Tim Cain Q&A #2

The last time we interviewed Tim Cain “Temple of Elemental Evil” was not even announced. Now that the game is nearing completion, we had the opportunity to ask some questions again. Please note that the questions were sent to Tim Cain before gold status was announced.

1) On several occasions you and your team members mentioned the “cool stuff list”. Several features from that list didn’t make it into the game (like sub-races) but can you tell us which “cool” features made it into the game?

The Trip attack made it in, which several team members really wanted. Spiked chains made it in, so the fans that were hollering for them can feel appeased. Followers taking their own share of loot and selling it back in town made it in, which is something that I personally wanted. Giants shaking the screen when they walk and bash their clubs made it in, which is an example of something simple and not earth-shattering, but it’s just really cool to see.

2) What “cool feature” do you miss the most and why? Do you have plans to include those features into a possible patch?

I really wanted prestige classes in the game. Like many people, I make my characters with an idea in my head of how they end up, and prestige classes add more options for specializing my characters. I don’t think that prestige classes could be patched in, but I certainly would plan to add them in a sequel.

3) Can you remember any funny bugs that showed up during the development of ToEE?

We had one build where every creature in the game started out subdued. So you entered Hommlet and everyone was unconscious – the people, the sheep, the chickens, everyone. After having some fun with stealing and performing coup de grace attacks, you got bored very quickly.

4) What was the funniest, scariest or the most weird moment during the development of this game?

A tester killed a god in the game (yes, it’s possible) and took off his robe, leaving the body lying in the hallyway wearing only divine underwear. I couldn’t figure out which was worse, the deicide or the subsequent stripping.

5) Some of the earlier previews mentioned that you and your team played pen-and-paper D&D at the Troika offices. Do you plan to continue those RPG sessions even after ToEE is finished?

Yes, we do, but right now, people are finishing up the demo and localized builds, and some people are headed off to well-deserved vacations. Probably when things settle down, we will startup the campaigns again.

6) What does it feel to play a game you developed? Will you play ToEE when it is finished or don’t you play your own games after release?

When I first started in the industry 12 years ago, another programmer told me that you will always hate your game by the time development is finished. This has never been the case for me, however. I still like playing Fallout, I still enjoy Arcanum, and I was playing ToEE for fun after we went gold.

7) I am sure you have played ToEE several times during development, what was your favorite party?

Here’s a surprise: I had a Lawful Good party that I liked, with a paladin, a fighter, a cleric, a monk and a bard. The paladin and fighter were my heavy hitters, with the cleric and bard using ranged weapons. The monk I added for fun. I really like the special monk animations for fighting and for fidgeting. The artists outdid themselves there.

I am still surprised that I didn’t go more for an evil group. I certainly planned to during development. Oh well, I will have to play again.

8) What are your plans for the future? Do you intend to create more D&D games? A sequel to ToEE perhaps?

I have no specific plans. I never seem to, either. But I would like to make a D&D sequel, since we put so much effort into this engine. It seems a shame to waste all of that work.

9) What are the chances that we will see a SF CRPG by Troika in the future?

We have a proposal out right now for a science-fiction CRPG. Very stylish, very different. Of course, it’s all up to the publisher.

10) What will you do when ToEE has finally gold master status?

You mean after the demo and localized builds and the PR interviews and the data archiving? I want to go on a vacation somewhere without computers or the net. Just for a while. 🙂

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