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Rat Hunter Q&A
(hx) 02:38 PM EST - Feb,28 2005

GGMania got a chance to talk with Iliya Teterin, the lead programmer and designer on Rat Hunter, the upcoming traditional first-person shooter set in a hi-tech environment. He provided us with pretty interesting information and four exclusive screenshots. In the game, you play the role of freelance reporter who starts an independent investigation in order to expose the truth behind the disappearances of people on a remote planet....

GGMania: Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little bit about what you do on Rat Hunter?

Iliya Teterin: My name's Iliya Teterin, I am the lead programmer as well as one of designers on the Rat Hunter project.

GGMania: Can you give us a little background on the development team working on Rat Hunter?

Iliya Teterin: Members of our team have been working in the game industry for more than 5 years. Some of them have done several commercial games. To date, Secret Sign has completed two games: an arcade scroll shooter called EXIT and a space simulator Starcalibur. You can find more info about these projects on our website (www.secret-sign.com).

Rat Hunter is our first foray into the technologically-challenging genre of first-person shooters. However, we have enough in-house tools and technologies to create a cutting-edge game with lots of eye-candy.

 


GGMania: What is the storyline of the game?

Iliya Teterin: The main character of the game is a freelance reporter who starts an independent investigation in order to expose the truth behind the disappearances of people on a remote planet. In order to make the city a safer place, citizens of the city form militia groups commonly known as "Rat Hunters". Our hero joins their ranks in order to find some hot facts, but soon uncovers more than he bargained for.

First, he was once a co-owner of "Happy Generation", a ubiquitous corporate entity which runs an illegal cyborg research program under the guise of creating advanced household robots. He was betrayed by his business partner and implanted with a false personality.

Second, the cyborgs pose an imminent threat to everyone in the city. Now the reporter faces a tough choice: either become his former evil self or keep the new personality and save the people.


GGMania: What is the range of different locations in which Rat Hunter takes place?

Iliya Teterin: We aim to create as much diverse environments as possible. There will be abandoned basements of colonial settlements, streets of a megapolis, a secret bio-research facility, an automated steel foundry and even a space station.

Players will also visit outdoor areas in the vicinity of various factories, plants, laboratories etc. The hero will have to walk many miles before he reaches the ultimate truth…

 

GGMania: The weapons arsenal, always important in first person shooters. What kind of weapons will we get to use in the game?

Iliya Teterin: Appearance and characteristics of weapons are heavily influenced by the story. In the first half of the game, players will have to use hand-made weapons. Ammunition is makeshift as well - for example, you can pick up small objects, such as stones, and throw them at enemies.

At the same time, some of the most popular types of FPS weapons will surely make their way into Rat Hunter.

GGMania: What kind of enemies can players expect to find in Rat Hunter?

Iliya Teterin: Well, first of all, there are "rats" created in genetic labs of Happy Generation Corp. These animals share some resemblance with common rodents which live in your nearby garbage can, but they are bigger, meaner and smarter. Various "rats" exhibit different behaviour - some always hunt in packs, others follow the player and strike at the most unexpected moment.

Any state of emergency inevitably leads to chaos and anarchy. Distressed people are driven by the most primitive instincts. They unite in gangs, claim a piece of land and do their best to protect it from all "strangers", including our hero.

Street gangs are nothing but a minor nuisance compared to corporate mercs. These guys are well-armed and well-trained, just like a real army. Mercenaries will be our main opponents during the last sections of game. Players will also have a chance to meet face-to-face with cyborgs inhabiting research labs and production facilities of the New Friends project.

GGMania: How will the enemy A.I. function?

Iliya Teterin: Each type of enemy has a distinct AI pattern. Common rats usually rush the player lemming-style, paying little care to their pathetic lives. Hunter rats exhibit more intelligence; they prefer sudden, in-your-face, attacks. The enemies roam about the level and use whatever tricks are best in current situation, so no encounter will be the same.

As for their tactics… well, expect no revelations. We just hope that their attempts to kill you will result in exciting, challenging fights.

GGMania: Will there be vehicles in the game players can use?

Iliya Teterin: It is very likely that players will be able to traverse outdoor areas using ATVs or armoured buggies. The world is interactive, so don't hesitate to drive over some heedless monster or knock down a sign.

GGMania: What can you tell us about the 3D engine that is being used for the game?

Iliya Teterin: Rat Hunter uses a homebrew engine, previously used in Starcalibur. The feature list is a long one, so I'll just mention that the engine has all the bells and whistles we love in DirectX 9-based games.

GGMania: Two of the big things being introduced into first-person shooters at the moment are soft-body physics and interactive environment "physics". Are you including this sort of technology in Rat Hunter?

Iliya Teterin: Rat Hunter features a powerful physics engine which is on par with the latest iteration of Havok. We use rag-doll instead of scripted death animations and allow manipulating various objects. You can pick stuff up and throw at enemies or create barricades - in other words, do whatever you would in the real life.

GGMania: What forms of multiplayer will be available, and what can you say about them at this time?

Iliya Teterin: We are fully confident in our ability to focus time and resources in order to make a good single-player game without trying to compete with popular multiplayer-oriented titles. If we attempt to sit on the fence, we may cripple both aspects of the game. Besides, there are already lots of different shooters which satisfy the multiplayer needs of the audience.

But it doesn't mean that Rat Hunter's engine has no network capabilities whatsoever. We will probably add multiplayer gameplay at a later date.

GGMania: What, in your view, is the most exciting aspect of Rat Hunter?

Iliya Teterin: We believe that everything must be in its place. If you work on a game, stick to the genre traditions. This is why we don't want to create a mishmash of role-playing elements, stealth missions or tactics. Shooting at enemies and interaction with environments are a heart of any decent FPS title. This is what we trying to do best in Rat Hunter. We just want you to have fun with these simple matters.

GGMania: When can we expect to see the game hit store shelves and at what price? Will it be released in North America?

Iliya Teterin: We are planning to take some time and hit the shelves with it at the Q2 of 2005 (probalby in May 2005). But the exact release date is still to be announced.

GGMania: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview, is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?

Iliya Teterin: The spring is coming up - that's the time of Expos, we'll try to show our first achievements in several months and hope on the continuation of your interest to our project. To all readers and to you: thank you for your attention, and have a great time playing new interesting gaming projects!



genre: first-person shooter
release: May 2005
developer: Game Factory Interactive
publisher: Secret Sign Development Studio

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