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Hammer and Joypad - Weekly Interview: "Raindrop"
by Chris Hawke
Every week, Gamer's Guide To Life will be hunting down and interviewing modders on their works - mainstream, unknown, up-and-coming and interesting mods are put on display as the author(s) answer questions regarding the mod, their line or work and providing deep philosophical insights into the universe, life, metaphysics... In the end, you get to discover or play an awesome mod, every week. Plus, you learn something. And learning is fun.

While Raindrop might sound like a sweet and innocent experience, it looks to be utterly terrifying. All that is know is that it's the 8th September 1997, somewhere in Russia. 58 years have passed since 'the complex' has been cut off from the outside world. You wake up in an abandoned tunnel, without even a name. We spoke to Nihad (aka Master Donut) and Ansgar (Beserkr) of Raindrop-Team.

Gamer's Guide to Life: What was the hardest thing to mod?
Berserkr: Learning the workflow concerning animations in the Source engine. It took a good while to eventually figure out the last details - most of it was accomplished by trial and error.
Master Donut: In my opinion, the hardest thing was, and still is, to design the game in a way that it looks different than other source games. As well as keeping the levels detailed and moody, and make each level have its own characteristic look and atmosphere.

GGTL: Are you pleased with the community that have generated around the mod so far?
MD & B: All in all we’re delighted with the community; we appreciate constructive criticism from our fans. Nevertheless some people tend to forget that we’re not getting paid for working on Raindrop and most of us dedicate our whole spare time to the project. The way Raindrop is judged by some people is similar to some AAA-titles.

GGTL: What other mods have you played/do you like?
MD: I've played some mods, and I have to say that one of my favourites still is the Minerva series for Half-Life 2.
B: From all mods I’ve played so far, my favourite one is the Katana mod for the first Max Payne. It combines great gameplay with an interesting story and I recommend everyone who owns Max Payne to try it.

GGTL: Where'd you get the idea for the mod?
MD: That's a long story. I've always been exploring abandoned buildings and stuff like that. I got inspired by one trip to Berlin, in a huge housing complex which was totally abandoned. It was at that time when I started recreating the complex and building a story around it. More and more people joined me, including Berserkr. That's where it started getting serious and taking shape.

GGTL: What's the plan for the future, both at release and after the project is out there?
MD & B: The only thing we know for sure is that Raindrop won’t be either of our last projects - we want to develop a new one, but right now - until the release - we’re focusing solely on Raindrop.

GGTL: What do you most love/hate about Half Life?
MD: At the time when it came out, I was totally in awe of Half-Life 2. It was a completely new shooter experience. The graphics and the atmosphere of the game were astonishing. As the time passed, and after replaying it many times, I realized that some of the maps could use more detail. I took Half-Life 2 as my inspiration but my goal was always to make it look a little better than Half-Life 2. My inspiration soon changed to something more dirty and somewhat to a more unique style.

GGTL: While it's a Half Life mod, comparisons with S.T.A.L.K.E.R are unavoidable. Did you look in to that/any other games when making the mod?
MD: I love the S.T.A.L.K.E.R games and I have to say that the game has inspired me at some point. Raindrop though has nothing to do with S.T.A.L.K.E.R at all. It isn't set in Ukraine and tells a completely different story in a different way.

GGTL: Little information has been released about the mod - can you provide an insight into the story/setting/characters/background etc?
MD & B: To cut a long story short - no, not yet. There will be more information after our website has been released, and that’ll happen in the near future.

GGTL: How did you get into modding?
MD: After buying Half-Life 2, after waiting for a long time and days counting, I got into modding; into level-design actually. I learned how to use Hammer more and more, learned to script, make basic models for it and so on. It was about time to start a mod.
B: Before I arrived at ModDB I got into 3D modelling. After joining Raindrop, I soon realized that I could use my talents in a more productive way; we have now far more capable people in our team who take care of the 3D work.

GGTL: What advice would you give to other modders wanting to start up?
B: Think twice before you start to mod - it doesn’t matter that much if there’s already a similar project or if the concept is not very original, the most important aspect one has to consider is whether he really wants to stay focused on the project; most of the time it's for several years. Also, the utility of a game design document (which should be created before you start modding) is not to be underestimated.

GGTL: How do you go about modding? Do you have team meetings or just do things separately?
MD & B: Our team members are online every day in MSN, so there’s no need for any team meetings. It’s also MSN we use to distribute screenshots or concept art between the team members, to give everyone a good impression of how the project progresses.

If you'd like to follow all the news on the mod, click here. Stay tuned for another interview next week. Have fun!

If you'd like to contact Chris, stick this in your inbox.

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- Chris Hawke
via source

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