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"How in the hell could Interplay release a game with such major, glaring, near-fatal flaws? Didn't anybody know? Didn't anybody care?" - PC Gamer Nov 98

"Running a close second in the shovelware market is Interplay, which also takes second place (after Sierra) as The Company Who Hates Its Customers The Most" - PC Gamer Feb 99

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June 4 Chat Log

kebler: what's new at E3?

MAX2Chris: I didn't get too much chance to walk the show. I really liked Alpha Centauri, Zelda and a couple others...

kebler: spend all your time playing max2?

MAX2Chris: Yep. That and talking to people.

kebler: how's the next beta coming?

MAX2Chris: We are starting to bang on the multiplayer code heavily in-house. As soon as we fix the known crash bugs, we will open the beta to a full-blown multiplayer test. When that is? Hmmm. I dunno. Depends on the number of bugs we find versus the number of bugs we fix.

kebler: is the beta demo currently released ,using the final art?

MAX2Chris: Right now, it is not very stable. It almost always crashes during a game. The beta demo uses pretty much the final art.

CaptComal: The second most important question I have ... did your CURSOR GUY have a fit yet? (I think the latest set of cursors is very nice)

MAX2Chris: Yep, cursor guy much happier.

CaptComal: tell him that we really aren't that bad if he got to know us

MAX2Chris: I'm much happier with the cursors... Especially after playing it during E3.

kebler: I liked the surprise, that is seeing some thing different than what we've been testing. some of the Sheevats weapons seamed to catch me off guard

MAX2Chris: Good.

CaptComal: Chris ... since the internet part is just now starting to be "banged on" ... is the SILVER date for MAX2 extended a bit?

* CaptComal thinks Chris is composing a politically correct reply

MAX2Chris: Well, we've been testing it for a while, but this is just the large "banging". It's already better after a week or so of this more intense testing -- and we are just about to open it up to the entire company. I don't know what effect it will have on the release date, however. Still too early to see.

MAX2Chris: Ahh, I have so little to do with when this title actually goes out -- I really can't say anything. It's up to the Producers and up. But they look at all the bug reports, and they play the game. It's a pretty informed decision.

kebler: the multi player application will this be a web site in witch we will meet others who wish to play too?

MAX2Chris: Kebler, yep. MAX2.net. Chatrooms, ladder games, win/loss stats and so on.

CaptComal: Is that the name they finally decided on? MAX2.NET

MAX2Chris: Each product will have it's own matching service (MAX2.net, SFC.net) and so on. There will be an overall site, but I don't think the name has been finalled.

kebler: will max2.net offer max1 multiplayer action for those of us who still enjoy nostalgia?

MAX2Chris: No. Completely different code. MAX2.net is a UDP application. MAX1 wouldn't even begin to understand. We have completely changed the way multiplayer coding was done from MAX1 to MAX2.

Dakamgi: when will the MAX1 patch come out to update the internet code?

MAX2Chris: It would not be a patch, it would be a completely new game.

Dakamgi: MAX Classic !

MAX2Chris: Exactly.

Sir_Adam: hey all

* MAX2Chris drops to his knees before Sir Adam.

Sir_Adam: hehe

Dakamgi: has there been any discussion on the Classic version?

MAX2Chris: Not really. We are concentrating on MAX2. It's pretty much the only thing the division is working on.

kebler: Chris did you read my post regarding weather,is there a possibility to add the weather factor?

MAX2Chris: Kebler, I have not, sorry. Since E3, I've been really too busy to look in on the board. I've got to get these missions into a shippable state. It pretty much is too late for something of that nature, however.

Dakamgi: Please let me know when the Classic discussions start, I have many ideas.

MAX2Chris: Dakamgi, ok.

Sir_Adam: how many active testers r there?

MAX2Chris: 450

Sir_Adam: out of how many who signed up

MAX2Chris: 11,000 (around -- I think the number is actually closer to 10,500 or so.)

Sir_Adam: that's like 90% of the testers gone

Dakamgi: do we all get our names on the CD 8^)

MAX2Chris: I think so. The credits movie may be like 45 minutes and require it's own CD-ROM... :) Most dropped off within the first month. Sort of like Sir Adam keeps doing... :)

Sir_Adam: what do I keep doing?

MAX2Chris: Sir Adam, keep dropping off... :)

MAX2Chris: I think they just wanted to see what it was. The early betas were really rough and most people don't understand just how tedious beta-testing is.

Dakamgi: does the .165 beta/demo have the same bugs as the .145 beta?

MAX2Chris: Dakamgi, no. It should have less.

Dakamgi: then I'll down load it until the network demo comes out, should we send in bug reports if we find any?

MAX2Chris: Sure. We'll take anything. The more _good_ bug reports the better.

Sir_Adam: will the last beta have the final graphics? Sheevat units?

MAX2Chris: Final graphics - yes. Sheevat - I dunno. The beta demo has 99% final art. Just a couple tweaks here and there.

Sir_Adam: that doesn't sound good

MAX2Chris: I have no idea how to respond to that.

Dakamgi: What doesn't sound good?

Dakamgi: Sir Adam, what's not good about the final art?

kebler: Chris : there was a post about night vision (it wasn't mine) however that started the whole weather thing.

Sir_Adam: not final art. Sheevat units. what if there are problems with them and we don't test them?

MAX2Chris: I wouldn't get worried about it, until you hear from Paul.

CaptComal: The BETA DEMO had a into screen that warned you about the SHEEVAT unit art as being unfinished.

MAX2Chris: My "I dunno" is strictly about that I don't know what _exactly_ is going into the betas. Paul makes those decisions.

CaptComal: Though the Sheevat art in the current AD for MAX2 in PC GAMER looks fantastic

Dakamgi: I think, for the sake of security, that we should speak in complete sentences.

Sir_Adam: u don't communicate with him regularly?

MAX2Chris: It's not like we are sitting around discussing what should and shouldn't go into the demo. I speak with Paul several times a day. The Sheevat art is pretty much final. The Sheevat abilities and stats are still up in the air.

CaptComal: The FORMATION of units in a group still is not working in the DEMO. some units still get stuck and don't move at all

MAX2Chris: That code was replaced this Monday. It didn't make it into the demo. It will be in the next beta. It is _much_ better and _much_ faster.

Sir_Adam: does the last beta have basically *everything*?

CaptComal: You know what they said about the War2 Peons.

kebler: what?

Sir_Adam: yes what

CaptComal: Looking it up for you.

MAX2Chris: The last beta should have full functionality, but as for the unit/map/scenario (i.e., stuff) I don't know what it will contain. All those things are getting closer and closer to being final -- but the decision of what goes into a beta is Pauls.

kebler: you know what they say about max2 beta testers ? those who stick around get on there own CD. 11,000

MAX2Chris: Kebler, I cannot answer that. I do know that there is some sort of reward system in place. How it works, who gets what and what they get are questions beyond my ability to answer...

Sir_Adam: what was that they say about M.A.X.2 testers?

CaptComal: found it.

MAX2Chris: Let us have it..

CaptComal: Why do almost all the resource gatherers get lost, wander into enemy fire, or do nothing when an enemy is shooting at them from just out of their range. PC GAMER pg. 153 June 98. speaking of all RT games in general for lack of good AI

MAX2Chris: Yep. Hopefully, that won't happen with us. Units should move away from being attacked -- exactly how fast they do that is a question of balance and something we are still playing with.

CaptComal: I identified with that with War2 Peons. Actually that is a good page to read ... called COMMAND & COPY

MAX2Chris: It's a good basic game design question: exactly how much control should a player have over a unit, and how much should a unit be automated... If a player has perfect control, then almost be definition, the unit should not act on it's own. If a unit can act under it's own guidance, than what is the player good for and what does he do.

kebler: How about having the AI have to deal with the weather as well as alien's?

Dakamgi: Give me a setting in the pref's menu

Sir_Adam: need a hunt option. commanders don't piddle with individual units. they control the big picture

MAX2Chris: These are all basic game design questions. We've tried to do something to advance the state of the industry with the auto commands, which are basically options that players can use.

kebler: fight for his life on the frozen lakes as the aliens hunt him down for food

MAX2Chris: MAX2 and these type of games don't often deal with the big picture well. That's more like a WiF or W3R type of game.

CaptComal: Dark Reign tried to address that issue with various settings for units ... how aggressive they were when they saw an enemy for instance

MAX2Chris: Yep. It seems like a logical step to take.

Dakamgi: why can't we set auto commands for different types of units in the perf's screen?

MAX2Chris: Dakamgi, that would be pretty simple to do with the exception that it would take a fairly large and uninteresting interface to do so. We already have one of those (the general upgrades menu) and it isn't that great of a way of handling that type of information. You can set the auto commands for a group by selecting the leader and giving him the auto commands.

Sir_Adam: did u guys fix up the gun turret graphic? the cannon is pointing at the sky

MAX2Chris: Sir Adam, off the top of my head I cannot remember.

Dakamgi: better than trying to set your constructors to run away one at a time

MAX2Chris: Exactly. Select a bunch of constructors (there should only be about 2-3 at the start of a game) and give them the AUTOMOVE - RETREAT command one time.

kebler: : sir Adam you should check out the beta demo for some newer graphics

CaptComal: How do we know which unit is the leader of a group?

Dakamgi: good question

MAX2Chris: It is marked differently. All units in the group have yellow squares. The leader has a white and yellow square. You can change leaders by shift-clicking on a new unit in the group (I think that's the way it works.)

CaptComal: Is all this in the manual?

MAX2Chris: Yep.

CaptComal: (gotta read the new version more thoroughly!!)

CaptComal: Chris ... who on the MAX2 team are the best and worst players.

MAX2Chris: CaptComal, I cannot answer that. I will say that I'm pretty good... :)

CaptComal: (the worst can play me ... I lose about 75% of my WAR2 games)

MAX2Chris: (Not the best mind you, but not the worst...) I do much better at boardgames than I do at computer games.

Sir_Adam: I rule at BZ

CaptComal: Will any MAX2 team be available for battles?

MAX2Chris: Sure. I will be, and I know that some of the others will cruise in.

kebler: max2.net title match coming to a computer near you...

MAX2Chris: At least for the first week (and until I get my electronic buttski handed to me on a platter...) As soon as players get really good, I'm out of there... :)

* CaptComal is sharpening his sword

Dakamgi: Watch out for LeJohn, he's gunning for you Chris

LeJohn: too late!

MAX2Chris: We are still on track for the 15th to silver and then be in stores late June. We will know once we get closer. It all depends on the bug fixes vs. new bug discoveries.

LeJohn: did we help answer your question about the cursors?

MAX2Chris: Yep. Sure did. We re-did them. The new ones are in the beta demo and will be in the next beta. The next beta will be multiplayer and so on.

MAX2Chris: I must be leaving. I have some things to "fix" around here and then I must get home. bye, all!


If you find any errors please report them to
CaptComal@hotmail.com so they can be corrected. Thanks.
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