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
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
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
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
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
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
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!