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Shadows of Winter Interview
With Damian Deile

Myrthos, 2002-04-16

Shadows of Winter is a mod for Dungeon Siege in development by a small group of developers who are creating it in their own spare time.
We thought this was a nice moment in time to ask them a few questions to find out what kind of extra gameplay we can get after we finished playing Dungeon Siege itself.

RPGDot: What is your name and what are you doing exactly at Electrofiction?

Damian: My name is Damian Deile. I'm the Lead Producer for Shadows of Winter, an RPG using the Dungeon Siege Engine.

RPGDot: What can you tell us about Electrofiction? Why was it started and how many people are part of it?

Damian: Electrofiction is a small game developement studio. It was started back in November 2001. Electrofiction was started to create imersive story oriented role playing games. The Shadows of Winter project is a part time, volunteer project. There are currently eight members on the team.

RPGDot: Can you give us some of the background story of Shadows of Winter, does it have anything to do with the original? or is it a story on itself?

Damian: Shadows of Winter is an original story set in an original world.
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The story takes place in the Kingdom of Elurn. There is a civil war going on and many citizens of the kingdom are fleeing north to escape the violence. The northern province of the Kingdom is thought to be a refuge of safety. But an anceint race of immortal beings has been awakend by the carnage that is taking place in the world. The North will be a focal point for deciding the destiny of the world, and all of existence.

In Shadows of Winter you'll be taking the role of the son or daughter of the Baron of Ilgarin. The forces of Duke Ghen, leader of the armies that have rallied against the King of Elurn, are closing in on your home. Your Father sends you into the North to deliver a message to Baron Kael Baendrag, one of the last remaining nobles that are loyal to the King. From there you'll get drawn into events that will shape the future.

RPGDot: How and when did the idea of Shadows of Winter arise?

Damian: The idea came to life after reading about all the new RPG's that would be released with Dev tools. I, like the other members of the dev team, have always wanted to create my own RPG. We wanted to create an epic storyline that could take advantage of the Dungeon Siege engine. We felt that the winter setting would provide the proper atmosphere for the games story arc.

RPGDot: Why are you designing a mod using the Dungeon Siege engine and not another one?

Damian: The decision to use Dungeon Siege's engine was really an easy one to make. Every aspect of the existing game can be changed, and new art, animations and models can be easily brought in. The Seige Engine is extreamely flexabile. Other games coming out that are releasing their dev tools, such as Never Winter Nights and Morrowind, are not as flexible as Dungeon Siege.

RPGDot: Are there limitations in the engine and editors that restrain you in any way and hold you back in reaching your goals?

Damian: None that would limit our overall design plans. Its pretty amazing just how editable the games engine is.

RPGDot: Will Shadows of Winter add something to Dungeon Siege that is not there yet?

Damian: Yes. The biggest change will be a more involved story. I guess Dungeon Siege could be considered "Story Lite", we're going to change that.
The player can look forward to more focused combat. Creatures won't just be wandering about the countryside. They'll be there for a reason, and it will all play into the storyline.

RPGDot: Will Shadows of Winter change the style of playing in Dungeon Siege or can we play it in a similar fashion? And is there a packmule?

Damian: Shadows of Winter will basicaly play the same as its parent game. We will be adding new spells and other additions to assure that the gameplay is fresh though.

No, there won't be a packmule. We've discussed the idea of pack goats :), but at least half of the game will take place outside the civilized areas of mankind, there really are not going to be too many places to sell loot. Gathering up riches is not really the focus of SOW. Magic items are going to be rare in this world, so when you come across one, it will be nice, and your going to want to keep it.

RPGDot: Are you creating new monsters and NPC's?

Damian: Yes, we are creating new creatures for inclusion in the game. Below is a concept example for a Grelik. It is not complete and has not been skinned. Greliks are small, forest dwelling creatures. They have limited intelegence and are usually cowardly beings. Something has stirred them up though, and they've been attacking farmers.
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RPGDot: How about new items. How many of those can we look forward to?

Damian: We'll have new weapon and armor models as well as new world objects. We have not decided how many we will include. We are going for a Celtic/German look to the world and weapons and armor will reflect those regions on mideveil europe.

RPGDot: Is there going to be some sort of extraordinary terrain, something not yet available in the original game?

Damian: We are going to be adding more "real world" elements into the environments. More wild fauna will be wandering about the terrain, ect.
The envrionments of SOW would best be matched by the Alpines in Central Europe. One of the great terrain features will be the Falls of Cirus and the Endless Stair. The Falls of Cirus are huge waterfall the cascadeds down the moutains. The Endless Stair winds its way along side the Falls from the lowlands to the higher elevations deep in the heart of the north area of the world.

RPGDot: What is your favorite aspect of Shadows of Winter?

Damian: One of my favorite aspect of this project is working with the talented indiviuals who make up the Electrofiction team. We are all really looking forward to implementing our ideas.
Without giving away to much of the story, the main quest the the player will go on, while sharing many elements that make any fantsy world or story great, is unlike any in the RPG genre. The player will take part is saving not only the Kingdom of Elurn and all of existence, but they'll also have a part in the creation of a new religion.

RPGDot: And what is your least favorite aspect?

Damian: Waiting for the dev tools to be released.

RPGDot: How many hours of play can we look forward to?

Damian: We're not exactly sure how many hours of gameplay will be available. Most likely in the area of 30 hours.

RPGDot: How will Shadows of Winter be made available to the public?
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Damian: Shadows of Winter will be available in a free download.

RPGDot: What is the development phase you are in now?

Damian: We are currently in the design phase. The story elements are being finalized and concept art for locations and creatures, as well as music are currently being worked on.

RPGDot: When do you think the game will be released?

Damian: The game should be released in late 2002 or early 2003.

RPGDot: A lot of games are cancelled and companies go out of business. What makes you sure Electrofiction will not?

Damian: I suppose that there is no guarantee of anything. But seeing that we are funding this project ourselves and that it is a labor of love, I'm sure that it will see the light of day.

RPGDot: Thanks for the interview do you have anything else you would like to add?

Damian: Yeah, thanks for the oppurtunity to tell everyone a little about our project. Be sure to check out our site, and stop by the forums if anyone has any questions.

We've recently moved the project form electrofiction.com to PlanetDungeonSiege. The new url for Shadows of Winter is www.planetdungeonsiege.com/shadowsofwinter.

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