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Kenn Hoekstra Interview's very own William Mull had a chance to ask 's Project Administrator Kenn Hoekstra some questions about Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, and got some very informative answers! Enjoy!

1) What do you think the next Star Trek television series should be?

One of the concepts that has been floating around is a series focused on Starfleet Academy. Personally, I think that idea has a lot of potential. I could really see following the careers of several cadets for the first three years of the show (along with guest appearances by cast members from TNG and DS9 as guest lecturers) and then following them out on a ship or other assignment after graduation. I like this idea more than a series set in the past (as in before Picard and after Kirk) as has been suggested.

2) Have you found fan feedback and suggestions on the game to be useful? Or has it been a hindrance?

So far the fans have been a great help. We've posed questions to them on the message boards and we've gotten a lot of great ideas. They've also provided great material for multiplayer taunts and the kinds of things they want to see in the game. There have been a few people who get a little out of control on the boards, but all in all it's a great atmosphere. We've always enjoyed gamers' feedback at Raven.

3) The Carcass skeletal system? What is it and why is it good?

Carcass is a set of tools we use to get our motion captured and hand-made animations from SoftImage into the game. It uses skeletal compression to store the animations instead of mesh deformation like Quake3 did. This results in files better than 10 times smaller than the old system, which means we can have 10 times more player models loaded at a time for the same amount of memory that the old system would have taken. In Quake 3, the Sarge model (including LOD) was 2561 KB on disk. In EF, our Munro model (with the same number of animations and Levels Of Detail), is only 234 KB. Carcass also draws from GHOUL the ability to merge texture coordinates from 3D Studio Max with the SoftImage animations.

4) How about that Elite Force comic? What can you tell us about the making of that?

Activision and Paramount liked the idea of a comic book adaptation of Elite Force and we thought it was a great idea as well. WildStorm () did the comic and it's being published by DC (). We provided the WildStorm crew with a rough story outline, character sketches, concept art and other basic reference materials from Elite Force and they did the rest. Brian Pelletier, the project leader and Raven art director, worked closely with them on the detail side of things as did Raven artist Mark Nelson. They were good about sending us updates as the comic progress and we've posted some of that material on our website at . Perhaps the coolest part of doing the comic with WildStorm and DC was that they asked our art department if they'd like to contribute artwork to a pinup section in the comic. Several of our artists took them up on the offer and their artwork appears in the issue.

5) Describe the voice acting process. How did you choose the voice actors and what's involved in getting the work done?

Activision has some of the best contacts in the industry when it comes to professional voice acting. Paramount and Activision worked together to get the Voyager television actors to participate in the game and then Activision lined up auditions (or readings) for the remaining roles. We were sent tapes of the readings and chose which actors would play which parts. Michael Gummelt, the Elite Force script writer (and Raven programmer), flew out to Los Angeles for some of the sessions to assist Activision with the direction of the recordings. Some of the tapings were piped into Raven via conference call so we could listen in and give immediate feedback. Each line is recorded several times, numbered and then sent to Raven. Kevin Schilder, the sound design manager, takes the recordings, edits them, formats them and puts them into the game. It takes a lot of organization, but Kevin has a great system.

6) What is the player movement speed / jump height / etc. in single player vs. multiplayer?

The movement in the single player game is slightly slower than in multiplayer to make things a bit more realistic. When attempting to recreate the ship and other Star Trek environments, having characters with a 10-foot vertical leap and super speed isn't very conducive to solid gameplay. In multiplayer, however, it's all about speed and fun. The characters are significantly more superhuman in the holomatch games than in the "real" world. After all, you can do anything on the holodeck, right? If players want to tweak the player speeds, they can do so in the advanced server options menu as well.

7) Can you describe what we can expect from the upcoming Elite Force Demo?

The demo will feature approximately six single player levels and 2 multiplayer levels. There will be four weapons in the single player levels and maybe 1 or 2 more in the multiplayer levels. Multiplayer will be strictly deathmatch (or free for all) and will feature some of the usable items that appear in the multiplayer for the full version. The main cast and crew plus a few extra characters will be available multiplayer characters for DM. The demo will be approximately 120MB in size and will feature Bot support.

8) How would you describe Paramount's involvement in the development process?

Paramount oversees and approves the content of the game on a regular basis. Raven wrote the design document and the script for the game and then sent it to Paramount for their approval. We send new material to them on a nearly weekly basis along with a form and they return the form with comments that either say, "approved", "re-submit with changes" or "not approved." We've had the good fortune to work closely with Harry Lang, who has been quite active in the community and on the message boards as well. Paramount has allowed us a great deal of creative freedom in what is generally considered to be a restrictive license. We've been fortunate to be able to create new aliens, weapons, environments and characters within the Voyager universe with Paramount's blessing.

9) How would you describe the game's target audience? Do you think this is a game for hard core gamers, casual gamers or both? Or perhaps another group?

I truly feel that Elite Force has something for everyone. It has action, adventure, a strong storyline, great characters and a great representation of the Star Trek universe. I really think that Trek fans will love the authenticity of the game and gamers in general will like the game play and the full set of single and multiplayer features that Elite Force has to offer.

10) What is your favorite aspect of the game so far?

I really like the Hazard Team. They're a unique set of characters filling out a role that is desperately needed in the Trek marines. They have great weapons, great personalities and a nose for action. They way their personalities develop over the course of the game is cool. By the end, you really feel like you know them.

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