About the Interviewee: Otto [AAA], the headman for Activisions own I'76 gang, is more than just a kick-ass driver, he was an
employee at Activision for almost 2 years, and had a direct influence
on Interstate 76. Testing, tweaking, and enjoying the game a long time before
any of us got our hands on it. In this interview he tells all; opinions on the structure of
the development of I'76 and how it went, playing systems, hacking, weapons configs,
and the westside.
Music Option "G-Thang":
Otto: Lemme get a soda.. but ya
SSS: So when did you first hear about the game, "Interstate 76"?
Otto: It was about 2 years ago, while working Tech support at Activision
SSS: What was it like working at Activision?
Otto: .. I was a blast to say the least..
Otto: ...er...it was. :)
Otto: To see a game go from it's alpha stages, into the final product, it was like watching a child grow up .
SSS: Did you see any special features that never made it into the box?
Otto: Tons, well, now we call them hacks, but I remember when deathmatching with 4 turrets was actually in the game. Other weapons like the Howitzer and the caltrops were there too, but never really worked, or were useless.
SSS: Weird. So was their discussion about letting, say, howitzers and caltrops STAY in the game, along with multiple turrets?
Otto: When I tested the game, removal of the multiple turrets was pretty much a unilateral opinion. They reduced the skillful driving we now have to driving in circles. It wasn't very rewarding to say the least. The latter two weapons were never completely implemented, so my guess is that they were removed due to time constraints.
SSS: Tell us about the super-westsiidddeeeee pistola... grin
Otto: Super-Westsiiiiiide pistola (Soop-er West-Sigh-d Piss-tol-ah ) : The rejoiceful cry one exclaims when defeating an vehicular vigilante with a .45 caliber pistol. ... this all started when I was playing Ií76, while listening to Westside Connection.. after a few .45 kills, the whole thing started to resemble a driveby shooting. .. I liked the phrase, so I started using it. :)
SSS: (Interviewer Laughs)
SSS: Do you miss the "other" handgun?
Otto: To tell you the truth, I never saw it. I was listed in the parts menu, but all the builds I played on never actually had the shotgun in it. (Mind you I came on the test team in the very late stages)
SSS: ...but you had said you were there for 2 years! How long was this game in development?
Otto: I think it was in it's infancy around the time Ghost Bear's Legacy came out, and definitely in production while Mercs was being made.. all the early stuff I learned about the game was from either discussion boards, or from the project's homepage..
Otto: I'd say about a year and a half
SSS: Were there any cars they didnít include for some reason or another? Or any special objects? (Besides the ones we have already mentioned.)
Otto: All the cars were there from there from the get go, though the names were different. For example, the Glenn Bushmaster was called just the "Goon Wagon". One of the more interesting weapons that never made it to the beta test was the "grenade launcher", another type of handheld weapon... image the fun we could have had with that.. 4 mortars and a grenade launcher.. mmmm... j/k :)
SSS: Great.. Picking grenades out of my skull.. heh. Well that's very INTeresting stuff. Tell us a little about Activision's own 'I'76 gang', which you lead.
Otto: Well, the whole gang thing started in a rivalry between production and the QA dept. We'd deathmatch those guys for bragging rights. After the game was released, they (the production team) went on a much needed vacation and we had to find others to prey on, so we formed the AAA after playing against Bob Bitchin' , who turned me on to the AVA system.. After a while, things at work got really busy and everyone in the gang lost interest in the online portion of the game.
Otto: So, I'm the proud leader of the one man gang
Otto: That's okay, I play like 10 men
SSS: Ah, like Hercules. Or is he supposed to have the 'strength of ten men'?
Otto: Well, I tell you want, Herc can't flip a u-ey like I can.. and he can't say "Westside".
Otto: er.. what
SSS: So what do you think of all the hacking business?
Otto: To each his own. They bought the game, that can break it if they want. I only have a problem with it if they interfere with my fun.
SSS: Amen. So you said you liked the rules set in place with AVA, why the switch to DMV, and are DMV rules fun to use also?
Otto: They're both fun. I can see the truth in both systems. One is geared towards methodical car construction, the other is geared to just going banzai. I think diversity spawns interest.
SSS: You bring up a good point there Otto. Do you have any idea of when the add on pack is REALLY going to com out?
Otto: Xmas, last I heard, after leaving Activision to go back to school, I kinda got out of the loop with their production schedule.
SSS: So, seeing how you were in QA, we should be blaming you for all these crashes we keep getting in multi-melee, right? (Interviewer lets out Hollow laugh)
Otto: Yes, and if you have a problem with that, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SSS: (Editor Laughs) Up yours! That's my e-mail address!
Otto: He's a smart one too :)
SSS: (Interviewer searches around Otto's living room for that grenade launcher he was talking about earlier....)
Otto: I'm saving it for the next LA Riot, you can't have it.
SSS: So how DID all those bugs get through QA?
Otto: well, there's absolutely no way to test every possible system configuration out there. Sometimes, things slip through. It happens.
Otto: And quit implying it's my fault. :)
SSS: You know you will be bombarded by lamers throwing tons of ClusterCheese upon you for poor quality after this interview goes up now don't you?
Otto: Fortunately for me, I've got extra large lapels. That should offer me some protection.
SSS: Maybe, but I don't think Toxy can be stopped so easily with his Orange Van.
SSS: Back to the game for a second...
Otto: Well, he hasn't faced the "death bus" :)
SSS: Did Activision realize that this little 'sub-culture' would spring up or were they suprised by the reaction?
Otto: They were pretty suprised by the whole thing, flattered actually. Chip James thought that the whole gang theme was pretty slick...
SSS: Who is Chip James?
Otto: Chip was one of the designers on Ií76, he's working on the expansion pack too. Pretty cool guy too.
SSS: So do you plan on going back to work at Activision soon?
Otto: Well, school's first, gotta get my papers (ya know).. Maybe in a few years..
Otto: It's too far away to commute to school and there.. ya know?
SSS: Ah. Well, while working there, I bet you learned ALL the inside tricks from the developers on which weapons to use and which to stay away from. Any suggestions?
Otto: Well, stay away from blox, they suck. :) I've always been a fan of Flame-throwers. Most cars I design have one on them for a little surprise factor
SSS: Which cars do you like, and why?
Otto: I like the AMZ, and Bushmaster. AMZ (as you can attest) is a very versatile design for it's weight class.. the Bushmaster.. well, it's got Postal paint, not much tops that. Aside from that, it's got a quick turning car, which makes for great drive-by's. If you're astute at driving in reverse, you can appreciate it's 3 forward hardpoints.
SSS: Ah... Nikki... my beloved 'Z... I remember the first day I cast my eyes upon you....(Interviewer catches himself fading into a nostalgic fit)
SSS: So did anyone on the development team realize what earth shuddering chaos Clusterbombs and the like would cause in multi player environments?
SSS: Basically, did mortars seem so deadly at the time...
Otto: Well, there are people who like taking the biggest weapon and blowing the hell out of each other.. So in order to appeal to a large number of gamers, they included a large variety of weapons.
SSS: And what the heck is with that esoteric POINTS system they coded into Multi-Melee??
Otto: I don't know.. pfft..
SSS: Is their any Ďpointí to it? (Interviewer laughs to himself, believing his small pun funny)
Otto: Everyone goes by frags these days anyways..
SSS: What does 'pfft' mean?
Otto: I'm spelling out a sound
SSS: Is that supposed to be a fart?
SSS: Are you farting during the interview?
SSS: (Interviewer moves his seat back a few meters)
Otto: I'm sorry, I didn't know it was your turn baby (Austin Powers)
SSS: (Interviewer looks around for that grenade launcher again...)
SSS: So when the development teams played, you went by points usually?
Otto: Ya.. since we were making sure it actually tallied everything correctly.
SSS: How strange, because almost NO ONE uses it over the internet...
Otto: Yeah, but that's because everyone uses at least SOME kind of system for playing, which eliminates the need for score.
SSS: What did they [Activision] think of the AVA idea presented by Chase Dahl?
Otto: They like the ideas of the price system. I remember hearing that there was ORIGINALLY a price system implemented in the game, where you get a set amount of cash to make a car with.. But I don't know what happened with that. They might be going that route with the expansion pack.. Lets hope so.
SSS: And what do you think about the whole AMV-DMV thing not getting along, etc..
SSS: er, AVA. =)
Otto: I think we should all set aside our differences, and join hands across the Southwest
SSS: How nice.
SSS: We can get rid of the weapons, too.
Otto: ...and have a concert, call it 'Fro AID
SSS: Wow, Otto: Ex-Activision Employee, .45 assassin, peacemaker. Quite a range!
Otto: seriously though, people can disagree on things, and I respect their opinions, and I'm glad it hasn't generated into mailbombing and sabotage.. at least we're all mature about it.
SSS: Do you cook?
Otto: Yes, but you don't want any of my foodstuffs...I order out alot.
Otto: Yes, I'm quite a Renaissance man.
SSS: Oh, damn.
SSS: You're not female.
SSS: Next version, tell the developers to put a white VW Rabbit in the game, maybe that will attract more skirts.
SSS: I know it would be fun blowing up...
Otto: No kidding. I want a motorcycle with sidecar.
SSS: Well, what I really want is the Z car, but this interview is about you, not me, so let us continue to groove and move.
Otto: Everyone wants that Z car...it's amazing.
Otto: Groove on brother Beavis.
SSS: So the AAA is just you now, there couldnít be a better time and place to look for new members than now..
Otto: I've gotten used to it. Anyways, I don't have the time to run a gang as it is. I'm already a big flake as it is.. :)
SSS: And what do you think about programs such as 'Hack-76" which let any old bum become a hacker d00d.
Otto: I tHiNk tHaT iT'z k-RaD d00d!
Otto: I think they're wonders of programming and reverse engineering, but please don't use them in my games.
SSS: W3lL h3Y thnX 4 the t1\/\3 U sp3Nt beeng InT34vewed, 0tt0.
SSS: Th4t'S 411 th3 T1/\/\3 w3 hAv3 4 2-d4Y.
SSS: hey one thing is that the French sign for francs?
SSS: the "£"?
Otto: I think itís a pound.
SSS: Ah o.k... a pound.. British money.
SSS: And on that informal note.. hey thats yen..!
SSS: What keys are you using for that? the alt 123 combos?
SSS: When i was a WaR3Z d00d we didnt use the alt keys much..
Otto: We used Telix macros and "The Draw" :)
SSS: Oh yeah man.. 'TheDraw'
SSS: I'm done with that.. I used to do ANSI.
Otto: Man, I'm old school.
SSS: I spent a whole day drawing a picture out of 16 different colored blocks.
Otto: Yep.. :) Dig that animated space shuttle!
SSS: Haha, oh in the intro? Man that was OD stuff.. 4 Lam3rz!!!
SSS: er, PD [ed note: Public Domain]
SSS: I did the cool ANSi comic stuff..
SSS: A guy in my area code was real good...what was his name 'Jazz' or something...
SSS: Itís been a long time since the ANSi was cool.
Otto: ...not the kinda stuff you'd find on elite boards.
Otto: Ya, I heard of that guy I think.
SSS: He was really good.
Otto: Was he in ACiD?
SSS: Yeah and UNiON for a bit before that...
Otto: Okay I know this guy.
SSS: ...but UNiON wasn't a nice bunch so he split...
Otto: Heh.. man.. what a brain fart.
SSS: Remember calling all these lame numbers and getting busy signals?
Otto: WWIV, PC-Board, .. man.. those were the days before Internet
SSS: Setting your modem to auto dial for like 3 hours because some twerp saved up time and was downloading every damn LucasArts game off the war3z board at once...haha!
Otto: Yeah, like Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe or Kings Quest 4.
SSS: Hahah yeah.. and you had to apply, and now all this lame shit.. what is ICE, ACiD, what is a LAN, etc...
Otto: Yeah, then the 2 line boards with 0-day wArEz and 300mb hard drives.. wow.. those driver were huge!
SSS: Oh man, Luftwaffe r0cked!
SSS: And donít forget the disclaimer page...
Otto: I still got it on a zip disk , right there with Monkey2 and Warlords :)
SSS: "If U R an FBI Agent please leave now!"
SSS: Yeah i had a WWiV board, and a Renegade one..
Otto: Then you upload for credits...
Otto: ...and everyone wanted to be a courirer.
SSS: Almost set up an Oblivion board beofre I realized that the whole thing was dead...
Otto: ...just to leech.
SSS: Haha yep...but it was cool.
Otto: Remember Leech Zmodem?
SSS: I lived next to some guy who was on some huge board in New York...all 0day, 8 lines..
SSS: His name was 'Arab Killer".
SSS: He was 3l33t3.
SSS: I can't believe I am missing those days.
SSS: It's too late, thatís it.
Otto: Otto needs his sleepy.
SSS: Well, great talking with you Otto. You've been a real wealth of info for the rest of the I'76 enthusiasts.
SSS: See you on the westside...
Otto: Yeah man, thanks for having me.. been a blast.