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Terra Arcanum
the World of Troika Games
Arcanum ToEE VtMB Mystary!

Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura
the Council the Library the Factory
Dungeons & Dragon: The Temple of Elemental Evil
the Temple the Athenaeum the Forge
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
the Family the Study the Workshop
Troika's next Project ~ Mystary!
the Speculation ??? ???
Pre-release information, FAQs and fan made content
UberFAQ - -
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In-game information, NPC stats and information, quest details and walkthroughs
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Containing Modding Rersources, Downloads, Official and Unofficial patches
ToEE Patches - - Circle of Eight
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Reviews, interviews and screenshots
Bloodlines Review - -
Bloodlines Interview - Concept Art -
- Screenshots -
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Containing Modding Rersources, Downloads, Official and Unofficial patches
VtMB Patches - - Unofficial Patch
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Here you'll find the scant information we know about this project.
Rumours, Speculation and Wild Guesses
There is currently no in-game information about this project.
There are currently no downloads or modding information for this project.


Gamekult interview with Tim Cain

Interview conducted 1-8-2001.

This interview was originally conducted by Gamekult. You can find the original version here. Used with permission.

Tim Cain : I will always love Fallout. It was an original RPG that breathed some new life into the genre. In my humble opinion, of course.

Panda : In its release, Fallout gave the feeling to open new horizons. According to you, what are the reasons of its success ?

Tim Cain : I think Fallout was successful for two reasons. First, it wasn't set in a fantasy world, which was an unusual move 6 years ago (when we started the game). Second, it had such an open-ended play style. You can make different characters and actually PLAY them differently. I think people really responded to that.

Panda : Fallout was based upon a post-apocalyptic world, Arcanum upon a world quite close to Jules Verne. Do your next game will be finally heroic-fantasy ?

Tim Cain : Heh, maybe. I have been tossing around an idea for a super-hero game, actually. Now THAT has been the kiss of death in the past. Everyone who has started to make such a game has given up.

Panda : How did you have the idea to mix two worlds as different as the magic and the technology ?

Tim Cain : Well, it wasn't really my idea. I wanted to do a straight fantasy game, but Leonard didn't want to set it in the quasi-14th century that these games seem to be mired in. He wanted something more recent, like the 18th or 19th century. And it was Jason's idea to make magic and tech mutually antagonistic. My contribution was mainly in the basic mechanics of our RPG system.

Panda : Arcanum's technological part seems to use an imagination more European than >American. What are your influences ?

Tim Cain : When I researched the scientific revolution, it seemed primarily a European phenomenon, at least in its early days. From mathematics to steam engines and iron works, Europe figured prominently. I think we all liked the idea of Victorian London and all of the adventures possible there. We all read books like Tim Power's "The Anubis Gates" and the comic book series "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" for inspiration.

Panda : In Arcanum, these two worlds are conflicting. Is it a way to incite the player to finish the game twice, the first as a magician and one second as follower of firearms ?

Tim Cain : I think people should play the game FOUR times - once as a magician, once as a technologist, once as something from both areas, and once using nothing magical or tech at all. You can play through the story and the areas so differently, and some quests and dialogs cannot be seen with the same character.

Panda : The psychology and the perspicacity are important for surviving in Arcanum. Is it true that one may finish Arcanum without having to fight ?

Tim Cain : Yes, you could avoid fighting. There are random encounters, however, with things that will attack you, like wolves or ogres. But with some preparation, like a good Prowling skill, or an Invisibility spell, you can avoid these. And if you cannot, you can have followers who protect you so you don't have to fight.

Panda : Only a dozen persons works on Arcanum. How organize you the work among the 6 >computer graphic designers and the 4 programmers ?

Tim Cain : We have divided the work among us based on what we like to do. I mostly do RPG system programming, like the character editor, skills, combat, the dialog system and the like, while Leonard does character animations and portraits and also dialogs and quests. In the end, we all end up doing a little of everything.

Panda : Did you notice concrete improvements thanks to this mode of functioning ?

Tim Cain : It's good and bad. We get really involved, creative work done, but some things get avoided until we just HAVE to work on them. :)

Panda : Arcanum will integrate a Multiplayer part, a big novelty for Fallout's accustomed. What can you say to us in this stage of the development ?

Tim Cain : Multiplayer is great fun. If you played Diablo II, you know how fun it was to explore dungeons with your friends. Since we are shipping our editor with the game, we hope a community springs up to supply everyone with fun, detailed modules to adventure in.

Panda : What are the technical or playful difficulties bound in Multiplayer ?

Tim Cain : It is hard work to make a good module. There are a lot of things to do - make critters, edit their dialogs, make fun quests and interesting items to find. Then draw maps of towns and dungeons and fill them up and make sure they are fun to play in. It can be daunting to keep track of everything.

Panda : Arcanum manages 3D cards. What does it changed, graphically ?

Tim Cain : It speeds up our lighting and spell effects quite a bit. Basically the game runs a lot smoother on lower-end machines if they have a good 3D card. We make use primarily of 3D blending functions. We don't make a lot of use of most other 3D functions.

Panda : John Carmack asserts that video games did not reach their maturity and that a game technically successful is still enough to offer him some guarantees of success. What do you think of it ?

Tim Cain : > I concentrate much more on a game's design than in its technology. I mean, look at Fallout - it wasn't technologically or graphically cutting edge. But I think it was a great game. Would it have been a better game in 3D? I doubt it, especially in its day. That would have been a waste of our time. Instead we focused on great game play. And that is our main focus in Arcanum : Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura as well.

Panda : Have you the feeling that the universe of a game counts really for the player ? Or that the gameplay always eventually taken him ?

Tim Cain : I think the universe may attract a player to a game, and the gameplay keeps him playing. And both are important to make him want a sequel. :)



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