1. Fast-paced, but realistic: During development, an oft-debated topic amongst both the team and community was how far we should go with realism. We all agreed from the beginning that the overall pace of the game would be brisk, with the focus being on action and skill over hardcore realism... but then what should be made realistic? Finding the middle ground on this was tough, and we did our best to listen to what our community wanted without “listening too hard,” so to speak. In the end it was this middle ground that played a major part in the Frag.Ops experience, and we've been refining it ever since. You will rarely hear anyone in the community complaining about something being too realistic, or not enough.

    Frag.Ops Screenshot
  2. The team: Although the Frag.Ops team started out small and with very little experience in game design, it turns out that this allowed us all to learn and develop our skills alongside each other. This kept development at an even pace, and as one aspect of the game progressed, the others progressed along with it. We never felt lacking in any one single department.

  3. Development speed: We may not be the best at meeting release dates sometimes, but our development speed has got be some kind of record. It took us less than 6 months in active development to create version 1.0 of Frag.Ops, with a team only 10 big, and none of us had any previous mod experience. Since Frag.Ops is a total conversion mod, the amount of work involved is very high, and a 6 month development cycle for a first version is pretty much unheard of. This speedy first version was even deemed good enough to win us placement in the second MSU contest phase, which we entered in the final hours of the registration deadline.

  4. Balance: From the very first release of Frag.Ops, weapon and team balance has been one of the most complimented aspects of the game. Even though damage, movement speeds, and other settings have changed over time, they have almost always been met with praise, with only a few turkeys here and there that were quickly fixed. Players can rest easy knowing that nobody will ever have an unfair advantage over them for reasons attributed to gameplay.

    Frag.Ops Screenshot
  5. Role-playing elements: Near the end of the dev cycle for the first release, we had begun experimentation with aspects that you would normally only find in RPGs. The first RPG-style feature to appear in the game was the medal award system, whereby fulfilling certain criteria, the player could earn medals that had certain rewards attached to them, like cash, extra abilities, or even unlock special weapons. We didn't know how well it would be received, but the players loved it. Earning medals became a huge part of play. Thus it wasn't surprising to see another game, D.I.C.E.'s Battlefield 2, make use of a medal system in an almost identical way 2 years later. We would also go on to add other RPG-style features, such as the Action Point (AP) system, character traits and attributes, and of course weapon customization, all of which were received equally as well.

    Next: What Went Wrong...