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TRIBES Vengeance Q&A

There's a TRIBES Vengeance Q&A on PC Gameworld talking with VU Games producer Chris Mahnken. Along the way he picks up the gauntlet when asked about comparisons to other highly anticipated shooter sequels, and tosses it right back:

I think we’ll stand up quite well with those titles, which is really saying something. The Doom 3 engine has no outdoor spaces, and the Half-Life engine has been in development since before Tribes 1 shipped. The real question is how they will match up to Tribes Vengeance game-play.

123 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 1.
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123. Re: abelincon.. Jul 4, 2003, 22:25 banksie
Marweas with respect I am not arguing PlanetSide is Tribes, I am pointing out that it is the continuation of the game design principle that underlay Tribes 2 - namely that of organised squad warfare. I was doing similarly with the maps pointing that the argument that Dave Georgeson didn't get Tribes because it was a map designed to limit skiing was wrong - it simply had a different goal from most regular Tribes maps.

Also try to be careful with the universal assertions. I have played Tribes 1, loved it to death, since it was originally launched and I prefer Tribes 2 to it. This quaint notion that once exposed to the 'true' Tribes game you will always prefer it simply isn't true. This goes not just for me but for a healthy number of my clan mates and other compatriates in the Tribes scene I know. Naturally there are others who prefer Tribes 1 and I have no problem with that, after all I spent a good number of years playing that game myself.

T2 opened up the gameplay for me and introduced a higher level of tactical variety thanks to the vehicles and extra tools it provided. Tools that Tribes 1 simply lacked or provided in a crippled form. It also pushed the game much more heavily into a team game where co-ordinated fighting was needed. I _love_ that. If that means I am a neophite after playing tribes games for at least five odd years then can I respectful suggest you are using the term inappropriately. Unskilled player perhaps but not a neophite.

But this very attitude that you are expressing here is precisely what worries me. You and others on the staff, like ThraxPanda, have expressed in interviews a very similar belief about Tribes 1 being the superior game and the game design being chosen for T3 is going to be close to T1.

That will probably make a good game. But I have to say I doubt it is going to supplant T1 or T2 in my mind by going that route. If anything that sort of comment from the staff controlling the project is what makes me pessimistic about the future game. As I said initially what gives me any hope for the game is the involvement of Irrational who craft exceptional single player games. And I find it somewhat sad that in a multiplayer oriented series that for the next game what I am looking forward to is the single player content.

Now we seem on the verge of getting nowhere with this argument, I have said my piece the proof is now going to be when the game is released and we see how it turns out. I really hope my fears are wrong, I really do, but what has been expressed here is doing little to give me hope on that count. I suspect that not just myself but a healthy number of Tribes 2 players feel similarly, y'know members of that community you have close ties with?

Still good luck to everyone involved in the project, I hope you surprise me and produce an excellent game because I want to see the Tribes series continue. The first two are such classics that they deserve it.

Philip (aka. |THAT|-fred aka |O-bot|-fred)

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122. Re: feelings.. Jul 3, 2003, 20:24 Roundhouse
when is that UVA5 thing? And what type of media is going to be shown? in-game movie? screen shots?

EDIT: I also expect the turn out to look like this

This comment was edited on Jul 3, 20:36.
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121. feelings.. Jul 3, 2003, 16:54 Iced
"It's a great feeling to once again be quite hopeful about Tribes." - Marweas


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120. Re: abelincon.. Jul 3, 2003, 14:15 Marweas
Many people enjoy Planetside. It is not however, Tribes. And in the same vein, the people who played the original version of T2, didn't see it as Tribes. There were many Diablo and C&C clones that were very similar in design, but they failed critically and commercially because they failed to capture that magic, that spirit that made fans of the original players.

To those who never experienced Tribes 1, Tribes 2 is the best game on the planet. After Tribes 1, T2 is the only game that offers team play, jet packs, deployables and multiple roles that can be chosen mid-game. Of course those without a history with the brand will find it attractive. If you didn't play Half-Life you might be convinced that Unreal was the best shooter ever, but the view would lack any real perspective. Similarly, unless you were able to glean the true magic of Tribes - gameplay that evolved right along with your skill level - then you would not miss it in Tribes 2.

The competitive community took Tribes beyond team combat with jetpacks and discovered that holy grail of gaming - the game you can play forever. The one you never get tired of because it changes as you change. That's what's missing in T2. The game is already stagnant because once you get really good at the game you reach the end of progression. Of course if you're not that good, the game still holds appeal. But to argue that it's as good as its predecessor by listing maps and strategies denies a deeper understanding that comes from playing for 5 years.

It's tantamount to arguing about a TV set with a repairman. He tells you not to buy it because it's crappy. You say it's Huge! has 199 channels, widgets, gadgets, and beautiful color. He shakes his head and walks away, because he knows the tube in the pretty toy will burn out in a year. And that's why it's not worth it.

T1 was fun for both the experts and the neophite. T2 is only fun for neophites. That's the distinction. With this new Tribes we hope to return the depth of the original so that it once again serves both well.

By the way, KineticPoet is based in Canberra, Australia with the rest of the Irrational team. For in person meetings, you're better positioned from New Zealand than the rest of us. But he's easy enough to get in touch with in IRC on or by posting direct questions to him on some of the many community sites like,, and

This is another element that points to the success of Vengeance. As developers we have very close ties to the community, and have an established two-way dialogue with the fans. The people on the project are brilliant and talented, and it doesn't take more than a couple of minutes conversing with them to realize that they understand your concerns and have already thought of ways to address them. It's a great feeling to once again be quite hopeful about Tribes.

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119. Re: abelincon.. Jul 2, 2003, 18:40 banksie
Actually each of the maps in T2 was designed to accentuate a certain style of play.

Quagmire - sensor webs became useful and it was largely in your face close and personal fighting with good skiing mobility.

Archipeligo - limited skiing, vehicle combat ruled this map with the large water volumes making aircraft largely immune to missiles. Better yet you could use the water to sneak up on enemies. Best moment on that map I have seen? Being an offence shrike doing a diversionary tactic and drawing defenders off while a Havoc snuck out of the water and dropped a full payload of heavies onto the base. A second shrike then zoomed in, recovered the flag while the heavies suppressed the defenders and then got out of there. Just beautiful.

Riverdance, Damnation - classic skiing combat maps ala Tribes 1. Damnation in particular is very much in the T1 mould with good Heavy O required to win the day. Such an exposed flag in a ski friendly zone made the games fast and furious.

Recalescence - troubled child in that it was meant to emphasise team combat with two teams required. One to suppress the enemy generators and the other to bust in to get the flag. Really needed team sizes of 25 plus or so which the hardware just wasn't up to at the time.

Reveresion, Sanctuary - medium size almost exclusively land based rolling ski combat. Midfield vehicle support generally neccesary for succesful flag extraction.

Death Birds Fly - vehicle oriented map. Shrikes in particular dominate here with tanks and bombers following closely behind. Some good fun matches to be had here - at least till constellation scripts became the norm.

Generally the maps were designed with a particular goal in mind. Decrying Archipeligo because it was one of the few maps that made skiing impossible is frankly ridiculous. It would be like damning the game because Quagmire made had short visibility distances and this made the longer range weapons useless. T2 had skiing designed into it, T1 had skiing feature as a radically game altering bug that the maps frequently weren't designed for. Katabatic was clearly never intended to be a skiing map and it's gameplay suffered a lot for being one.

I get a little tired of the overblown rhetoric the T1 zealots use. Yes T2 base changed skiing from being the hyper-kinetic fest it was in T1. Yes that might not have been to your tastes and makes you dislike the game personally. But you already have T1 to satisfy that need, just make more maps for it. T2 supplied a new direction much as it had to - can you imagine the venom that would have been vented had the game really been _just_ T1 with spiffier graphics?

Sheesh guys, it is a big gaming world. There is room enough for both flavours of Tribes.

Oh and I'd love to sit down and have a chat with Kinetic Poet, care to pay the return air-fare from New Zealand to allow that to happen? No?


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118. Re: abelincon.. Jul 2, 2003, 13:25 Yogi
Classic is great, I love it. However it still suffers from the same problems vanilla T2 does.

You really can't play many of the stock maps in classic. 90% of competition is played on user created maps that actually had skiing in mind.

I have little respect for Georgeson's vision for Tribes 2. I got the chance to meet and speak with Dave Meddish at a LAN party (hosted by Cheater, who is the man). One of his maps was Archipelago. Archipelago did not get "Dave G's Magical Stamp of Approval" until the map was determined to be un-ski-able.

Now, the three tenets of Tribes is:
1. Jet packs
2. Skiing
3. Disc launcher

So making a map that goes purely against one of the core ingredients of a game is sound design?

You don't have to have vehicles to do damage. Because moving around as a heavy in T2 was so pathetic did the vehicles stand out. In Tribes heavy offense had no trouble clearing turrets, mines, and wrecking bases which has nothing to do with their bandwidth.

Missile launchers made every grenade besides flares obsolete. The few times you did use conc grenades was usually to break stalemates because someone is sitting deep in a poorly designed base with the flag.

The reason so many T1 people complain about T2 is because it separated the players from eachother. It took away player interaction and replaced them with a buffer. Whether it be turrets or vehicles, or other element the skillsets they built over 3 years of Tribes 1 were unecessarily replaced with elements that made the game easier for 1 man (you know who this is) to play it.

Now, with all that said, I have high hopes for Vengeance. Irrational will do a kick ass job with the single player. Having Mike (KP) on as the multiplayer designer is a blessing. For those who disagree, sit down and have a conversation with him one day. You'll see that he's an incredibly brilliant individual with great ideas and not some Tribes 1 elitist ass some of you make him out to be.

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117. Re: abelincon.. Jul 2, 2003, 06:02 Beaner

No offense, but Im tired of the T1 whiners that constantly complain about T2. Yes out of the box it was buggy, skiing was limited etc.

Today with the final patch applied, playing T2 classic, you have no excuses. T2 classic rocks, its got the speed, its got disc mining, skiing galore, and with all that, you have the extra elements of T2 that Tribes 1 does not have

satchels, shocklance, beter vehicles (flaying flag grabs with a shriek in T2 ROCK compared to the wimpy vehicle in T1) You have bombers (awww Mr bandwidth you mean offensive players without boombastic connections can actually attack you and reap damage?), concussion gernades, missile launchers VS flares shall I go on..

Dont get me wrong T1 was a great game, but T2 with Mods like classic bring T2 to a higher level.

Anyway regardless of which version we like T1 or T2, I think all us Tribes lovers hope that T3 will be the holy grail we can "all" enjoy again.

This comment was edited on Jul 2, 06:03.
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116. Re: No subject Jul 2, 2003, 02:38 Marweas
Too much reason and agreement. Not enough drama.


come back TW

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115. No subject Jul 1, 2003, 23:29 banksie
Cheater, were you playing a different game from me? Tribes 2 had a similarly robust network code to the first game - especially when you played it with the same number of players. Where it suffered a little over modem was the number of players jumped to wanting 24 minimum which was pushing what could be streamed through a 56k data rate. Battlefield 1942 suffers from precisely the same problem and is largely unplayble for modem users on the bigger battles.

I agree with you on the skill aspect, teams dominated in T1 or T2 because they practiced the skillset and it means very little to say that either group would dominate the other. The key requirement is practice and dedication to that team.

But T2 wants a different skillset from T1 and is very heavily oriented to squad warfare as opposed to the more organised team of individuals that T1 favoured. The whole design is very clearly aimed at squad tactics with a heavy requirement for co-ordination and support. I loved that as I said because it pushed the Tribes franchise in a new direction and challenged me as a player in a clan in new ways.

Did it affront T1 players? Some yes. But they always had the option of sticking with T1 if the new game disappointed and instead a bold move was made to shift the game to new territory. I have a lot of respect for Dave Georgeson for making that decision and giving us a sequel that wasn't a graphicly updated rehash of the first game like many sequels are. Indeed it seems he has gone on to take the progression he started with T2 to the next step in Planetside where co-ordination between squads is required to acheive a goal.

If anything I wish could be done differently it was that T2 was given the extra three to four months it needed before launch, the code was clearly immature, and perhaps to have changed the direction on the community features.

Marweas, T1 was good enough for everyone because it was the only game of it's kind. It was among the first to pioneer a strongly multi-player only gameplay in FPS games. First to feature jetpack mobility and the first to really feature large outdoor environments well integrated with the more traditional cramped interiors FPS' love.

Would people be as vocal about T2 being a bad game if it came first? I doubt it. T2's major problems were being a sequel, rushed release and then an arduous patching process. It didn't help that it kept changing core gameplay over the course of a good six months. Even with those problems it still had 500,000+ customers.

I'll be watching the development of T3 with interest.


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114. Re: abelincon.. Jul 1, 2003, 22:13 Marweas
I think that's well said, Cheater.

T1 was good enough for everyone. Not because everyone played it the same way - they didn't - but because it was open enough that it was enjoyable regardless of how you played it. Whether you were doing 300mpg backcaps out of a SH cluster, or whether you liked to set up lots of turrets and then sit at command station taking pot shots at people, it was fun. People were not all forced to play the same way.

I believe part of this came about because Tribes was really an afterthought, and was not over-designed with counter-balances for everything. It was emergent. This is the goal for Tribes Vengeance. A game that has different appeals for different players, and supports them all equally.

I've often made this statement, and I was delighted when KP mentioned it as his goal. "We make the stadium and the ball. What you do with them is up to you." The ball should serve those playing on a playground equally as well as those in a world championship match. That was the magic of Tribes, and that is what I hope they recapture with Vengeance.

- Alex

This comment was edited on Jul 1, 22:14.
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113. Re: abelincon.. Jul 1, 2003, 19:45 Cheater
I would venture a guess that just about any of the real vets of T1 could take on just about any T2 team and come out on top. Look at early T2. Who dominated? 5150 and Vangard. All T1 vets. IMHO was/is actually a no skill game. These teams learned that early while the new players were just discovering that you couldn't kill with a repair pack. T2 was similar to T1 but without the need for precise timing. The old vets of T1 had the advantage of knowing how to avoid rocket turrets and which load outs best suited which position.

Our old friend Dave Georgeson knew this well and did everything in his power to hamper the efforts of T1 players. Things like speed caps, the point for flag capture, shocklance strength, turret strength, and huge maps were an affront to T1 players. And little touches like impossible terrain, terrain obstacles, and the useless vehicles. Not to mention the screwed up network code and, the "Community Features" (which were the only thing that actually worked dependably). These were the things that drove T1 players away screaming.

My position on T:V is that it has to be a game that brings out the best from both games. A game that works for everyone out of the box. A game that requires some learning but carries with it a smooth familiarity. A game that is simple enough for a beginner to play but filled with enough flexibility to keep old timers coming back. And a game that has enough life to grow with it's community.

T1 and T2 players alike will be watching for the signals as they develop this game. The lines of communication must be not only open but receptive.


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112. Re: No subject Jul 1, 2003, 19:43 Marweas
We've planned all along for an open beta period. I expect it to happen middle of next year some time.

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111. Re: No subject Jul 1, 2003, 19:36 Roundhouse
I dont know if I want to be part of the beta or just wait till the final version of the game comes out. Tribes is my all time favorite game (still play it today after 4 years). So im thinking I might just save it all for right at the release of the game

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110. Re: No subject Jul 1, 2003, 19:05 Tony!!!
Marweas, give me a ring on that beta testing position. 8)

my 360 user name is Robo Pop
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109. Re: abelincon.. Jul 1, 2003, 13:47 Yogi
Beaner, your statements are completely un true.

The old guard of Tribes 1 didn't play Tribes 2 because they didn't get them game they were expecting. They were mislead as to what Tribes 2 was going to be. They did not get a game that was fun to play.

Excuse them for expecting a sequel to Tribes 1, which Tribes 2 was not. It undid over 2 years worth of gameplay evolution. It was a step BACKWARD for the franchise.

Speed caps on a game that developed into a high speed fast action game? Does this make sense?

Removing an ability that took time and skill to develop (mine discing) was replaced with a lame ass weapon (shocklance).

Person to person combat was replaced with person vs turret combat.

But yeah, you're right, they didn't play T2 because they couldn't handle it.

:-wave-: Marweas

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108. Re: No subject Jul 1, 2003, 12:34 Marweas

The issues you pose for Vengeance multiplayer are valid, but you needn't be concerned. We are not remaking Tribes 1 or Tribes 2, we are making a whole new game.

I expect it to be fast paced, action oriented, with real strategic depth. We'll know if we're close when we try it out on a couple thousand beta testers next year. I'm counting on them to tell us if we're missing the mark.

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107. Dueling Jul 1, 2003, 02:31 Fleer
There's something that the people who claim that jetpacks are stupid have obviously never experienced: dueling.

Dueling was one of the greatest things to Tribes, for me. It added a different dimension to fragging - now instead of going side to side and back and forth, you added another dimension. It was a real art form knowing when to fire your disc launcher, or when to switch to a chaingun or grenade launcher, or when to hit the jetpack button. Many a stalement CTF matches were decided when the two flag carriers decided to honorably duel on a part of the map.

The greatest duel I ever had was in Tribes 1, when I was a flag carrier, I challenged the other carrier to the duel. People were anxious to get the map over with, because the stalemate was going on for a looong time, but they also respected our wishes for no interference. We found a little depression in the map, and decided to make that our "arena." What was so great about it was that each team lined the hills of the "arena" and watched us duel. It was one of the hardest duels I've ever experienced, but I funally won and we capped the flag, winning the map.

Many trash talkers in Tribes would be silenced by a duel. Unlike fighting in Quake or Unreal or whatever, the duel in Tribes took real skill because it was rarely won with a lucky shot (unless you got an air-disc shot, which was very rare unless you were really good). Sometimes, when going to servers where they have "regular" players, beating a well-known player in a duel will elevate your reputation on the server.

Ah, how I miss the days of Tribes 1...

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106. Re: Tribe Jun 30, 2003, 21:54 Springwheat
laff laff and relaff

So pathetic. Claiming to be part of a team you were never on, just to impress a forum. Go you.

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105. Re: Tribe Jun 30, 2003, 21:36 Iced
Alak.. You where on 5150 eh? What was your player name?

Lets not forget that 5150 was never even capped on in a match, thus we never lost a game either.

Tribes 3/Vengeance will own and Team 5150 will be there to own all. thx

This comment was edited on Jun 30, 21:37.
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104. No subject Jun 30, 2003, 19:16 banksie
As someone who was one of the few that actually bought (rather than pirated) Tribes 1 at it's launch and have played both Tribes 1 and Tribes 2 in clan play here in Australasia I have to say I am worried for Tribes 3.

I have no fears about the single play side - Irrational simply seem incapable of making a bad single player game and their dedication shows through in each game they have released. But multi-player does concern me. It looks to be very much a reprise back to Tribes 1 thinking in it's design. What bothers me about that is that skiing in Tribes 1 was never a design goal - it simply was a physics bug the development team discovered and left in. It actually broke game balance because it allowed the devestating firepower of the Heavies to be delivered to another base way faster than was ever intended.

The end result was a game that was very heavily offence biased and clan games largely broke down to who got the rolling Heavy O going first and was able to sustain it. Vehicles, Sensor jammer packs, Ammo packs and largely the major sensors simply went the way of the dodo. Indeed pulse and motion sensors found a new life usually as mobility barriers making entrance through smaller doorways trickier for the skiing O.

Tribes 2 redressed that balance and actually designed skiing in with capped ski speeds, enlarged the maps to give defenders a real chance to recover between waves and introduced heavy support in the form of vehicles. It also gave us maps where sensors became much more vital. Yes it has it's design problems - chiefly being that without multiple players working in concert little happened and public play suffered as a result. Clan play was always where T2 shined but a vocal segment of T1 players wanted a T2 that was essentially a shiny graphical remake of T1. Which is indeed what we have with T2classic, although in the process of getting that T2base was comprimised from it's original design and as result, for me, largely ruined.

I fear the design for T2 is going to go back to the unbalanced T1 days intentionally. Yes it gives single skilled players the viceral rush of being able to dominate players who are defending because the game balance was in their favour. But I have played that game, played it for two years odd straight and what I loved about T2 was it went somewhere different into real squad warfare.

I'd love T3 to do the same and go somewhere that neither of the first two games have been. But the more I hear from these interviews the more I doubt we will see anything but a reprised T1.

Here is hoping I am wrong.


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