Resistance and Liberation Interview

The countryside of Falaise, France.

As Resistance and Liberation has come increasingly closer to a release, version 1.6 is now in sight, with a release date set around the 29th – Rob and I had a chance to have a chat with several of the guys from RnL.

[Modinformer]Shawn “Deadrawkstar” Kiehl:

 

So, starting off like the rest of the interviews – how’s everyone!?

[RnL]Mike“Malivil”Lebson:
I’m doing pretty good… taking the weekend off before the last week of work before we release this patch.
Balancing a full-time job and the mod(s) I’m working on You know, that whole thing.

[RnL]Chris“ChrisTanky” Chai:
Pretty good :) how about you?

[RnL]Eero “egu” R.:
Everything’s going really great apart from some problems with balancing between the last 1.6 tasks, family, and the last days of summer vacation. All-in-all I’m really happy to finally be getting the patch out to the public. It’s about time if you ask me.

[RnL]BJ Hunnicutt: I am doing very well, just enjoying the summer right now and working as little as I can (in my real job). Spending time with the family on the beach and boat. Trying to balance time between real life and Virtual Life. Running the 506th PIR Realism Unit and working for RnL Dev team keeps me pretty busy.

[Modinformer]Robert “Lethys” Harmon:
Haha. It’s nice to see some people so dedicated on a project.

Mike:
I like the project, I like the team, I like working on it. Being dedicated just comes naturally in this situation.

Dead:
I’m good, Chris, thanks.

So, could you tell us about RnL, and a bit of its history?

Mike:
Resistance and Liberation is a semi-realistic first person infantry shooter for the Source 2007 engine. The mod was founded in 2004, if I recall correctly. Went through several iterations and several engines before our Alpha 1 release in 2008.

[RnL]Stefan “WinstonChurchill” Berming:
It was supposed to be a ut2004 mod, they had player models ready for that, a design and then for some reason decided to switch to source when the source leak came out. Until 2006 or so it was more or less a project with many guys who had many ideas from good to bad but didn’t realize the amount of effort it would take to make it what it was initially supposed to be. I think around 2006/2007 we realized that the tendency to redo existing stuff once a year while pushing in new features with no end and no working foundation would not work. I still remember when i suggested to do closed beta testing with what we had back then. others thought it was too early, not “done” enough, would create a wrong impression of the mod for the testers etc.. Chances are we wouldn’t have released around 2008. If things just went on as they were, there would’ve been an alpha in 2010. Anyway, early 2008 or end of 2007 the realism idea took a backseat and game-play design + programming came into focus. think that was also when Andy (the old lead programmer) joined. For about 3 years we didn’t have any working game-play which is…sub optimal.

Hunnicutt:
I have been watching RnL from the start! It was a very realistic Mod that had its roots in a realistic style of game play. I am not the one to give you the history, I think Stefan would be able to do that much better. I do know it has been a long road to get where it is and I am just a small part of it. The game tries really hard to give you a realistic feeling while maintaining fun online gameplay. Not easy to do as I am sure you know.

Dead:
You guys all seem very skilled –

When/how did you get into modding, and are you in any other mods besides RnL?

Mike:
I started modding when a friend of mine from the gaming community I play with approached me about making a mod. This was… less than a year before I joined RnL. The game never came to fruition, but we had some code changes, WIP levels, models, and concepts before all production just sorta stopped. The real nail in the coffin was when I left for RnL. I joined the team for Star Wars: The New Era a couple weeks ago, though i haven’t done much with them yet… been kinda busy.

Chris:
Well I’ve always loved animations, such as cartoons and stuff and before I started playing Source or any paid games at all, I played free 2 play games but you know, generic animations. So 1 day I woke up and decided that I wanted to animate and just looked up some tuts, and asked Ryan from RnL team (he’s my idol) for help. In less than a month I joined the RnL team. And some other mods I am working/worked on are WW1 Source, and The Fifties, but those were after RnL.

Eero:
RnL is actually my first real mod or game development project ever, apart from some very simple game concepts and visuals in the 90s that I made in my teens. Prior to joining the dev team in the spring of 2009 my only experience was a few simple world textures I made for the
Source engine… and it’s needless to say that I’ve learned a lot along the way. And still learning new stuff all the time!

Hunnicutt:
About a year and a half ago I got into this mod as a PR guy. Now I am working on taking over as the head of the project. But what I am finding is we don’t really need to have a leader. It is such a team effort and these guys make each other look good. This is my only project but now that I have been bitten by the bug I plan to try my hands at my own down the road. I plan to try to do a Vietnam Mod and use many of the same concepts that we employ here in RnL.

Rob:

How excited is the team for the new 1.6 patch, and has this long span of development time for the project changed the way you work on RnL and other projects – do you have any advice for any other teams?

Eero:
I’m very anxious to get to enjoy a more stable and bug-free release of RnL online. Hopefully it’s been worth the wait. Also, some of the guys from RnL community should prepare their asses to be kicked.

A duo of Americans advancing onto a house - with the trusty M1.

 


Mike:
I’m excited… and apprehensive for the 1.6 patch. There are some major changes and additions. Some people aren’t going to like them, but i made them all server-controlled, so you can just turn them off. The attempted fix for the multi-fire is also going to be nerve racking… see how that turns out.Basically… this long development cycle has proven that motivation comes and goes like the tides, but that doesn’t mean you should bail when it’s gone. There was a time where nothing was happening in RnL at all, and then BOOM. It started back up again like we never stopped and that is why 1.6 is coming out a few of us got our motivation back and we got cracking on things.

 

Stefan:
The trick for RnL was rather to get things into perspective :D and then cutting down the unrealistic (in terms of time and man power) ideas and take what’s actually there or doable and make a working mod from that – or, let me rephrase that. we did look at how to do things and if they were possible, from a man power point of view but it took a whole while until playability came into consideration.

Hunnicutt:
We are very excited like Mike said, very nervous too. You want to put out a good product and that takes time. But you don’t want to make your fans wait forever. I must admit I was so down and busy there for a while that I wasn’t even on the team for a while last year. But while I was gone they got some outside help and the energy those guys fed to the team just got them all excited. I was talking to Mike one day and he got me all excited and I said I wanted to be back in, but I wanted to do more than just post the news. We have a good bunch of guys and the team is growing every day. One thing this mod has done for me is to give me some skills that I can use in everyday life. It is really exciting to know that you are working on a project with some great guys that are all over the world and people all over the world are waiting for it. Just makes you want to do it all that much better.

 

Dead:
That’s great! Motivation is a HUGE factor when it comes to finishing a project.

What helped you guys get it back?

Mike:
The start of summer helped a lot I had a bunch of free time
AndY from redMatter got into contact with us after we put out our call for help And the interest from the outside kindled my own interest to start Then we boiled down to our last option… walk the revisions to see when things changed And that’s what I ended up doing
I spent 3 days walking through code and game revisions, compiling old code and trying it out and testing… I found a single revision, a single line that, when changed, helped to mask things immensely (or so it seems at this point… we’ll see when 1.6 comes out). When I got a few people on the server to test it’s the reactions…the “holy sh**” etc… etc..  That…that’s motivation you cannot buy.

Rob:

With Team Fortress 2 and the source SDK becoming free, how do you feel this will change the modding community overall?

Mike:
It’s a give and take, first of all – more people can play free mods, however, that means if you ban someone from your server… it doesn’t matter a lick – they can just get another steam account and be right back in it.

Dead:
Personally, I love RnL; the other day I was playing a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare mod called Galactic Warfare – all though the mod was awesome, I couldn’t stand how arcade-y it was.

What do you think the typical Call of Duty player would think of RnL?

Mike:
The stereotypical CoD player would probably hate it, too slow, lone wolfing is frowned upon, no achievements, no perks, but just because you play CoD doesn’t mean you don’t also enjoy that stuff sometimes.

Rob:
The irony is I can see many, many people loving RnL for those features.

Mike:
I think it would be a nice change of pace and a more pronounced example of skill. Exactly, Rob. I agree.

Rob:

Personally, what would you say is your favorite/what you feel is the most innovative feature in this Mod?

In RnL - when you walk into a smoke grenade - you really can't see anything.

 

Mike:
I think my favorite part is the 3D positional audio… which is actually part of the engine, as far as I can see in the code.

Eero:
You can’t really say it’s a feature… but I’d say the feel and the immersion of the game is top notch. Sure, it’s a bit rough around the edges, but at times RnL creates the most immersive atmosphere I’ve ever experienced in the fps genre. And yeah, it does require players to really focus on teamwork, really try to avoid getting killed, good NCOs etc. – you know, the right attitude. But when there’s like-minded people playing the game you can have really awesome firefights time to time that blow your socks off. And then you die.

Dead:
So, spending time together, or at least on Skype or communicating for long periods of time with each-other has to get boring

What do you usually do to have fun?

Mike:
It’s not boring, really
We joke and share random stuff all the time …especially Chris lots of links from Chris. The chat we have going isn’t just for RnL so there is a lot of stuff that goes on in there I think the play testing some of features that lead to funny bugs is a great way of letting off steam killing each-other over and over, that always helps when we put the fists in, we started having fist fights on the server.

Chris:
Proning Noclip fights…

Eero:
I usually talk about bratwursts. A lot. That’s mainly because we have Germans (and Austrians) in the team. Those germans really know their bratwursts.

Rob:

Are there any features in the works you would be willing to share with us to look forward to?

Mike:
There is at least one thing we added that we’re not going to advertise. Call it… an Easter egg. We have plans for things in the future that require finished design. And one thing we’ve been working on for a while is advancements to the grenade system. That’s waiting on new grenade animations though.

Dead:
CHRIS. >.>

Eero:
We’ll see what we can come up with our radioman class… that’s still more or less a secret, even somewhat to us.

Rob:
If I may ask, with so many shooters sort of throwing realism out of the window,

What makes you want to make a Mod with no HUD, Health Bar or anything else that could be considered immersion-breaking?

Mike:
Personally, I’ve been in the realism community for nearly 4 years now, and there aren’t too many games that easily lend itself to that type of game-play. The main game my unit plays in is DoD:S, but the only way to play that realistically is to force specific rules. RnL creates a game where realistic play isn’t just easily done, but also fun.It’s the core experience.RnL is still realistic, but it is also very easy to get into

Eero:
I joined the team after being an avid player of the Alpha versions of RnL. So basically I just love to work on a mod that I love to play. That’s one of the main reasons the team is still working on this – we like the damn game.

Chris:
And the morale system really forces the players to work together as a team in order to win the game.

Hunnicutt:
To me, that makes it more immersive! I have been in the realism community for almost 10 years now. To have a game where you need to remember how many shots you took or how many nades you threw is very realistic. When GI Joe is in the field for real he doesn’t have any display on his sunglasses telling him that he has 3 bullets and 30% health left. Least ways not in WWII. To me to have no HUD or Death notices (you know when the game says Hunnicutt killed Lebson). It makes you need to communicate more (something which is also more realistic in RnL with the audio system we have).

Rob:
I think striking a good balance is the best you could do.

How do you think this was best achieved?

During it’s release or was there extensive testing with the team?

Mike:
It started in the design, as I understand,this was way before my time Many of the people that contributed to RnL have researched aspects of WWII. From locations to weapons, their research helped the team create a base for the realistic aspects. From there, closed testing helped sure up the realism while also making it playable. Speaking from experience during the closed Beta testing, there were as many changes to enhance realism as there were to make the game-play better.

Dead:
This is a bit off subject from the last question – but what were your feelings on the last release? It was infested with bugs – I mean the graphical glitches.

Will the animation glitches be fixed in the coming update?

Mike:
If you’re talking about the animation issues (repeating, etc)
That has been an issue since our first closed beta test – So basically… as long as I’ve worked on the mod. And it has been not only the most disheartening thing to find, but the single most motivation draining issue with working on this mod We do all this hard work on the mod making changes we think are good for it and all people ask is “Is the multi-fire bug fixed?”

We’ve always said that the multi-fire bug is due to a multiple prediction issue in the core SDK (and we have test code to prove it) and that our mod is effected more than most because of how we predict our systems That being said, AndY from redMatter and Pongles (formerly of Insurgency) helped me track through the code and gave me ideas where to look. The multi-fire bug is not fixed, and will not be fixed by us (as it is in the SDK), but after tracking through over 400 code revisions we have put something in place that possibly masks the issue to help stop the animation glitching issues. We only have a small amount of people on the team for testing, so I cannot say whether it is actually fixed or not, so 1.6 will be as much of a test as anything. The bug is brought out by ping (as that is when hte prediction system is used most), so Eero (from Finland) is actually our best tester for that =P

Eero:
You just gotta test it online yourself ;).


Alright folks! – Are you excited or what? I damn well am. Keep an eye on Resistance and Liberation’s ModDB page for version 1.6 later this week.

Visit Their ModDB page by clicking HERE. Check out some more of the pictures that were provided to us by Mike below.

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