25/01/2012

Return to the Roots: Talking with some Developers about the project


We sat down and chat with two members of the development team of Return to the Root, a remake project already spoken in this blog not so long ago.
In case you missed it, Return to the Roots is a remake of The Settlers 2. This project, based with members mainly from Germany  has been ongoing for almost five years and they have come far and beyond to show you what they added and changed in the game. The two interviews are made from the point of view of a Quality Assurance/Support and Graphic Editor/Map Making member , so lets see what they have to tell us.


 Hello and welcome, lets start by you telling us a bit more about yourself? 
<NastX> My name is Jonas and I'm a 21 year old German student in multimedia engineering and a part of the RTTR team.
<Spikeone> Yeah, My name is  Christopher but all people call me Spike as in game.  I am 21 years old and started last year studying civil engineering and I am one of the biggest settler 2 fans.

What is your position in the development team?
<NastX> Mostly support and quality assurance or let me call it bug testing, I wrote some lines but i am not one of the main Devs but i know the most parts of it (except for the graphics part).
<Spikeone> Well, to be serious I don't think that I am a "real" member of the team - the homepage tells me that I am a team member as operator but nobody ever told me, that I am a real Dev team member. But it doesn't matter, I report most of the bugs, keep forums alive with my answers and ideas, I made the graphics for the charcoal burner, I make maps, some other graphics for the game and at the moment I am working at the Babylonians - means my position is something around ... freak i dont know maybe you got a word for this.

What do you consider that were the strong point in settlers 2 to do this inofficial addon/modification?
<NastX>The possibility of networking and playing against real opponents over the network 
<Spikeone> Incompatibility of settlers 2 with windows 7, some windows XP versions, Linux and some mac versions I think. Also a multiplayer which is not hostseat and is able to use more than 2 player and of course over Internet. The other point is, that settlers 2 dng was a big disappointment and after S4 [Settlers 4] I think there was no other good part of the series.

So, what's your personal opinion on why the team chose Settlers 2 over the other games, such Settlers 3 or 4 or even 1?
<NastX> I like the charme, the clearness, the game concept, the follow-ups were just follow-ups and I never played settlers 1.
<Spikeone> Well if you would have joined us about 3 years ago you would have seen, that our homepage was something like www.siedler15.org - means, the dev team had first the idea to make this with settlers 1 after that I think they had the idea to use 3d graphics and now they make this for settlers 2 with original graphics - Why, I dont know, maybe because its the best part of the settlers series 

What will we see in the future of Return of the Roots?
<NastX> If we continue what we are doing, i see the next abandoned project. We need more publicity and some more people that so the coding. But if we are able to do more for this game, we will see a full implementation of the original with some additions to seafaring and many add-ons. We spoke about a scripting language for own add-ons and so on but we need more activity.
<Spikeone> Well, at the moment I think: nothing. We are missing a community, active fans and active players and of course some or at least one dev... its really sad.

Lets talk about the new races, are there plans for them?
<Spikeone> races? have I missed something? ;) I just know one new race, the Babylonians. I started making some graphics and then I made a border marker and at this time I played a lot of stronghold crusader and tried to make a tower like the game had but that tower looked crappy, and then NastX made the Ishtar gate as the fortress. I started making some small building looking like sandstone then nobody was interested and I only had disappointing opinions of the race. After some time Parasit made the medium buildings and after a while i made the form works and shadows. But at the moment again nobody plays or tests the race  so i dont have any reason to continue at the moment but an information for you: when i got vacations, i will work and maybe finish the buildings then the race can be implemented by Maqs or something else and then I can make the animation.




Any plans or thoughts for more races if the community starts picking up?
<Spikeone> Sure, I already had the idea of some nomads or Egyptians or Trojans or Greeks.

No amazons? 
<Spikeone> Well, as we got no girls and I have no idea how they should look :D but if someone has ideas, pics etc I would be happy ^

Any new buildings in mind? 
<Spikeone> I am also thinking of new buildings like a fish breeding and maybe a "butcher" for the fish or to produce buckets to produce water

What are the options the team is developing for the community to keep coming back to the game?
<NastX> We have a schedule for multiplayer games in our codebase, but nobody is able to integrate it in our page because the page owner is absent. We wanted to do some tournament with same small prices. And i forgot the ranking. The lobby and our page are able to show rankings.
<Spikeone> We will have network games, seafaring, add-ons, HD resolution, in-game trading, new buildings, and more maps

What kind of rewards are we expecting in the tournaments?
<NastX> Mhhhhh we thought of a small contribution from which we wanted to buy some small presents.

Small presents like, tokens or trophies?
<NastX> Yes.Tournament winners will be rewarded with such things.

How can someone apply to your development team? What are the qualifications for joining the team?
<NastX> the simplest way is fixing some bugs and send the patches to our bugtracker. Someone of us will look over them and integrate them if they work and wont produce more bugs. After some patches the person may gain access depending of the quality of the patches and if the patch is included the same day our build system will do the rest at the same day.

If things go accordingly when can someone expect a new game update?
<NastX> As fast as our developers are able to look over it and if the patch is included the same day our build system will do the rest at the same day.
<Spikeone> Well, a new game update, if you mean nightly, this could happen every time, but a stable will need time because we have no active developers. The only person we could expect something from is Maqs, he made some changes and changed path-finding but accidentally the debug slows the game as hell, therefore the latest rev is very slow... 

Anything you would like to add?
<Spikeone> I hope that the community grows and we find some new developers... at the moment I am really sad and afraid of an abandoned project...

If you want to know more about Return to the Roots check out their website HERE, and you can discuss the interview below on the comment section or on Twitter or Facebook
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