels ever made, do you have any plans to continue level making in Jedi Knight? Or possibly to convert your two DF levels into JK levels (hopefully this will be possible)?
I certainly will have a crack at making levels for Jedi Knight - what with the success of my two Dark Forces levels, and the enjoyment I obtained from creating them, I look forward very much to creating more with Jedi Knight's considerably more powerful game engine available to be explored and manipulated. As for converting my DF levels, that is a possibility I will consider. There will undoubtedly be many people who will play Jedi Knight without having first had the pleasure of experiencing its prequel, and I would like them to be able to enjoy my two existing levels as well.
Question - Finally, just how good do you feel JediKnight will be....will it bury Quake like most predict or has Lucas Arts baulked on it's release one too many times?
Actually, I have formed a subjective personal opinion on this, that I am not sure is shared by others. As we know, Jedi Knight will face some fierce competition from other games to be released soon, especially Quake II which is due only a few months later. I believe that while Quake II will attract those who want pure violence and action, and multiplayer games which consist of little more than mindless carnage, Jedi Knight on the other hand will most likely attract the more strategically minded. Its single player missions should definitely require a lot of puzzling and thinking, if its prequel is anything to judge by, and its multiplayer options will also probably be strategy orientated - team games such as Capture the Flag will hopefully precede over mindless deathmatching.
I doubt that LucasArts would agree with me wholly on this, but I would personally prefer it if Jedi Knight remains a game where tactics are
important, even if it means losing out to Quake because of the many gamers who tend away from tactical 3D gaming. However, I am sure that there are many who are great fans of LEC's past games and their focus on the mission rather than simply destroying everything or reaching the end-switch, and these people will ensure the success of Jedi Knight. And of course the magic of Star Wars will once again be a large factor in determining Jedi Knight's popularity.
As for the issue of release dates, I do not feel that LucasArts 'baulked' on Jedi Knight's release date - the talk of a release as early as May was simply the result of rumour. The official statement (fall) has only come recently, and we should be able to trust it fully. Remember too, that a longer wait pays off in the end.