GRIM: So who are you guys anyway? Tell us a little about the overall scope and mission of your project.
SOTP: Sins of the Prophets (SotP) is a total conversion mod for the PC game Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion that transforms the game into a Halo-themed experience. It's a real-time space strategy game, focused on empire building, and space combat. Huge fleets of ships clash in the gravity wells of planets, asteroid fields, and massive structures. Our mod redresses all of that in Halo garb. In a match of SotP you could defend Reach from the Fleet of Particular Justice, discover a massive Forerunner structure that gives you advanced technology, then amass a giant space empire, only to lose it all to the Flood. The skirmish style of the game allows for some of Halo's sandbox appeal to translate well into the mod. The space combat is brutal and fast - an element of the Halo story covered well in the books, but hasn't yet been fully realized in a game or film.
GRIM: Sounds awesome. Can you talk about your process for building the mod? Who does what, how much time does it take, etc?
SOTP: When we’re adding new content to the mod we usually find as much source material as we can. Once found, we discuss any sources we consider primary for the look and feel, then the primary artist takes over, and we offer advice, and critique, as the asset takes shape. Ships (like these you see here) typically take about 2 to 3 weeks from start to finish, when we have good source material, so Halo: Fleet Battles has been a huge blessing for us; especially so, because of the physical models we can pour over. Weapon effects take a few days to a week, and planets can take a week or so. We scrutinize everything we create heavily, and try very hard to stay as accurate to the Halo universe as we can. Typically, after we finish something we show it to our community, and may make changes based on their feedback. We have a lot of knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans, and we value their input immensely.
The core team is made up of:
Project Lead: Unikraken
Design Lead: Lavo
Coder/Effects Artist: Cole Protocol
Effects Artist: Sgt. Toothpaste
3D Artist: Malcontent1682
3D Artist: Sookendestroy
UI/HUD Artist: WyvernZu
Music Composer: WaseemFarazButt
Audio Director: IamSancho
Promotional Material Artist: ElijahBI
QA Lead: Idio
Some of the assets we use are created, and shared by our sister mod, Homefront, a mod for Homeworld 2.
GRIM: It certainly looks like you have a passionate and robust team! How spread apart are you globally?
SOTP: Most of the team is located in North America, however we've got people from all over the planet working on the project. There’s artists from New Zealand and Sweden, as well as our composer operating out of the UK. The team is typically around 10 people, but is seasonal work for some, as many of the team members are working their way through college. We have around 20 dedicated playtesters for the internal build of the mod, and they span the globe from America and Europe, to Australia and Southeast Asia
GRIM: Now, though it might seem obvious, what are your team members’ favorite aspects of the Halo lore and fiction?
SOTP: The sheer size and depth of the Halo lore is a major drawing point, with some of the team being PC only; this means that the wealth of external Halo media is a huge plus. You can be a Halo fan whether you're a PC gamer, console player, or you just like to read books, and comics. We pull from that canon, where there's this technological disparity between all of the major factions, that makes it possible to tell these amazing stories of sacrifice, and brutality. The space combat in the lore is of course, also captivating. For the Covenant, their fleets finding a human world, then laying siege with the intent to kill every last human, hoping that this is humanity's homeworld, and their final stand. Humanity sending every nearby ship, to valiantly sacrifice themselves, in extremely one-sided battles so that some innocent civilians ground-side are able to escape. What pulls is that they do this every time the Covenant show up. For 20 years.
GRIM: Any particular favorite Halo moments from books, cutscenes, or gameplay?
SOTP: “I would have to choose the introduction of the Scarab, towering over the city streets, in Halo 2.” - Sookendestroy1
“Halo 2, running through Gravemind, and High Charity, where you can see the chaos of the Great Schism firsthand.” - Cole Protocol
“Halo: Combat Evolved, driving out of the Forerunner tunnels with your first warthog, ‘Reunion Tour’ Chapter Title popping up, and all to the sounds of brass, strings, and drums.” - Idio
“Admiral Cole’s last stand, at the Battle of Psi-Serpentis.” - Malcontent1692 [depicted in the Halo: Evolutions story ‘The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole’ – Grim]
“When Truth activates the portal on Earth in Halo 3, and you see the UNSC’s all-out assault on the Key Ship.” - ElijahBI
“Watching the Forward Unto Dawn swoop down towards the Ark, in Halo 3.” - Unikraken
“The epilogue of Halo 3, where Master Chief enters the cryo tube, after finally ‘finishing’ the fight.” - WyvernZu
GRIM: What are some things you are looking forward to in the near Halo future?
SOTP: We're all crazy excited to see what new ships come out from the Halo: Fleet Battles team at Spartan Games. They've made our jobs much easier. We're also hopeful that we'll get to see some more Forerunner ships show up in the future stories being told through the games. Undoubtedly we’re all very excited for the arrival of Halo Wars 2. Halo needs more strategy games!
GRIM: We’re glad you think so, too! What does the Halo universe mean to you as a team and individually?
SOTP: As a team, it's the element that binds us all, the common factor that we all love and strive to replicate in our project. The crushing despair of defeat, the spoils of victory, and the joys of success.
Through Halo, we've all met so many incredible and talented people. There is no other community on Earth like the Halo community; It's vast and deep like the ocean. No matter how niche your particular Halo interest is, there's a community of like-minded individuals, ready to accept you, and experience Halo alongside you.
GRIM: Could have said it better myself. Before we go, where can other Halo fans go to find out more about the Sins of the Prophets project?
SOTP: To catch up on the latest news, and download the mod, please visit our ModDB profile here - in fact we literally just released the latest update for the project, which you can download here. We also have a Facebook page, where we show a lot of work in progress assets, and interact with the SotP community, as well as an active presence on Twitter, where you can follow us @SinsOfProphets.
GRIM: Sounds great. Thanks so much to your team for chatting with us today, and for sharing your passion for the Halo universe in such a cool and creative way!