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Men of Valor: The Vietnam War

Posted Monday, May 3, 2004

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From: Josh Tyrell
Level Designer, 2015

Coming from the gaming community into the game industry is a big jump, especially if you don't know what to expect. It is one thing to create whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. To then have to jump right into having deadlines, people telling you how something should look, and just the team environment takes some getting used to. Luckily for me I was able to get through this transition and remain working on the MOV project. For some time there I wasn't sure if this would be the case, I can be a hardheaded guy when it comes to my work, and there were just some basic things that I had to learn that differ from doing it at home as a hobby to doing it as a job.

First things first, I was used to working with totally finished game code and level editors. The only major bugs I knew about were the ones that I created. It's a totally different thing when working on a project as big as MOV. It can be a slow process at times, some times for weeks nothing seems to get done, then one day, it all just comes together. Working with a team is a big change, also, a very nice change to be honest, but none the less, something to get used to. Instead of talking to people only on icq or getting a play test report in the email, you get to talk to these people face to face, which can be bad at times. As you can feel overrun by difference of opinions, but at the same time you have to remember that everyone is striving for the same goal. To make the best game they can possibly make, period. Working in a team environment also raises the bar of your own abilities as well. Not so much competing with other people, but you always want to do the best you can, and if you can make someone say "that's pretty cool man", then you are doing your job right. Everyone feeds off of that, and then it just takes everything to the next level as you keep striving for that each time something is done, it's contagious.

For most of the project I have been working on single player levels, which is the bulk of the game, but my least favorite thing to do. As of late, I've been focusing mainly on multiplayer maps and game play. Now this is what I love! Multiplayer is the reason I got into game development, and it remains my main passion in gaming. Was it not for Quake2/Quake2-RocketArena I would probably not be here. I was always a gamer, but mainly a console player, and never asked myself the question that started it all, "I wonder if I could do that". All that started with Quake2, but I digress. Multiplayer is a joy to work on and its really turning out to be a lot of fun, I think people are going to really enjoy this, especially because of Xbox-Live. Our multiplayer maps have a wide range of environments, from jungles, urban settings, to the Saigon Embassy. With many game types to play, once the player has played through the single player part of the game, I'm sure they will find many, many hours of entertainment left in the game. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against single player games, most are quite fun, especially ours ;). But really, the draw for me to multi player is that no matter how many times you play the same map, you always have a different experience. Different players, using different weapons, different routes, it can be endless. And of course being able to knock off your buddy and then point and laugh in his face isn't bad either.

Overall MOV has been an incredible experience for me personally. I look back now at some of the content made in the first few months and just see how far we have come. The team as a whole has done an incredible job and we all really work well with each other. Making a game of this magnitude can be a very bumpy road, with a lot of curve balls thrown at you. But in the end if you hang in there, you will really see all the fruits of your labor really starting to grow. I think this industry has a really unique ability to allow the average gamer to become a real game developer. With most games now coming out with level editors and SDK's, the sky is the limit to what can be done, and by whom. It's very exciting to see where MOV will take us and I look forward to pushing the envelope again. On this game we really tried to provide as true an experience of the war we could. From just a glance of the music, the friendlies battle chatter to the environments, we have really set a precedent on a totally immersive experience for the player. I'm just glad I could be a part of that.


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