Would you please introduce yourself and your mod?

My name is Matt, although i go by SquirrelZero. I am the sole coder and producer of Frag.Ops. I also do skinning, level design, 2D art, and effects.

Could you give a brief description of your mod?

Brief eh :). Frag.Ops is a semi-realistic tactical shooter for UT2003 that focuses on its fast pace and action.

What drove your team to create this fine mod?

Well, in the beginning it was boredom spawned from being sick of every other realism-themed game out there. We were also very unhappy with the recent changes to the most popular ones, namely CounterStrike and Tactical Ops. Now our desires have expanded to create the ultimate semi-realistic experience, meshing strategy, team tactics, fast action, and quick reflexes into one great, solid package. Our UT2k4 version will even have some realtime strategy involved.

Why is this mod not a CounterStrike Clone? How do you respond to it being called one?

Ahh, the classic question. I'll be frank -- in the first version it was very close to CounterStrike. The latest versions though have broken us away from CS, and will continue to do so even more in the future. We share a round-based gametype and money system for weaponry, however all comparisons end there. The weaponfire system is much more physical in F.O, requiring quick mouse manipulation for weapon control. We also use multi-passenger vehicles for transport. Our maps are also very interactive -- there are exploding barrels, fuel tanks, collapsing structures, just to name a few and all of them use the Unreal Karma physics system. We also are not a counter-terrorism mod. We pit two teams against each other, Special Ops and Mercenaries, the Mercs are just as elite and well trained as the SpecOps. The Mercenaries are hired out by various government organizations. Both teams have access to bleeding edge technology in weaponry -- most never seen before in tactical shooters.

What is new in the new version, 1.35?

This would be a very long answer if i told you everything :). The main changes are in maps. Many people were dissatisfied with maps from previous versions, so we've remedied that with several great new ones. The "Action System" is also new -- using button combinations, you'll be able to perform various player movements -- starting with the sprint. Future versions will have dives and rolls using this system. We've also given the game a large visual overhaul. The effects are now very high-resolution, and we've introduced 6 new muzzle flashes to give weaponry a unique feel. Many weapons received reflection shaders and several got entirely new skins. The maps have also been visually upgraded.

What is the medal system? Is the medal system similar to Quake III's awards?

To be honest, i never played Quake 3 :) -- i stopped at #2. I'll just describe it instead. At the end of each game round, players are awarded medals for various achievements -- for example, excellent pistol marksmanship might award you any or all of our 3 pistol medals. Killing many players or completing objectives will also award you valor medals, or being the sole survivor on your team. Each medal carries a reward, ranging from hard cash to weapon upgrades to bonus action points which can be applied to our "Action System."

Can you explain this Action Point System? Has any other game or mod used something like this before? How else has the movement system been changed?

The "Action System" is something we came up with while debating our movement system. Players can carry a maximum of 9 "Action Points," or "AP's" as we call them. These can be applied to special movements like quick sprints, and in later versions dives and rolls. Different actions cost a different number of points. Once you reach 0, you can no longer perform advanced movements are restricted to the standard ones. Each round you are given +2 points to use as you wish, and these points carry over from round to round. You can gain more by achieving certain medals. As for other movement changes, we've created our own weapon bob code, and a new lazy weapon movement system which can be compared to FarCry or HalfLife 2.

How do you change the weapons to be "more fun"?

Weaponry is one of the hardest aspects of any game. If the sounds are weak, they might feel like pea shooters. If the animations aren't just right, they may feel awkward. If the effects, recoil, and bullet physics aren't different enough, they may all feel the same. We feel we have created a really great bullet physics system which calculates muzzle velocity, bullet calibre, height loss due to gravity, etc. Our weapons are also physically difficult to control while moving, just like in reality. Sniper rifles can't zoom while running, muzzle flashes are as close to the real thing as possible, and the gunfire sounds will blow you away. Depending on the bullet calibre, some weapons are much more difficult to control than others, but deal more damage, etc. We have a very good eye for balance, as our community has complimented us on from the very first release.

Do you like what you see in UT2004? What will you add to Frag.Ops for 2004?

I personally love UT2004, whereas hated UT2003 as far as gameplay and feel. I only play Onslaught and Assault. The UT2004 vehicle code will make its way into F.O, as we have planned for a long time. We're talking harrier jets, transport copters, APC's, as well as stationary weaponry -- almost all vehicles will require teamwork to be used effectively. Our UT2k4 version will introduce our RTS-themed "Build and Deploy" system, however, i will let that lie shrouded in mystery =P.