IamA (Original Lead Designer: Medal of Honor) Chris Cross AMA!
Hello! I'm Chris Cross OG Lead Designer on the Medal of Honor games. https://twitter.com/CoffeeWithCross/status/1048216518503227392
Ask me Anything. Particularly about game design, monetization, free to play, box product, publishing, indie dev and my new endeavor Pockeful of Quarters https://republic.co/quarters
Hey! I don't see this in the thread. Gameing in 5 years is an interesting question. We due for a revolution and I can only guess what that is. In the meantime the industry will continue to incrementally evolve.
- Consoles will have better hardware and game design will advance focused on narrative and of course better graphics.
- VR/AR is very interesting but people still don't want to put a toaster on their face.
The big innovation right now is decentralizing the way people pay for and get their games. This is why I'm involved in Pocketful of Quarters. There will always be the CoD, AC, Madden tentpole franchises but the real growth is going to come from cross pllatform play (like Fortnight). Having a game currency that spans all platforms will be critical for smaller devs to compete.
VR/AR is very interesting but people still don't want to put a toaster on their face.
Not to mention some of these toasters are still kinda expensive. Not sure if even in 5 years if they could become cheap enough to be seen as a cheap add on or still something that you either can or cannot afford.
Yep agree. Mostly I think the physical format will have to be inexpensive light (not heavy) glasses that can run all day and support both AR/VR. (Ready Player One - ish but less 1980's Oakley sunglasses)
Check out Oculus Quest. Comes out next spring, totally wireless, 6DOF tracking + hand controllers, ports of popular Rift games and will cost $399– no pc, phone, or console required.
I will. Saw the news. Holding out hope that it's awesome. The touch controllers are the best inputs I've played with in a long time.
Do you wish MOH caught traction like call of duty? Or are you glad you had your chance to work on smaller projects.
I loved Medal of Honor games, many hours of gaming with my dad. Thank you.
In my view MOH lost traction to COD. Many of the original MOH teams moved over to COD in the early days. Infinity Ward and Spark Unlimited were almost all ex-MOH employees at the time. To answer your question I'm glad we didn't move to a yearly schedule crush. The heart of MOH was starting to get thin in the later years. Losing a lot of the original team took away a lot of the feel of the game in each new iteration. So I'm happy it had it's run and happy to have moved on to new/other things. I do wish I could have made some spin offs like a squad tactics game and I have a back burner "end of the series" pitch for a VR MOH game set in Iwo Jima that I'd love to make. One day I'll make it but it won't be a sanctioned MOH product.
Would you use movies like Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima as a reference when making that game? My grandpa fought in Iwo Jima and I would love to be in a video game version of what he did and saw. Good luck on pitching the idea.
We used movies for reference and feel but we did most of our research through books, interviews with vets and historians and actually visiting as many of the battle locations as possible. I read a LOT of WWII books at that time. Highly recommend "Strong Men Armed" for Pacific Theater reading.
Do you like to Jump Jump? Also, who is the Daddy Mack and why will he make me jump jump?
Jump Jump = Yes
Daddy Mack = Me (obviously and yes will make you Jump Jump)
Thanks for this. Made my day.
Hey! You're welcome.
Oh my god! I just saw this Chris I’m such a huge fan of you’re work. I’ve always believed that you were the main lead behind the production of the Multiplayer For Rising Sun. I’ve envyed you’re work so much I remade the whole online portion. Can you talk about the process that went behind idea to implement online multiplayer in Rising Sun? Your work is the reason I self taught myself game development. I remade the whole MP on Rising Sun not to long ago with another old MOHRS player.
Here’s the remake of Shima Field we did. https://youtu.be/sUfIkqFsEQc
I could ask you a million questions about rising sun. But I just wanted to say thank you for inspiring me everyday.
WOW! You're welcome. MP in Rising Sun was a whole team effort, so credit tot he whole team here. So rad that you made Sima Field! What engine is that a Quake variant? I used to love throwing grenades from the announcer's box. Let me know if you're ever interested in making more of the MP levels and I'll get involved in some way.
Thank you for your reply I’m so honored. it’s part of a two man team project myself and Krypton1te did. We loved the game and the community the online MP created. It was small but passionate. I have videos of Calumpit Chaos and Death In The orient as well.
The mod is for Day of Infamy on PC. If you’re ever interested in playing it let me know the servers files need some updating but should work overall.
After Rising Sun shutdown online we tried for years to find new games nothing offered us a similar experience so taught ourselves Source engine. We moved to UE4 a lot later but picked the project back up when DOI came out giving us a chance to revisit the source maps we made. We did 6 from Rising Sun in This project and then converted 6 of the base game maps into more MOH arena style. I’d love to do more I’ve recently been brainstorming doing some remakes in UE4 with modern PBR elements and stuff but haven’t gotten very far the maps are my biggest inspiration.
Ok since I’m not sure I’ll have the opportunity again to pick your brain I’ve got a few Rising Sun questions that if you get a chance to answer id love to here a response but don’t feel obligated to answer them all.
Was the Welrod OSK a mistake or Balancing choice. Since it fires 8 rounds of 9mm normally.
Why was the choice made to remove the lmg nests in the online portion of multiplayer? It was such a small move that saved that game and made it such a great competitive game.
Since LAN is broken forever and online services have obviously stopped do you know anyway to bypass the server region list it would allow lan matches and let us play the game online again via xlink.
What’s your favorite MP map from RS?
Can you lead me to any portfolios or other past works on the level designers from Rising Sun? I’ve viewed those maps as the most incredibly designed maps ever. I’d love to see what else the level design team worked on after.
How much was quake a inspiration for MOH as a whole?
- I believe a tuning mistake left over fromt he Silenced Highpower .22
- Part technical and mostly balance reasons.
- Not offhand. That code is lost to the EA vaults. Totally willing to pitch in on an MP mod one day if you start that up again.
- I loved the one set in Singapore (I'm a grenade thrower.) I loved lobbing grenades over buildings and bankshots to get kills. It was unfair since I knew the level so well I could put a grenade almost anywhere in the level from anywhere else.
- I would have to ask some of my designer friends if they salvaged anything. My best resource these days are the Prima Guides.
- We played Quake 2 daily. Rocket Arena was our favorite mod and I made a whole folder full of skins for it. It was also our inspiration of what NOT to do since gameplay was too fast for console controls. Compare and contrast with that game was constant.
Wow incredible that the Welrod was a mistake. It turned into quake instagib but so much slower and tactical it led to a really great competitive game mode that required a lot of skill and precision.
The grenade lanes were so prevalent and so many high skill grenades won us clan battles on ps2nations competitive ladder I loved those nades.
I’ve talked to Ed who codeveloped the rising sun mod with me and he’s busy working on another project at the moment but ultimately our goal after the server went down was one day we’re gonna play our favorite game of all time together again. We ended up doing 6 of the 9 mp maps Idol assault was giving us some difficulties in Source but it’s started Solomon Showdown and Maurders at Midnight weren’t made they seemed like they would be visually hard to pull off with modern visual elements. Ultimately it’s been like a life goal of ours to have all those maps remade by us. I know I’d be willing to finish the project if you want to help out in any capacity we’d feel honored(unintentional pun) I can shoot you a discord friend request or steam or whatever. I’ll pm you my contact details. I can also get our server up and running Ed and I would love to get a game going with you and let you check out the project as it stands if you’re available at all. I’ll have it up and running again by this weekend.
Sent you an email.
I saw you have been mentioning Pocketful of Quarters on your Twitter. From what I read they're working on a gaming currency that is interchangable across a large variety of games? Do you think Medal of Honor would have been open to something like this if it had been offered at that time?"
Not sure. Games in those days weren't designed for digital monetization. They were all boxed products with a flat price for the disk. Had it been available, EA would have had to approve it My guess is it would have been an unlikely fit at that time. If there were a reboot (again) of Medal of Honor I'm sure they would consider a digital currency like this. Just look at the atrocity that is PvZ 2.
That actually sounds pretty awesome. I'd be much more likely to try a game out if I knew I didn't have to start as a total noob and grind for weeks just to find out what the actual gameplay is like.
I have to agree that I miss the days of box product a little bit. They had definite beginnings and endings and from an artist standpoint could conver an overaching theme very cleanly and clearly.
Any plans on a new album? Also, do you ever get tired of all the lame music jokes that you must get every day?
Ha! No new albums, yet. And no the music jokes are a great ice breaker. Also, they let me know how old a person is. Christopher Cross = my age or older - Kriss Kross = my age or younger. No Idea what we're talking about = 20 years older than me or 20 years younger.
Saaaaiilllin' takes me away
If you had the opportunity would you consider remaking Medal of Honor Frontline? It’s my favourite WW2 fps of all time and I’d love for more people to experience it!
I would love to do an HD version of that game. I would include uprezzed versions of the levels AND new geometry redesigns to fit a more modern design with the same mission objectives. Other improvements like AI, full Multiplayer and new weapon systems would be rad as well.
I'm not even sure where the source for that is. Probably on a tape drive in the bahamas.
I just want to say, even without modern gameplay stuff like ironsights, it is one my favorite games of all time. I have a lot of fond memories, and it was some of my first introduction into WWII. I replayed the Market Garden and Arnham Knights over and over trying to save my buddies.
Awesome! The Arnhem levels were my personal favorites as well. I build the final level of that mission in a 6' x 6' sandbox table that was in my office at the time. (I had a big office that I shared.) Wish I could find some digital pics that I used to show the camera angles we wanted the Player to see. They were rad.
I'd like to pick your brain a bit. I recently finished a playthru of the PS3 remaster version of Frontline, and set out to get the Platinum trophy for it. I accomplished that but beating the game on Hard and getting gold medals was insanely tough!
With your experience in level/game design today, how would you revamp a level like Enemy Mine? It is the only level in the game that is purely on-rails, and as such, the key to either surviving (on Hard) or getting a Gold medal is almost purely based on knowing every enemy spawn location like the back of your hand, as well as a healthy dose of luck. This level doesn't hold up well because there aren't any options to fine-tune the analog stick aiming controls, and sometimes the hit detection is wonky and shots don't register. The remaster makes this level even worse than normal because of the new dynamic lighting in place, which enshrouds most areas in dark shadows which makes the enemies way harder to see. It would be interesting to see how this would all be handled if the you and/or the team could have another crack at it.
Also the enemies in the later levels who have the Gewher semi-auto rifles are evil demons on Hard difficulty! They can absolutely destroy your life bar in a second flat and the second to last mission has a machine gun nest event trigger which spawns at least ten to fifteen of these soldiers, which is necessary for a Gold medal. Absolutely a nightmare even on Normal difficulty lol
You know I actually didn't play the remaster. I was pretty bitter they did this without me or with very little input from the original teams (to my knjowledge) - Mine Cart = Not sure I would have remastered that without redoing the whole level. That mine cart and the train levels were engine hacks to just get it to work. I think I would redesign with more rest stops and track switching to provide some breaks. Then a whole placement pass to give each enemy a little more "setup phase" so the player could react. It's one of the things that I gave feedback on when it was originally done too but it went out as is due to time. RE: Gewer 43 enemies - I only beat it on Hard a couple times to verify that it could be done. Yes it is a BITCH but in the interest of time that difficulty also went out a bit rough. Our difficulty system was super broad in implementation. I would have loved to revisit that as well. (Honestly if I did a remake I would make just one difficulty or possibly two. 1 = How it should be played. 2 = Sit and Watch for the super casual narrative players.)
Short answer is YES!
It all sounds amazing I really hope there’s a chance we’ll get to see this come to fruition one day!
Me too! But EA would have to sanction it.
Also, Frontline was my favorite to work on. I think it's still the project that I spent the most hours sleeping in my office. I did a 72 straight shift once when we had a deadline coming. I'll never do that again. The level that you sabotaged all the cars and had the truck chase we added at the end of the project and Eric Church and I did it in like 7 days from whiteboard to checkin.
I would love to see a longer documentary on how Frontline was made, I know there’s one up now but I don’t think it covers enough
Yeah that would be fun to do. Maybe I'll host it and go around and see all my old friends. Can you link me to the one that is up now? I don't think I've seen it.
I have a lot of fond memories from my childhood of playing Allied Assault multiplayer, thanks for doing this AMA.
My question regards game balance. I remember in some multiplayer maps there were shotguns available, and if I recall correctly they were as accurate as sniper rifles at range and did more damage.
How was game balance approached back then versus how it's approached now? Has the proliferation of e-Sports and online gaming in general affected how balancing is planned and executed?
So at that time, the pellets were actual projectives and tuning was set for Single Player making the shotgun feel OP for multiplayer. Modern shooters usually either start with Multiplayer tuning and then work backwards into Single Player or have completely different tunings for MP vs SP. What feels good in one doesn't in the other. Sorry if the shotgun was overpowered at the time. It's hard to tune a game when you're so close to it. Internally we were all able to maneuver around players with shotguns to de-emphasize the power.
Don't you dare apologize for that shotgun. It's my favorite weapon out of any FPS I've ever played!
The thought never even occurred to me that SP and MP have differently tuned weapons, thanks for your reply!
Do you have any cool stories about the tier 1 guys that did advising in the past?
Ahhh during the Medal of Honor modern reboot? I do not. We had different military advisers during my time (WWII products.)
Did you work on Allied Assault? That game was the catalyst for online gaming in my life. Do you think we’ll ever see a remaster?!
Need a remaster! This game is still fantastic
I agree but that's a tall almost impossible order.
I did but not deeply. Mostly I supported that team in what they wanted to accomplish. Many of them went on to make CoD.
Is it like WAX or VGO?
Well it's similar in that it's a crypto based currency. Our main differenctiator is that the price of a Quarter token for Players will always be the same. $1 = 400 Quarters. This way Players will always be able to consider "is this purchase worth it?" in comparison to what they spent for the tokens.
Have you ever sat on the floor with your legs folded eating applesauce just to set your name free from its curse?
HA! I tried to do that in my first week of Kindergarten.I ate a lot of apple sauce. It didn't work.
Do you still wear your clothes backwards?
Only during the holidays or at da club.
How different would you think MoH will be gameplay/authenticity wise if it was released in today's world, and if CoD never happened?
That's a hard one to answer. I think the market is so different now and what people want from games and their designs. MoH was a heavily crafted game and very topical at the time. I think it would be an open world game like Far Cry or Homefront 2 set in WWII. So the easy answer is I think it would be designed very differently.
Wasted a lot of time on MOH(2010), poeple still playing ? THe cheaters drove me away!
I'm not sure if anybody is still playing. There's probably a hard core server out there somewhere with a dedicated crew of die hard fans.
Medal of Honor Allied Assault was the best game I've ever played and I want to thank you, scuttling the U-529 was one of the coolest missions ever..disguising yourself as a german officer.. showing your papers to guards (or hitting the wrong key and pulling out your pistol), was extremely exciting, even just walking around you'd see a group of German soldiers playing cards, or a german worker using a torch on top of the U-529.. it really made a great atmosphere.. what was your favorite mission in MOHAA and why? Thanks again Chris
In Allied Assault the D-Day mission still resonates with me. It was such an accomplishment to just get it on screen. Mindblowing.
How come the old MOH games will not play on windows 10?
Well the console games were HIGHLY optimized to the hardware at the time. the PSX and PS2 versions had code that called directly to the brand of optical drive to control the streaming of the levels. Pretty sure emulators would have problems with that. Basically, somebody would have to do a pretty serious port of the source code to get it to run. The PC versions of the game from that time, European Assault, Spearhead and Pacific Assault, should work I think. I should dig up some old copies and try them out.
Right! Been a while since I've been there. Allied Assault: War Chest and Pacific Assault are both there.
Do you think the esports world will still be big in 5 years and will more companies get involved?
E-Sports will continue to evolve. In fact I believe we'll see even more game types and even 1v1 individual style games. In conjunction with the ever growing streamer community the variety of e-sports will mean there'll be something to watch for everybody's tastes. I wish e-sports were around when I still had lightning fast reflexes.
Just wish the sim racing world got more love from everyone so I hear ya.
OOoofff Sim Racing is a tough haul. I remember meeting somebody from the EA F1 team at the time. They set up a full seat with feedback, pedals and a wheel and got an actual driver to try it. The driver's feedback was "It's nothing like the real thing. I can't feel the road and the force feedback feels laggy. (for his reflexes)" Until somebody jacks my brain into the net there will always be a gap to cover in interface between real world actions and games. Even roomscale VR will hit the physical feedback wall.
Were you involved in the original MoH game? One of my all time gaming moments. But for my real question: when creating this game I am sure you consulted with WWII veterans. What was the wildest story you heard from them?
Original MoH = Yes. (PS and PC at DreamWorks Interactive) - What was your favorite moment?
We did consult with a lot of veterans especially when we got to researching the war in the Pacific. The story that sticks out for me the most was how a veteran came to love SPAM (the meat not emails).
He was in a fox hole on Iwo Jima. They had just made a push for a tiny amount of yardarge and were resting. The fox hole was pretty shallow so their lower bodies were in it but their torsos were over the rim. Somebody threw him a can of spam that dropped into the bottom of the hole. When he bent over to pick it up he blacked out and woke up in a medical tent. Artillery hit right next to the fox hole right as he was bent over killing his whole squad leaving him as the only survivor. His quote, "... and that's why I love SPAM to this day."
That was one of the "lighter" toned interviews/stories. The rest were a little darker. The one thing that ran through all the stories was the vetarn's patriotism and their knoowledge of their sacrifce. Most had never told their stories to anybody until the day we interviewed them. I'm thankful those memories will stick with me till I'm old and can pass some of them along as well.
Did you ever get to meet Steven Spielberg? From what I gathered in the credits, and tell me if I'm wrong, but wasnt Steven Spielberg the ultimate reason why Medal of Honor became a thing? He wanted to show the younger generation at the time what WW2 was about and created a team to make Medal of Honor for Playstation.
I did meet Steven Spielberg a couple times while I was there and also once after I left. In fact he handed me my first (and only) bonus based on profit share. The origins of the product can be summed up as Steven wanted "Goldeneye + WWII". He was a big fan of Goldeneye. (I think the line in Ready Player One about Goldeneye being a favorite game for the creator is inspired by that.) The original studio location was choses because it was on his way to Amblin. He loved games and loved to be involved in making them.
How awesome! Was he actively involved in the game making process or did he just fund the project? Like making sure stuff was historically accurate and whatnot?
He reviewed all the DreamWorks games at that time regularly. He would call out his notes as he played or watched the reivews and we would do our best to make those things happen. (One that didn't make it as he stated it was shooting a barrel and having the gasolline leak out into a puddle that could be ignited. That idea made it into the game a bit differently as inspiration for a couple different mechanics.) There's a rock in Trespasser with his initials on it something like "SS was Here". Hard to find.
That’s bloody fascinating. Gallows humor intended. My favorite moment was first: -the beach. It was the first time we as gamers had seen that. It was new and fresh, not cliche’, and it was terrifying. I grew up with stories of my Grandfather’s brother storming that beach. The intensity of that gameplay, coupled with those stories, made a huge impact. And of course: ****ing Sniper Town.
Yeah Sniper Town caused a lot of debate internally. I'll leave it at that.
Did you have clothes specially made, or were they really just regular clothes worn backwards?
Regular clothes but it was a pain in the butt having the zippers behind me.
Pain in the butt... I see what you did there.
Well standing use of the bathroom was not possible either.
Just wanted to thank you for making such an iconic game back then. Which Medal of Honor was your favorite? Did you make any of the later ones like Pacific/European Assault or Airborne? What about Frontline or Allied Assault?
I definitely feel that your contributions to the Medal of Honor series is why games like Call of Duty are a thing, since Call of Duty 1 seemed like just an updated Allied Assault.
What is your opinion about the new Medal Of Honors that recently came out like Medal of Honor (2010) or Warfighter?
Thank you very much. My favorite to work on was Frontline. For the PC games at that time I mostly had an advisory role and would review the designs at a high level. (PC and console design were so different at that time because of the differences between Keyboard and Mouse and Controllers. We didn't do universal controls yet so game metrics were very different and needed to be handled by people really close to the end product.) I played the new Medal of Honors but not very deeply. My attention was on other things at those times. I'll have to go back and play them now that I'm old and more reflective!
I loved Frontline! That iconic D Day mission is still the best in my opinion, even better than Call of Duty WW2's adaptation of it.
And who's idea was it to put the UFO easter egg in one of the later levels of Frontline? Haha
Thanks! I think the UFO came from Greg Hillegas. I'll have to ask him sometime.
I believe it's on the 1st level, On Track of Mission 5: Rolling Thunder. The easter egg has an achievement on PS3's Remastered Edition named "ET Goin' Home", obviously referencing Spielberg's famed movie.
Ahhh yes. We may have even borrowed the geometry for that from Trespasser. It had a saucer as well. (also a talking donkey voiced by me. I also did a voice in Tai FU.)
Aside from Frontline, what is your favorite Medal of Honor title to work on and to play?
While working on Frontline, did you get to work with the music team, perhaps even interacted with Michael Giacchino?
How big was Steven Spielberg's involvement in later Medal of Honor titles?
Did the game development encounter major bumps along the way?
What was your most heart felt moment you had while developing the MoH games?
Also whose idea was it to implement the silly hats cheat? Really who gave the idea for all the cheats and their primate based unlock codes?
Thank you for this opportunity you've given to us and thank you for helping out creating our fond childhoods.
The first PlayStation version was probably my other favorite to work on. Underground is pretty close to my heart as well.
I worked very closely with Michael Giacchino. We walked through every level so he could understand how the loops needed to be composed and how we were going to dynamically trigger them. The nightingale song with the boy singing was his idea and we discussed that at length for the last Arnhem level. It was meant to be a sonic contrast to the battle waging below. Erik Kraber was a huge integral part of the sound design as well and we all worked very hard to make sure the sound and music for every level were tip top.
Silly Hats = I don't remember but it was probably Stephen Ratter. Primates = Stephen and I used to do an orangutan routine and we both had a serious love for monkeys and apes. I'm sure that was an easy reach at that time even if I don't remember exactly who came up with the actual codes.
Thanks for answering Chris! And well, honestly I'm out of words on how should I describe appreciation for your work on MoH.
Well that and maybe more questions sometimes. Anyays, thanks a lot.
Thank you! It's nice to know that even this many years later people were affected by those games.
What are some of your favorite games, and what is your preferred way to play?
What time era? SF2, Tie Fighter, Dune 2: Building of a Dynasty, Mario 64, Zelda 64 (still the best and cleanest 3D game designs), GTA 3, LoL, WoW. the list goes on and on and on.... I play every console and PC and Mobile but I would say my favorite is console gaming.
Was there any kind of resource that blew your mind design wise? (book, video, principle, etc)
Not sure any single thing stands above the other. I got to fire the main gun in a Sherman tank (blanks), shoot a .50 browning, visit Iwo Jima, interview veterans that were there, go on manuevers with Capt. Dale Dye, but I think the most used was a book of WWII weapons that was illustrated and weighed about 10 pounds. That thing was amazing.
What made Medal of Honor so much fun back in the day?
And: Will we see a reboot any time soon that hearkens back to old school MoH?
You don't play; you volunteer.
- You don't play; you volunteer. (WOW I forgot about that!) Part of what made MoH so good back in the day is that it was a little experimental. The historical genre didn't really exist in shooters at that time so the ability to feel transported back into history was very special. The design of the game took that into account. It was less about body count and more about giving the player an authentic experience and secondarily to pass on a little history lesson if they were interested. Basically the core of the product wasn't driven by shareholders or the market. It tried to be a Great WWII Game first. In fact most mission objectives at that time avoided any kill count shopping lists. They were all military objectives and the enemies happened to be in the way. I always stressed that there should be a way to complete every mission without shooting if possible to keep it from becoming a game about "Get to Point B" with "Popcorn Spawns". Every enemy placed in the levels had some connection to the background or a "reason for being there" besides "get shot". I could go on and on and on. Maybe I'll do a YouTube about this quest at some point.
It's interesting you say this. I always felt like the games would've been cooler if the stealth and espionage aspects were more heavily emphasized. The player could've been incentivized into using stealth optionally as a way to unlock extra goodies (cheats, gag reel videos, multiplayer stuff, etc.) It's a shame even today there aren't many proper fps titles with stealth gameplay in them. It would've been cool for the debriefings to actually have more use, and the player could pick up hidden intel which could reveal enemy layouts, fortifications, armaments, etc. in future missions.
I remember watching my dad play MOH Underground when I was a kid and he shot the friendly toy soldier dude out of panic the first time he saw it jump off the table. Another point I remember was after the knight level, Valhalla I think, he had barely any health left and the next level had a motorcycle with a side car that he had to basically fight perfectly to get past and from then on until the next medic kit.
What was the conversation around the wackier aspects, toy solider and knights, like when making the game? If I remember right, didn't you have to shoot the knights in the feather plume on the helmet?
Yes! The knights were based on some occult nazi history but the Panzerknacker (toy soldeir) levels were meant to be bonus levels with an easy unlock. They caused some confusion. UI/UX wasn't very clear in those days for that kind of thing. Mostly we were just looking for fun things for the Player to do. Every mission (bseides the bonus) had to be backed up with historical references so each designer had to pitch their levels and back them up with some basis in real missions.
Thank you so much for your hard work and for releasing MoH:AA.
It was the first video game my dad let me play on the computer and the first multiplayer game I ever played. The Stalingrad map will have a place in heart forever with the console commands to hide in the chimneys.
And the Omaha Beach and following stealth mission were replayed for years and kindled a love in still have for war history
What has it been like to watch the evolution of the fps genre go from WW2 heavy to more modern and now back?
WWII will always hold peoples' fascination. It's represented as clearly good vs evil. The lines are drawn almost mythically. Since then most military actions are presented very differently. The cycle of games to modern and back to WWII will always happen.
How often do people use the phrase Chris cross applesauce with you?
That one is pretty rare compared to Jump Jump and Sailing.
I am a gamer since I can even remember.
Now I am 21, thinking about career and I am not sure if I should turn into game development and developing in general.
I am afraid of 2 things.
- While the game seem really colorful and enjoyful, I feel like the job is mostly gray, code typing in gray screen. How much of it is true?
- I am afraid that if I will try to make my hobby a job I won't enjoy it anymore. Do you still enjoy games as before as a developer?
These are smart questions. I answered them by thinking of what activity I would do on a daily basis and who I would work with. For me the answer was games but I definitely don't enjoy games the same as I used to and the joy of making them now is less about technology and discovery and more about working with people I like. Choose wisely.
If you had to pick one or the other to listen to, would you rather it be "Sailing" or "Jump"?
Ohhhhh.. hmmmmm. Am I trying to party or on a date?
We set up a team for remastering MoH:AA in Unreal Engine : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Pq9yFEJRs
Question : We have contacted EA about it but they said we cannot use their assets for a remaster. To get around their prohibition, we will not redistribute assets. Instead, the conversion process will be done on users side by using their original copy. They will need to download & install the Unreal Engine editor to run the conversion module. Do you think it EA will condone on this, or would it still be a legal issue for them?
Another question : Was the MoH:AA game code forked from ÜberTools or from F.A.K.K 2? I've also seen somewhere that MoH:AA was originally going to use Unreal Engine (2.0)?
And finally, even though it has nothing to do with the subject, what do you think about the Crysis franchise? I liked them all and I wish EA could make another Crysis
That's a pretty clever way around the use of assets. I would assume that EA won't like that either but who knows. Seems more like a question for a software IP lawyer.
MoH AA: Code = I don't remember exactly. The tools stopped resembling where they came from very quickly. Unreal was explored multiple times over several projects. (Undying was an Unreal project so there was some internal expertise.)
I enjoyed the Crysis games and that they were coming from a different direction to FPS games entirely. Cry Engine isn't the easiest to work with though.
What kind of things would you have liked to have added to the Medal of Honor games that never made it in either due to time or resources? Like settings, levels, setpieces, guns, etc that just didn't make the cut or you just ran out of time. Also thank you for doing this AMA, playing Medal of Honor is one of my fondest childhood memories.
There were some weapons we didn't get to do. I wanted to use a prototype night vision scope but we thought nobody would believe that it existed in 1945. The real version required a HUGE battery backpack and was like the size of a shoebox on top of a rifle. I also really wanted to take our stealth mechanics much deeper and do more spy/infiltration and disguise missions. One thing I really regret is that dogs didn't make it into later versions of the product. They were so awesome in the early versions of the product but we just didn't have time to get them to work correctly in later versions.
With more weird prototypes, weapons and vehicles from WW2 entering common knowledge, if the games have been made today would they have featured these? If I recall one of the games ends with stealing a prototype German fighter jet so I'd imagine that as long as it was believable, it had a chance of making it in no matter how weird. I could totally picture a MoH game where you'd have to find out how to take out a Maus or a night mission where you have to dodge soldiers and tanks equipped with night vision scopes.
I was all in on that. MoH was always based a little in spy tech and spy missions. Would have loved to expand the weapons and tech integration with the proper mission setting.
HI there, a casual Medal of Honor fan here. Here are my questions.
1) What are your thoughts on the 2010 reboot and Warfighter?
2) Do you have interest in forming your own indie game company in the future?
3) What are your thoughts on VR/AR and the Free to Play?
4) Do you have ideas on how to improve the free to play model?
- They were great. I wasn't around for those and those teams had some big expectations to fill. What did you think of them?
- I do but mostly I'm involved at a high level in separate projects. When I can fund my own indie games out of pocket I'll retire to making my crazier ideas into realities under my own company banner. 3a. AR/VR I'm into it but like most people I'm laze and don't want to put a toaster on my face. Waiting for Hardware 2.0. When there's a larger install base I'll start making things for it. 3b. Free to Play - Generally I think this is just another way to monetize and should compliment the design. It's a shame that so many companies were "whale hunting" for so long that they gave it a bad rap. Free to Play done right is the purest monetization as it requires true retention. This is part of why I'm excited by Quarters. I plan on making games around the currency as examples of how F2P games can appreciate players via rewards AND make money because Players love the game not because I squeezed their wallet with an artificial pay gate or retetion mechanic.
- See 3b. Elaborating on that a little bit game designers need to learn how to empathize with the players that can't afford to hit their ARPU and ARPPU targets and appreciate/reward them for just playing the game and actually create real long term value and communities. Build the hearts around the game and the money will come.
I owned the 2010 game on PS3 (limited edition with HD version of Frontline) and I liked the single player. I played the multiplayer a lot, though I kept dying a lot, lol.
Didn't manage to buy Warfighter sadly. I plan to get it on Origin for PC, as its the first non-Battlefield game to support Battlelog.
Quarters sounds interesting, I hope that it will be a success and be used worldwide. Maybe I will use it in a future game that I want to develop. (I plan to be a video game designer BTW)
Nice! Good luck in your studies. I may release some game design learning materials in the future. I'll post here when I do.
Huge fan of the series, I played Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for close to 7 years. First game that really got me into the FPS genre.
To this day, I think v2 rocket is the greatest objective map in any game. So crazy I still remember all the door/room call outs. Did you have any experience or insight with the V2 Rocket map?
Thanks for being a fan. I don't remember anything particular off hand. We did a lot of research and I know the basis for that map came from some reference that we found with some designer flow adjustments. (Probably a lot)
Was there any content from frontline (or other titles) you guys had to cut that you wished made it in and what is your personal favourite player model?
Mine was the granny (with a panzerschreck)
Thanks for doing the ama!
My favorite player modes were the werewolves from the bonus level in Underground, the Panzerknocker from the same level and the Chef from Fronline. The bonus level in Underground was a level that got cut from the first one called Colditz Castle. That was really painful to cut but we found a way to resurrect it as a bonus level in Undergound. More broadly there was a lot of gameplay that we cut from those games that would have been amazing. (It was originally planned that the Player would fly the HO IX at the end of Frontline. That got cut early as we knew how improbable that was)
What happened when and to what?
My apologies and honestly thanks for the reply. Truly one of my favorite designers out there.
What happened to the direction of Meal of Honor? I remember this being a pretty big IP and am eager to hear your plans for the future with it.
Mostly what happend to MoH is life. People moved on, changed teams, had families or just got tired of making shooters. That original chemistry dwindled as team make up changed. That's not to say the later games weren't good. They were just a different flavor. Even COD left WWII for Modern Warfare and then Black Ops etc. They found a way to build a bunch of flavors off the same core. MoH just didn't make that transition especially when the other flavor in house was Battlefield. So the decision probably became "rework MoH or double down on BF". BF was so clearly different mechanically at that time that the sensible option was to double down on that.
Ah yeah. I totally agree.
I presently don't know what you're working on now, but I think I can collectively speak on behalf of the majority of the gaming community... we are sick of the "future".
That is to say, if you're working on a futuristic shooter.... I am sure its going to kick ass.
Thanks for answering my question.
Well I'd love to revisit WWII. Start a Change.org petition and send it to EA.
If you were able to make another Medal of honor game, and make it anything you want-- what would it be like?
What would the time period be, what would the Gameplay focus be?
Besides my Iwo Jima project, I'd love to do one more game with Jimmy, Manon and Barnes in an open world setting and make it deadly AF, more OSS oriented and include a multiplayer mode that wasn't just deathmatch. Probably something like infiltrating bases with AI guards in an Attack/Defend team format. A little bit TF2 in WWII.
What's the most difficult part of being an indie developer? What do you think makes for a successful indie launch (See Tynan Sylvester's Rimworld, or Daniel Fedor's NEO Scavenger)?
Also, what's your advice for new blood?
Thanks for taking the time to do an AMA!
Discoverabilty, ability to Finish (financial and keeping dev excitement/energy) and the ability to upkeep/update shipped games is probably the hardest things I've experienced. Advice = Get good at Finishing/Shipping. Ideation and design are the easy parts. Experience comes from putting things on the market and slowly growing over time. Flappy Bird levels of success are EXTREMELY rare. Set your expectations on waking up and doing something you love while you take the long path to learning how to actually make money at it. Also, set aside some structured time for networking. There's a lot of support out there if you're willing to ask for it.
Hey! I really loved Warfighter. Are there any plans to bring a MOH game in similar to that in the future?
I don't know offhand but since we haven't seen anything out of EA about it recently I'm sure it's mothballed for now.
Gotcha. Well I love yourr work anyways! I'm starting game development courses soon and would love any advice you have to give!
Three things to work on.
- Clear Concise Communication - Written and Verbal (Take a speech/presentation class.)
- Spactial Construction - Take an intoduction to Architecture course so you can understand human relatable spaces.
- Empathy - Make games for other people not just for yourself. You'll know you've mastered game design when you make something somebody loves that isn't one of your passions.
Hey Chris, what do you think of EA's approach to Battlefield now? It was my understanding that EA tried to compete with CoD's annual release cycle by alternating between Battlefield and Medal of Honor for a few years, but Warfighter was heavily panned and didn't sell as well and the franchise stalled. The folks at DICE are really talented, but in the wake of CoD's success (and resurgence thanks to CoD WWII) i wonder how much ground there is to lose to such a juggernaut franchise.
That's hard to speculate on. The DICE team are super talented and have their own engine but making a yearly title is super difficult due to team size, profit margins etc. Creatively we resisted it on MoH early on since we felt like it would make the product feel less custom crafted. The DICE folks may feel similarly and are probably unlikely to hand their baby to an outside resource. ALL speculation since I have no idea how things run internally over there anymore. I'm not sure it's financially worth it to aim at taking out COD directly in this way anyway. If it were me I would focus on a different type of shooter designed from the beginning to be an E-Sport. Leave the historical arena alone and to indies (like me) and let it rest for a bit until "Beat COD" isn't the point of the product.
Interesting. I'd also like to ask how you feel about the e-sports scene in terms of volume. Every game out there seems to want to be a heavy e-sport, but when a couple of bigger games can seemingly completely dominate public attention (Overwatch, CS:GO, and DOTA come to mind) then how can smaller games compete? I remember 2k throwing their hat in the ring twice, once with Evolve and again with Battleborn and each time seemed to be a 'cart before the horse' situation where they plan to have a large esports scene only for nobody to play the game(s)
E-Sports are going to keep evolving. I was at THQ when Evolve was in development so we discussed this topic at lenght. It had some real potential. We're entering a time where all multiplayer games will have to evaluate whether it's E-Sport friendly and/or Streamer friendly. The good news is the viewership is still growing and I think there will be room for some new concepts in what people will like to watch and new skillsets to test players competitively. At least everything isn't a "LoL killer" anymore. Rocket League is a great example of this. It was a great game first. Highly watchable and understandable made it great for streaming and the skills to win are just difficult enough that it's clear the game isn't about pure luck. I have a couple designs ready for E-Sports for Pocketful of Quarters that I hope to make so stay tuned to my Twitter and POQ in the next year or so to find out what they are.
Thanks again. I've never heard of POQ, so i'll have to see what you've been up to! I know i'm bombarding you with questions but i very rarely get the chance to get direct thoughts from industry professionals.
- In terms of viewership do you think Twitch will always be the top dog platform? Microsoft has invested heavily in Beam (now labeled Mixer), Youtube has made some efforts, and of course the other handfuls of streaming sites with only a handful of people. H1Z1 recently launched their long-gestating esports league and chose Facebook as their broadcast partner, only for a couple thousand to tune in.
- Do you think direct streaming integration in games will become the norm in the next few years? Amazon themselves were working on an esports-oriented 'MOBA-meets-Rocket League' title called Breakaway until earlier this year when development was stopped. You probably heard it was to feature in-depth Twitch integration and would be the first game of its type. The recently released Forza Horizon 4 has in-game bonuses you can access by streaming the game via Mixer.
- What's your stance on the future of single-player titles in today's landscape? As streaming has grown it's become a concern that people are content with just watching someone else play them instead of hunkering down themselves. Valve left them in the lurch after The Orange Box and Left for Dead 1/2. Microsoft's Matt Booty drew criticism when he said that releasing bigger games with zero monetization strategy is something that you just can't do anymore, and that games need to be either streamer-ready or e-sports-oriented (as you said) and that pivoting to a "trend" like single-player is just something that might not be worth it. Such remarks came in the wake of Sony having enormous critical and commercial success with single-player games like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, and Spider-Man while other titles like Persona 5 and Ratchet & Clank (2016) became the best-selling titles in their respective series.
- I think Twitch has a huge head start. There's a lot of competitors out there. The winner will probably be the one that pulls in non-core game watchers with lots of community features. Mixer is on a good track.
- Yes. Direct streaming integration will become the norm for a lot of games but like any technology individual designs may not need it.
- If you look at the history of games. Nothing ever dies. Somebody is always willing to design around the challenges of the market to make the game they love. Will they make money? There will always be different tastes in the market. Personally I want to retire to Single Player games and put them out without a publisher. It's my DNA as a designer. There are ways to do it. Frankly, the current backlash against loot boxes and free to play will cause a slight bump in single player games. Now the challenge will be how to do a Single Player experience that is free to play and fairly monetized. I'm hoping to run some of these types of experiments making games for Pocketful of Quarters. Better belive there'll be a single player with experimental monetization in it.
Last question i can think of right now:
Do you think the incentive that Quarters provides will be great enough to spur adoption of them as the standard currency compared to just using their own proprietary one where they get a monster's share of the profits?
We're hoping that the side benefits of creating a community of devs and letting players flow from game to game will entice devs to join up. Doing this reduces the "switching cost" for players to 0 which means they can leave easier. However, this also means that the cost for them to re-engage is 0 as well making it easier for them to hop in and hop out.
Will you make me jump, jump?
I've never played any MoH from beginning to end. Which game of the franchise is a must-play?
My personal favorite is Frontline. But for sure try to get Allied Assault and Pacific Assault since you can still play those.
I know this will sound bad but my favorite Medal of Honor game was Warfighter. What are your thoughts on that game and what ended up with the game/company after ea left?
That doesn't sound bad! I enjoyed Warfighter. I think that team had a hard row to hoe changing time and context. WWII was so much a part of the identity of the franchise that switching it up was going to be difficult. I'm not really sure what happend internally after that. I know most of that team disbanded or went to other places.
Do you have ideas in your head for a new MoH?
I sure do. I dropped a couple hints in some of these responses.
Just wanted to say I absolutely adore European Assault. The serious story, your squad, the old-man speaking about how horrible war is, it was great!
And the music was incredible, especially the theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n-uWmgOm9g
Yes! Awesome! (The slow down mechanic wasn't my favorite)
What are you opinions on the current state of AAA studios employing a more, "Games as a Service" business model?
GaaS was inevtiable as soon as we connected them to the internet. What I don't like is the Box + Online business model. If I buy a $60 product ($95 for bloated collector editions.) then I better get some value for my money. I don't want micro add ons and grinding. I would prefer if AAA went back to a set value for what they shipped or commit to an actual free to play model. The inbetween is terrible.
I still think this is the best WW2 game ever made. I think there is a lack of realistic WW2 games would you consider designing another one or do you think their time has passed? Also how can I get a job in game design without a background in design?
A) Thank you and I agree.
B) I have a couple WWII designs ready to go.
C) I'm 100% self taught so it's possible. Just start building games in whichever game engine you can wrap your brain around. Start with small projects you can finish. Tiny things. Then show them to your friends. One of the first things I did that was about design was building tracks in VS. Excitebike for my friends to play and then watch them play it. Edit to make it flow better and repeat. Showing people your work is an important part of the process you can't leave that out and just jump straight to your huge idea. It will suck without the practice at the little things and learning how the audience responds to your work. Basically, just start doing. Always stay curious. Try to explain your intuition and instincts in an attempt to learn design patterns. Read ALOT. Learn learn learn and try to apply to little game designs.
What do you like to think happened to the in game characters after WWII ended? Did patterson and manon get married as hinted at the end of MOH heroes?
Ha! We'll never know! Maybe I need to do a short story as an epilogue. I really wanted to do another Manon game. Sidestep the trend towards realistic graphics and go cell shaded for her. So many more resistance stories to be told.
Thanks for the response. The series was and still is some of my favourite video games. I’d always laugh when shooting someone in the foot and they start hopping, or the dogs coming up to you and shooting you. That being said, even though war is a serious subject, did you focusing on putting some comedic elements into the games like the ones mentioned?
Our goal was to make the games feel like a place that people lived. Make it real. Real people react to things, touch objects and yes go to the bathroom. With that comes some comedy and of course inside jokes on the team. That was one of the funniest teams I've ever worked on. I would say that 99% of our jokes and ideas didn't make it into the game (rightfully so). However, it's the same imagination that made the mine cart ride possible and the Panzerknacker and the HO IX and the .......
Hahaha I can only imagine the things that got scrapped. Thanks for answering!
I have to step away for a bit. I'll keep ansering questions on here today and over the weekend and probably setup a notification after that to keep the thread alive.
Hello Chris. Did you worked on MoH Allied Assault? The leaning mechanism made it stand out from other FPS's still today putting to shame even Counterstrike in close quarter combat.
Why do you think such skillfull and enjoyfull mechanic was abandoned?
That was a finesse mechanic. The market just moved away from that kind of thing and adopted the same controls across all shooters for the sake of being familiar to players. It just got lost in time.
It was certainly a finesse mechanic that brought a new dimension to combat indeed, but that was totally optional, plenty of players never used them or even knew it existed, but with time went on to learn and master it
My cynical believe is that it was hard to make it viable for console players as it added a extra layer of difficulty and complexity that controllers couldn't support.
To add, the abandoning of fixed cross air and going with the Aim Down Sight allowed to slow down the gameplay while removing a twitch/skill/aim and lowering the skill cap. That made FPS's more accessible to be played with console controllers while using the realism/immersion card to camouflage the loss of depth and skill gameplay.
With so many FPS's in the market and companies trying so hard to stand out it baffles me how no one capitalizes on the MOHAA leaning gameplay. Rainbow Siege has it but it's ofc mega slow because it's hindered by the aim down sight.
There's simply no rival in terms of Mohaa CQC skillcap gameplay in a semi-realistic context.
Sad to see it forgotten and abandoned. With so many titles revivals based on nostalgia it saddens me that it's stuck in EA hands only to be forgotten like many other classics.
It could have been Counterstrike big but exec's just don't have enough insight or eagerness to think outside the box. Oh well we still have private servers running for Mohaa at least they will never take that from us.
You're right on the money with your assessment. Basically it's not a "run and gun" mechanic and was very conducive to console controls. Combine this with the transition from Health Packs to "look at wall texture to heal" and the pace of gameplay is dramatically faster but also the stakes or feeling of danger is lessened. Who cares about running blindly around a corner when you can just stop and heal up or respawn in a short amount of time.
Indeed, thanks for taking the time to answer and validating my "suspicious", sorry if I sounded bitter.
Ever since the Stalingrad demo on Gamespy (December 2001) that I played Mohaa religiously and still today have dinner party's with old-school friends back from the Clan days. Best gamer days ever, even if my grades suffered :)
HAHAHahhahah. Yeah I lost a lot of my "college years" to games but in the end the gaming hours ended up being the most important ones.
It was great! He was a core gamer at the time and totally got understood that making games was hard and that he had a company full of experts. I miss that era of my life almost weekly. It was a golden time and we didn't know how good we had it. (Wow. I really do sound like an old fart now.)
Hi CoffeeWithCross, your post has been removed because:
You have not provided adequate proof within a reasonable amount of time. Please see the /r/IAmA sidebar for posting guidelines. Thank you!
Please contact the mods if you need further assistance
Hi! New to this. How do I provide proof in this thread? I provided proof in my email.
As soon as I saw your name on the sidebar, I set an alarm on my phone so I would wake up early enough not to miss this!
My brother and I fought all the damn time, but when we played Medal of Honor together it was the most fun and bonding experiences I can think of.
I want to ask you, as an industry expert, where you see gaming in 5 years? Hopefully you're more optimistic than I am. Thanks for your time Chris!
View HistoryShare Link