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Mercenary's menu Interview

(10.10.2000)

[Napalm] - Vitaly Shutov (MiST land)
[Yurg] - Yuri Bushin (Freelancer)

[Yurg] Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how long you are in game development business?

[Napalm] MiST land (by the way, this is distinctive spelling of our name) has been established in 1997. Theoretically, fantasy RTS called BESTiARY should have been our first project, but it has been frozen because of problems with publisher. In 1999 we started to develop the game "Great Wars: Napoleon" and now, in early October 2000, it will appear on Russian market (Russian publisher is Buka company). So Paradise Cracked is our second separate project (we have had some contract orders for other teams, and we are also working in localization area).

[Yurg] Please tell us about your current project. How can you describe Paradise Cracked?

[Napalm] Our current project is a sort of X-Com theme development, I would even dare to call Paradise Cracked some kind of mix between X-Com and Baldur's Gate. X-Comish game components are turn-based system and tactical combats. Baldur's Gate influence is quest composition system, travelling between levels, serious RPG system (to prevent possible questions, let me say at once: we do not use board RPG parameter system, and, in spite of some resemblance in skill names, most of them are quite different from ones used in standard RPGs).

[Yurg] Please tell us about the game plot, at least generally.

[Napalm] Game's world has a stylistics most of all close to cyberpunk. Major megapolis is a main scene of action - and it is not static city; there are residents, trains and buses in working order (btw, you can use it), and the whole city is divided into several "floors". Main plot idea is that negligible person, not superhuman at all, able for many things if driven into a corner. Player character, common hacker (even not advanced), just for hack value sneaks in multiuser mail system of some server, causing latter sequence of events representing the game itself. I will omit telling the results or content of stolen message right now, just play the game to find it out. I can only say I am sure the plot will gladden many X-Files-like serial fans (however none aliens planned in finale).

[Yurg] Can you say what are the capacities of game engine?

[Napalm] Well, what can I say about modern engines... The more time passes, the bigger and... perhaps, more uniform it grows. Game engine presents the full range of all fancy features. Color lightings, smokes, explosions, quite advanced shader stuff, destructible objects at each level (you cannot demolish the whole level, but definitely able to break some passages).

Extensive options of picture quality adjustment, and many many things more. We are keeping abreast of the times (see our screenshots). However, to be honest, everyone is developing engines with wide range of functions now. But the number of plausible shadows dropped by object in realtime mode from multiple light sources is not the main game feature - gameplay is above all tasty visual effects! This is our main work direction, including engine capacities.

[Yurg] How much 3D is it, and what are system requirements?

[Napalm] 3D? Absolute 3D. System requirements are quite sufficient: at least 8Mb second generation accelerator, 300MHz processor, and, well, 64Mb RAM. With such hardware you'll be able to view the intro and understand you need to upgrade your computer (joke). Actually such configuration allows to play with average quality textures and 640x480 screen mode. The more quality you want, the better computer you need. In principle, first TNT and Celeron 366 provide quite good speed in 800x600 mode with good texture quality (for non-optimized version).

Optimal configuration constantly changing as soon as new 3D accelerator manufacturer press-releases published, and new processors announced. ;-)

[Yurg] What things affected the game concept most of all - movies, books, other games?

[Napalm] The most impact to game concept is from Blade Runner, I think (both movie and game). To be honest, I can hardly remember other inspiration sources right now, but there were many others as well. So it affected jointly. It was general sum of all sources that produced game plot, concept and idea.

[Yurg] In what stage of project development are you now?

[Napalm] In difficult one. We started to assemble everything. Well, remembering our previous experience, this stage is most annoying (billion of bugs and buggies appear), but most interesting at the same time. Each new day gives new results, new view. In month or two the game will go alpha, then we are going to test it for a long time and tune the gameplay (just imagine how much time takes the testing of parameters for several dozens of weapon types), and then final assembly, final testing and release. Like people say, initial 80% of project takes 20% of time, and then remaining 20% of project takes 80% of time.

[Yurg] Are you going to provide multiplayer support, and if yes - of what kind?

[Napalm] Yes, you'll be able to play under all network protocols supported by Windows (except modem). There may be only two players opposing each other. It is more similar to Capture the Flag, however with many own nuances. I won't disclose the details of our multiplayer mode now, but sure all fans of turn-based network games will like it.

[Yurg] Could you please tell our readers how rich tactical element is in Paradise Cracked?

[Napalm] Oh, very rich. I have already mentioned that gameplay is our primary objective. The tactics supercedes all other game components. Quests here are just additional game moment - all other time is filled with combats. And level design will force you to invent other ways than straight attacks and even favorite flank strikes. Game has many nuances to please interesting tactical combat fans (but I must say now: if you're like wargame tactics, better play Great Wars: Napoleon, tactics of Paradise Cracked are based on unstandard moves). You can capture and use machinery (from construction robots to heavy assault tanks), use such tactical trick as "ride a bus", etc. Let me explain last one with more details, for you to understand how different could be player moves. Let's assume you are on level where municipal police head office located. Direct assault is useless. Too much time, efforts, ammo (btw, ammo isn't unlimited). But you can penetrate the defence in simple way - as I said, the city lives its own life in spite of your presence. Go to bus stop, wait for bus, come inside - and ride to other level's end bypassing all police outposts waiting for you in ambushes (one note: you cannot shoot through bus windows, it would be too easy). And there are many similar situations, however it is not puzzles you have to solve. You still can take a successful direct assault to police headquarters. Or capture watchtower nearby and place a sniper there. At the worst, you can search other levels for some heavy vehicle, e.g. autoloader. In skilled hands it may be deadly.

[Yurg] What genre fits the game best?

[Napalm] RPTC (Role-Playing Tactical Combat). Extensive RPG system for characters + combats of X-COM style.

[Yurg] How RPG, quest and strategy moments are presented in the game?

[Napalm] Most attention focused on combats. Only then - adventure and quests. RPG is quite aside of this scale, it is not separate game feature but its core. It is not highlighted, it is just here, and that's all (Hope I have not confused you too much).

[Yurg] Are you going to release some game editors?

[Napalm] No. No editors. Development of good editor with user friendly interface takes almost more time than game development itself.

[Yurg] Will there be demo version and advertising clips? If yes, when?

[Napalm] Yes, there'll be a clip. In a pair of months. And later, closer to finish, there'll be a demo (as soon as testing is over).

[Yurg] When do you plan to complete the game development?

[Napalm] At the beginning of the next year. Seems we'll be ready by this term.

[Yurg] Thank you for your answers. Let me wish you good luck with your project! We'll wait impatiently for news on your game.

[Napalm] Thanks to you too!

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