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Peter interviews Adam Ryland - 10th March 2004

Adam Ryland Interview

Adam Ryland

This is my second time of interviewing Adam, who is the creative mind behind firstly EWR (Extreme Warfare Revenge); and now TEW (Total Extreme Warfare).
What's the difference between the two?
TEW is going to be on sale, unlike EWR; that was free for download online. Adam has put a lot of time into TEW, with the back up of .400 Software Studios; and the imminent release of this game is much anticipated by wrestling fans and fans of simulation games alike. As an online wrestling journalist, I need time to relax; and Adam's games have always helped me to do that.

PETER) : - You've come a long way in your time as a programmer. For people who haven't played the EWR series, but have now discovered your work and can't wait to play TEW; tell us a bit about your past and the EWR games.

ADAM) : - The initial Extreme Warfare game was actually card-based, and was made during an extremely dull school break during the summer back in the early 1990's. From there it got turned into a black and white DOS program ('Extreme Warfare 1'), then turned into a college project to learn the Turbo Pascal language (from 'Extreme Warfare 2' to 'Extreme Warfare 9000'; although there weren't nine thousand versions - I just had a habit of adding a few thousands to the name every few months!); and then it became a Visual Basic project that I did during University to keep my programming skills sharp (the 'Extreme Warfare Revenge' series). They were all released independently on my own website, and generally spread through word of mouth.

PETER) : - How did the opportunity come about to make TEW? Were you approached, or were you looking for the chance to do something as big as this all along at one point?

ADAM) : - I'd always liked the idea of trying to make a professional version of the game, but I didn't realistically think that I'd ever be given the opportunity to do so; so I wasn't actively seeking to do so. .400 Software Studios, who specialise in in-depth simulators; approached me in summer 2003 after EWR had been mentioned a few times on their message boards - and I decided to accept their offer as you don't get too many opportunities like that coming your way. Ironically, the offer came only a few weeks before the official release of EWR 4.2; which was scheduled to be the final freeware version I was going to make.

PETER) : - EWR 4.2 is my favourite, but I'm biased; because you mentioned me on the credits! How long has it taken to make TEW? What new features do you have in TEW that EWR didn't have? It seems to many people like you've taken the wrestling simulator genre, that you pretty much made famous; and have turned it on it's head again!
ADAM) : - TEW has been in production since late August 2003, and is due to finish at the end of March 2004; so it's taken me seven months in total. That's working 8 hours a day, every day; so a lot of work has gone into it. The new features are essentially designed to take the basic concepts that I used in EWR, but expand on them to make the game more realistic. You now have things like a very rich game world featuring more than one hundred locations around the world (as opposed to EWR, which only had one), far more detailed statistics for each wrestler, time delayed decisions (workers will take a few days to consider offers for example), for more advance AI where you can see what matches and decisions the computer is making; and multiplayer for up to 4 people. Those are just a few of the major features, there's also hundreds of smaller features that go beyond what EWR offered.
PETER) : - What do you yourself feel that a wrestling simulation game has over a first player action game?
ADAM) : - I look at them using a TV series vs Movie analogy. Your arcade style games are like your Lethal Weapon/Die Hard movies: Lots of glitz and special effects, and entertaining for a short while - but they don't require you to think, and once you've watched it you're not going to watch it again unless you're feeling nostalgic; you're going to wait for the next movie to come out with even bigger special effects. A simulator is more like a TV series, like The West Wing or Six Feet Under. It may not have the explosions and car chases that the movies have, but they have far more depth, you can watch them many times over and still get something new out of them on each viewing; and they're going to last you a lot longer. Plus on a personal level, I feel it's a much more rewarding experience in that you're watching the characters evolve; and so you become far more attached to them than Generic Action Hero Guy. It's the same with simulators, as you get far more involved as you watch your game evolve; and see your choices have consequences.


PETER) : - Will the computer be a lot harder to deal with in TEW? With a bit of clever thinking, it was able to sneak around and find little loopholes in EWR; are the majority of us going to be pulling our hair out and reduced to getting by on our talent and abilities?
ADAM) : - The computer is a lot smarter in TEW, although it does depend on who you're playing against. Each character in the game has particular traits that he displays. So, the boss of Federation A may be willing just to splash money around and simply try to drive your promotion into the ground by offering all of your main stars tons of money, while the boss of Federation B might be non-confrontational and will avoid bidding on your wrestlers so as not to cause trouble. The end effect is that you have to build your strategy around who your opponents are, and what you're current situation is; so it requires a lot more thought and strategy on the part of the player.
PETER) : - Seeing how the main wrestling promotions haven't allowed you to use their wrestler's names in TEW, can you tell us how in-depth the data editor is and how much of the game can be customized to the player's wish? Has it been a hindrance not being able to use real life workers, or has it made you more creative?
ADAM) : - The data editor is about as flexible as you're going to find, as you can edit pretty much everything in the game to your liking; from the height of an individual wrestler to what markets each TV Network is shown in. As for not usual real workers, that has actually been fun as I've created a fantasy world that comes with the game; and so I got to do a lot of creative work on it.
PETER) : - No more is the promotion size factor of EWR, it's all now based on location. How much of a choice is the player given, and how will that work in being able to attract wrestlers to work who aren't local to where the promotion is based?
ADAM) : - The choice is unlimited when it comes to location. Each promotion is based in one specific location, but you can choose to hold shows wherever you like. Of course, if you're a small English promotion then it's not the best idea to try and run a show in Japan; but you can go ahead if you're feeling in a wacky kind of mood! Worker's demands do change on their current location - if they are living in Toronto with their family, they are probably not going to work full-time for a promotion in New Zealand. Similarly, if you hire a Canadian-based worker to wrestle for your Japanese promotion, and his contract specifies that you are paying his travel costs; you could end up spending a lot more than you wanted to if you have to fly him over three times a week.
PETER) : - With TEW, you've managed to out do yourself again. What does the future hold now for the legend of Adam Ryland? Do you sit still and rest for a while, and take the well deserved break that such hard work deserves; or is it back on with the show?
ADAM) : - Once TEW is out, I'll be making myself available for customer support for a month or so afterwards; to make sure nobody has any problems with it. After that, I'm taking a much needed vacation to decide what comes next.
PETER) : - Is there anyone you'd like to thank for their help in TEW, or for keeping you sane with all that programming?!
ADAM) : - I'd have to thank my hair stylist first and foremost. Too many programmers fall into the trap of letting their hair care regime fall apart due to the tight deadlines they have, and end up with greasy unmanageable hair. But I've been sure to avoid that, which is why my golden locks have volume, shine, and bounce. Hey, as the lady says; I'm worth it.
PETER) : - I've never let mine get like that even with all the writing online I do, but mine certainly is getting long! Finally, what do you have to say to the person reading this; the possible purchaser of the game?
ADAM) : - I'd like to invite everyone to to read about the features in TEW in more depth, and to ask any questions they might have. The game is almost finished, and I can say that I'm very proud of the final product; it's gone far beyond what EWR was able to do. I hope that everyone who has interest in wrestling, and likes strategy based games will come and take a look at the demo when the game gets released; and check out what TEW can do.
PETER) : As always, it's been an absolute pleasure to sit down and chat with you Adam. Thanks for the interview, and also thank you on behalf of all of us who play your games.
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