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Developer Chat: TimeSplitters CryEngine 3 Modder Daniel Wesoly

Posted on November 29, 2012 AT 04:15pm

Daniel Wesoly had a dream: he wanted to revive the classic first-person shooter franchise TimeSplitters via a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004. Those plans changed after Wesoly decided to contact Crytek—the current owners of the TimeSplitters franchise—to see if there’d be a chance that they could give him some assistance with assets for the mod. Their initial answer was that they couldn’t help him in that effort—but they could potentially help the project become a reality if it were moved to being a CryEngine 3 mod.

Now, for Wesoly and his newly-formed team, the question is if this mod can offer the current-gen TimeSplitters action that everyone has been asking for.

EGM recently had a chance to chat to the man behind the mod—Daniel Wesoly—to talk about his desire to revive the TimeSplitters series, his ambition for the project, and how he plans to go about making it a reality.

EGM: Why don’t we start with you giving us a quick bit of background about yourself?

Daniel Wesoly: My name is Daniel Wesoly, and I help run the group on Facebook “100k strong for TimeSplitters 4“. I am twenty-one years of age, and love to help out with the TimeSplitters community in my spare time—and even though our hopes have been shattered many times, I still like to carry on doing bits and bobs for the series. I started modding Unreal Tournament 2004 for a TimeSplitters modification—it currently includes 120 characters, five maps, and one testing gun. Although, I am afraid that has been pretty much called off by Crytek and I have been asked to do a CryEngine 3 mod instead.

EGM: So you obviously have a great love for the series, what is it that first attracted you to the games?

Wesoly: I don’t want to place an age on when I first played TimeSplitters because I may contradict other interviews I have done in the past regarding that question. But I was pretty young—that’s for sure—and the whole aliens, zombies, monsters, soldiers, and mummies were things I used to love playing about with as toys! [Laughs] So being able to set up battles in arcade mode against bots was very awesome for me! I remember pestering my dad to get a PS2 just so I could play. I first played around my friend’s house; he couldn’t keep me away from his house after that. But yeah, I guess it’s just the fact that it’s different, it doesn’t take itself seriously—but at the same time, it does actually have some really creepy/serious parts, which I think is really cool. For example, you have the monkey for comedy, but then you have the zombies that can be very gruesome and disturbing.

EGM: That’s OK, I couldn’t even begin to guess what age I was when I first played TimeSplitters, but I know it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing a game on the PlayStation 2. How supportive have Crytek been with your idea? Did you go to them, or did they contact you in regards to your UT2004 mod?

Wesoly: Well, I was originally contacting them for assets for the UT2004 mod. The guy I contacted turns around and basically says he can’t give me permission for the UT2004 mod, but he can give me support and permission for a CryEngine TimeSplitters mod. I then asked about assets for that, and he said something like “one step at a time”—but the way he was sounding, it sounded very helpful. He was actually an AI coder for the TimeSplitters games himself, and seemed to have love for the franchise.

EGM: So you’ve been given the go-ahead by Crytek and permission to use original assets. What’s the next step?

Wesoly: Well I wouldn’t say official permission yet, as he said one step at a time—but I think it’s looking that way, fingers crossed. The next step would be assigning everyone their asset use and getting some basic things programmed in. We have been talking about doing a little tech demo just for testing purposes—one weapon, one character model, and one map, just to get a foundation.

EGM: You made the announcement yesterday, have you received a lot of offers for help from the community?

Wesoly: Tons! It’s really nice to see so many people still so enthusiastic about the game. But, the thing is, if we are going to receive assets from the original game, then that doesn’t leave many places for modelers, sound designers etc.—because we would already have a large chunk of it. So, right now, I am looking for riggers/animators, level designers to help place objects etc., and coders.

EGM: And just as a quick note for anyone who hasn’t seen the Facebook post, how can they contact you if they wish to help out with those jobs?

Wesoly: Well I did the most stupid thing and used one of my social emails thinking I’d only get a few offers; boy was I wrong. I have had to change the email to TimeSplittersCryEngineMod@gmail.com. But my Skype still stays the same: Cairn_Trenor.

EGM: You mentioned the plan is to create a tech demo with a couple of features. Is your hope to release it to the community to play around with as a test, or is it just a chance for you to see it in action?

Wesoly: The tech demo would just be between us—there would be really no point in releasing it because a lot of things are most likely going to be broken or half done. But, perhaps there will be a little demo version that we can give out to the community at some point through the development stages. We will have to see I guess.

EGM: And do you plan on keeping the community up to date with how things are going throughout development, such as screenshots, videos, news, etc?

Wesoly: Oh yes, definitely. We will probably be launching a forum and some kind of website for all of that stuff. I would want to start the forum sooner rather than later since it will be a great way to deal with everyone’s assignments.

EGM: Say that everything goes perfectly and falls into place—what would you love the mod to be like upon completion? What would be in it?

Wesoly: All characters, all maps, all weapons, and all of the music. Heck, I am going to go as far as to throw the story maps into arcade, such as Notre Dame and Chicago. After all, why not? I think some of the story maps will play brilliantly in arcade. Too many multiplayer maps try to be mirrored and not so dynamic, but I am going to try to change that.

EGM: Finally, is there anything else that you would like to say to the community about the mod or any final details you would like to share?

Wesoly: I guess that if this goes down well it could spark fire for a TimeSplitters 4, which I am sure would make many fans happy. But if a HD collection is what you are looking for, we have a petition that you can sign here. (If it gathers 300,000 signatures the Crytek has promised to listen).

Matthew Bennett, Associate Editor
Matthew Bennett finally got his big break with EGM three years ago, following years of volunteer work for various sites. An ability to go many hours without sleep and a quick wit make him ideal for his role as associate editor at EGMNOW.com. He often thinks back to the days when the very idea of this career seemed like nothing but an impossible dream. Follow him on Twitter @mattyjb89. Meet the rest of the crew.

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