One of the earliest and quite likely most notorious indie wrestling game developers is Mat Dickie. His prolific output of PC wrestling games may have recently paused, but the mod community has picked up where Mat left off. They have been aggressively updating various aspects of Mat’s most popular games with free mods for the community.
We have an interview with Liam Crowter (High Flying Dwarf on the forums) who manages the latest ambitious mod project, The Wrestling Channel 5 (TWC5). Liam shares with us the plans for modding Mat’s games and hints what the community may have in store once they’re done modding and ready to develop from scratch.
Q:Can you tell us a brief history of your project and why you felt compelled to undertake such an impressive task?
A: We began on TWC5 in 2010 as the continuation of the TWC series, which is a real world modding series for the Wrestling Mpire series of games made by Mat Dickie. The main spark for the development of TWC5 was the release of the Wrestling Mpire 2008 source code and this was really what we were dreaming for, as prior to the release we had been limited to doing texture mods and 3D mods of arenas and weapons.
Having the source code meant that we could start adding our own stuff into the game and even make a new game entirely, which is what we’re aiming to do. What we’re doing is basically merging the two properties, TWC and Wrestling Mpire, in order to create Wrestling Mpire 2012 with TWC5. A lot of credit must go to Mat in this as he has been incredibly supportive throughout the process, just as we have been to him in supporting his games for over five years.
Q: Can you share with us specifics? What new features, game mechanics, or art content can gamers expect?
A; We’re working off the base MDickie engine and we’ve got loads of ideas for things we can implement, the standard TWC changes will be there, it’ll be a real world mod with new arenas, wrestler textures and the like but we’ll also be implementing a few changes to the engine. We’ve upgraded the graphics engine to DirectX 9, and while this doesn’t sound like a great accomplishment, it allows us to be more daring than with the WM08 DirectX 7 engine.
We have a few things completed already, such as adding charisma rating to each character which will affect your popularity in certain ways. You’ll also be able to create custom entrance trons, choose your own interference, and experience written storylines by our very own script writer. We’re also hoping to utilize an achievements and nicknames system which will mean we can reward players who stick around for the long haul.
We’ve made it easier for the players who have long term games going as well by implementing a wrestler generation system, which will generate random characters when others retire or leave the game for any other reason. This is in order to keep the game fresh for anybody playing and prevent you wrestling the same old faces.
As for art design, we’re going with the realistic look for things, which is the same style as we’ve had before with TWC. A few fans dislike the realistic look and prefer the MDickie cartoon styling, but they’re catered for with our sister project in Wrestling Mpire HD – made by a former admin on the Mall called Simon Sayers. It is very nearly completed. While that isn’t as comprehensive a mod as TWC, it’s still a great project.
Q Sounds very ambitious and extensive. Can you hazard a guess at what percentage complete you are at this point, and when it might see a release?
A: The game should be released at some point next year. We’re making good progress at the moment, and a lot of wrestlers are done already. There are still many more to go, but we’re about 20%-30% complete. We’re always on the lookout for talented texturers, 3d modelers and programmers to assist with the project. Just head to the Mpiremall.net if you can help us.
We also have an Unreal Engine version of the game engine in the works, this however is very early stages and I can’t really comment on what that version of the game might entail, but the possibilities are exciting.
Q: How would you describe the appeal of your project to the mainstream wrestling gamer? Why should the average WWE gamer care about your project and what kind of surprises should they expect?
A: I think the mainstream WWE gamer has to expect a significantly different experience. We pride ourselves on the high levels of customization available as opposed to a super fluid gameplay experience, but we like to think that the changes we make can have an impact on creating the latter. Mat’s games are pretty much the only real option that a PC gamer has with regards to wrestling games on a native PC platform, apart from WWE Raw and of course PWX when it is released.
Looking at what a typical SvR gamer might expect I think they will be rather surprised by the way that Mat’s games are structured, it’s very much an open sandbox. Career mode plays out very much like an RPG as opposed to what people might expect, but the wrestling experience that the whole game stands on is reminiscent of a 3d version of Fire Pro Wrestling in my eyes.
One of the things we really want to push though in particular is that Wrestling Mpire is really good for doing CAW feds. I know a significant portion of the SvR community comprises of efeds, and the Mall is pretty much the hub of efedding activity in terms of Mat’s games. I know that I personally would like to see that community grow with the release of WM11.
Q: Assuming your experience with this project has been a positive one, have you given any thought to what you might attempt in the future either on your own or with the existing community?
A: The game and any work that’s done pretty much belongs to the community, although it’s my belief that our work will eventually separate itself from Mat’s work eventually. As long as we get a few more people on board then anything is possible.
Q: Thank you for your time and for answering our questions. Best of luck with all of your future efforts and thanks again for giving wrestling gamers something new to play. Any final words for our readers?
A: Be sure to check us out at the MpireMall.net if you’re interested in our projects, we’re always looking for people to help us out with texture modding, 3d modelling and programming. We’re looking forward to seeing PWX when it arrives and we wish everybody at Wrestling Gamers United the very best! 🙂