A weekend dedicated to Gothic
This story begins almost exactly one year before the actual event. It was the 24th of September 2022, I was sitting on a bench and it was pouring down. However, this could hardly darken my mood, as I was sitting across from a concert stage wearing a rain poncho. On stage: In Extremo! It was the concert at Satzvey Castle, the catch-up date for their 2020 tour. I had to wait two years, but now the time had come:
While the band started playing Herr Mannelig's melody, I had a brilliant yet banal idea. Why not use next year's tour as an opportunity for a team meeting? That would provide the right atmosphere and we could exchange ideas over a bowl of meatbug ragout and a rice schnapps – or whatever one prefers instead.
Some time later, I presented my idea to the team. We drew locations on the map, compared calendars, evaluated and came to the conclusion that none of the concert dates were a good fit. As an alternative, we decided to visit the Mittelalter Phantasie Spectaculum – the largest traveling medieval festival in the world – which offers the right atmosphere as well as musical entertainment. So it turned out to be the 23rd of September 2023 in Cologne.
As many of our readers will know, this project has been running for a while now. In the past, I have already been able to meet half of our members at the Modder get-together. Unfortunately, due to adverse circumstances, not all of them were able to come as planned. Coincidentally, however, it was exactly the other half of the team that I had not yet met in person.
After those who had traveled from further distances had checked into a hotel and we had a meal together in the evening, we met the next morning at Fühlinger See just before the gates of Cologne. On Google Maps, there are aerial photos of the construction/dismantling of the Mittelalter Phantasie Spectaculum in 2019, which gives you a good idea of the event. Only this year it was much greener due to the abundant rain. By the way, the famous Cologne Cathedral can be seen in the distance at the top center of the picture.
The experiences of the first day were manifold. While I was still on my way there, the others, along with many other onlookers and even two knights, witnessed the humorous baptism of a young man by Brother Rectus. This took place – thank Adanos – in the classic way by submersion and not in the usual Gothic manner.
After my arrival, Gnox was completely taken aback by a market trader who had lived two streets away from him in Frankfurt and attended the same school. The world is a village after all. Afterwards we competed in archery, each shooting seven shots at targets seven meters away, which is why I had to buy Anselm a beer.
We were amazed by Heiko the magician, ate cyclops skewers and witch wraps, played dice, marveled at the fighting skills of the Fictum squad and listened to the story teller Tandaniel. As darkness fell, we stopped off at a tavern where we chatted lively before watching the fire show at the end of the day. Up to this point, however, our conversations had mostly revolved around personal topics rather than Gothic, which was to change on the second day.
We met at lunchtime in the historic town of Zons, a settlement on the Rhine between Cologne and Neuss that is over 1000 years old and which became a toll town in 1372. The Rhine toll collected here originated in the medieval times to promote shipping and generate revenue for the improvement of the waterway, before gradually developing into a formal tax on goods and ships.
After a short walk through the picturesque alleyways of Zons along the historic sights, we settled down on the terrace of the Schloss-Destille. Although it has a much shorter history, it offers an incredible ambience for all medieval fans. And so, we ended up talking about the Gothic Reloaded Mod for several hours...
Even the best planning is useless if the weather doesn't play ball. In this respect, we were undoubtedly lucky. I would recommend a meeting like this to all teams that have been working on a project for a while and have lost themselves in it. We found each other again and put together a battle plan.
We would like to release the Gothic Reloaded Mod before the remake by THQ Nordic. To do this, we have to finish at least the Sleeper Temple and the Orc Graveyard. While the former is already well advanced, the latter is in a state that doesn't really meet our standards. Instead of restarting the Orc Graveyard, however, we will simply patch it up and use the darkness that prevails there as an ally. Most of the textures have already been reworked, so they are no major problem. In addition, there must not be any bugs that prevent you from playing through the game. We will test this ourselves, but we may also start a closed beta.
A long time ago, we started cooperating with others to relieve ourselves of work and at the same time honor the work of others. This includes the Carnage Graphics Patch by Mark56 and Gothic Weapons Rebuilt by CeeX. We also want to integrate the Kotics monsters into the game, which we have already done with the Scavenger.
However, there is other content that we will probably not address for the time being. These include items and VOBs, some of which are covered by the cooperations, and the armor's meshes.
For the release, we will give the Gothic community the opportunity to send us feedback and evaluate it in order to better focus our subsequent work. Furthermore, we will meet online as a team once a month to work together, exchange ideas, solve problems together and thus achieve our goal faster.
Of course, the group photo is obligatory for the end of the event: