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In Discussion with Al McDonald

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IP Board



Al McDonald:     The fact that we continue to skin for Jedi Knight, rather than switching to Quake II, where opportunities for remodelling and, therefore, skinning are greater leads me to believe that we're just suckers for Star Wars. So, with that in mind, what do you want from the next generation of FPS in the Star Wars universe? I'm hoping for a little more flexibility in terms of modelling, and it would be nice if each model could support its own independent colour palette, as I hear newer games will.

Marc Sauvé:     Yes, yes, yes!!! Palettes are the work of the Dark side! The only thing I would really want is to be able to have different voices when playing team mode and CTF. Sound is very important in MP.

Red:     I do think that the next FPS will be of the Dark Forces line. Maybe it'll deal with Rahn, or Kyle's father, but it's probably going back in time :-)

I want more flexibility in the Models... So you can assign Keys to them for multiplayer. Also the palette thing is a pain.

Al McDonald:     How do you think the community has developed? Is it what you hoped it would be, or didn't you have any expectations?

Marc Sauvé:     Well I'm still waiting for more SP stuff. I loved "Warzone", "Jedi Search" and "Siege at Vol Kanst". I wish there were more levels like these. I'm finding less and less new stuff now. Where are the new editors and skinners. Show yourselves!

Al McDonald:     Yeah, I love looking at other people's stuff, seeing how they work.

Red:     Well... It's ok. There have been good times and bad times. I am kind of upset with JediKnight.Net because they are almost too much into other games.

Editing groups come and go... I'd be great if we could all just work together. Imagine if all of the top editors worked on a project? I bet we could top Jedi Knight ;-) But we all have our inspirations. Myself, I am going to finish the SOTE MP-TC before I die. Levels take me forever, especially when I mess around with COG FX, etc. I am STILL working to finish Hoth... When I get an urge I will :-)

Al McDonald:     I know this might sound controversial, and I'm not trying to start any fights here, but what was your take on the whole Skinners/JKMAG incident? I'm asking because it was one of the more resonant events in the last year, and speaking strictly as an observer, I thought it was important. It threw up some good questions regarding ownership of the skins and also showed that the community had very strong feelings on the subject. Don't feel you have to comment.

Red:     Oh boy :-) Well it was a pain. I think it showed authors/compilers that they can't just make a pack and include other's work without asking. I am VERY happy when people are kind enough to E-Mail me about using a level, mesh, etc. in their work. It makes me feel like those hours I spent editing was worth it (also I usually say yes). It just takes a min. guys, save the hassle!


The BFP/Skinners incident did get me back into editing. I was cranking out a skin a day and developed many ideas and skills while doing so. At the time, I was in an editing slump (like I'm in now :-), and it got me on the ball.

Al McDonald:     That's a fairly positive outcome, anyway.

Marc Sauvé:     Well, I can understand how they felt. BFP has a few of my early stuff in there. I did write to JKMAG about it and the whole thing was sorted out. Even if I don't give permission anymore when it come to including my stuff in any multiplay packs, I sometimes give in when it comes to single play. I know that BFP is quite popular because there are a lot of skins in the pack, but I think it has also gotten a bit too big. New players have a lot of stuff to download if they want to get up to date. Still, it's good advertising. They do give credit.

Although I find it flattering that someone would want to include some of my babies in their patches, I prefer they didn't anymore. Otherwise, all future skin patches will look the same. I don't pretend to be any better than anyone, but I do put out a lot of effort to make my patches the best I can do in the hopes that gamers will use them. That's probably my only reward, that and all the e-mail I get. I like it when a skin patch has a theme. The "Skinners" group did it with their "Shadows of the Empire" and I'm still waiting for "Al's Big JK Pack"! ;-)

Al McDonald:     Al's Big Slow Download, I think I'd have to call it. I think you have a good point about the size of the BFP, but that it's kind of necessary. That's one thing Quake has over Jedi Knight, the skins can be downloaded and bundled with a single player model, without the need for altering a materials list.

How do you feel knowing that people in different parts of the world use your stuff? I think it's wild.

Marc Sauvé:     I know what you mean. I've gotten e-mail from everywhere around the globe. I love that. Star Wars is truly an international phenomenon. Just to think that someone in, let's say, Austria is right now using my Twi'lek gives me quite a thrill. (That sounded a little dirty, didn't it?)

Al McDonald:     Not just a little.

Red:     THAT is the reason we do it! When I saw my skin in a published mag I was totally excited. Again. THAT's what I've spent a year of my life doing. I only wish that LucasArts let PC Gamer include Jedi Knight MODS on their Disc. What a shame!

Marc Sauvé:     Besides the SW movies, what are your primary sources of inspirations? I get most of mine out of the numerous novels. My favourite is the anthology "Tales from the Empire" That way, all I have is a description and I don't have to stick to a particular look.

Al McDonald:     I guess mainly the movies, although I like Timothy Zahn's books. I like doing other movie stuff, too. With respect to Star Wars, I try to keep the looks limited. There's the Corellian gunslinger type look, like Han or Mara Jade, the Jedi robe look and the Imperial techy look. That's becoming more and more difficult with the limitations of the palette.

Red:     Well... I'm not much of a reader :-) That's why SOTE has stuck to me because of the N64 game - I ended up reading the book though :-) I love Multimedia Starwars. The game X-Wing was the first computer game I ever bought. If I finish SOTE (or take a break from it ;) I may do a little SP mission dealing with Farlander.

Marc Sauvé:     What event got you started in editing? For me, it was a desire to play Boc in multiplayer. (I still have a few screenshots of the editing process)

Al McDonald:     Dark Forces. I wanted to make a TIE fighter pilot for Dark Forces. It took bloody ages, but I was so happy when it worked. It was kind of like adding my own touch to the Star Wars universe. Skinning has continued like a disease.

Red:     Dravis Covell (of NetSquads) made a James Bond Skin. Of course I had to make one too.. well I found that it was kind of fun :-) From skins came levels... to cog... to bms... to... well I dunno yet :-)

Marc Sauvé:     Which skin or skins are you most proud of? For me, it's my version of "Boc", my "Noghri" and the one called "Brandl" (I've also gotten a lot of e-mail for my "Dark Trooper" but he doesn't count)

Al McDonald:     Good question. I think my favourite skin is the Ric Olie, although I don't think it's my best. I like Luke and Han type skins. I guess a lot of other people have told me they liked the Phase 2 and 3 Darktroopers. They're just flash though.

Personally, I like your Tales of the Jedi type stuff. I never had any of the comics, but I think the look fits nicely with what I've seen of the prequels. My personal definition of a good skin is 'one that people use'.


From what I've heard, this limits my good skins to about three: two darktroopers and Ben Kenobi.

Red:     Probably... hum... Dash. He was my first skin and it sticks in my mind the problems I had making it. (I still remember that MatEdit didn't care if the bmp was 256 colors -- that was half of my problem:-)

Marc Sauvé:     If there ever is a 3do editor, are you going to use it?

Al McDonald:     Absolutely. I can't wait, though it remains to be seen if I'll be any good at using them.

Red:     Yes... yes... and yes... :-) I can't wait to break the LucasArts mesh mold :-)

Marc Sauvé:     Do you find that MotS' s "Rebel Commander" looks like George Lucas?


Al McDonald:     Almost. The quiff could be bigger.

Red:     I never really thought about that... More like Obi Wan to me.

Marc Sauvé:     Do you consider sound an important part of any JK skin pack? I do.

Al McDonald:     Yeah, but I'm pretty limited at playing with sounds. I'm also envious of people who are good at modifying the strings.uni. I plan to make a great big one at some point, if I ever get round to understanding what it is I'm meant to be doing.

Red:     Yes, a BIG part. I watch TV with sound on... I dunno about you. It adds a lot.

Al McDonald:     Marc, Red, thank you very much.