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Interview - (2003-05-07) Kingpin
Title Interview - (2003-05-07) Kingpin
Description Phrozen Heart of the Phrozen Keep interviews Kingpin on his Dark Alliance mod and mod making in general.
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PHROZEN
Could you tell us a little about yourself either on or offline.
KINGPIN
My real name is Thomas Westman, I'm 30 years old. I live in a very small town called Fagersta in Sweden. I normally work with IT consulting (teaching programming/databases). The last two years I have been not working so much because of a Whiplash damage after a car accident. But, I'm on my way back.

I have no family at the moment so I have a lot of time to spent on things I like (diablo II modding as an example).

I spent a lot of time online as some probably have noticed. Visiting the Phrozen Keep's forum several times of a day and also a swedish MtG site called SvenskaMagic.

I also have interests other than D2. These include the card game Magic The Gathering, looking at movies, programming games/utilites and spent some times with friends.

I have lots of experience with both computers and programming. I started with computers in 1987 and at that time Commondore 64 was the computer to have. I own a C64, Amiga and PC. My programming carrer started in 1989 and I have used a lot of different programming languages (mostly because of the job I have).

PHROZEN
What made you come up with the username Kingpin?
KINGPIN
I used another nickname before Kingpin and that was Excalibur. I used Excalibur when I was involved in the demoscene on amiga between 91-95/96. When I started using the internet in 95/96 from what I can remember I wanted to use another name then Excalibur. For a short time I used MDK (from the game with same name) when chatting on IRC. I got Kingpin from the great movie with the same name in 1996 and have used that nickname since then although many have thought that I got the name from the great game Kingpin, but that game got the name from me
PHROZEN
How and when did you first get into modding for Diablo 2?
KINGPIN
My first contact with modding was a year or more ago. I remember that I saw a mod called Ancestral Recall but did not try that mod. I remember that I looked for an mpq packer/unpacker but couldn't find any so I didn't get into modding.

This however did change when I and some friends surfed into Phrozen Keep. I remember that I got curious into testing mods for diablo2. I didn't know anything about modding or mods at this time and this was in the beginning of January 2003. I tested two different mods Master of Arms and Zy-El: Trial by Fire.

PHROZEN
Is Dark Alliance your first modding project for D2 and who or what inspired you to make it?
KINGPIN
This is my first modding project ever actually as I have never been interesting in doing a modification for another game. Instead I have been working on my own game titles. The most serious one was a Roleplaying/Strategy game I worked on in 1997 although this project stopped because of bad organisation. I still have this game idea on hold and will start working on that again in the future. I used many of the ideas I had for that game in my mod, so I could say my previous game inspired me for the mod. But the real reason is that I played Zy-El: Trial by Fire, it is a great work by the creator of that mod (Kato). So, I hope he doesn't get angry with me when I say this is my reason to make my own mod

When I had played Zy-El for some time I realised that even with all the great stuff in there, there was things that I didn't like as an example the high density and the bad balancing (sorry). Since I haven't looked into the latest versions of Zy-El I don't know if any changes have been in those areas. But, when discussing this with my brother on day (he also liked Zy-El besides for the balancing) I came up with the idea. I want to do my own mod, how can I do that? The solution was to look into Phrozen Keep more and see what stuff that Phrozen Keep had and I found out that this was a great source of information. Besides all nice tutorials, the forum has been a great source of information and also a big thanx to Joel Falcou who has been a great help.

PHROZEN
Could you give us a brief rundown of your mod?
KINGPIN
Dark Alliance is split between three different campaigns, using the same system Joel/Myhrignoc developed to allow 15 different acts. The first campaign will follow the same story as you are familiar with in DiabloII: Lord of Destruction. But, even this story is rewritten by me. The other two campaigns will take you to the time after the world stone is destroyed.

The story is not the only thing that Dark Alliance has to offer. You will find a lot of never before seen items, new speeches and musics composed by Stefan Widh, custom graphics by Niklas Westman. Also, it will use a custom quest system developed by me. That will allow you to run into sidequests that are not the same each time you play the game. Dark Alliance is also using the D2External.dll that Joel has developed to allow a lot of custom coding features. I could actually talk a lot of what Dark Alliance has to offer, but you can find all this stuff on Dark Alliance Web site

PHROZEN
So when are you planning on releasing Dark Alliance to the mod-playing pubic?
KINGPIN
The full release is far away and such of a date cannot be given at the moment. The mod hasn't even reach its alpha stage yet. But, since the mod will have a long developement time we will release a sneakpeak version of the mod, just to let you all get a feeling of what kind of mod this will be. The delevolement plans for this sneakpeak version is planned to be released in a month. Also, a betatest period is planned to be between 18/5 to 31/5. You can signup as a betatester on Dark Alliance forum between 6/5 to 15/5. There are four slots open to the public and we will be fair when selecting this as we will use a program that will select the testers random between all that has been signup.
PHROZEN
Other than your own, what mods would you recommend that someone new to modding should go out and try?
KINGPIN
If Joel's Cabal Wars - Aeons Tide had been out I would have recommended this since this is one of the most promising upcomming projects out there. But, since I've a very limit experience myself of other mods I can only recommend the ones I have tried. So, look out for both Zy-El: Trial by Fire and Master of Arms.
PHROZEN
From what you've heard, what are you most looking forward to in the new v1.10 patch?
KINGPIN
Oh, there is a lot I'm looking forward to but one of the things I'm looking forward to most is actually to play it. I will return and play on close battle.net again. Haven't done that for a long time now.
PHROZEN
Do you think the "quality assurance" delays with the release of the v1.10 patch have hurt the modding community?
KINGPIN
No, I think the delays have only been good for the modding community. In the last fews months so much has happend in the custom code area that I'm almost sure would not of happened if the patch had been out earlier. But, I'm too new to this community to know if this has been good or bad for the overall community. I can only talk from my personal view.
PHROZEN
And finally, what advice would you give to someone who's thinking of trying to create their first mod?
KINGPIN
I would recommend to read all the great tutorials that are out there. Begin with somethings small and do small changes for the first time, don't try to do all at once otherwise you will get hit a brick wall too early and this may scare you away. Also, use the excellent forum here to ask about your problems. Usually someone out there can help you so don't be afraid to do your own modifications and ask for help.

Happy modding and gaming out there.

Thomas Westman (Kingpin)


Anyone wishing to check out the Dark Alliance mod can do so by visiting the official website at http://da.d2mods.com.


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