Interview with Werner Spahl (Wesp5)

Interview with Wesp5

So I have been a huge fan of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (VTMB) since I first played it back in 2008, making what amounts to an annual pilgrimage to the game every year. I was aware from research into the game that shortly after its release the developers who made it, Troika games disbanded, and as such their was little to no post release game support, so as such, fantastic though it was, the game had numerous glitches, bugs and issues. However entirely off his own back, and in his spare time, Werner Spahl, also known as Wesp5 has been integral to the support and continued support of this game for at least 10 years. He has no affiliation with the game beyond his support of it, and has no ties to the original developers, but has been the driving force behind the ‘unofficial patch’ for the game, which was not only designed to fix those bugs and glitches I mentioned above, but a ‘plus’ aspect of the patch re-adds unused or removed content, arguably further enhancing the gameplay, and certainly adding to the replayability. So you can check out my interview with Wesp5 below, and you can check out my actual review here, and of course make sure and check out another companion piece to the review, namely my interview with Kenneth Hite here. So with the introduction out of the way, here’s the interview.

Okay first off can you tell me a little about yourself?
My name is Dr. Werner Spahl, I live in Munich, Germany, and I work as an analytical chemist. So any patching or modding on my behalf is pure hobby with no programming background.

What made you want to commit so much time and effort to Vampire: The Masquerade – bloodlines (VTMB)?
Basically the main reason is that Bloodlines is one of the best games I ever played. Also it‘s actually at least as much fun to fix or restore stuff as just consuming a game by playing.

What had been the hardest aspect of developing the unofficial patch?
That would probably be the fact that Bloodlines uses an alpha-version of the Source engine and with no official SDK either, there are many issues we will probably never be able to fix.

What’s been your favourite piece of unused content from the Base game?
I don‘t really know as there is so much content and most of it is rather minor stuff only fleshing out the game. But of course I‘m most proud of all the new maps we created!

Some critics of the patch feel that the unofficial patch takes away from the Base game what do you have to say to that?
The patch takes nothing away from the game, anyone claiming that is wrong. Bloodlines was released very unfinished as Tim Cain states in his book. The patch only tries to correct that.

What was the reason behind splitting the patch into a basic and plus version?
It was some very fanatic critics complaining about the name “unofficial patch“ itself and then stealing my patch to retro engineer it into a simpler version. So I figured if people want this I can do it better to my own work and so I split the patch into a basic “bug fixes“ only version and moved all changed and new content into the plus “restoration project“ kind of patch. In my defence I have to say that when I took over the patch from Dan Upright, he had already restored the best weapon in the game so I reasoned this was normal for an unofficial patch.

Do you have a favourite quest in the game?
Not really. But there are some that stick out, like the famous Ocean House quest, or the museum quest is a great location or the beachhouse quest with so many options.

When/if you play the game is there a clan you prefer to play as? And is there any that you dislike playing as?
I only played the game through completely once with a Toreador because Celerity and high firearms stats make Bloodlines a great FPS. I don‘t dislike any of the other clans though.

Following on from that which clan would you recommend for someone playing for the first time?
I would recommend Toreador for people who like to go for ranged combat and Brujah for people who like melee fighting. Maybe Nosferatu if you like to play a stealthy character.

Are there aspects of the game you are still unhappy with and plan to address in future patches?
There are lots of open issues especially regarding models and animation, but I don‘t think we can fix any of them at the moment. For now the patch is getting as good as I can make it.

Finally It’s not relevant to VTMB but what’s your opinion on the other video game based on Vampire: The Masquerade, the one developed by Nihilistic software?
I had a look at it a long time ago, but I can‘t remember much. It‘s a party based third person shooter game and thus not at all my style. I originally came to Bloodlines from FPS games.


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