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An interview with Two Guys Software, the producers of
ETERNAL WAR:
Shadows of Light
Interviewed by: Tim Emmerich, Shepherd's Staff
STAFF WRITER



What was the motivation for Eternal War?

Screenshot for 'Eternal War'"Eternal War" was created after a harsh confrontation with a publisher. Two Guys Software was faced with a choice of either closing the company or working on another project. We decided to stick to the battle and not give up. My fiancé and I thought up ideas about an angel who combatted and helped defeat demons and then I added in some elements of my personal background, “Eternal War” was born. Its purpose is to help people through problems regarding the darker issues in life without smacking them over the head with a Bible 500 times. Originally “Eternal War” had a story created by our assistant script and design writer Josh, but we had to cut the story due to lack of funds, time and staff. We're hoping on still using the story for possible future versions of "Eternal War".

Can you give a brief background on it? Setting, etc.? Maybe expand a bit more than you have on the web site.

"Eternal War" takes place in the suicidal mind of John Coronado, a desperate teen ready to take desperate measures to escape his "personal hell". Without opening up too much story, John screams out a cry to God as his last resort before slitting his throat. God answers by sending Mike an angel that speaks to John about his pain and struggles and helps John out. Mike also assists in cleaning out numerous demonic strongholds in John's life and talks about alternative paths to take instead of killing himself.

After the angel Mike "assists in cleaning out numerous demonic strongholds in John's life", what does he teach John in order to keep the demons from returning in greater numbers? Or is that the time period the game covers and thus will be reflected by the player's actions?

At the end of the game, Mike does talk to John about keeping his mind a strong spiritual fortress in order to keep things like this from happening again.

It looks like a first-person shooter. What do you consider to be the “standard” Christian FPS in the market today and how do you compare/differ?

You're correct, “Eternal War” is a first person shooter. We wanted to give players a fun, challenging, action packed experience, so we went with FPS. The only other current Christian FPS out on the market right now are “Catechumen”, "Ominous Horizons", “Saints of Virtue” and "War in Heaven". How does “Eternal War” compare to those games? I'll let players decide that answer for themselves, for everyone has their own views. How does “Eternal War” differ? We offer players multiplayer with two team-based co-op playing modes, a character with a personality who talks during the game, a dark story with a deep meaning, 17 enemies to combat, eight weapons, and we are also considering directing players in creating their own levels and modifications to "Eternal War".

Does it have multiplayer capability?

Yes! We have multi player with two playing modes. Players can either team up and play through levels (co-op mode) or try and stop massive floods of demons coming through mental openings by praying around the openings (utterly destroying and closing them). Both which can be frantic and fun to play.

If you can truly deliver multi-player, that will be the first Christian game on the market with it that I know of. Was multi-player planned from the started? How fun will it be compared to the single player version? Will it play well for dial-up people or will a broadband connection be required?

Screenshot for 'Eternal War'Multi player was planned from the start and if you like the intensive battles in single player, you'll love multi player. Players can team up together and battle against the computer in two different co-op modes. One co-op mode is the traditional one, where players engage in levels and combat demons, just like in single player. The other co-op mode, called “Flood” starts with demonic artifacts creating mental openings and floods of demons pouring out of the openings. The only way to destroy the artifacts (and thus close the openings) is to pray around them, this is where team play comes in. When one player is praying, the other should either pray with them (closing the opening faster) or protect them from demons attacking them, whose purpose is to try to stop the players from praying. Multi player over a network is speedy fast and rocks. You can also play online if you wish, but as the same thing with other games "the faster connection you have, the faster the game will be".

Since there can be multiple teams, will any team be allowed to play the evil side? I believe it was “War in Heaven” that received negative press by allowing that feature.

Players can only assume the roles of angels in single player and multi player.

How many different weapons? And did you give the player any ability if they are weaponless? Armor types?

Eight different effective weapons to use against your foes. Players who are weaponless, or run out of ammo can also pray, over a course of time, a radius field develops around the player which causes demons damage and protects the player. There are three armor types in "Eternal War"--light, medium and heavy. All of which offer different levels of protection.

What is your target audience? Sounds like it may be too extreme for younger players, is that true?

Our target audience is for the female/male, teen/adult casual and hardcore gamers. They'll be able to understand and relate to the story a lot better than younger children. Since “Eternal War” features no blood, gore, swearing or even slight sexual references, I think it would be alright for kids to play, as long as a parent is there to talk to them about the story. Which in turn, could help kids deal with the problems John is dealing with the in the future when they become older.

Which engine did you use?

We'll be holding that information until a later date.

Is the engine a custom-built one or one that you licensed?

We're holding engine information for a later date. However to feed any hungry gamers: we'll be releasing the source code for the “Eternal War” engine, so players can feel free to modify and edit it if they wish. We are still discussing the aspect of allowing players to create add-ons, levels, and such for "Eternal War".

I assume the radius field of protection (or prayer cover?) doesn't last for long in game time, is that true? So, a player without a weapon could not use their “fists” against an enemy (whether they have martial arts training or not)?

Screenshot for 'Eternal War'The prayer field lasts as long as the player is praying. However, they cannot run around the level emitting damage and protection, players have to be standing still in order to pray. This is a game play vs. realism question that was raised when we incorporated the concept of praying in "Eternal War". It wouldn't really be a lot of fun if you were running around all the levels partly invincible and emitting a damage field. Demons will try and break the player from praying by attacking them and trying to confuse them. If the player is out of manna and a demon is trying to trick the player from a distance, the player does have a starting melee weapon, they also have another melee weapon later on in the game to use.

Does “Eternal War” have “levels” in the traditional sense?

Yup.

How many levels will there be? Are they linear in structure or will some be bypassed by choices the player makes or their progress?

So far we have 16 maps, some are linear and others are not.

Since it is a battle within John's mind, what happens if you fail your battle? Does your avatar die and restarts weaker? Or once you lose, then it is over for John?

If the player fails then John doesn't right away kill himself. Since someone is there to help him, he'll hang onto that hope… for a little while.

Music and sound effects can add a lot to a gaming experience. What effort was expended for "Eternal War"? Any extraordinary plans, like digital 5.1 support or other?

"Eternal War" has a great sound score. Enemies talk to each other, make sounds when they walk, you can hear the environment all around you, either it be the hollow sound of wind, the eerie sound of water dripping, the ominous faintly sounds of voices all around you trying to convince you to give up.

No specific support for a 5 speaker system?

Unfortunately, “Eternal War” doesn't support any specific 3d audio/speaker setups.

What is the control scheme for the game--the traditional keyboard and mouse for FPS? Will you support any other gaming input devices?

We have the traditional keyboard and mouse setup as well as support for gamepads and joysticks.

What would you say in order to encourage a casual gamer to pick up “Eternal War” and give it a try?

"Eternal War" is a fun, intensive game that touches on subjects that most games don't bother to explore. Expandable difficulty and random class based monster placement makes the game easily playable again. Cool levels loaded with traps, puzzles, plus Multi player features…and it doesn't hurt your pocket.

What would you say in order to encourage a “hard-core” gamer to pick up “Eternal War” and give it a try?

f you need to blow some quick time (30 minutes), “Eternal War” is a fun way to blast through a couple of levels and feel like you've accomplished something. The story is realistic, adjustable difficulties that will keep you on your toes and your eyes open, levels loaded with traps that you'll never expect, co-op multi player with your buds, plus it is inexpensive.

You mentioned that "…Eternal War features no blood, gore…", how will you portray the potential suicide of John? Could that concept be too much for younger children?

Directors have used ways to portray various things without actually showing the deed done. Similarly, this is what we plan on doing.

What is your target price for "Eternal War"? Will it be available online only or in other stores?

"Eternal War" will be available online at our publisher's website as well as Two Guys Softwares website. In addition, “Eternal War” will be sold in stores. The set price is currently unavailable, since we are deciding on that price. However, we are aiming for something much lower than most newly released games on the market.

If available through a regular store, what kind of packaging will it have (full box or just a jewel case approach?). And a manual?

We are currently undecided if we are going to go for the full box or the jewel case approach. The manual will be on the CD for players to click through easily.

Are you self-publishing?

We'll be selling “Eternal War” on our website. However we are going to seek a publisher before we consider self-publishing "Eternal War".

Do you (or your publisher) have a satisfaction guarantee policy?

Players are strongly encouraged to write or e-mail us their comments about "Eternal War", which in turn will help us create better games. However, we are currently undecided on the aspect of having a satisfaction guarantee policy.

Any specific marketing plans? Any announcement of special events?

Screenshot for 'Eternal War'A lot of online advertising. We also plan on doing several previews/interviews with several Christian-based magazines. Hopefully, Two Guys Software will be attending the first annual Christian Game Developers Conference and having a few machines set up for players to play “Eternal War” on and talk to TGS members about “Eternal War” and future projects.

What were the most rewarding experiences for your team during development?

Bringing a concept that you made to life in the game is probably the most rewarding. Also, the expansion of knowledge, learning more about development, focus, team effort, etc.

What were the most challenging experiences for your team during development?

Stopping from putting so much fun stuff in the game and just working with what we want. Also, working with the technology and system requirements aspect of the game. We really wanted to go overboard on some stuff, but we also wanted the game available to as many Christian gamers as we could.

What three things will you do the same on your next project?

1) Fun, fast paced action. 2) A dark, brooding story with an underlying message. 3) Enemies that do multiple things

What three things will you do different on your next project?

1) More character interaction. 2) More levels. 3) Better technology


Thanks to Mack Ponech of Two Guys Software for the interview, conducted via E-mail.

Christian gamers everywhere will be eager to try "Eternal War"!

Year of Release—2002


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

Review supplied by Christian Spotlight's Guide to Games, a ministry of Films for Christ. Copyright © Films for Christ. Spotlight's URL: http://www.ChristianSpotlight.com E-mail us | Mailing address: PO Box 1167, Marysville WA 98270-1167, USA | “Christian Spotlight’s Guide to Games” and “Guide 2 Games” are operating names of Films for Christ.

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