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Homeplanet Interview
(hx) 03:06 PM CEST - Aug,14 2002

Currently in development by Revolt Games, Homeplanet is an upcoming classic fighting space simulator created in the spirit of classical games of this genre, like X-Wing, Wing Commander and Freespace. We got a chance to chat with the game's Lead Game Designer and technical director of Revolt Games company Alexey Medvedev who provided both extensive information and five very impressive new screenshots.

GGMania: First off, can you tell us a bit about yourself, and how you are involved in the developing process?

Alexey Medvedev: Hello all readers:. I'm Alexey Medvedev, Lead Game Designer of Homeplanet project and also technical director of Revolt Games company. In the game developing process I have both managing and creative charges and functions.


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

Alexey Medvedev: The Revolt Games company was established in May 2001 in Moscow by a group of former developers from the New Media Generation Company. I, Alexey Medvedev and Sergey Mironov have stayed at the head of firm. Revolt got their first break localizing games into Russian, which is how we came to work with Russobit-M. Now we're in long and trusting partnership with this publisher. That's why after localizing of several games including such famous projects as Battle Realms, Rally Trophy, Gorasul, World War III : Black Gold, Runaway and others, we've decided to offer Russobit-M to be a publisher of our own projects. They are spacesim Homeplanet and 3D FPS Neuro. Homeplanet based on an idea that came from Revolt's own love of the space combat genre and now there are 11 men working on this project. As a key figures a can also name Oleg Petrov, lead programmer. Our game exists thanks to Oleg and I can't add something here. Mikhail Zubrik is a main designer who has created the concept art. All our textures are the creative work of the main artist, Andrew Kokorev.

GGMania: How do you see Homeplanet in terms of the type of game you're making? What is the primary target market for Homeplanet

Alexey Medvedev: Homeplanet is a classic fighting space simulator created in the spirit of classical games of this genre, like X-Wing, Wing Commander and Freespace and based on a real Newton physic model. The player can't trade or fly of his own will. He'll have the accurate information required for the efficient performance of each mission. We've tried to move the gameplay to the more realistic side, including complex ship control (we've got Newtonian physics) and weapons. For example, our most effective missiles are half-active, i.e. you'll need to guide them using your radar. We pursue a goal to make a game that will be interesting, and become loved and one of favorites for space sim fans.

GGMania: From where did you get the inspiration to make this game?
Alexey Medvedev: So, Homeplanet's developing team had already created its own project in the FPS genre, and our first idea was a new game in the same genre. We didn't left these thoughts, so for now we're developing two games simultaneously. And they have the same game universes. You see, almost all team members are real fans of sci-fi. Gibson's Neuromancer is constantly in our minds. So, sci-fi and sure cyberpunk in a world of the future was a basis for our new project. All last fantastical novels and films and also recognized in the whole world sci-fi creations were sources of our inspiration. I've called the games of the spacesim genre but here we didn't want to follow the former canons of such games. We had and have the main object to make Homeplanet more realistic than all predecessors.

GGMania: What can you tell us about the actual plotline of Homeplanet?

Alexey Medvedev: Let's start from the time of game actions. By the end of the 4-th century of space conquering age the Earth Confederation colonial policy have lead to severance of diplomatic relations with some colonies. These were mostly the planets, rich in minerals. By the time the Confederation was formed some of them were practically on the same level of science and technology as the Confederation administrative centers, such as Earth, Earth -2, Ganimed and "Tsiolkovsky" space research-and-development station. Having gained the independence and managing to get rid of Confederation patronage, the enclaves changed their trade and research priorities. Due to such an aggressive policy they quickly became the biggest trading centers and acquired technologies unrivaled by Confederation.

The Klouto enclave had a big scientific potential. It worked on so-called neurotechnologies, and presented bioimplants, that could be inserted directly into the person's brain. The other model - implants allowing to interconnect with the other person at distance, transmitting also the emotional state of "partner", was highly popular. Eventually, Klouto society has divided into 2 parts, "Clear" and "Neurobound" (people having implants), that gave rise to the wave of discrimination for those who did not want to implant anything into their body. From this time many local conflicts had started and increased into civil war. The first clan formations are dated from this period. The biggest research companies and enterprises formed their own clans. Soon the "Clears" disappeared from Klouto and the power was in the hands of 27 war clans of Klouto, who had trampled down all industrial and scientific potential of the planet.

Troiden clan was the smallest of the 27 clans. Lance Troiden, the leader of the clan, was the founder of the group of companies, engaged in export trade of medicines, neuroequipment and bioimplants. But neighbors were really discontented by Troiden's success in the science and they had started the aggression against this Clan. The game actions begin from the moment of Troiden clan's evacuation from the planet surface. The clan hastily leaves Klouto and starts the search for a new home. Strictly speaking, this search for new planet to live on will be the main objective in the game. Before leaving the Klouto however, Troiden fighters destroyed several enemy cities. The enemy fleet consisting of several clans was sent in pursuit of Troiden's ships in order to extract revenge.

GGMania: Please describe the player's role in the game.

Alexey Medvedev: The player in the game controls different spacecrafts of Troiden's fleet in the meetings and battles with main forces in the game: Confederation, Pirates, other Clans . It is also possible to control an allied wingmen squad otherwise managed by AI. During the game, the player will act as a fighter pilot. He'll start as a usual squad member, who should carry out the orders of his Squad Leader. Later in the game he'll have the possibility to control subordinates.

GGMania: How is combat handled in Homeplanet?

Alexey Medvedev: The player is subordinated fighting unit, therefore his are often a part of the common strategic plan, for example, the plan on destruction of the large enemy ships. It's a complex and difficult object and its decision includes effective and correct application of various attacking and counteractive methods. The gameplay includes the full spectrum of electronic war like suppression and guarantee of work of the radio-electronic equipment, also systems of arms, and communications. We enter a concept of tactical planning of ships behavior. The player get ability to choose the most effective arms with their own physical parameters like weight etc. for the decision of each specific target.

GGMania: Could you give me the names and describe some of the various player and alien ships in the game? Likewise, could you describe some of the weapons and devices you get to use?

Alexey Medvedev: For examples we'll describe several ships of Troiden Clan, some of them will be playable in the game.

Orbital Attacker

Name: Rex

The joint project of main Klouto clans. First built in 740 s.a., before the clan split, it blended all scientific achievements. It was the first time when new technologies allowed to create effective and economic engines that were able to overcome Klouto gravity. The unique engine was also a great resource-saver, so the service costs were lowered.

Made for Klouto orbital and atmosphere defense, this fighter has a full set of engines for space maneuvering and aerodynamic fineness for atmosphere flights. As a result of two flight models combination this ship is not very effective in fight, but really multifunctional.


Name: Palarmo

The latest Troiden development by the time the game starts. Anticipating the clan relations aggravation and understanding that clan forces lack a powerful knockout vessel, the military institute has developed the first bomber prototype. Tactical and technical characteristics of the prototype did not meet the defined requirements and the concept was reviewed. This resulted in creation of Palarmo several years later.

This ship serves to destroy dreadnoughts and space stations. Its size is much bigger than that of fighters and interceptors. Enormous weapon power and perfect defense system turn this ship into a real flying fortress. A great means of big target suppression.

Clan's flagship

Name: Lancelot

This gigantic ship's development started after Lance Troyden's death. It was his son's (Riff) order. This ship was originally designed as the fleet's flagship and it was called after Lance. Riff wanted to show the other clans that his will wasn't broke and his clan's economic and technological potential was huge.

A giant spaceship with 3x1 km dimensions. This is the main command post. Riff Troyden spent most of his time here. The ship has it's own hyper gear. A powerful laser gun is mounted in the bow. Defense laser gun of less power are mounted along the hull.

As for the aliens, their role was increased in media:
Tere will be very various arms and equipment in Homeplanet with original parameters not only for different clans but even for different ship models.
We'll tell you a little about arms of 2 clans Plactor and Troiden:

For example the mass shell of standard Troiden's gun less than the mass of shell in the clan Plactor. And it has a big significance, because in-game damage mechanics are counting acording on collision impulse.

Also different types of ships have different arms. The bomber Palarmo has more powerful arms than other ships. It allows to destroy flagships more effectively, but it non-effective in the close combat because of low speed of shell.

GGMania: If you were allowed to pick one ship and only one ship to play which would you choose and why?

Alexey Medvedev: Our choice is Draizer. It's an attacker of Troiden Clan, armed by three guns and six rocket. It's the most maneuverable and mobile ship in this class. The comparative analysis showed the superiority of this ship in the most part of training fights.

GGMania: Which engine is used in Homeplanet?

Alexey Medvedev: Homeplanet is based on our in-house engine, developed by lead programmer Oleg Petrov and colleagues.

Here are the main features of the engine:
- dynamic color light
- multitexturing
- dynamic LODs
- bumpmapping (prospective)
- compressed textures
- T&L usage
- Vertex and Pixel Shaders support (prospective)
- Open GL
- Truform Technology

GGMania: What the current system requirements are for Homeplanet?

Alexey Medvedev: We'll call two standard variants:
Minimum system requirements:

- Win 95 - 2000 - XP
- Pentium II 350 Mhz processor.
- Riva TNT2 with 32 Mb video memory.
- 64 Mb system memory.
- Sound card
- Latest drivers for video and audio card

Recommended system requirements:
- Win 95 - 2000 - XP
- Pentium III 866 Mhz processor.
- NVidia GeForce 2 with 64 Mb video memory.
- 128 Mb system memory.
- A3D or EAX sound card
- Latest drivers for video and audio cards.

GGMania: The interface is always the most important thing, especially in this genre. How will the interface handle all of the game's complexity?

Alexey Medvedev: The "game's complexity" which we note in the interface will be showed in two points:
- possibility of choice of arms and equipment before the beginning of the mission. But you'll be able to do it just in the cases, when the fighting situation will allow it.
- tactical map for control of wingmen like in RTS games. This map will be available since the player will get a possibility to control a flight.

GGMania:; How many missions will there be, and how much will they differ from one another?

Alexey Medvedev: There will be 21 missions in the game and each of them will differ from another. Tasks are vary from liquidation of all objects in the field of vision to surgically exact diversionary operations. Sure missions will also include traditional tasks like escort, patrol, destroying of flagships and so on.

GGMania: Will Homeplanet include scripted in-game cutscenes? Will there be many, and what degree of importance will they have within the overall game experience?

Alexey Medvedev: Sure we'll include in Homeplanet scripted in-game cutscenes, but not in big amounts. They'll appear just in important moments of the game, according to its plot.

GGMania: Can you tell me a bit about the mission editor

Alexey Medvedev: We use our own map editor, but it is not a public version of editor yet.

GGMania: What will make Homeplanet stand out from other action-oriented space games, especially those currently in development?

Alexey Medvedev: For today it's modern to create a space strategy. But in our case the element of strategy is presented in comparison with other components of gameplay. I.e. at the certain stages of game you will have opportunity to control a small group. First of all our game is a fighting simulator, for the intensive close combat.

GGMania: What were some of the features planned for the game that never made it in?

Alexey Medvedev: I think we haven't such things. We've carried out our plans and now we have some time and possibility for of the game graphics. All last time we use pursuing this goalt.

GGMania: Will the game include a multiplayer mode?

Alexey Medvedev: We are not planning to include multiplayer modes in the first releasing version. We're going to work on multiplayer just after the single-player release. Sure we want to find out and to create something new and interesting in the multiplayer mode too, but right now, we haven't enough time for it. And for now we're ready to hear all wishes and offers of gamers concerning multiplayer features with pleasure.

GGMania: Currently what is the status of the current progress of the game and when can we expect to see it in stores?

Alexey Medvedev: Now we're in the final period of the creation of Homeplanet. This autumn the game will be released and will appear in stores.

GGMania: Do you plan to release a playable demo?

Alexey Medvedev: Yes, we'll release the playable demo-version this month already at the Leipzig Game Convention; everybody'll able to see it at our booth # F 08 in the Hall 3. There will be three missions in the demo.

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

Alexey Medvedev: We'd like to thank your magazine and your readers for the interest to our game and hope, you'll like the final version. We're also glad to invite everybody to our booth # F 08 in the Hall the at the Leipzig Game Convention, where we'll be able to tell and to show you much more about Homeplanet.

genre: space combat sim
release: 2002/Q4
developer: Revolt Games
publisher: Russobit-M

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