March 21st, 2012 | By Peter Moorhead
Those of you who are involved in the modding scene in any way, or have even visited ModDB in the last few years will no doubt be aware of the astonishingly ambitious Cry of Fear mod for Half Life 1. For those of you who aren’t, it’s a survival-horror FPS total-conversion mod inspired by the likes of Silent Hill 2 and Resident Evil, featuring some of the best graphics ever seen in a Gldsrc game and has been in development for a really, really long time. It’s creator, Andreas Rönnberg is no stranger to the horror genre or mod development, creating the cult hit “Afraid of Monsters” at just thirteen-years old.
Following the mods frenzied release, I caught up with the man behind the madness. Here’s what he had to say;
IGM: You’ve been making horror mods for quite a while now, but Cry of Fear is distinctly darker than any of your other works. How did you originally come up with the idea for it?
Andreas: I didn’t really come up with the idea like that. What happened was that I just started working on something which I didn’t know what would happen with. I just kept working and kept adding stuff. Eventually James joined me and started helping me with code. After a while, it just turned out to be Cry of Fear. The story for the mod grew as we were working. It has been changed many times. Why Cry of Fear is so dark is mainly because of the hard times I had in life during development, which reflected on the mod, since the story was being worked on at the same time during production.
IGM: It’s been suggested by some that Simon’s character is a sort of abstract, hyperbolic autobiography for you, is there any truth to this?
Andreas: There’s certainly a truth to that. Not only is Simon modelled and textured using me as reference, his personality also reflects mine. But since I wasn’t alone working on this, his personality also reflects our team members. Most of us in the team share the same awful experience in life I think.
IGM: Given your experience in making horror mods, what unique challenges does this genre present and how do you go about conquering them?
Andreas: There’s not really any challenge I care about. I personally haven’t cared about making Cry of Fear that scary, it just appeared to be scary. I only worked on the mod to make it fun to play. The horror only appeared because I like horror. Cry of Fear is a personal project for me, where I could make and create whatever I wanted and felt.
IGM: The monsters in Cry of Fear are utterly nightmarish. What originally inspired you when creating them? Were they just spontaneous creations, or did it take a lot of planning to come up with monsters as disturbing as these?
Andreas: Yet again, the design for the monsters just grew like the story did. Although most of the times I got ideas from my dreams. Also I used a lot of ideas for Cry of Fear which I had saved for other games, such as Afraid of Monsters 2. But since I didn’t want to create any sequel, I decided to use the ideas for Cry of Fear.
IGM: You’ve been working on Cry of Fear for an astonishingly long time. Were there any hiccups along the way? Would you do anything differently looking back?
Andreas: Yeah correct, I spent too much time on it, and that is the problem. What I would do differently is to not spend that much time. It affected my personal life and caused a lot of problems. I overworked myself on this, I worked too fast. I never spent any time with my family or friends, I just locked myself into my room and kept working. That is not the way it should be.
IGM: How did creating the co-op mode differ from creating the single player story? Were there any big problems with adapting the formula to multiplayer gameplay?
Andreas: Since we have experience for making co-op mods back from working on Resident Evil: Cold Blood, we didn’t really have any problems with co-op. Co-op was mainly just fast and easy to work with. We have spent like 3% of our time on co-op, while the rest we spent on Single Player. You could say it took us like 2 months to make co-op. Although I don’t think co-op is finished. It’s still a beta in my opinion.
IGM: Do you have any plans for future projects?
Andreas: We will just keep releasing patches for Cry of Fear I guess. And maybe a DLC for it with a 1 hour long campaign. But we will see. I can’t promise anything, since modding is a hobby, and should not be considered a full-time job. Basically, I, or we, need more time. Time is key.
You can download Cry of Fear provided you have Half Life installed on Steam. You simply need to head over to this download page to get it and then use the shortcut provided to play the game.
More information on Cry of Fear can be found on the game’s official website.