3D Festival: What was one of the most challenging aspects you came across in the creation of Gothic II?
Kai Rosenkranz: That’s a is a tricky question. Everything was challenging somehow or other, but I’ll emphasize the AI. We had very high demands on the NPCs’ reactions and lifelike behaviour, so we came up with a radically changed AI design. Making the inhabitants of our world come to live was a heavy task.
3D Festival: Was mocap data used in the process of the sequel? If so where was it used?
Kai Rosenkranz: Most of the animations are hand-made, but we sporadically used mocap data for some special cases. We went into a mocap studio to record some fight moves. The sword fights were performed by professionals, and for a fan of the medieval scenario it was fun watching them. But as far as I know, the recorded data wasn’t usable straightaway. I remember one of the animators criticizing the poor quality, and it took some time to put the finishing touches to the animations.
Click above to see how Digital Fusion was used to help create Gothic II special f/x
3D Festival: What hardware and software were used in the development of Gothic II?
Kai Rosenkranz: Of course I don't know every single tool, but here's what I've caught so far: The game is programmed in Visual C++ 6.0, we use 3D Studio MAX 4 (plus Character Studio) for modelling and animation. 2D graphics like textures and artworks are mainly created in Adobe Photoshop 6.0. The texturing and lighting as well as the adding of objects, items and NPCs are done in our own tool, lovingly called "Spacer", chiefly because it leaves lots of space for improvement.
Digital Fusion and Adobe Premiere are used for the creation of cinematics, and the music is done in Microsoft's DirectMusic Producer. Some of our own development tools are used for tasks in the field of localisation, data management and story editing.
Concerning the hardware, I can hardly give you a specific answer, as we use a very wide range of different hardware. We don't have SGI machines, so we're exclusively developing on PCs, many of them above the 1GHz limit.
3D Festival: Your cinematic department made a solid run in Gothic, will there be a stronger emphasis on the cinematics in Gothic II?
Kai Rosenkranz: Yes, absolutely. Our one-man cinematic department consists of 3D artist and video editor André. He can surely not keep abreast of the hordes of artists working together on hollywood-type cinematics like those in WarCraft III, but he does an excellent job. He single-handedly produces, directs, creates, renders and edits the sequences on his pc, which is a remarkable effort.
The large part of the story is told through the dialogues within the game, but there are numerous cinematics presenting the important events.
3D Festival: Another memorable feature in the original Gothic was the music, can we expect another impressive score?
Kai Rosenkranz: Well, I hope so. The game audio is my area of responsibility, and I’m working on the music right now. Once again, I use the dynamic music system that worked well in Gothic I, but I threw the old digital orchestra overboard and created a new one. It sounds more authentic, so I’m confident that the music will contribute to the game’s atmosphere. As the number of different locations rose considerably, the amount of varied music grew large. Therefore I grapple with performance problems, but I’ll have that fixed again
Note: Above link is a 927kb AVI in DivX format.