<Xoanon> the chat will start now
<Xoanon> you know how this works, if you have a question type /msg Xoanon and then your question
<Xoanon> why don't we start with you guys introducing yourselves?
<Grendyll> I'm John Race, the designer on Orcs
<ArtGuy> I'm J. Esparza, Art Director
<Grendyll> Hopey is Isa Stamos, our producer
<ArtGuy> Isa ROCKS!!!
<Grendyll> It's true
<ArtGuy> sHE BUYS US CANDY!
<Hopey> my sole purpose in life
<Grendyll> We have a truly amazing team
<Xoanon> ok so I'll give you guys a question and the right person can answer his or her question ok?
<Xoanon> send in your Q's noe folks
<Xoanon> type /msg Xoanon _______
<Xoanon> Gandalf asks: What is the premise of the game?
<Grendyll> Evan "Dont be a hater" Harsha, our tech director is also standing by
<Grendyll> Well, this is tough for chat
<Grendyll> You are an Orc Chieftain behind Sauron's enemy lines during the war of the ring
<Grendyll> You are tasked with raising a force of enforcer orcs to keep peace until the Nazgul return
<Grendyll> To this end you have to recruit and train Orcs, in a wide variety of skills
<Grendyll> You then commit them to various causes, choosing your political alliances
<Xoanon> Calisuri asks: With the growing MAC market, will you be releasing a MAC version?
<Hopey> Berkeley Systems has developed for the Macs in the past and infact started all development on Macs
<Hopey> We have to make sure a title is well-accepted before we can fund the development of a Mac version.
<Hopey> I hope with the growing popularity of Macs this will change.
<Xoanon> Chief asks: Who came up with the idea? and what did Sierra say about a Tolkien inspired game?
<Grendyll> It's been a collaborative development.
<Grendyll> Sierra actually suggested that we use the Tolkien setting, since we already had the license and it perfectlly fit our needs
<Grendyll> And its like coming full circle since it was such a huge influence on us
<Grendyll> We couldn't have asked for better source material, and we really wanted to do an Orcs game.
<Grendyll> LOTR Orcs are THE original Orcs
<Xoanon> Ecthelion asks: Will Europeans be allowed to BETA test?
<Hopey> Europe beta testing won't be possible, except in some very special cases
<Grendyll> But we are trying to makesure we ship in Europe too.
<Xoanon> Smaug asks: what tools are you using to develop the game?
<ArtGuy> on the art side we are using 3DStudio MAX, pHOTOSHOP, Bryce
<Grendyll> We're looking at some mo cap stuff as well
<Hopey> The engineers are using Visual C++, Direct X 7
<ArtGuy> and, Character Studio, a plug-in for MAX
<Grendyll> J. does most of his work in Outlook
<Xoanon> Wasp asks: What type of music for the game is being done?
<ArtGuy> i would call it a funky sort of dark tribal sound.
<Grendyll> Brad Meyer, our sound designer and composer has come up with a lot of very distinct and diverse stuff
<ArtGuy> Like an all night dance club in Mordor
<Hopey> We are toying with the idea of releasing a CD of just the music, it's THAT good
<Grendyll> Not an all ages club
<ArtGuy> i'd buy it for a dollar
<Xoanon> you think we can have a sneak peek?
<Grendyll> It's tough to pigeon hole it
<Calisuri> lol X
<Xoanon> Estel asks: Will the game be more like Warcraft or Final Fantasy?
<Grendyll> Our game doesn't fit either category, but it's closer to Warcraft in that it's strategy
<Grendyll> It has a deep story line, that's pretty nonlinear, allowing you to serve Sauron faithfully, betray him
<Grendyll> It's more up close and personal than Warcraft
<Grendyll> It's about spending more time with your Orc
<Grendyll> In close up 3D environments, keeping their mood good
<ArtGuy> think of them as green, leathery, furbies.
<Grendyll> It's even closer in perspective and personality than DKII
<Hopey> oh artguy...
<Grendyll> We really want you to be able to build exactly the type of Orc you want, and then to really want ot keep him alive
<Xoanon> Took Asks: When will it be released?
<Hopey> Spring of 2000
<Xoanon> Asgard asks: How graphic is the violence?
<Grendyll> There will be some blood in combat, but we're not about gore
<Grendyll> It would be unrealistic not to have some blood.
<ArtGuy> we haven't added blood quite yet, but we are preparing large buckets for those who want it
<Grendyll> But we won't have over the top dismemberment
<Xoanon> Gandalf asks: Who will they battle, the Fellowship?
<Grendyll> This is a good question
<Grendyll> We decided to run our story concurrent to LOTR
<Grendyll> But to keep it somewhat separate
<Grendyll> Most of our action takes place behind enemy lines, where you couldn't see
<Grendyll> You'll determine who you fight
<Grendyll> If you serve Sauron, you'll learn of a renegade Orc
<Grendyll> The Ancient
<Grendyll> He can use magic and he's wise
<Grendyll> But most of all he claims to be unbound
<Grendyll> Truly free
<Grendyll> This is just a legend among Orcs
<Grendyll> So he's a threat, and more Orcs start going renegade
<Grendyll> You'll be assigned to bring him down
<Grendyll> But if you don't want to stay on order, you can switch
<Grendyll> You'l l be able to betray Sauron and go renegade yourself
<Grendyll> THere's also a third party, waiting in the wings
<Grendyll> We have a three act structure, and you'll discover that Sauron and The Ancient
<Grendyll> share a history
<Grendyll> with this third party
<Xoanon> Calisuri asks: What will make ORCS stand out among other games?
<Grendyll> Well, I can promise that you haven't seen a game quite like ours
<Grendyll> You don't control your Orcs directly
<Grendyll> You have to give them commands
<Grendyll> whether they obey you or not depends on how well you've trainned them through your
<Grendyll> interaction with them
<Grendyll> It's not a virtual pet game
<Grendyll> It's strategic
<Grendyll> You'll build different types of Orcs for different purposes
<Xoanon> Took asks: can you pick different tribes or loctations in ME?
<Grendyll> No, we have a detailed storyline, so we have to start you at the same point
<Grendyll> But as I said, you have a lot of lattitude after that
<Grendyll> You can abandon your duties and get involved in the black market for instance
<Hopey> In multi-player individuals can start their own clans
<Grendyll> Yeah, we'll have a lot of customization there
<Grendyll> You will move across ME through our game
<Grendyll> Starting outside Mordor in the Ithilien and eventually returning to Dol Guldur
<Xoanon> Calisuri asks: What type of commands can you give the Orcs?
<Grendyll> You'll be able to custom design their fighting moves
<Grendyll> As they train they'll unlock new moves
<Grendyll> These can be chained into combos
<Grendyll> Each is statistically weighted
<Grendyll> In combat, you can tell your orc who to attack and which attack to use
<Grendyll> You'll also be able to tell them to use items
<Grendyll> use special abilities
<Grendyll> and set their postures
<Hopey> In training you can command them too
<Grendyll> Yeah, you can give them positive and negative feedback,
<Xoanon> Gandalf asks: Whose version of Orcs do you use? From which artist/description?
<Hopey> Jay Esparza our art director is interpreting the look of the orcs, but is influenced by John Howe
<Hopey> and the information on orcs in particular is, expectedly, vague
<Xoanon> Wasp asks: What do you think of the casting for LOTR. Will you be using that influence in the game?
<Grendyll> No, we were already well underway before the announcements
<Hopey> I am still absorbing some of the choices they have made
<Grendyll> I'm just glad the rumors of Jim Carey as Aragorn weren't true
<Hopey> I love the choice of Ian McKellen
<Hopey> haha John
<Calisuri> heh Hopey
<Xoanon> but will we see an Ian McKellen Gandalf in your game?
<Grendyll> We've chosen not to put Gandalf in
<Grendyll> If we did it would just be a walk on
<Grendyll> He's too powerful for meaningful interaction with Orcs
<Grendyll> He would just mop them all up
<Grendyll> even the great champions that you're creating in the game
<Grendyll> Likewise Balrogs
<Grendyll> We'd love to use them, but it just doesn't seem right
<Grendyll> We are going to use the Mouth of Sauron as a character though
<Grendyll> I always loved him, and theres only a couple pages of him
<Xoanon> Took asks: What are the minimum system requirements?
<Hopey> P166 with Hardware acceleration, 233 without, Windows 98
<Hopey> We support direct3D video cards
<Grendyll> We'll be trying to include a lot of races we didn't see much of
<Grendyll> Black Numenoreans for instance
<Xoanon> Ecthelion asks: How many Orcs can you command? group? Platoon? More?
<Grendyll> Up to ten orcs active at one time
<Grendyll> Up to four in combat at one time
<Grendyll> So you're working up a squad of ten, sending out four at a time
<Grendyll> You can retire and replace them at any time
<Xoanon> Wynn asks: How many people are on your team?
<Hopey> Well, the whole team is over twenty, but we are 17 on a day to day basis
<Hopey> When the testing starts, our staff goes up.
<Xoanon> Took asks: So will any LOTR characters pop up?
<Grendyll> Mouth of Sauron
<Grendyll> Also some of the Orcs you saw in the books will be moving through
<Grendyll> We can't have a really rich original story that does LOTR justice
<Grendyll> unless we separate ourselves a bit
<Grendyll> I don't think people would want us messing with the original
<Xoanon> Chief asks: What type of advice can you give to an up and comming graf artist?
<Grendyll> Try to keep working at all costs, even for free
<Grendyll> Do anything you can to get yourself into the kind of place you want to work
<Grendyll> When you go to an interview, you're going to need to have a lot of pieces to show
<Hopey> I have always found the best artists here, have a good fine arts background
<Hopey> gotta know how to draw
<Grendyll> and you'll be improving your overall skill
<Grendyll> Yeah, traditional art skills really separate the wheat from the chaff
<Xoanon> randamus asks: Where are you folks based?
<Hopey> Berkeley California
<Grendyll> We're a part of Sierra, which in turn is part of Havas Interactive
<Hopey> Berkeley Systems is also known for You Don't Know Jack and After Dark
<Xoanon> Took asks: How did you get your licensing?
<Hopey> Sierra, via the now defunct Yosemite entertainment, got the license primarily for the
<Hopey> Massivily multiplayer online game: Middle-earth
<Grendyll> We actually have a fair amount of contact with the other ME team
<Hopey> They have several games attatched to the license
<Hopey> Tolkien Enterprises is who we work with as the Licensor
<Grendyll> Daniel James has had a lot of input to our story, and overall they've been a big help
<Xoanon> Estel asks: What happens when you betray Sauron? (back on the game)
<Grendyll> If you turn your back on Sauron, his forces will be chasing you for the rest of the game
<Grendyll> But, as we know, he had a lot on his plate during LOTR, so you might get away
<Xoanon> Gandalf asks: Will you command different types of warrior orcs?
<Grendyll> We will have Uruk-hai and Snaga Orcs
<Grendyll> They each have their own racial bonuses and uses
<Grendyll> They're very different looking. Snaga are wilier and more likely to turn up something on patrol
<Xoanon> Calisuri asks: will there be any secret key strokes? or cheats?
<Grendyll> Well, there will probably be some cheats, debugging codes and easter eggs
<Grendyll> But it'd be ashame to give them away now :)
<Hopey> I hope beta testers will be the ones to find them
<Xoanon> Xoanon asks: What's the next thing that we'll see on your site?
<Hopey> Another dev journal entry
<Hopey> and a very special presentation by Jay Esparza
<Hopey> Also, since all the screenshots are preliminary, we will be updating them as soon as we can
<Hopey> We are trying to hold back images so people will have stuff to look forward to in the game
<Grendyll> We just put up some new stuff a few days ago, for anyone who hasn't stoped by www.orcs.net for a while
<Grendyll> Yeah, I want an Asgard question!
<Xoanon> okay..Asgard, ask away
<Asgard> I've been wondering what it takes to get started in the gaming industry.
<Grendyll> Don't leave us hanging (sob)
<Grendyll> It depends on what field
<Grendyll> What field
<Grendyll> Ahh. Well, you've already got good ideas. You can come in through Quality Assurance
<Grendyll> I came in through art a little, and production (producing)
<Grendyll> Keep writing, do what ever you can to keep meeting people
<Xoanon> Took asks: in addition to close up battles, will you be able to see the 'big picture' during battle scenes?
<Grendyll> Well, our emphasis is on the tactical, so all of our battles are ten people or less.
<Grendyll> But there's far more detail than you've seen in RTS's
<Xoanon> just a quick thank you to the Sierra guys,
<Hopey> Berkeley Systems
<Grendyll> Hey, thank you for having us!
<Xoanon> you guys are always welcome back
<Hopey> ; )
<Calisuri> Thanks folks!
<Xoanon> now you folks play nice ok?