Interview - (2004-04-05) Darque

Interview - (2004-04-05) Darque

Description: Onyx interviews Darque for the Phrozen Keep on his Hordes of Chaos mod.

Categories: Interviews


ONYX:
The
Hordes of Chaos is one of the exciting mods that has it's many
dedicated fans. I thought it will be interesting to interview the
modder behind it - Darque, who is also my teammate in Darque Onyx Mods.
And so, he shares the secrets of his mod's success.






ONYX:

Could you tell us a little about yourself?


DARQUE:

My name is Mark Kochanowski. I am a married 27 year old from the
Chicago, USA area with an 8 year old daughter. I am currently working
as a software developer/analyst for a software development company. I
have had a love of computers since my early childhood. My first
computer was a Texas Instruments TI99/4A, with which I taught myself
BASIC programming. I eventually went to school for computer engineering
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and for
Telecommunications Management at the DeVry Institute of Technology, but
never finished either, as my IT career was moving faster than my
education.




ONYX:

Where does your nickname come from?


DARQUE:
Another
of my hobbies during my teenage years was collecting comic books and
playing tabletop role playing games. My nickname comes from the comic
book Shadowman. In that comic, Shadowman's arch villain is Master
Darque, an evil necromancer. I like the comic, found the villain
interesting, and thought the name sounded very cool. And so, while
creating a charactor for Cyberpunk 2020 one day, I decided to use the
name Darque. Since then, I also started to use that nickname for my
online persona.




ONYX:

What made you start modding D2, and not another game?



DARQUE:
My
passion for computers, from my youth until now, still comes from
computer games. I love all aspects of computers, from programming, to
graphics, to games, to just plain getting them to work. This all led me
to want to develop my own game. I have had many false starts in the
past. Then I got into modding games such as Civilization CTP, or
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, and making maps for Half-Life. But
then, last June, I purchased Diablo II. I played it with my wife for a
couple of months and finished the game. I then looked into the D2
community and saw a little web site called the Phrozen Keep;). I played
a couple of mods from the site and then decided I wanted to make my
own.




ONYX:

I've read different descriptions of The Hordes of Chaos - Warcraft-themed, fantasy-themed etc. Which one is true?


DARQUE:
To
me, The Hordes of Chaos is a fantasy themed mod that is loosely based
upon Dungeons & Dragons. One of my favorite tabletop RPGs has
always been Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and I have played many of
the D&D computer RPGs as well, even way back in the days of the
first Pool of Radience. So my viewpoint on fantasy games is skewed
towards D&D. The misconception of THOC being Warcraft based is
because my opening title screen is a modified Warcraft image.





ONYX:

Could you make a presentation of the main features in your mod for the people who never played it?


DARQUE:
Basically,
my finished mod product will modify as much of the original Diablo 2
game as possible. New features I now have are MANY new monsters, new
skill trees, modified quests and maps, new items, new cube recipes, and
new NPCs.

The
monsters I have chosen are more geared toward goblins, orcs, bugbears,
drow, orogs and such. The skills I have chosen will be based upon
different charactor classes, and so will require the player to develop
new strategies for using them. Many of the new items in THOC are cube
recipe ingredients only, as well as some new class-specific items and
others. The most interesting new item in THOC, though, might possibly
be my gembags, a wonderful new way of storing and organizing your gems.




ONYX:


In your opinion, what is the feature that makes a mod succesfull?


DARQUE:
I
don't think that any particular feature can make a mod successful. A
successful feature is one that can reward the player for playing by
giving that player something fun that the player not seen before,
whether it is a new item, a new skill, a new monster to kill, or just
some eye candy. But at the same time, that new feature should maintain
gameplay balance and keep the game challenging.




ONYX:

What is the thing you'll never change in D2?


DARQUE:
One
thing I will never change is many of the base items (such as short
swords and buckler shields, etc) in the game. Blizzard did a good job
defining them and fleshing them out, and there is not much you can do
to improve them. Now, I might change some of the item graphics, but the
stats themselves look pretty good to me. Anything else in the game is
open game to me, as long as it would improve the gameplay of the mod,
and meld to my vision ;)



ONYX:

What is your advice to people who are starting a mod now?


DARQUE:

My advise for newbie modders is this:

-
Plan out where you want your mod to go before you start. When planning
it out, think of something new and fresh. Good planning in the
beginning will give you direction throughout the rest of your project
and make it easier to complete.

- Be aware that a good mod can take weeks or months to develop.
Building a mod is like developing any other software. You need patience
and time to make it right. As you are developing the mod, you will get
frustrated, sidetracked, and sometimes just stuck and want to quit.
Thats natural. But in the end, if you stick to your guns, you will have
a good mod.

- Develop a mod that you would find fun to play. Don't put
something in your mod that you think others will like, unless you will
like it too. If you only put in features that others want, and not what
you want, you might end up not having fun with your mod and just want
to quit.

If you follow these things, I'm sure you will end up with a good mod.




ONYX:


You're a co-webmaster in the Infinitum site. Does it mean you like Infinity Engine games and which ones do you play?


DARQUE:
I
do enjoy Infinity Engine games. That is also where most of the
creatures in The Hordes of Chaos mod get their animations from. I am
currently slowly playing Icewind Dale II. In the past I have played
both Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale. When I finish playing IWD2, I plan
on purchasing Baldur's Gate 2.




ONYX:

Is there anything I forgot to ask you?


DARQUE:
Yes,
you forgot to ask me how I like having you as a partner in the
development of THOC ;) I love working as a team on a project with you
:) Working with teammates speeds up development and introduces more
ideas into a mod to make it more fun.

I'm
also always looking for more team members, whether they are new to
modding, or old hat...as long as they are dedicated to some degree.
Part-time modders are fine too as long as that is the commitment up
front.



ONYX:

Thanks for your time.


DARQUE:
Thank
you for the interview ;) And thank you to the entire Phrozen-Keep
community. Without all of you, my mod, and many others would not be
anywhere as good as they are now. And, this great community has allowed
me to make some new friends around the world. So cheers to you
all!

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