Interview - Gaist Heidegger - Wasteland Half-Life

Our Simon Westlake a.k.a. Shirow recently spoke with Gaist Heidegger of the Wasteland Half-Life modification, one of the most anticipated mods in the Half-Life community. Read on for information on the development of the mod, what to expect in upcoming releases, and more including four new exclusive screen shots of Wasteland Half-Life.

Simon Westlake: Can you tell us a bit of information about yourself, and how you got into the mod scene?

Gaist Heidegger: The mod scene has not always been centered around just FPS. I began my first mod working 'officially' back with Red Alert, which albeit not particularly impressive, allowed the full functional editing of the units and their graphics within the game. During that time I worked on about five projects, two of which I completed individually, and the remainder of which I did various aspects of. Having established the concept that it was interesting and enjoyable to alter an already fun game, I expanded and explored into the wonderful world of the Quake engine and all of it's children. For the past few years I've worked on many smaller projects, as an effective Jack-of-All-Trades, such as "Grunts" and, if only for a short stint, "Operation Urban Assault".

SW: For those of us that don't know already, what was your inspiration for Wasteland?

GH: I've always been a die hard fan of both Half-Life and Road Warrior, and the moment I laid eyes on Wasteland I knew it was the end of my quest for mod work-- effectively a Holy Grail for me. ;) I spent some time talking with Adam, and before we knew it we were well into production, making it happen..

SW: What feature are you most proud of in Wasteland, and what feature would you most like to add that is currently impossible in the Half-Life engine?

GH: The most obvious and well known feature we have is the mix-and-match akimbo system, which allows you to pair up pretty much any combination of small firearms to your liking. Personally I like twin Desert Eagles, but I'm simply a magnum nut. Less spoken of however is our damage system, which although not particularly noticeable, is made from scratch; And in 1.2 the community will be in for a surprise now that we've finished adjusting the HUD to -really- show how the damage works, as you can see in some of the screens I have provided. As for future features, we've been looking into removable limbs ponderously, as well as working on unlocking the secret of trench coat-models (Because damn, wouldn't a war torn bounty hunter with a flowing trench kick ass?)

SW: What kind of game modes and weapons can we expect in the next beta?

GH: We've got a hefty number of gameplay modes on the shelf, as well as a rather large number of mostly-complete maps waiting for a designated type of play, it's all a matter of mechanics at the moment. As for weapons, we have a thing for using those unappreciated tools of warfare, and are resistant to the dark urge to use the stereotypical firearms. Therefore, rather then an M-16 we've got an FN Fal, and instead of a SPAS12 we're looking at a Saiga 12k. Rest assured, we have a massive number of weapons already complete; Rather then just choke the mod with them however, we've decided to implement them as necessary and useful to gameplay.

SW: What has the reaction to Wasteland been like so far, and did it surprise you?

GH: There has been an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and commentary coming our way, and we are rather humbled by it. We were fairly surprised, nonetheless, yet a bit regretful that we were unable to provide as many servers to play on as we had hoped.

SW: What other Half-Life modifications are you particularly looking forward to, and why?

GH: I'm personally looking forward to The Opera - I love the genre, I love their concept, and the guys working on it are a great bunch of folks who should receive praise for their work. All of us need to stick together in this war-torn mod scene :)

SW: Any plans to make Wasteland or similar type mod for another engine, when all of this is finished?

GH: That's too far ahead to really say right now. We've resisted the dark temptations of graphics-only Q3 and UT (And nobody e-mail me about that, because damnit I'm hard fast about my opinion of both games). If we were to ever go to another engine, like many other mods we'd likely play with TF2, because the mass-team warfare would be -GREAT- for our theme.

SW: What problems did you face in the production of Wasteland, and how did you overcome them?

GH: Our main problem was several complicated code sequences, as well as getting the right mappers for the job. A majority of the work was self contained between Adam and myself, but our beautiful sounds are thanks to our godly sound-guy, Damien, and we've gotten extra support from quite a few folks such as Slick Rick, Alesis, DarkZRain, Nighthawk, Illian, and especially BigGuy. Hats off to them, they helped make this mod a reality.

SW: Tribes 2 or Team Fortress 2?

GH: Team Fortress 2. Old faiths die hard.

SW: Any final words?

GH: All of you starting mod developers, here is an important note; If you don't have at least half of your production facets covered from the get-go, you're going to have one hell of a time getting started, let alone finishing. From experience, all I have to say is that an idea alone is unlikely to happen-- dedication is needed to follow through.

Kudos and good luck to the great chummers at squadron: GHOST, Action Half-Life and The Opera - You guys rock. :)

-Simon Westlake & Gaist Heidegger Interviewer &Wasteland Representative

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