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Wednesday, February 7, 2001

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Elite Force Retrospective
2:25 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Gamastutra has posted an article written by Raven's Brian Pelletier, Michael Gummelt, and James Monroe with a 'post-mortem' of their latest title, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. The articles discusses the good and bad areas in the development of the game, as well as the many changes they made to the Quake 3 engine and the compromises that resulted. They had to include a whole new single-player element of design, as well as implement their new scripting system and other modifications. These changes made it possible for Raven to recreate the Star Trek world Elite Force needed to satisfy fans of the series, but it came at a heavy cost in terms of development time and effort. This article is a must-read if you are interested in learning how Raven managed to create such a great game. Here is an excerpt:

What Went Right

1. Improvements to the Quake 3 engine. Raven had worked with id Software's engines since 1992, but this was the first time we had to add a single-player game to an id engine. Normally, we had the luxury of starting with a full single-player code base and just adding things such as breakable brushes, new AI, navigation systems, and so on. But this time we had licensed a multiplayer game and had to put in many systems we took for granted. We needed AI and navigation appropriate for single-player enemies (not multiplayer bots), as well as teammate non-player characters (NPCs) and cinematics. We needed an expanded animation system for all the different animations our cinematics would require, we needed to create a load and save routine from scratch, and the list went on. One of the things that made this possible was the decision early on to separate the multiplayer and single-player executables. At this time, Quake 3 was still about eight months from completion, so we started on single-player and would worry about multiplayer when we got the final code base. We were able to make drastic changes to the single-player game and shortcut the networking, allowing us to get away with a lot of things that would have just done very bad things to networking. With this new freedom, we revamped even more systems. In the end, we actually surpassed our initial ambitions as far as new systems and features were concerned.

Elite Force was ported to Mac OS by the great guys at Westlake Interactive, and published by Aspyr Media. Check out the demo over at MacGameFiles and our review of the full version if you haven't beamed this one up.

IMG Star Trek: Elite Force Review
Gamastura's Elite Force Postmortem
Star Trek: Elite Force demo at MacGamefiles
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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