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Interview: JKGalaxies



Interviewing the JKG Team

Today, I interviewed the JKG team for JKHub. Jedi Knight Galaxies is a highly anticipated mod that's been in development for four years, and promises to release all kinds of neat new content, including guns. Lots of guns.


You can learn more about JKGalaxies on their website.



ipb.png Hey guys. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview; awesome to see you all here.


Silverfang: Thanks for having us


dvg94: Hi



ipb.png You are the developers of JKGalaxies; could you briefly introduce yourselves and tell me what it is you do?


Suibuku: Well, my name is Suibuku, I'm the 2D artist. I'm 16 and I've been on the team for several years.


Pande: I'm Pande, from Canada, the lead mapper and currently the only mapper. I am 18 years old as of today, actually. I've been in the team for about 2 and a half years.


eezstreet: Hello there, I'm eezstreet, current lead programmer of Jedi Knight Galaxies, I'm from Florida.


dvg94: I am dvg94, (kinda)retired mapper, 17 years old currently working on project that was supposed to be a very small mod


Sato: I'm Sato, I live in Portland, Oregon, America. I'm a writer (and ignore what the others say; I don't make bloody maps). And I've been in the team for around one and a half years.


Reven: I'm Reven from Latvia, i'm 18 years old and i am a weapons, items, creature, player modeler a concept artist and maybe soon texture artist. I have been in the team for about 2 and half years perhaps.


Silverfang: I'm Silverfang, I started out as a writer but I consider myself more of a 3d artist, but I'm also the general PR Manager. I'm a born and raised Coloradan, but also an American, and I love Gaming, Metal, dubstep, and star wars! (who knew? :P)


BlasTech: I'm BlasTech, a Swedish veteran from 2009 on the team. I was appointed project director after my predecessor Jake some time ago, feels like ages actually... I'm the jack of all trades around here, dealing with modeling (mostly guns it seems), texturing, some easier script handling like menus and weapons, and then we have my trump card... The effects. And as a response to Silverfang here, I'm also a metalhead. More into progressive than the other metalheads here, but everyone have their own tastes.



ipb.png JKGalaxies has been in development for roughly four years now, and we've seen a lot of promises to release really cool stuff. Could you briefly explain what JKG is and why everyone should check it out?


dvg94: It's basically all you ever wanted from a star wars game, it's fun, it's pretty and most of all, george lucas didn't have anything to do with it.


eezstreet: Jedi Knight Galaxies was a project that started in..2008 or some time like that, with huge ambitions: to recreate Star Wars Galaxies in Jedi Academy. With time, we changed a few of our design decisions from the base of Star Wars Galaxies and made it into more of an FPS with mechanics similar to Jedi Academy.


Pande: JKG started with the desire to create a challenging but original mix of FPS gameplay with a sandbox and RPG style universe as experienced in Star Wars Galaxies. In it's earliest days, it began on Lugormod, with the idea of purposely creating maps and some minimal code and creating the internal aspects using Lugormod. It then grew to making it all with original coding and larger maps, and trying to push the limits where ever possible. Now, we're finding it hard to scale up in many aspects of the mod, especially content creation, and so we have switched to a Phase style release. Our first phase, JKG: Versus, essentially uses what content we have completed so far and adds in a few new features that the team intends to use later in Phase 2, 3, and beyond. The idea is to build up our player base and especially grow our awareness in other modding communities, and hopefully pull in some more horsepower for getting the rest of the content done.


BlasTech: JKG is quite possibly the most ambitious mod ever created for the Jedi Knight series, where we aim to bring back the feeling of old, while updating gameplay and graphics to a more modern standard as well. And it has grown and changed over the years, to become the true Star Wars gunplay game that will be our initial release.


Reven: Jedi knight galaxies has been inspired by many games like kotor, republic commando and many more.


Silverfang: To put it simply, our mod kicks ass!


eezstreet: Hah, yeah, that's true. Our mod does kick some ass.



ipb.png You guys are planning to make the first release of JKGalaxies content on September 17th. What kind of things will we be seeing in this release?


Sato: Guns. Lots and lots of guns


dvg94: guns, lots of guns


Reven: Weapons


Silverfang: Yeah, lots of guns xD


dvg94: Goddammit Sato


BlasTech: Guns indeed.


Sato: Along with a few new maps.


Pande: This release will feature Gang Wars, which is essentially team based battles between two factions with a shop and inventory system, rewards for kills, and a shitload of guns, did you catch that bit?


Silverfang: Basically, it will be a sort of "cut-out" of what you might expect from the PVP portion of the final phase of our mod


BlasTech: And quite possibly some awesome teamwork among players, and a beautiful scene setting.


Pande: Currently, one will not find any jedi to fight or play as, however we hope to add in some jedi and sith features later.


eezstreet: Indeed. The gunplay is quite excellent and we do have some stuff which we've shown before, such as the sprinting, iron sights and all that


BlasTech: So in that way, you could compare it to Republic Commando or even Dark Forces in terms of gameplay and feeling.


dvg94: the UI will blow your mind as well



ipb.png Okay, personal question here: what is your absolute favorite model, effect, map, feature, or whatever, in the upcoming JKG release?


Sato: Oh, this is easy. Mine is a Class-A thermal Detonator.


Pande: I'm going to have to agree. That thing is just...all I can say is, close your eyes if you hear it. And maybe start running. Of course, don't expect it to be spammed. The thing costs a fortune.


Reven: My favorite weapon would be... the DLT sniper


BlasTech: The standard Stormtrooper issue E-11 blaster. An excellent allround "tool". It is feared for a reason.


dvg94: Still sticking with the thermal detonators, yes I am quite cheap


Silverfang: I love the Proton Carbine, it's a great weapon for close quarters


Pande: Theres a weapon for every occasion!


eezstreet: Hmmm...you know, I can't say. I can't comment on the weapons. Though I do like the effects of some of the explosions. But as for features..There's no one feature that I like the most. It's the buildup of things together that make the project such a huge success.



ipb.png A question from therfiles: What made you want to create a mod like JKG? What kept you guys motivated during development? Were there any points where you felt like giving up?


Silverfang: Oh man, if I had a nickel for every time someone wanted to give up...


Reven: Being star wars fans definatley helps us out in all times


BlasTech: JKG is like a drug - you can't stay away from it too long. That has been what has kept me driven, and the feedback from our community. One can say that we get our salary in love.


Sato: Our leadership is what really kept us motivated. BlasTech and Eez have really pulled it together in order to get the September 17th release.


dvg94: LucasArts refusing to listen to their fans, we will create the mod/game everybody has been asking and waiting for... at least that kept me going.


BlasTech: Mostly the fact that I got so crazy to actually finally nail a deadline.


Pande: Yeah, the deadline and phase system really helped. We have to thank eezstreet for that. I can't say I'm one to speak about motivation in the team, but what kept me creating content is the confidence that I know I am creating only the highest quality I can. My maps reflect every aspect of the movie-inspired design and I don't take many liberties that break the feel of the Star Wars universe. I also love how easy it is to have fun while playing the mod, and that only gives me more motivation to finish maps and complete features.


Silverfang: There are a lot of us here that are dedicated to the mod, and yeah JKG is crazy addictive. That, plus a little perseverance got us to where we are today


eezstreet: I've always loved RPGs, ARPGs especially. I was a huge Diablo 2 nerd for sure. Modded it until it couldn't take it anymore. The thought of blending my two favorite genres - ARPG and FPS, gives me a tingly feeling every time I think about it. That's what drove me to join JKG. JKG had a lot of potential. Even before I joined the team, I knew exactly how I would code the inventory system.


Silverfang: There are a lot of us here that are dedicated to the mod, and yeah JKG is crazy addictive. That, plus a little perseverance got us to where we are today


eezstreet: I couldn't have handled any of this on my own. I do owe a lot to the team for helping make this release happen, and I don't think I would have dragged myself out of the few, very large pitfalls, physically and mentally with the long hours of no sleep and the different things I had to deal with mentally as this project went on.


ipb.png A question from Turquoise Dragon: did you run into any critical errors or show-stopping bugs during the creation of JKG? If so: which? How'd you handle them?


dvg94: oh god.. don't start about the bugs..


Sato: We had some "lulz" bugs


Reven: A lot, but JKG is where we break the limits!


dvg94: and break the entire engine while at it


Silverfang: They're not bugs, they're features!


Sato: ^ That is what we tell our selfs to go to sleep at night


BlasTech: Mostly just in terms of developer motivation, other than that, we've overcome bugs we've encountered rather quickly.


Pande: One time explosives just blew up when you put them on the ground, instantly. And another time I battled an invisible wall in my map for a good month. And another time.. yeah there were tons of bugs.


eezstreet: Well, I do recall quite a few bugs. Some of them were Raven induced, some of them were quite bad. There's three big ones that strike out at me though. The first major headache was the move to TerranGaming. I don't think I need to iterate on this any further. The second major issue we had to deal with was the PK3 protection. It was a very big engine hack all the way around. The third, well, was motivation.



ipb.png Some people have speculated JKG is a scam and will never be released. Obviously, you intend to prove those people wrong next month. Did that happen a lot, though? How do you guys feel about such speculation?


Pande: Oh, we have a great story about that. There is one guy who is posting on youtube and our mod page about how this is a conspiracy.


eezstreet: There was this incredibly long winded and convoluted thread about how Jake and the site people were using Jedi Knight Galaxies as a scam to get money from people in ad revenue.


Reven: Personally i laugh at every comment that states jkg is a hoax


Pande: In some ways I can understand, we were quite secretive and did often not live up to expectations, but we're confident our work isn't for naught.


dvg94: it kinda puts you down as well... working your ass off in your free time and people just slagging it off.


Pande: Yeah, some days I spend 8 hours at work and then come home to spend another 8 hours mapping. I don't know how many hours I've put into my maps but its surely over 1000.



eezstreet: And yeah, as Pande said, we put a hell of a lot of work into what we do; we spend long hours refining and honing our skills, we do genuinely have a lot of heart for our community.


Silverfang: 98eb52094d9f0f39090046aa5fa6b81c-319x364.jpg



ipb.png Is there anything neat and exclusive you can tell us about JKG that nobody else knows yet? Screenshots nobody's seen; anything?


Sato: We have a planet that I think many people will enjoy and have a jaw-dropping experience on.


Pande: Yep, I can give a small hint. It's in every Star Wars prequel movie.


BlasTech: You might have noticed that Credits counter in the HUD of our latest screenshots... These credits are gathered in a special way, almost in a mafioso styled struggle between gangs on different locations. But what do you do with your credits? Spend'em all in the shop, of course! In fact, the shop GUI was actually created before the (new) inventory GUI and inspired the look of later menus.


eezstreet: Indeed. A lot of our locations will feature shops where you can buy things, including weapons, armor and seeker drones. Teams of gangs, or mercenaries as you might call them, will pit off against other players. These teams can have all kinds of crazy customization factors into them, which I thought was very nice.



ipb.png Sounds good. So, where do you intend to release JKGalaxies? JKFiles? JKHub? ModDB? Elsewhere? Everywhere?


eezstreet: JKFiles: maybe, JKHub: definitely, Moddb: definitely. It'll probably also be hosted on TerranGaming with a variety of mirrors.


Silverfang: Everywhere we can, we want JKG to be big, and big it shall be


eezstreet: And yeah, everywhere we can.


Pande: We intend to make a news post pointing to our web area on Terran Gaming with a download link on all the major mod websites, including JKFiles


Reven: JKG will be bigger than Jabba the Hutt's behind



ipb.png Do you have any plans yet for what will happen after the release of Phase I on September 17th?


Pande: Yep, essentially we just keep going. We'll spend a bit of time fixing bugs and making the gameplay better and more balanced in JKG: Versus. But then its on to further development in the next Phase, which will probably be introducing sandbox gameplay. We do have factions planned and guilds that can be joined, and various wars will go on between them.


Reven: In time we will go to our next phase


BlasTech: I suppose we'll play JKG quite a bit to enjoy it with the rest of the community, and keep on developing it in our own little corner of the Internet.


Pande: We do have factions planned and guilds that can be joined, and various wars will go on between them. We do have factions planned and guilds that can be joined, and various wars will go on between them.


BlasTech: And even heavier cooperative team-play, as players would team up in a more mission-like setting.


Suibuku: You can buy guns.


Pande: More guns.


Silverfang: we already covered guns, Sui xD


Reven: Lots of guns


Silverfang: TF2 has hats, hats everywhere, we have guns, guns everywhere.


eezstreet: The question with developing JKG after Phase 1 is whether or not we can keep the project more or less 'together' with the patching and different content being added. It's just a part of the mod. It's not "beta" quality by a long shot. The Phase 1 stuff will almost certainly be used later on. Our main motto is that we should never add content that we don't plan on re-using unless it's easy to implement.



ipb.png Finally, potentially the most important question of all, from AstralSerpent: pancakes or waffles?


dvg94: cupcakes


Silverfang: dude, waffles all the way


Pande: Waffles have more syrup retention. And as a Canadian, syrup is important.


Reven: Hotdogs


Pande: Waffles cook better as whole wheat.


BlasTech: My heart says pancakes, my JKG developer says waffles because of a very peculiar grenade.


Silverfang: LOL! the waffle iron! xD


Reven: Oh yeah


BlasTech: We call it the "waffle iron".


Sato: Waffles with maple syrup. Pand-eh and I are Canadian.


Reven: I go waffles


eezstreet: Ahh. This will be my longest response yet, as I feel that this subject has a lot of merit to it. You see, it all goes into

what's in the waffle and/or the pancake. You see, I compare modern waffles in a box to be very similar to yellow cake uranium. It's very similar to it anyway. Pasty and makes your stomach explode. Bad. But then you have pancakes, which are light, and fluffy, except when usually homemade improperly, in which case they're gritty and awful. So in that case, I'll kind of have to go with pancakes, but my decision can likely be swayed.



ipb.png Okay, that's everything. Thanks again; hope to see your mod popping up soon. Those unaware should totally check out JKG at http://terrangaming.com/projects/jkg/


The JKGalaxies team later gave me the following exclusive screenshots of their mod for JKHub. The first picture is the waffle iron mentioned in the last question, and the HUD is not the one currently used in JKGalaxies. Reven has also mentioned he would like us to add that he is, in fact, Batman.













By Caelum, in Interviews,

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