BeyondUnreal interviews Jake "Trajan" Massie. He is involved with the Starsiege mod for Tribes: Vengeance. The mod will ship with the retail product.

What is your name and role on the SS:2845 team?

Jake Massie, and I'm the Producer

Can you explain what is the driving force behind your mod?

Starsiege was released in late 1998. It was the third in a series of mecha/sim combat oriented games in what Sierra originally called the "Metaltech" universe, though that title is rarely used any more. Nowadays it is more commonly referred to as the "Starsiege universe". The two previous video game titles were called Earthsiege and Earthsiege II respectively. Game play focused on giant walking machines (called HERCULANS) armed to the teeth with advanced weaponry, duking it out.

Starsiege: Tribes was released in 1999 as an offshoot of the franchise, and was a completely different beast altogether. While it was set in the Metaltech universe, it focused on fast first person shooter action instead of the mecha and simulation elements inherent in the previous titles. If you want a quick and dirty analogy, Tribes was infantry oriented combat, Starsiege was purely vehicular oriented combat.

Tribes went on to become (questionably) more popular than it's parent and the mecha side of the franchise was shelved. I say questionably because there has been a lot of talk about how much Tribes 1 was warezed hither and yon across the internet, so total sales figures are hard to quantify. Regardless, it ended up on a lot more peoples computers than Starsiege did, so therefore it was deemed a success, and worthy of a follow up.

The mecha side of the franchise has languished in limbo for 5 years. Our goal is to attempt to bring that aspect back to life.

What will be the differences between this and Tribes: Vengeance?

Well, there will be many. One of the ongoing problems we have with this project is the perception of the casual reader that the end result of our project will be just adding a lot of vehicles to Tribes:Vengeance. It's not anything like that. While there will obviously be stylistic similarities in certain areas, our project will essentially be a completely different game.

The main differences will be what I listed above. The game focuses on vehicular based combat, with HERCS being the most visible aspect of this. There are also flying vehicles, tanks, agrav units, and infantry in the mix. The game will have completely different physics, there will be no "skiing". And only certain units will have jump jet capability, which will also be handled differently than it is in Tribes. These are only a few differences among many.

You just got your story line approved by Sierra, care to enlighten us on the storyline a little? Will it be expressed in a single player mode?

We will be posting a story summary shortly. Our writers are currently prepping one that gives the gist of the story but doesn't give away the things we want to remain a surprise. The intermediate timeline that the story is based on has been approved as well but needs a few minor tweaks. We will be posting a summary of that shortly as well, as that sort of thing is helpful for fanfic writers.

And yes, a full featured single player campaign with a branching storyline is planned.

How helpful has Sierra been?

We've been assigned an associate producer from the Tribes: Vengenance team that acts as a liaison between our group and theirs. At this point since full legal agreements are still pending, we don't have access to code and other assets, so they've been as helpful as possible under those circumstances. Primarily there has just been a lot of back forth technical Q&A regarding the changes being made to the Unreal engine for Tribes: Vengeance, so we have some idea of what to expect.

Will there be a demo for UT2003 while we wait for the release of Tribes: Vengeance?

Unfortunately no. One of the provisos of our deal with Sierra is that it will only be available as a MOD for Tribes: Vengenance. And as we will be getting access to proprietary code from them, there is a good chance we may not be able to have any kind of open beta either. We are going to a large press conference being sponsored by Sierra at the end of this month to show off Tribes: Vengenance and we will be distributing a demo disc to all the press reps they've invited. It will have some video captured .avi from the internal alpha release we are currently working on. Most likely the .avi files will also be posted for public viewing.

Any other comments?

We are currently looking for someone to help us import and animate models into UT2k3. For more info here's the link:

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