Starfleet Command: Inerviews: Brad Barr
By Captain Starkiller
for BlackOps Station, 2001-03-05
Battles to Starfleet Command
(Interview conducted over
How did you become involved in Starfleet Command?
This is actually a long story. I have always been an avid SFB player/collector
and, like many, wanted a computer version of the game. A little more
than two years ago I got tired of waiting and decided to make my own
SFB computer game. I spent about two months gathering art, making sound,
and brushing up on my programming skills for the project when I read
an article that Quicksilver was making a SFB computer game. I looked
up the game on the web and decided I shouldn't waste my time making
my program. It was about six more months until the official website
came online and more information about SFC was filtering in. Once they
forums came online I immediately started asking questions. The SFC team
eventually said that they would need some beta testers and I very much
wanted to be a part of that. I started up the SFBtoSFC FAQ and made
my own web page in hopes that it would help me become a beta tester.
In the end my work paid off and the site took off from there.
Were you a player of Star Fleet Battles? How do you think they compare?
I started collecting SFB game books when the Commanders Edition first
came out and now own almost all the new Doomsday modules. I never got
to play the game much because I rarely had the time. As far as comparisons
go, I think SFC and SFC2 are very good representations of how SFB plays
besides for the obvious real time nature. A lot of the tactics used
in SFB still apply in SFC and SFC is definitely a "thinking mans"
SFB2SFC... what was your motivation for the website? Did you approach
TheGamers.net or did they approach you?
The initial motivation for the website was the SFBtoSFC FAQ and to become
a beta tester for SFC. Once I started my research into putting models
into the game I used it to share my discoveries and keep people updated
on how close I was. I never expected to get hosted (I didn't even know
companies would do that) so I was surprised when I was approached by
TGN for hosting. It didn't take much convincing for me to join TGN as
they provided a lot of support and unlimited web space. Our move to
www.strategyplanet.com took some effort but it has been the best move
for the website since its inception.
What will happen to the "associated" sites at SFB2SFC?
You mean TDR and AGT?
At this time, I am probably going to drop both of them. The new site
will be coming up and its primary focus will be models and SCME and
updating the FAQ for SFC2. There has not been a lot of activity in TDR
and AGT for a while and I myself cannot manage them. I will be keeping
all the files though in case the projects do resurface. At this time
though, priorities lie with making the new site and then SCMEv2.0
What will happen to the shipyards?
The shipyards will move as is to the new location for the time being.
They will be slowly updated into the new version of the site.
How does the current failings of several big-name gaming websites affect
your plans for the future of SFB2SFC?
Couldn't care less.
Can you describe, in a nutshell, what SCME is? What are your plans for
the next edition?
Starfleet Command Model Editing Utility (SCME) is actually a misleading
title. All it really is is a file converter that allows you to convert
Lightwave (lwo) files into Starfleet Command (mod) files.
The next version (name may
change) is actually much improved. It will be windows based and be a
lot more versatile. I know that the 3D Max plug in has been released
but there is still a need for a program like SCME. A majority of people
cannot afford programs like 3D Max ($3000) or Lightwave ($2000). This
prevents a lot of people from being able to make models for SFC. SCMEv2
will fill that void by allowing people to convert DXF files and LWO
files. The fact that SCMEv2 will support DXF files will make it much
easier for anyone to make models as almost every 3D CAD program out
there supports DXF files. This will hopefully allow those with cheaper
programs (i.e. MilkShape) to make models for the game.
How is working with Remus on the new SCME, I mean is he good to work
Remus is great to work with. He is extremely talented and without his
help I doubt SCME would have ever had a chance to reach its full potential.
How do you feel about Taldren's role in the SFC community? Were you
actually involved in the beta testing?
Taldren has amazed me with their involvement in the community. I hope
they continue this trend, as it is one of the best parts of owning the
I was involved in beta testing
for SFC and SFC2. I also hope to be a part of beta testing for any future
With your experience with SFC1, and now 2, what do you think the future
holds for SFC?
In short, I think the future looks very bright. While both games have
had their "false starts,?it is clear
that they are both excellent games. I thoroughly enjoy SFC2 and expect
it to only get better as Taldren finishes the last couple of patches.
Do you still get to play? If so, what is your favorite ERA and Race?
To be honest, I rarely get to play either game or games at all for that
matter. I am spending what little time I have with SCME and designing
the new site. When I do play though it is usually with Hydrans.
Do you feel that the "universe" of SFC is better than, or
worse than the "universe" of SFB?
Pretty much the same I guess. What I would be really excited in seeing
is a free form dynamic universe that players could rise in rank in.
They would eventually be able to direct the ships for their race and
control a war. Dynaverse2 is a small step in that direction. At least
it doesn't shut you down when you finish the game.
How do you like the new graphics engine behind SFC2?
I think it rocks. There are games that are more visually impressive
of course but SFC2 strikes the balance needed for playability and looks.
And of course we can make all the models look better if we want :)
The Taldren Forums... how do you feel about them?
A great place to get any answer you are searching for. There may have
been problems initially with SFC2's release but that is common with
many games. Even SFC1 had its share of "unproductive posts"
when it was first released. The thing I keep in mind is that Taldren
has a good track record and will support the game the way it should
You have worked with some of the best people in the community, what
do you think of groups like the Dominion of Modelers?
I don't think the Dominion of Modelers is even a group really. It is
a site that allows people to show of their wares since SFU (Star Fleet
Universe) dumped several people. I have no idea if it is "good"
or "bad". I am too worried about living my real life to worry
about "virtual" life.
How do you feel about the Modeler's Right to Copyright?
I firmly believe that you give credit were credit is due. I am no lawyer
and will not get any deeper than that as I have no idea if someone can
Copyright an Enterprise model they made. I do believe that they should
get credit for making it though.
Do you LAN? Or play online? What games do you really like to play?
No LAN and I do not play online really as I do not have the time. When
I do have the time I play SFC2 and Baldur's Gate 2.
What is your personal goal for your role in the community of Star Trek?
I want to finish up SCME, provide the largest shipyards for SFC games,
and move onto cracking the sprites.q3 file.
How much time, on average, does maintaining a productive presence in
the SFC community take for you in a week?
Way too much.
Do you have a favorite modeler? A favorite model?
My favorite modeler would have to be DIX123. Without his help I would
have never been able to crack the MOD file format.
how does Dix123 leaving the SFC2 community make you feel?
Well, I wish he didn't have to leave but when doing something doesn't
make you happy anymore it is time to move on. Especially if it is just
a hobbyI think life and work just catch up to you and you have to know
when to drop the other things. He had a lot to work to do obviously.Work
is easily catching up to me
Are you a Trekkie?
Nope. I guess I am a SFBekkie
so, being an avid SFBekkie, are you a bigger fan of the TOS era than
Used to be. Cannot say that I am anymore. I like a lot of the TMP ships
being put out lately.
What is your favorite Star Trek moment?
The Enterprise blowing up in STIII.
What do you think of the Dynaverse in concept? And in reality?
It is a great idea in concept. In reality I wish it were a lot more
realistic and complicated. Perhaps in future SFC products . . .
Please add anything you would like!!!
Like usual, not enough time! :)