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Vivisector: Beast Inside Q&A
(hx) 01:55 AM EST - Apr,01 2005

GGMania got a chance to talk with Valentine Yeltyshev of Action Forms as he talks about Vivisector: Beast Inside, their upcoming 3D action horror shooter with role-playing elements. He provided us with pretty interesting information and eight exclusive screenshots. The game is scheduled for a Q2 2005 release.

GGMania: Please start off by introducing yourself and giving us an idea of your involvement with Vivisector

Valentine Yeltyshev: Hi! My name is Valentine Yeltyshev and I'm the PR Manager of Action Forms working on Vivisector: Beast Inside also as a QA manager.

GGMania: Can you give us a brief overview of Vivisector, telling us what the game is all about?

Valentine Yeltyshev: Vivisector can be characterized as a mix of such genres as first person shooter and survival horror with role elements. The game was created under the inspiration of Herbert Wells books and especially The Island of Dr. Moreau. Vivisector tells a story of human relationships veiled under animal faces. The game opens one of the most vexed questions - what is the difference between good and bad. We wanted every player to make an own decision after finishing the game. By and large Vivisector is a high adrenaline FPS with a thrilling storyline.

GGMania: How has the game progressed since the E3 2004?

Valentine Yeltyshev: The game has changed a lot since E3 2004. We've changed nearly all textures, a great amount of models and corrected animation. The game engine was also reworked. As a result the game looks much more impressive in comparison with the E3 2004 version. We plan to release the game in a couple of months, so it is in the balancing-testing stage now.

GGMania: What are the main locations where the action takes place this time?

Valentine Yeltyshev: The game takes place on a volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific where strange experiments take place. The aim of those experiments was to create a violent and aggressive army of modified beasts. The island is divided into three zones where different kinds of creatures are held. The player will walk through huge terrains, unbelievable underground military bases, corridors and laboratories.

GGMania: One key to the horror genre of games is atmosphere. How does Vivisector go about creating the horror-style atmosphere within the game?

Valentine Yeltyshev: The atmosphere in Vivisector is created by the three main components: storyline, level design and sound. The storyline thrills the player by its unpredictable turns and surprises, by the need to make a choice which the player is not ready to make, by the understanding, that the beasts in some aspects act more like a humans, than humans themselves. Destroyed labs, burned villages and gigantic facilities which player will be able to run through will set the player inside highly inconvenient conditions forcing him always watch his back and be ready to meet the worst nightmares just round the corner. As far as the sound goes we were awarded with the Best Sound award of KRI 2004 (Russian Games Developers Conference) that took place in Moscow in April 2004. We try to provide players with the high level sound effects and music that completely fits the action on screen.

GGMania: As Vivisector is billed as part first-person shooter, part survival horror with role elements, could you explain for the readers the differences between this game and the typical shoot-em-up style shooter?

Valentine Yeltyshev: The main difference between Vivisector and any other shooter is the storyline. Our game is story driven and the storyline is unpredictable and philosophical and all the decisions will made by the player himself. We added role elements in order to give the player more freedom inside the game, so a gamer will feel himself comfortable and develop the character along with the storyline.

GGMania: Can you reveal some info about the role elements in the game?

Valentine Yeltyshev: Role elements play a significant part in gameplay. Frankly speaking a player will not be able to finish the game on high difficulty levels without upgrading proper skills. All these elements in the game could be divided into two categories - weapon mastering and personal skills. The player can upgrade the level of some certain weapon mastering, leaving others on the basic level or improve the character's speed without upgrading power. It all depends on player's preferences and style of playing.

GGMania: Can you describe some of the game's monsters? Do you think are they really scary?

Valentine Yeltyshev: The monsters in the game differ by their intellect. On the different stages of Dr. Morhed's experiments different kinds of monsters were created. The result of the first phase were the so called ModBeasts, quadrupeds with elementary level of intellect. Their attack is violent but predictable. It's not a problem to fight with them when there are only a few of them, but when they gather they could become a real menace. The second type of beasts is called HumAnimals - bipedal animals modified in order to be more like humans. Their core is metal skeleton and they posses a more advanced intellect. They are able to make some tactical decisions using different objects as shelter and using the advantages of group attack. The OverBrutes are Dr. Morhed's latest inventions. They are clever enough to compete with the player as equals. They are born soldiers, fearless and brutal, but at the same time prudent.
Our monsters are really scary, but not only because of their look, but also because of what they do and how they do. They are similar to us in their behavior and sometimes their deeds are more humanlike than ours. That's one of the most scary things about the game.

GGMania: What kind of opposition (AI) can we expect? Will monsters interact with each other, hide, escape if hurt badly, etc? Are you willing to reveal a couple of examples?

Valentine Yeltyshev: The combat AI will provide the player with qualitative opposition including distance tracing that allows monsters to use their weapons most effectively, hiding behind different objects, a fair player detection system which means that if the AI doesn't see the player it doesn't know exactly where the games is. In this case the AI will start the search from the place where it saw the player last time. This allows players to use interesting tactical moves.
We have also implemented such a feature as friendlyfire for monsters, so creatures of low intellect levels could occasionally injure or even kill one another. It's funny to see how one monster hits another one trying to hit the player if the second is staying near or in front of the player.
The monsters can loose their weapons as a result of direct bullet hit; in this case they will show the player their hand fighting skills.

GGMania: What kinds of weapons will there be and how many individual weapons will be available to the player?

Valentine Yeltyshev: There are about 25 weapons in the game. Among those are such items as knives, pistols, shot-guns, machine guns, rocket launchers, grenades, plasma guns, mines, sniper rifles, etc. This kind of arsenal, we hope, will meet weapon requirements of most players. Also gamers will be able to upgrade favourite weapon handling by distributing experience points.

GGMania: Will there be an upgrade system or alternate firing modes?

Valentine Yeltyshev: We made up the upgrade and alternative firing deficiency with sufficient amount of weapons.

GGMania: Graphically, what can gamers expect from Vivisector?

Valentine Yeltyshev: The game uses our own in-house engine called AtmosFear that supports a lot of features provided by the latest videocards. Here are some of those:
- Weather changes
- Powerful skeleton-based animation produces realistic motion of characters
- Powerful action system, which allows to animate background scenes (everything in game is working, for example plants are swinging)
- Hi Level of details
- Detailed character models
- Breakable light sources
- Character shadowing
- Detail mapping
- Water, Flares etc.
- Particle systems
- Multi-pass Rendering
- Pixel and Vertex shaders
- Monsters with realistic fur
- Realistic damage system
- Possibility to shoot off body parts and equipment of a character
- Possibility to shoot through wooden items
- In-house developed physics engine that allows players to pick up items and use them as a shield from enemy bullets and hits
- Possibility to throw items and damage enemies.

GGMania: Vivisector should feature "a realistic damage system, which is applied both to the enemies and environment". Could you explain how this affects the game?

Valentine Yeltyshev: This information is a bit out-of-date. In the final version of the game we will only have the characters damage system. This system allows players to see whether they hit the target or not and shows the proper that was hit by a bullet. This is not only visual effect, it also helps the player to correct the firing and count the damage inflicted to an enemy.

GGMania: Needless to say that kick-ass music makes an action game even better. Can you tell us a little bit about music in Vivisector?

Valentine Yeltyshev: Music is a part of ingame atmosphere, so we gave a lot of attention to this element. The music is composed by our staff composer and fits the gameplay excellently. Sometimes it is frightening, sometimes it provokes the player to shoot at every moving object, sometimes it will make the player stop and think for a while. It's even interesting to listen to it while not playing the game.

 

GGMania: Will the game have a multiplayer mode?

Valentine Yeltyshev: We decided not to include any kinds of multiplayer in the final version. This mode could be released as an expansion.

GGMania: What's the current status of the project, and what remains to be done? When will it be released?

Valentine Yeltyshev: The game is scheduled for a Q2 2005 release. According to the release date it's obvious that the development process is on its final stage. Currently we are balancing some weapons, testing the game itself and doing debugging at the same time.

GGMania: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Is there anything else you'll like to tell our readers about?

Valentine Yeltyshev: We wish all your readers a lot of really good games this year. We hope that Vivisector: Beast Inside won't disappoint you. We've developed the game that satisfies us as players, that became more than a game for us. This game is like a book where we enciphered a kind of message for every player. Will he or she receive this massage depends only on the player. See you in Q2 2005!



genre: FPS/survival horror with role elements
release: 2005/Q2
developer: Action Forms
publisher: homepage

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