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Starfleet Command: Inerviews: Dan Suleki

By Captain Starkiller for BlackOps Station, 2001-03-05

Mission Design for Taldren

(Interview conducted over ICQ)

Dan Suleski: So, to start off -- how should I refer to you as? Stoney, Hawkeye, Clark?

Dan Suleski: Sir?

Hawkeye: Hawkeye is good, never call me sir, I am a youngin ;) I am just a geek with a web page. :P

Dan Suleski: Alrighty then Hawkeye.

Dan Suleski: I await THE QUESTION...

Hawkeye: heehee, okay, here we go...

Hawkeye: How long have you been scripting with API and how did you get started?

Dan Suleski: My first exposure to the API was at the start of the development of SFC2 in March 2000. Taldren was my first commercial game development job. I had just graduated from the DigiPen Institute of Technology at the start of 2000.

Dan Suleski: DigiPen (DIT) is a game development college located in Washington.

Hawkeye: are you located in Washington state then? We are located here in the Portland, Oregon area

Dan Suleski: Actually, Taldren is located in Southern California. About an hour south of L.A.

Dan Suleski: More information on DIT can be found at

Dan Suleski: There is a lot to learn about that college and the website best explains it.

Hawkeye: Very cool, I will make sure to check that out. Did you do any amateur work while in school?

Dan Suleski: Absolutely. I can go give a brief overview of the projects that I have completed if you would like.

Hawkeye: Absolutely, a brief history would be great!

Dan Suleski: A little bit of a background before I go into the games -- Prior to DIT, I had graduated from a 4-year college in New Jersey with a degree in CS/MIS. At this time, I also held a job dealing casino games in Atlantic City. Now for the games...

While in NJ, I had started off with a tutorial for a casino game called "Pai Gow Tiles". Simply put, the program was intended to be useful for casino dealers who were just learning the game (such as myself).

During my last semester in NJ, I had done an independent study. For this study, I had created a sort of "Myst"/"7th Guest" type of game. One could tell that it was very home-brewed.

While at DIT, I worked in a team of other programming students. While there, I developed three titles. All of which, were developed in C. The first was a "Wheel-of-Fortune" set in Hell game with repulsive ASCII graphics. The second was an actual sprite game similar to the 8/16-bit Castlevania/Zelda games. Finally, a multiplayer, overhead car action game was made. All of these titles were targeted for the PC.

Dan Suleski: Sorry for the long response...

Hawkeye: Wheew a book, but very cool. I love the detail. Future plans for sfc2 or other games, Future with Taldren?

Dan Suleski: Hopefully, more like a list but in paragraph form...

Dan Suleski: Future plans for SFC2?

Hawkeye: Are you involved in the whole patch process at all?

Dan Suleski: I am not directly involved with getting the patch out to the community. Rather, I fix wants and/or bugs as requested by either the community or by the in-house developers as needed.

Hawkeye: Cool, so the community is considered during the process?

Dan Suleski: To the best of my knowledge, absolutely! Heck, as far as I know, Jinxx sits in his office most of the day and prioritizes everyone's requests.

Hawkeye: Okay, then i want a BlackOps Station script and then I want....etc, etc... just kidding sorry, couldn't resist...
How much do you play sfc2 vs. how much you work on it.

Dan Suleski: My recipe is:
17 parts work on it
2 parts play it
1 part listen to those who play it

Dan Suleski: In other words, I play the game on occasion. But really, (I work) closely with Dave and Scott.

I assume that you know who I am speaking about when I mention names such as "Jinxx", "Dave", "Scott", etc?

If not, let me know.

Hawkeye: Oh yeah, I know who they are, much respect in that direction... Well at least you listen to those of us who play it, I would guess that that would mean there is a lot of pride involved with the game you helped create. How do you feel about how Taldren and the game are treated in the forums?

Dan Suleski: As far as I know, the forums are fine. I hear through the grapvine that there are "beefs" at times. But really, how boring would that be if everyone agreed on everything? It might sound like a support group. Mostly, I do not get involved in the forums because I do not have a strong opinion one way or the other on most of the issues.

And yes, there is a great deal of pride for completing a game (commercial or not).

Hawkeye: To appease the masses, do you know the status of the next patch or any information for the public on that issue?

Dan Suleski: Well, I can tell you that I (along with other developers) was presented with a list of close to fifty issues that were to be fixed for the next patch approximately two weeks ago or so. To the best of my knowledge, these issues have been resolved and should be in the next patch. My impression from some of the other developers around here is that the game looks very "sweet", so to speak. The hardcore SFC2 players around here seem to be very happy.

Hawkeye: So is there a date set on its release?

Dan Suleski: There likely is, but I do not have it.

Hawkeye: Cool enough...

Dan Suleski: Sorry. The person who could better answer that seems to have left for the night.

Hawkeye: Other game projects, what other games do you actively play?

Dan Suleski: Well, as far as the PC goes, the latest games that I have delved into include "Thief", "Half-Life", "Starcraft", and "Diablo". Personally, I am more of a console, action/adventure gamer. Particularly, I like the Resident Evil series as well as the Mario/Zelda/FF games, especially the old 8/16-bit versions.
I hope that did not scare you.

Hawkeye: Nope, very cool. Legend of Zelda was my first roleplaying computer game.

Dan Suleski: Very cool.

Hawkeye: How do you feel about Heavenseagle and Remus and the FMSE utility and ShipEdit for that matter? Or modding in general, do you feel that (modding) enhances the game or corrupts it?

Dan Suleski: HeavensEagle and Remus have conducted themselves in a professional manner as far as I am concerned. My only contact with them was very seldom during the development cycle, so on a personal level, I really do not know either of them.

As far as creating tools for a game -- I feel that it enhances it. I believe that if at least one person finds the product useful, then it must enhance it. It is up to the people who create it if it is worth their time in the long run. That is something that is not easily answered. In the case of FMSE, Remus or HeavensEagle would know best. Although, I think that the product is very helpful to those who are looking to create a simple mission.
Modding, in general, is great. I have no qualms with it.

Hawkeye: Great to hear, I will probably mod this game until I die. Have you read any of the script reviews? What do you think about fan sites in general?

Dan Suleski: If you point me in the direction of the script reviews, I would be happy to read them.

Fan sites are great. How else could I get hyped up on games like "Tomb Raider" and "Conker's BFD"!?!?!? Haha.

No really, I think that it is great that there are so many fan sites. I do not keep track as diligently as Jinxx and such; however, I do drop by sometimes when given a link on the forums or an email from a coworker, etc...

Hawkeye: then go to the scripts page.

Dan Suleski: Give me a few moments to look.

Hawkeye: Well, you can do that later, I was interested in the fan sites opinion really.

Dan Suleski: No prob.

Hawkeye: So, at BlackOps Station we call our personal computer the Captain's Yacht. tell me about your Captain's Yacht. What is your personal system?

Dan Suleski: I refer to my "Captain's Yacht" as a "PC". Haha.

No really, I have not named my computer. At work, it is a P3-600, TNT2, 128MB RAM. I refuse to use a mouse pad. Everyone around here seems to detests that.

Dan Suleski: Nothing really special loaded onto it other than development tools. However, I do possess a large amount of demos.

Hawkeye: Oh, we haven't really named our computers. We are not that bad, almost, but not quite. heehee do you have a system at home or do you kind of "live" at work?

Dan Suleski: Nothing loaded on in the way of games. As mentioned earlier, I am more of a console fan.

Hawkeye: Interesting...

Hawkeye: So have you been signed on for a possible SFC3?

Dan Suleski: If there is any news on SFC3, it will likely be found in the general forums. I do not get into contracts and such around here, so I could not tell you much.

Anyway, why worry about SFC3 when SFC4 and SFC5 are equally worriable?

Hawkeye: Ah well, didn't even know if there were future plans for an SFC3. I would just love to see an SFC3 as a player. :)

Dan Suleski: Yeah, I can imagine. There are several that would like to see SFC3. Who knows?

Dan Suleski: So, I have never been to your website. It looks pretty cool so far.

Dan Suleski: I have heard the names of these scripts being thrown around in the forums here and there though.

Hawkeye: Cool, that's pretty cool to hear as a scripter.

Hawkeye: Last question. Where did you get the plots for the scripts in SFC2? Was there an overall storyline that you followed or did you incorporate some old SFB stories? I know that the campaign has an overall theme, Did you come up with the campaign plots?

Dan Suleski: You are correct in that there was an overall storyline in each single-player campaign of SFC2. The storyline for these SFC2 campaigns was written by a gentlemen named Scott Bennie. I am not all that aware on his background; however, I do know that he had worked on SFC1 also. These storylines were given to the mission programmers for SFC2 and were then scripted within the engine's means. There were some cases where a particular ship or effect was needed (as dictated by the storyline) and the functionality was then added to the engine or the API (within reasonable means).

The multiplayer scripts, tutorials, and skirmishes were either taken from in-house design, historical missions, or redone from SFC1.

Hawkeye: Very cool information. I am sure some will find that interesting.

Hawkeye: Well, that's is all the questions that I have for you. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you and appreciate the answers. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Dan Suleski: One sec...

Hawkeye: Okay.

Dan Suleski: I am glad that I could be of help. I hope that I did not bore you too much. It was fun!

Dan Suleski: Take care!

Hawkeye: Not a problem. Thanks and have a good night.


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