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The Community Patch Team has been working for months on what will be the final patch for Gothic 3. This patch, having version number 1.70, will once again include many changes. To honour the excellent work the team has been doing, WoG decided to put them in the spotlight with an elaborate interview.
World of Gothic:
Can you introduce the Team to the readers? There are surely people out there who would like to know whos behind the Community Patch Team.
The members are all part of the Gothic community. Some have been a Jowood or WoG forum member for years. Some are moderators. Some members first joined when Gothic 3 had arrived.
The team has the following active members:
- ANNOmaniac (correcting bugs)
- Arthus of Kap Dun (graphics)
- Hans Trapp (bugs, compilations, sounds)
- Humanforce (bugs, balancing)
- iks (graphics, textures)
- Kronos (bugs, close range combat, AI)
- mdahm (bugs, code)
- Nameless2 (translations)
- raven (sound, code)
- Solandor (code)
- Urban (source code, shader, graphics)
- Valfaris (CP-teaser, sounds)
- RoiDanton (project leader)
- Glockenbeat (assistant project leader)
I am also of the opinion that all those people who were and are testing the patch versions we create, are in a way part of the Community Patch Team. Without their help and their useful criticism we wouldn't have achieved so much, and it would have taken us much longer to make the patch.
Behind the name of the Team you will find a bunch of talented, ambitioned Gothic fanatics.
We are bunch of Gothic-crazy fans, with a bit of knowledge and a love for programming and game development.
World of Gothic:
How did the team get together in the beginning? As far as I know some people were contacted by Jowood. Is that the way it went, or did you also take applications?
Most members were approached directly by me, by mail. You cant say that the initiative came from Jowood. It was the Gothic fan in me who made me start this. But of cource Jowood has supported this move. There were applications, yes. But the new arrivals had to face a tough time as they went through long observation- and training programms in deserted salt mines, deep under the earth surface. They went through months of isolation, separated from the real world. ;) But Raven made it all the way.
I can only speak for myself. Because of the situation at the time and the unfinished state the game was in, I tried to make use of my frustation in a productive way (ed. which probably attracted the attention from the teams founders). Then RoiDanton wrote me and that is how I got into the team.
The majority of us was approached by Glockenbeat after he made his announcement in the Jowood forum. I applied somewhat later (still in an early phase), out of my own initiative. Later the team was enriched with people who were approached because they were able to enrich our team with valuable knowledge.
World of Gothic:
How were the candidates for the team evaluated? Did you have many members right from the start or did the Team grow bit by bit?
We wrote to more people than finally found themselves back in the Team. As described above, they all had to endure a hard time first: deprivation of food, getting beaten up, electrical shocks and South-Eastern torture methods were part of a daily program they were subjected to. Only the toughest survived.
Just kidding. But of course we had to search for people who were qualified for the Team, and of course that meant that a large part of the Community had to be excluded. We had to sift them based on their motivation, availability, knowledge of technical issues, and so on.
When looking around one recognises quickly what each candidate is capable of. Thus the core of the Team was built up quickly.
And, as can be expected during such a long time, the size of the Team fluctuated a little, with people coming and going.
But above all: The motivation of the candidates was decisive, and not the knowledge of programming languages or similar stuff.
World of Gothic:
How is the work divided among the members? Who is responsible for which task in your team?
In the beginning everybody just worked on the bugs which crossed their paths. In the course of time people specialized in certain areas which became their domains, like the compilation of the game world (Hans Trapp), removal of many bugs (mdahm), changes in the game physics (Humanforce), direct changes within the game world (ANNOmaniac), the creation of new graphics (Artus of Kap Dun, iks), adaptation of the framework and the graphics enigine (Urban), scripts and combat behaviour (Kronos), etcetera, etcetera.
Like Glockenbeat said: In the beginning most of us tried to fix the bugs they could discover. We did have rules though, to prevent people from working on the same bugs. But when we ran out of the simple bugs we all found our areas to work in.
My tasks are the organisation and coordination within the Team. That means for instance that I inform and invite those people who do the testing, I am contacting fans for translations of stringtables into their languages, I remind the Team of existing agreements (deadlines), etc.
World of Gothic:
When did the idea arise to make another patch, after Patch 1.60 was released? Was that decided in advance, or maybe because a lot of improvements didnt make it into Patch 1.60? Or did many new ideas arise only after this patch?
Well, some weeks before the patch it was clear that we would continue. As far as I can remember there wasnt a big discussion about it. We just didnt have the feeling we were finished with CP 1.60.
As far as I know CP 1.60 was never supposed to be the last patch. The idea to stop after that patch just didnt come up. :) Wenn we talked to Jochen Hamma (Spellbound) in october 2007 we deduced that the cooperation with Spellbound was just one stage and that afterwards, we would have to tackle other things that take more time, like creating changes in the game world.
The decision to go for a patch 1.70 came quite early, already when 1.60 was in the planning phase. The meeting with Jochen Hamma made clear that we would concentrate on the code first, which resulted in CP 1.60, and that the bigger (more complex) issues would be for CP 1.70. This splitting in two of the work to be done was an advantage for us, because it allowed us to postphone issues that were dear to us to a later date. We had more than enough material....
Hans Trapp:
We alread saw quite early that CP 1.60 wouldn't be the last, because there were simply too many 'construction areas' left, and because at this stage we were feeling we were just getting the knack of it.
Because we are not a team of pros we couldnt work on it five days a week. It takes time to get deeply familiar with the code and find solutions to problems that were impossible to fix when we started.
For us it was clear that we would continue, because Spellbound's goal was to improve things at the basis and not more than that.
In patch 1.60 a whole lot of bigger changes are missing (like changes in the game world). At the time we couldnt deal with them, because of their high complexity and a number of technical hurdles.
World of Gothic:
How long was the development time for this patch. Since when are you working on it?
After CP 1.60 the whole team started to work on CP 1.70. A todo-list for 1.70 existed already some time before we started with it.
mdahm and Hans Trapp:
A couple of things that didn't make it into CP 1.60 were already being developed before january 2008.
Basically, when we were busy with 1.60, we were already working on some aspects of CP 1.70. In my case that means the work on the game world, which has been going on for one-and-a-half years by now.
One can say that in part we we aleard working on CP 1.70 during the work on the previous patch. The biggest part of the work though, started after the release of CP 1.60.
After CP 1.60 there was a seamless transition to the work on CP 1.70. The more we worked on it the more possibilities we saw. But also limits became visible.
I see CP 1.70 as the product of all the work we did before. So one can say that the development time for CP 1.70 was a good one-and-a-half years.
Translation by bigsnappy

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