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» Interview with Benlanka & Bill222 of Soviet Invasion

Conducted by: Ash

This interview is with Bill222 and Benlanka, staff of the Soviet Invasion mod for Generals. As you may have guessed, it brings the much desired Russian side into the game.

Q. Firstly, let the audience get to know the two of you - tell us a bit about your (scary?) lives.

Benlanka: My name is Ben Lankamp, I live in the Netherlands and I work for various websites such as CNC:Unleashed, CNC-Storm, CNC:Elite, and SubstanceX.

Bill222: My name is Bill and I am from the UK. I have worked at many sites in the community, more recently cnc-storm. This is the first mod I have worked on and I'm looking forward to its release.

Q. Yes, I'm sure many people will have seen you about - hard not to. What made you think of a Soviet-based mod?

Benlanka: Well, I've seen various polls at for example the Generals boards about the need for a Russian side to be implemented into Generals. After the release of patch 1.5, and the release of the Second Wave mod, I got inspired to come up with something grander than ever done before for Generals: a full scale, singleplayer modification, based around the one thing that most people wanted: having Russia back in the game.

Q. Do you think a multiplayer side of the mod lies ahead, after the campaigns?

Benlanka: Hmm. Tough question. At the moment we are in the stage of working out ideas and trying to see what's possible and what's not. Our main focus at the moment is the singleplayer campaign. We feel that Generals has a lot of potential on that area, and that it far out hasn't been exploited yet. But we are keeping all options open, we are at least going to make 2 or 3 multiplayer maps, that's certain.

Q. How realistic is the portrayal of the Soviets going to be? Will you follow the "realism +1" method of EA, or something new?

Benlanka: Our goal is first to make the Soviet units and structures as realistic as possible to today's terms. After that, we will try and 'upgrade' some of them to make them a little futuristic. So, we're kinda following EA's method.

Q. What Soviet units can we expect with Soviet Invasion?

Bill222: So far we have a few units lined up, we're not too sure on some of generals upgrades, but we are working. With some of the current units we have, we are using some of the tanks that are used in modern Russia and making a few alterations (e.g the SU27, T-72).

Q. Will we be seeing any changes to USA or China?

Benlanka: Well, not real 'changes', but probably some minor addons. We haven't really thought about that yet. We are right now concentrating on getting the Soviets right first. But we will most certainly add a few things to the USA and China sides to compensate for the Soviet 'supreme power' :P

Q. Indeed, especially if they have to wage this war against USA & China! Just to give an insight into the reasoning for the conflict, what does the storyline involve?

Benlanka: The storyline is about after a group of determined soldiers and rebels, motivated by nationalism and nostalgia over the Soviet past, commenced a coup and took control over the Russian Federation. Quickly afterwards they renamed it back to the Soviet Union. In secrecy, they began selling weapons to China. That country was still raging a war against the USA, who occupied some areas of China after the defeat of the GLA.However, when the USA finds out about the weapons deliveries by the Soviet Union, they declare war to the Soviets. Then, because of the war with the USA, the Soviet Union halts the delivering of weapons to China. China, naturally, is furious about it and also declares war on the Soviet Union. The Soviets are being placed in a two-front war...

Q. Hehe, let's see if they can manage to prevail with those odds then, and whether vodka really can help. So, in the missions, will we see a USA & China alliance - or will each side have to be wary of the others?

Benlanka: There won't be a real alliance between the USA and China, but also not a real war. They kind of act desperately.

Q. What kind of objectives will the Missions have? Are you planning on originality, like the relatively unique ideas the GLA had in the main game?

Benlanka: For a starter, most missions have a supportive role to the storyline. We wanted each and every mission to be useful and logical. The missions objectives vary a lot. For example, we have a mission planned which is about the assassination of a few USA commanders and the destruction of their base of operations. This must be done with KGB Special Forces. But there are also classic 'build base and crush the enemy' missions.Most missions are relatively unique, for example, the locations used in the missions are all real cities in Russia and surrounding countries. Some missions are pretty basic and clear, but some are rather complex and have surprising twists. We can't reveal everything of course, that would spoil the fun =)

Q. Thankfully WorldBuilder comes with snow tiles for those Russian cities. How have you found modding Generals so far?

Benlanka: Well, I personally haven't really modded before. This is my first experience. I've been experimenting with replacing build icons, changing the weapons of certain units and so on, and I'm starting to get good at it. I will probably be doing a lot of coding pretty soon, once the models come in. But, modding has been fun so far. I hope that, once I really start to be good in coding and such, I can be a real help to the team. So far I haven't really done much except making up missions, creating the website, making some icons and sport lots of ideas.

Q. Obviously the mod is still in the early stages - are you aiming for a particular release date?

Benlanka: We have no release date in mind. We're just going as we go, and once we feel that the mod is ready to be released (if that is in beta stage or not left aside), we will release it. But I can assure you, we won't deliver a half product. It's the full package or nothing! :p

Well, I think that wraps it up for now - thanks to Bill & Ben for their time. Check out the Soviet Invasion homepage for regular updates on the mod, and check out the two images we have below.

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