Three years ago we published
with the team behind
, Revolt Games' first person shooter
with various missions, tasks, environments. Now that the game is almost
finished, we caught up with Sergey Mironov to discuss the upgrades that his team
implemented into the game. He provided us with interesting information and eight
GGMania: Could you introduce yourself to our readers and
tell them a little bit about what exactly you do on Neuro?
Sergey Mironov: the producer
and the art-director of the project. Among my duties are: general management of
the project, preparation of the necessary design and accounting documents and
also management of the art-department.
GGMania: To start off, can you give us a brief overview
Sergey Mironov: Neuro is a
futuristic first person shooter, focused on all admirers of science fiction. The
Universe of the game is a prospective future of mankind after the invention of
the hyperspatial engines and colonization of hundreds planets of our galaxy.
However, events will take place only on two planets, but on which! The first is
Sorgo, a huge planet-city, and the second - perfectly familiar to fans of our
space simulator HomePlanet - Clouto - the house of unpredictable neuro-addicted
Key feature of the game is the
psi-abilities of the protagonist. At the execution of the first operative task
the young and impulsive fighter attracts serious troubles on both himself and
his partner, infringed on interests of the influential corrupted politicians.
GGMania: It's been a long time since we've heard
anything on Neuro. How is the game's development coming along?
Sergey Mironov: At the moment
we remind the hi-tech high-speed express train which at any minute will arrive
on station of its destination. All our difficulties and global problems which
arose at a stage of mass-production and broke the development have been
overcome. And now, at the final stage of development, we work tensely but with
quiet soul. All that is required from us is to finish work as we have conceived
it in the beginning.
GGMania: It was scheduled to release sometime in 2003.
Why the delay? What's happened?
Sergey Mironov: It is
necessary to admit, that we had problems at the certain stages both with engine
and with graphic assets. At first we really don't want to concede to the games
using Unreal or Quake 3 engines. These technologies obviously overtook us so it
was necessary to catch up and try to rise beside. Certainly, it took time. I
shall remind, that our engine is own development and we are proud of it.
The other aspect is game physics - a
very much a challenge for programmers. Thus, we have decided, that we are not
capable of making a good physical module ourselves. So, under the arrangement
with our publisher (for that - separate thanks) we've bought a license to
physical engine Meqon. Actually, the engine has appeared to be appropriate and
meeting all our requirements, but at the same time had a quantity of bugs which
we've eliminated together with programmers from Meqon Research AB.
A lot of time has been lost during
implementation stage of the physical module in our engine that has added a
headache to programmers and change of technological chains of game levels design
as the usage of an external physical engine had to be taken in mind by both
game-designers and by level-designers.
Speaking about the graphics, I think,
that you will note that visually the game has qualitatively changed in the best
party. It is very appreciable on screenshots. We have changed graphic style,
having left from the cyberpunk towards sci-fi.
GGMania: Have there been any major changes to the game's
overall design from the last Q&A (3 years ago)?
Sergey Mironov: Certainly,
much has changed in the last three years. Though, the main idea of the game has
First, the plot has changed
completely. At some point we have understood, that the story originally thought
up by us does not find room within the limits of quantities of locations,
planned for Neuro, so, we have decided to alter some of plot's twists and turns.
As a result it has turned out so, that today's plot of Neuro is prequel to
"origin", initial plot of Neuro (which as we at heart hope, will be sometime
incarnated by us).
Secondly, the weapons' arsenal in
comparison by that has been described in that old interview is strongly changed.
Thirdly, certainly, in these three
years our engine has strongly added in capacity.
GGMania: Can you reveal a bit more details about the
psi-abilities in the game and how will they affect game-play?
Sergey Mironov: The
protagonist is provided by a number of parapsychological (or psionic) abilities.
We've tried different variants, but, eventually, have stopped our choice on five
"psionic spells", which, in our opinion, were well implemented in gameplay of
- Mental restoration (treatment)
which has allowed us to refuse first-aid sets;
- Mental impact, instantly both
silently and instantly putting the opponent out of action. This skill also adds
basic elements of stealth;
- Extrasensory perception
(extravision) that gives the player tremendous alternative opportunity to be
guided at a level. It forms a lethal combination with the submolecular resonator
- artful gadget, capable of killing through any walls and the reservation;
- Aggressive suggestion (berserk) -
an artful way to bring chaos in rows of numerous enemies;
- Pyrokinesis - not the most
effective, but very spectacular way of making a punishment above the opponent.
GGMania: What can you tell us about Hyper-engines in the
Sergey Mironov: Many
spacecrafts in the game are equipped by such engines that enable them to move
between remote planets. It was the important part of a gameplay in HomePlanet,
however, in Neuro hyper-engines are only a story element, a part of the game's
Universe. Our hero doesn't have to go into technical details of interplanetary
flights instead he has much more essential problems - for example, to rescue a
life of the comrade.
GGMania: Tell us about the tech that's being used for
the game's artificial intelligence in fights?
Sergey Mironov: For
programming of artificial intellect we have created scripting system on the
basis of language Python. It includes three important components: base AI
patterns, flexible bot customization system and in addition - powerful scripting
macrolanguage for missions (objectives, helps, retorts of characters, subject
GGMania: What kind of missions can we expect to see in
Neuro? Are there any other features you have planned to help differentiate the
gameplay from other first-person shooters?
Sergey Mironov: Gameplay is
built to draw attention of the player to psi making the abilities of the main
hero a powerful tool which will help during furious fights with the opponents.
Therefore, there are missions with basic stealth, and also missions where
practically unarmed player is attacked by numerous opponents. All these have
been made with only one purpose - to force the player to apply psi without which
separate locations are simply impassable.
But we do not aspire to make
categorically difficult game. For those who are not fond of high difficulty
levels, we have provided EASY difficulty level which can be played in classical
FPS way - with guns, applying psi only for a variety and entertainment.
GGMania: Approximately how many gameplay hours would you
say Neuro encompasses?
Sergey Mironov: Gameplay is
expected to take approximately 10 hours at a normal level of difficulty. The
most time is spent in fighting stages: you know- it is not so simple to deal
with the next group of malefactors :)
GGMania: Graphically, what can gamers expect from Neuro?
Sergey Mironov: At least, they
can expect the modern last generation engine with support of all modern effects:
normal mapping, specular, reflections, refractions, self-glowing of objects. In
this aspect Neuro's engine does not concede to similar decisions in others
GGMania: Will Neuro include any multiplayer components?
Sergey Mironov: No.
Unfortunately, Neuro won't be featuring multiplayer this time. We have to admit
that it was not a simple decision. Now it is difficult enough to compete with
games having not only the deathmatch, but also other interesting network modes.
And it is absolutely impossible to resist to games where the main attention is
paid to a multiplayer. I mean such games as Call of Duty, for example. Making an
interesting multiplayer mode is not less time-consuming, than a single player
mode of any given game. In our case we have made a choice in favor of single
player because, firstly, our product line has an MP game already and, secondly,
- the solution of our problems with an engine has eaten a lot of time and we
physically could not make adequate multiplayer mode for the current version of
GGMania: What is your favorite part of the game? Which
scene do you look at and think "Wow, we did a great job right here"?
Sergey Mironov: Well,
sometimes we come further away and we say something like "Nevertheless, Neuro is
a damn excellent game" :)) Speaking seriously, there are very good stages where
the player needs to operate together with partners. And there will be several
such moments. Scripted stages are also looking impressive, for example, when the
landing ship drops out on a huge platform infantrymen from a hostile clan
We are proud of our plot and our AI.
And, though, much has turned out not in the way it desired and reflected, as a
whole we are happy with the turned out result. As for favorite episodes... Well,
I like that meat grinder that takes place at the third level, in inhabited
quarter where the protagonist is pursued both by gangsters and police. However,
the testers tell that this stage is quite difficult... Probably we will have to
simplify it ;)).
GGMania: What's the current status of the project, and
what remains to be done? When will it be released? (what territories?)
Sergey Mironov: We are on a
homestretch right now. At the moment we are on testing stage, polish the
gameplay and are engaged in optimization. There is no limit to perfection but we
try not to go too far in our "improvements". The main goal here is now is to
deliver a complete project with tuned gameplay and that will smoothly run on
different system configurations.
Speaking of the territories where
there game is going to be shipped. We're targeting for each and every country as
the shooter that we have in front of us looks pretty solid and will definitely
well-received by players world-wide.
GGMania: What the current system requirements are for
Sergey Mironov: Current system
requirements go as follows - a computer with Pentium IV 2.8 GHz or above
processor, GeForce FX-class accelerator or above (GeForce 6 is recommended), 1
GB of RAM. The game can be launched on more modest configuration, but in this
case you should lower graphical options.
GGMania: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Sergey Mironov: We are
grateful to all players who track the destiny of the project. We hope not to
disappoint you, guys!