Jens: If you could talk us though the multi-player aspects and if this is an area that has received attention and improvement, especially co-op.
Mark: You can still arrange to host a server yourself and invite friends for multiplayer. It was spoiled a little since MS decided to turn off their host servers, but this hasn’t really effected much from OFF’s point of view as most guys arrange a time and place to fly together using TeamSpeak or other voice comms and fly co operative missions as a squadron. We haven’t changed too much in this area; I believe you can now fly campaign generated missions.
Jens: To me one of the many charms of OFF is that it feels like being in an interactive and very immersing time-bubble during the Great War, a bit like a very interesting history lesson. Was this a consideration at all, during the conversion? Making it a bit of history on the PC?
Mark: Absolutely. Everyone on the team wants to bring the history alive as much as possible — as much as sanity allows at least. We all want it to be as close a taste of “being there” as we can do. We hope now when you see an Ace and his craft painted (and so live or die) you will try to remember what you saw and try to find out more about him which squadron he is from. You could ‘cheat’ I guess; briefly switch on/off “labels” and it will give his name — of course just in case he’s too quick for you.
Jens: There’s also some lovely music for OFF Phase 3, an original score. I’m thinking that we hear some of it in the preview movies, is that correct? How did that come about and how / where was it recorded?
Mark: Matt Milne did those tracks exclusively for us, he is a young movie music composer and when I found his work I just had to contact him. I explained some of the epic scale of WWI and the wonder of state-of-the art aircraft at that time — heroes flying the then latest on the edge of technology and fighting to the death. Matt then went and wrote the music to match where in the world exactly I don’t know, but Matt has some high quality recording equipment and I think he has done a great job. If OFF becomes popular enough, I hope he’ll come back and do more or work on future versions or projects. The music is epic, and a fitting tribute.
Jens: What has been the most fun part in working on this conversion?
Mark: The 3 a.m. nights (!) and communicating with the guys on a daily basis, learning about a subject I love along the way sometimes in extreme detail.
Jens: What has been the most challenging part?
Mark: …eh the 3 a.m. nights and just coping with the tremendous amount of work that goes on in the background that no one sees. We are just hanging in there head down going for the light at the end of the tunnel, brains fried…
Jens: Phases 1 and 2 were available as downloads and you made it possible for users to donate towards the project. Phase 3 is payware and from the looks of the preview screens and movies, adopters will certainly get their monies worth. I find it very reasonable that you will be able to recoup some of the investments you have made in time and the cost incurred.
What is the price and where can we order?
Mark: The price is $50 USD plus shipping from our web site.
Jens: How is Phase 3 distributed? Is there a download option or a physical DVD only?
Mark: At launch, we offer it as a DVD direct. We are still discussing with distributors and weighing-up options regarding retail sales availability. It may be available as a download later but it is much larger than Phase 2. We are undecided regarding the download at this point and time. It is still possible but not the clear favorite at the moment. While it will fit a DVD, uncompressed the data is 15 GB!
Jens: Are there future plans relating to Over Flanders Fields, or is this the definitive release?
Mark: After release, we will gauge the response and decide what is next. There is a LOT we can do to take even Phase 3 onwards. We shall see.