We interview a mod team that is trying to take the frag out of UT2003.....

First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the mod?
     Doctor Schwa: I'm 28 and live in New York. By day I work for a company called Focus Interactive where I do web development. By night and weekends I enjoy writing, playing and listening to music, computer games, console games, board games, card games, and role playing games. The mod is basically a recreation and extension of the classic arcade game Marble Madness. You can get the full scoop on our site.

     Pfhoenix: My day job consists of serving in the US Army. I'm the coder for Marble Madness 2003, and the mod is definitely something of a labor of love for both Schwa and myself. It's an almagamation of ideas we each have and an overwhelming desire to get the feel of the original game done right.

What in the world gave you the idea for this mod? Was this all brought down because when you were a child and your marble thingy broke and mommy wouldn't buy a new one?
     Doctor Schwa: Marble thingy? What the hell are you talking about? Haven't you played Marble Madness??? (Zenny Note: This Is The Marble Thingy I Was Talking About)
     I LOVED Marble Madness when I was younger and always thought that it would be cool if you could make your own levels for it. Level editors are always a big factor when I buy a game. I'm not any kind of amazing map maker, I just love fooling around with the tools used to create a game and make some of my own maps. That and I just love the look of the game - a simple geometric world all its own.

     Anyways, I was toying with the idea of recreating my Scavenger Hunt mod for UT in UT2K3 so I started hanging out in #unrealscript on irc.enterthegame.com to get clued in on scripting and such for UT2K3. I guess one day everybody was talking about classic games in there and Marble Madness came up, so I decided to take a stab at making a map that looked like it was from Marble Madness. I think Pfhoenix was in the channel at the time (I made a simple map for his Happy Fun Ball mod) and he decided to work on making it so you could actually roll a marble around the level.

     Pfhoenix: You can blame Schwa for everything. At the time, he had just finished up a Happy Fun Ball map for me, and was showing off a map idea he had, something in the vein of a Marble Madness level. As soon as I saw it, I wondered just how hard it'd be to have a marble rolling around under player control. I think it was the next day that I sent Schwa the first playable version of what would end up being MM2k3.

How do you expect people to play this mod?
     Pfhoenix: With their hands. I hope. The marble is controlled by mouse, and is quite nice if you have a trackball (which I bought just to play the mod properly, maybe Schwa did too).

     Doctor Schwa: We expect people to play this mod with a trackball! Pfhoenix and I both bought trackballs specifically to play this mod the way it's supposed to be played. But fear not, you can control your marble just as easily with a mouse, as blasphemous as that might be...

     I'm also hoping to see a lot of quality user-created maps for both single and multiplayer. I'm hoping we can release collections of maps for single player as map packs. Releasing a solid pack of 6 or so maps every few months would be very cool.

Can you explain the MP modes a little more?
     Pfhoenix: Certainly. Right now there are four MP modes. Tag, where you run around trying to be It for the longest period of time; Elimination, a last team rolling gametype; Race, the multiplayer version of running single player maps; and Marbledome, a fun take on rocket arena.

     Doctor Schwa: The four multiplayer modes we're planning to have are: Tag, Elimination, Marbledome and Race.

Tag - Tag is about being "it" for the longest amount of time. Once you're "it" everybody will be rolling your way to try and tag you and become it. It will require you to be constantly on the move and trying to avoid the other marbles.

Elimination - Like Red Rover but in marble world.

Marbledome - "Two marbles enter. One marble leaves." It's like Rocket Arena - er, without the rockets. Sumo Marbling, if you will.

Race - will work much like the two player mode of the original game but it will be possible to have more than 2 people racing through the map at a time.

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