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Which tools that are not available yet, do you think could help mod teams such as yourselves do even better work?

UT has always been bundled with quite a heavy duty tool set. However, there are still a large number of file converters and third-party software to be used when creating total conversion mods with full-scale audio visual assets. Furthermore, the limitations caused by not being able to access the deeper levels of the engine can induce some serious headaches.

The amount of files is also substantial with contemporary FPS engines. Some sort of version control system for individual assets would be highly helpful in keeping all the file versions in order. This should include, for example, scripts, textures, static meshes, audio and all the related files and packages.

I notice that LudoCraft is based in Finland. Is there such a thing as a Finnish modding community?

Finland is quite famous for its demoscene, which was booming already in the late 80's - early 90's. The modding community is not necessarily that united yet, but there are plenty of individual projects, which are of professional quality. For example, the Finnish Winter War, and related themes, has inspired several groups. However, it seems that many of the talented mod makers are somehow recruited into some studios outside Finland, thus, changing their roles from modders to pros. I sincerely hope that more people get introduced into the modding culture. In my opinion it is one of the best ways to get into game development without spending the first three years coding the 3D engine with network capabilities.

What are your future plans for Air Buccaneers?

At the moment we are concentrating on the public test feedback from Beta 4. Next release is already in production and we will freeze the forthcoming features soon. I am hoping to label the next version of AirBuccaneers as "Final v.1.0". I suppose the game is never totally finished, but we want to get the beta phase over with before the end of the MSUC. So you can expect the next big release sometime late August or early September, depending on the competition deadlines.

We have developed AirBuccaneers for more than a year now. It is by far the longest production for us. The game has gone through some heavy development, so there has not been much time for the player community to evolve and fine-tune their playing tactics. Naturally, we hope to see a long life-span for the AirBuccaneers player community.

It will be interesting to see how AirBuccaneers does in the competition. However, it has already provided some valuable experiences for us. We already have some other projects planned, but AirBuccaneers will definitely be part of our lives in the future as well.

Finally, is there anyone you'd like to give a shout to?

My sincere thanks and buccabucca shouts will go to all of those people who have enjoyed playing AirBuccaneers during this past year. The feedback and comments from the community are very valuable to us. Also, I wish all the best to our worthy adversaries in MSUC - keep up the good work! There are some seriously amazing mods out there and we are proud to be among such a talented community of modders.

We are currently planning a "World Championships" match of AirBuccaneers. LudoCraft team challenges the rest of the world into refereed battle. Anyone interested in joining the All Stars Team should contact the captain Kissamies in our forum or irc channel. We may be the devs, but are we invincible as well...

A big thank you to Tony for taking time out for the interview. If you'd like to try or find out more about Air Buccaneers, check out its official site.