CTRP Team Interviewby ZeaLitY 13:42, 21 Feb 2005 (CST)
Welcome to the last installment of Fan Project Creator Interviews (at least, the last one dealing with a remake of Chrono Trigger for the time being). Saving the most anticipated mod for last, today I bring you the Chrono Trigger Remake Project interview! The project, based at http://www.chrono-trigger.com , is an effort to remake Chrono Trigger in the Unreal engine (specifically, for Unreal Tournament 2004). Things are starting to roll there, resulting in a large update over Christmas which included several images of the Millennial Fair map and some concept art. While not as many preview images exist, these more than make up for the failed Chrono Trigger: Resurrection project, and offer tantalizing glimpses into the future of Chrono Trigger to its fans. Two of them are featured here; for the full update, check the site mentioned above. Their forums are also very active! Now, let's get to it! TheBrain raised the bar on my interview request by consulting the rest of the team. This should be a treat; additionally, there's a surprise at the end. Here we go!
1. What inspired you to create CTRP?
What inspired me for the first time to start this project were some experiments some years ago, in the first Unreal game/engine, recreating Guardia Castle in it's Unreal Editor. I thought back then 'Wouldn't it be cool if CT could be played in this perspective?' Though I was interested in recreating at least the Castle, that minor project unfortunatly didn't survive my old computer. So the idea for a remake was put away for some years. In the later years with only with CC to quench my soul and in the lack of CT news I decided to model some game related stuff. After some trial and error models, in 2002 I was fooling around with Neverwinter Nights Aurora Toolset and after I had recreated the Masamune model for NWN the idea to recreate the game suddenly popped from the back of my brain, however I didn't think CT would look aesthetical enough in NWN. When UT2K3 was released some months later I found that it was the perfect oportunity and the best engine to reproduce the game in Unreal Engine 2 even if it took years...
2. CTRP's had a long history. Have you had to endure any setbacks or major changes to your development?
At the beginning, in 2003, we had a small team that was comprised of Agraba, Jack and myself. We found some weeks later that we weren't alone, there was another remake project - one that used the Morrowind engine [ed.: Chrono Neo]. After some dialogue with their team members we've found that they were more interested in using the existent models in Morrowind, so we decided to move on. We were interested to recreate the CT feeling with it's own art instead of reusing another engine existent artistic resources. Besides, we were already developing in the UT2K3 engine which, although viewed mainly as an FPS because of the main game, is very capable to be modified to any sort of game. In the following months we started to find a lot of independent CT remakes/sequels, until we found TSSF's site that had a tiny picture of Crono's room from an unnamed project; we asked them if they were interested in mutual collaboration, but they politely declined. I guess they interpreted as if we were trying to recruit their members to our mod.
When later we saw what the now renamed CT: Resurrection team was preparing we were in awe...it inspired us to raise our remake bar; we've started the arduous site development (amazing, thanks Rorae ;)), and most stuff from scratch trying to be a little more organized in the process. And we sorta got our acronym hijacked and confused in the way, CT:R..., CTRP... T_T In all this time we lost some team members, but we gained a lot more, those that remained in the team have now more experience.
3. 3D is a very powerful thing. How do you plan to expand on the CT experience by taking advantage of a new dimension?
Fortunately the Unreal Engine 2.5 has a feature called Matinee, so it's possible to create cinematics that were previously unavailable. If you're interested in knowing more of this feature there are a lof of Machinimas (in-game cinematics telling stories) done by the Unreal community, and those show the potential that Matinee has. Also we found that the shader option avaiable in UE2.5 can really spice up our 3D models, by having cube maps, interesting effects, different blends, etc. The Modeling team is now also trying to follow a rigorous Art style from our Art Division, lead by the 'art god' Alezunde. We hope with this to have much better results in the end.
4. Just for clarification, is this a solid remake or will it build on the plot of Chrono Trigger in new ways?
Firstly we have planned a solid, playable demo, followed in time by the release of the remake. We won't touch the main plot but we'll surely add even more replayability to CT by adding mini-games, new events, side quests and possibly some sort of co-operation or duel arena mode (also with the original battle system). Oh, and expect to find a lot of easter eggs.
It will take an awful lot of time, but we're persistent.
5. What has been the hardest challenge in developing CTRP?
The hardest challenge of the team is finding the time we wanted to give to our project between all the school, jobs and university life. Most of us just wish that this were our jobs in order to dedicate all the time it deserved. Another challenge is coordination of members that have met exclusively online; we find that difficult to overcome. The rest are just technology challenges that are more easily overcomed with time, persistence, self-teaching, ingenuity and sometimes an extra hand from a new member.
6. The most fun and enjoyable part?
The most fun and enjoyable part is when things start 'coming along to life;' it's very awesome to see recreated environments that were only avaiable in 2D. It's very rewarding to hear our amazing music remastered by the dynamic duo when the flags of Millenial Fair are waving and the bell is swinging. It's amazing how something that most of the times starts as a polygon in the end is a still image of the entire Zeal Kingdom rendered with help of multiple layers and more than 1 million polygons.
7. Who's on the CTRP team, and how are they assisting?
Currently in CTRP there are 15 members: In the Art Division, led by Alezunde there are; Moogle_Man, Validus and TheAlmightyNarf. In the Coding Division, led by me, there is Rorae. In the Modeling Division, led by Varinder, there are; Agraba, Almighty_Gir and Chuckles. In the Level Design Division, led by Knives, there are; Jack and Zeekpunk. In the Sound Division, led by John, there is bLiNd.
8. Did the C&D order for CT: Resurrection affect CTRP in any way?
Yes; I guess there are hardly any CT fans who weren't disapointed at what happen to CT: Resurrection. We were all expecting to play their remake; it was shaping up well and looked very professional. Also, we found that SE may want the fans to stay away from their game...at least they've seen CT:R as a threat to their business, even if they haven't shown any plans to 'resurrect' the series. With that C&D, two of our newest team members started to imagine that our situation was very grim too and decided to work on their own project (based loosely on CT?).
9. Recruiting bLiNd for the soundtrack was a spectacular move. How are he and John splitting up the work?
John is the Batman of the dynamic duo; he is the one who splits the work. Usually the more upbeat songs, full with sound effects, go to bLiNd; the calmer, piano ones go to John. However, sometimes they battle together because they want to remaster the same song, which is good for the project; it's like a battle of the bands. I believe CTRP wouldn't really feel like CT if it wasn't for our dynamic duo; we're all very thankful for having bLiNd and John on our team.
10. What's the greatest ambition of the project?
Finish the entire remake project with something worthy of the CT name, something that we and CT fans see as a tribute.
The interview continues on the next page, with the promised surprise.