With Cold War (Mindware Studio's inaugural title) having gone gold late last month for Linux, we took the time to get a few questions answered by Mindware Studios. In this interview, Patrik Rak of Mindware answered some of our questions about their Meng engine as well as a few pieces of information from what we can expect to see in the future. We also learned some more information on their Linux and Macintosh client intentions for future titles. The same set of questions were posed to Tomas Pluharik (lead designer of Cold War and executive producer on some upcoming Mindware titles) over at the Phoronix Forums.
Phoronix: Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions. First off, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your position at Mindware Studios?
Patrik Rak: The position is called Chief Programmer, which basically means that apart from my regular programming tasks I also have to manage a bunch of fellow programmers and make sure that all work is done in time (and estimate and resolve delays when it's not). Regarding Cold War, I am credited as Lead Programmer, as I am responsible for most of the architecture design and programming of the core parts of our Meng engine.
Phoronix: Since many in the gaming community haven't heard much of Mindware Studios, are you able to tell us some more about the company itself? Such as the number of employees and what is the mission statement/goals of this company.
P.R.: Well, our CEO would be the best person to answer a question like this, but as everyone is now busy readying our new projects for the Leipzig Games Convention, I'll give it a shot.
Mindware Studios was founded in the summer of 2001, bringing in a group of talented people who tackled the game development more or less ever since the personal computers appeared. The goal at that time was to develop a FPS based MMO game, but several month later we have concluded that the MMO market became so crowded that all but the best backed up of these project are necessarily going to bite the dust. So we quickly steered to more conventional waters of the third-person single player world, before any serious harm was done.
Today, Mindware consists of about two dozens of regular employees, and quite a few of other people who we subcontract as needed. The primary goal remains the same - to make quality games with just the right amount of innovative spicing.
Phoronix: With Cold War being your inaugural project, what had inspired Mindware Studios to create a game based upon this real-life situation with the Cold War and U.S.S.R.?
P.R.: After putting the Mindhack MMOFPS on hold, we had a short time span to find a new project as a replacement. We discussed several possibilities, but in the end the stealth game situated in the Russia of the 80's have won. It had strong appeal to the American audience, which was the most important target market intended and which still sort of envisions the Russia as a kind of an evil empire. Another advantage was that we had the first hand experience living under the communist rule, an asset a foreign developer could hardly gain. And last but not least, we had a multitude of architectural creations from that period at our disposal we could easily base our levels on.
Of course, there were a few disadvantages as well. Modelling something after a real-life event puts strong limits on what you can and can't use in the game. But we wanted to make the game more entertaining rather than realistic, so we decided not to take these limits too seriously. Gadgets like the infamous X-Ray camera could hardly ever get in otherwise.