Thompp Nation: Interview with Team Rocket leader Pete Thompson

Joe Epson: Peter.

Pete Thompson: Yup.

Joe: Can I call you Pete?

Pete: Better than fluffy buns.

Joe: Haha. Ok, so what made you origionally get into modding.. did it start with quake 3?

Pete: I’m glad you asked me that, Joe. No it didnt. I started modding for Quake 2, with the original version of team rocket. Q3 came out, and I started looking at how I would re-write TR for Q3.

Joe: Was that an instant kinda thing? Or did you continue with q2 for awhile?

Pete: Q2 kept on going for a while. I started with Q3 in 2001 but got a bit stuck in a rut to be honest, and picked it up again in 2003… and picked myself out of the rut to release version 1.

Joe: How did you start modding? Did you just suddenly wake up one morning and go… hey I think I’ll mod that new game Quake 2?

Pete: I started mapping for q2 initially. I bought death match maker from a local shop and had a play with it and created a few maps . Then I thought about coding… I downloaded the compiler and the source and had a look at the source, which is just C. Initially I started with small chnages, but then experimented with more ambitious ideas. then on to q3…… Downloading the compiler and soucre code for q3, the first thing you notice is that the code is more complicated in q3a. Although still in C, there are 3 modules rather than 1 – all q2 mods are server, q3 has 3 modules, 1 server 2 client. Having said that, the server code was similar to q2 code and is well structured and organised

Joe: I see.. much more useful though. What was the origional inspiration for TRX? Here you are learning the q3a code… planning to make a mod….. why trx?

Pete: TRX is a mod rather than a total conversion. Chnages are conceptually simple, heavily based on original game. The beauty of the game is that its design is open-ended. You can expand all the time, adding new weapons, items, powerups, gameplay in an organic way.

Joe: So why.. just make that one gun with the various wepon variations…. why not… exploding metaballs?

Pete: Well future releases of TRX I intend to reintroduce the weapons but using different models. As I said above, the open ended design means I can add almost anything I please.

Joe: Any plans for trx player models?

Pete: Release 2,0 will include John “triad” Fisjer’s excellent Gudnam models from

Joe: Ahh.. that’s another thing.. Have you always worked solo?

Pete: Yes… the reason for this is that if you start running a team it means committing to deadlines. Trying to juggle my “life” around mod-making makes this difficult. Prior to Ian coming on board to compose the TRX tracks I’ve always relied on resources available on the net.

Joe: So no plans to expand any furthur then just you and Ian?

Pete: It depends. I may tender people to create more custom maps or models for TRX.

Joe: Ahh.. has Ian’s arrival made you consider this or had you been pondering it already?

Pete: Partly yes… my good working relationship with him has encouraged me to think about going further for help. Plus there are still a lot of quake components in the game (specifically map odles such as armour, and textures) and I want to give TRDX its own look separate from q3.

Joe: Having a unique look is indeed something most modders strive for. What else can expect in your future releases….. particularly the long awaited v2

Pete: The first release will contain the new Gudnam models as mentioned earlier, Gudnam bots, custom made maps and a rocking sound track from Ian.

Joe: Ah yes I hear he’s extremely talented. And I heard the trx theme.. great stuff.

Pete: So they say lol.

Joe: Tell me more about “gudnam”

Pete: These are based on Japanese anime characters. I chose these because these are the highest quality player/bot models on polycount. I was looking for some combat/tech theme for players/bots in contrast to the high number of cartoon or gothic players that tend to populate q3.

Joe: Interesting choice.. alot of anime fans about

Pete: Yup… alhough I myself am not particularly into Anime.

Joe: Do you expect v2 will get a good reception?

Pete: I hope so. v2 is a big step to give TRX a more distinct look from Q3. One of my big concerns is that v2 is given a thorough testing and feedback before release, this has been a major weakness in the past with TRX.

Joe: Ahh so you have beta testers?

Pete: None yet. I need to recruit some… my concern is that I am not kept waiting too long for them to complete testing.

Pete: Ian certainly has been providing me with some valuable feedback concerning the maps. Feedback from testers is one of the most useful and impoertant tools in creating a quality product.

Joe: Indeed. One thing alot of mod teams suffer is too many ideas for one release. Are there any ideas you had to put aside perhaps for futhur releases?

Pete: I have a quite thorough list of future releases. Obviously these lists change over time… usually features being put back into later releases. I plan a point release after the v2 rlease to correct some bugs, improve the Hud, and ad new sounds and some new features. Then future major release I would like to include Lox and lithium functionality, new gameplay options, more maps, maybe more player models and bots.

Joe: V3?

Pete: Haven’t planned that far ahead. I think when I finish the v2 releases that will be it for TRX. Plenty of other opportunities around the corner, new games to mod for [eg Quake 4!] plus new mods for Q3.

Joe: That was going to be my next question. Quake 4 is indeed just around the corner.. so you do expect trx will migrate to q4?

Pete: Sorry! I’ll have a look at q4 if/when it is ever released and see how feasible it is.

Joe: So what’s the major appeal of the quake series? Why not trx for Unreal?

Pete: Quake has always been a leading edge engine. With q2 it was the gameplay the maps and the mods that made it accessible… add the ease of modding. Q3 is a great generic engine because of all the games that used it (ST;EF, MoH, CoD etc etc) but the basic gameplay generally not thought of as agood as q2… hence mods to correct that. I didnt want to have to get into another game engine like Unreal – I think… I can only cope with one at a time!

Joe: Ahh.. is there anything else on the plate for the Thompp team besides TRX?

Pete: I’ve got some fantastic models for polycount that could be the start of new mods… Aliens (especially), simpsons, Quekken (Quake Tekken), lego, starship troopers, sonic, danger girl, etc,…but there just isnt the time.

Joe: So you’ve got enough trx plans to keep you busy for awhile then?

Pete: You bet… no shortage of opportunities

Joe: Sounds like it. I also understand you have recently taken up affiliation with the black light clan which now runs TRX exclusively.

Pete: Yes.

Joe: What made that come about?

Pete: We had been working on the mod and Ian… who is their clan leader… asked me to join! It gives me the oopprtunity to play TRX regularly with real people, and also have a regular playing forum for feedback and suggestions for improvements.

Joe: Well I’m sure people will enjoy it! Nice chatting with you Pete!

Pete: If not, I’ll hunt them down!”

Mod DB: Team Rocket Extreme — Quake III Arena mod, by Pete Thompson, 2005

Team Rocket Quake 2 Mod, by Pete Thompson

Quake II Downloads: Mods, CTF Maps, Arena Maps, and Models, by Pete Thompson

Off Topic — Thompp Nation: Martha and the Muffins


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