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FireStarter Interview
(hx) 10:38 AM CEST - Aug,19 2002

GGMania got a chance to chat with FireStarter Project Manager Slava Klimov to find out more about this upcoming arcade-style shooter currently in the works at GSC Game World. He provided us with both pretty interesting information and six very impressive new screenshots.

GGMania: Why don't we start off with an introduction - your name, what you do, what games have you made previously, and are you currently working on other projects in addition to FireStarter

Slava Klimov: I'm Slava Klimov, FireStarter Project Manager. I previously worked on Hover Ace programming.

GGMania: At the conceptual level, what are your key overall goals for FireStarter? What are the major elements in the gameplay experience you're aiming to provide?

Slava Klimov: As far as the storyline is concerned, we've got a virtual reality machine which goes beyond the control to capture players conscience and order him play in line with new rules - to survive within a total of 48 hours - accomplishing all the game levels. Talking about play-though techniques, they are focused on staying as active as possible on levels and killing hordes of monsters popping up. The gameplay will be very intense, so the player has about 10 seconds at the level start to get accustomed to its design and architecture. No keys or doors to unlock, player's task is boiled down to finding an optimal path to move around the level, shooting vehemently and not falling prey to monsters. Another important part of gameplay are role-playing elements, such as character parameters, skills and extra-ability-enabling artefacts. Skills and artefacts give player certain game advantages, so players are constantly motivated to increase the level of character they play.

GGMania: I very like to play brainless arcade first-person shooters. Could you compare FireStarter with Serious Sam and Gore?

Slava Klimov: Both Serious Sam and Gore have the Doom style gameplay. I.e. there is a level beginning, end, and a route you need to follow to find keys to the doors, reveal the secrets and shoot down monsters in certain locations. In FireStarter a level is an arena, and the game task is to hold on within a certain time. That is, unlike Serious Same and Gore player needs to know each corner of the level to build his game tactics correctly. There will be no saves on levels, it is presumed player will require at least three tries to learn the level and pass it successfully.

GGMania: Will FireStarter use scripted events to advance the game?

Slava Klimov: Script scenes will serve as level preludes, to get the player acquainted with combat operations locale.

GGMania: How many missions will there be, and how varied will they be?

Slava Klimov: We plan at least 4 episodes with 4 levels each. In aggregate this will make up 16 levels.

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

Slava Klimov: 10 weapon types with two modifications each are planned, which totals to 20. There won't be individual weapon types. Instead of this, depending on the character selected, the level of wielding one weapon type (rate of fire, killing power, experience points etc depend on character's skill) will differ.

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

Slava Klimov: There will be alternative modes by some of the weapon types - for example, assault rifle will have a barrel-attached grenade launcher, and with hand turret in its alternative form the strike power will depend on the time of gun loading. We can consider heavy gun modifications as upgrades, as weapons will gain power or new shoot modes.

GGMania: What kind of monsters can players expect to find in FireStarter? Will monsters interact with each other, hide, escape if hurt badly, etc? Are you willing to reveal a couple of examples?

Slava Klimov: In FireStarter we plan three monster classes, including demonic, techno and symbiotic one, with 10-12 monsters in each class. You can find some of the monster sketches at our web-site As for the unusual monster examples, there will be monsters capable to teleport, communicate with each other, coordinate the actions of lower monsters etc. As far as monster intellect is concerned, the majority will press with numbers or power, while there still will be special monsters with strong intellect, their appearance serving to considerably enliven the general gameplay.

GGMania: What other gameplay elements do you consider to be important and unique in FireStarter?

Slava Klimov: Player has five characters to choose from. The characters differ in parameter balance and basic skills. Three out of them are marine, gangster and agent. The choice of character affects the further play-through tactics selection and the direction of character development. For instance, if you choose the agent you get advantage in movement, jump height, manoeuvrability and penalty in armour and heavy weapon wielding. In this case the right survival tactics would be constant movement and avoiding face-to-face clashes with the enemy. Accordingly, parameter improvement will be biased towards speed, less focused on health and the least - on armour.
RPG elements, and especially the set of special skills to develop will also serve to the benefit of modifying your play tactics. For instance, if you develop a skill allowing your character to harmlessly jump off great heights, you'll be able to drastically change your style of movement on the level and so on.

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

Slava Klimov: We are using our in-house engine based on bsp technology and remarkable in flexible architecture, great number of special effects, support of hardware transformation/lighting, vertex and pixel shaders.

GGMania: How did you decide to develop your own engine for FireStarter rather than pursuing a license to use an existing engine?

Slava Klimov: Developing your engine is beneficial from the economic side, and besides, none of the engines satisfied our demands back at the time of starting the development.

GGMania: Will there be many cutscenes, and what degree of importance will they have overall?

Slava Klimov: We plan cut scenes at the end of each episode, probably on some secret levels, designed more for eye candy purposes, rather than gameplay.

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

Slava Klimov: We'll be using a mood-creating music for each of the episodes. At the same time, it's going to be more a psychedelic music, like that in Doom game maybe.

GGMania: What multiplayer modes are you including, and how important is this part of the game?

Slava Klimov: We plan several standard and original game modes in multiplayer: deathmatch, cooperative, monster match, monster group control. To give you an example of an original mode, a duel between two players is staged, where one of them plays as monster, and the other as human. The former can re-spawn an unlimited number of times and attack the human teamed-up with "real" computer monsters until their goal of wiping out the human player is reached. The human player's objective is to survive within a given time.

GGMania: Can players play against bots in multiplayer?

Slava Klimov: Yes, we plan the cooperative mode. There probably will be other modes to allow playing versus bots too.

GGMania: What is the current status of the game's development and when will it be in stores?

Slava Klimov: At the moment we have passed the half of development way with FireStarter, the expected release date is Q1 2003.

GGMania: What kind of support do you plan to provide for the mod community? Will you be releasing any of your tools?

Slava Klimov: Yes, definitely. We'll provide the community with mod-making tools after the game release. Besides, there will be a separate site devoted to the FS engine.

GGMania: Finally, is there anything else you wish to say about FireStarter?

Slava Klimov: Thanks to everybody supporting us and welcome in to see the latest of the game at the upcoming Games Convention in Leipzig!

genre: first-person shooter
release: 2003/Q1
developer: GSC Game World
publisher: Russobit-M

last 10 comments:

iposted - Aug, 19 2002 - 16:20
looks good !!!

sweeny toddposted - Aug, 19 2002 - 17:21
Looks alot like quake3 arena really. in

ritzposted - Aug, 19 2002 - 17:48
sounds like Q3A with monsters and weapons that ain't boring!

ralphcramden@adfad.dposted - Aug, 20 2002 - 09:46
Old skool rules! Bring on this beauty.

magaposted - Aug, 20 2002 - 12:16
a brainless game !! anyone played Star Wars Pod Racer ?

code|nameposted - Aug, 21 2002 - 02:25
the engine looks nice, hope that lighting reflexion on bridge on 02.jpg was real!

Heavy Zposted - Aug, 31 2002 - 20:19
i've played to many doom clones,only way i'm gonna get this is if from the demo, i am impressed with graphic & storyline. so far graphics look good.

Alex Vulcanposted - Oct, 03 2002 - 17:47
SERIOUS SAM : FIRST ENCOUNTER & SERIOUS SAM : SECOND ENCOUNTER ROCK & both are much, much better than this game. Better graphics, fast paced action & cool enemies. This game isnt as good - but a Serious Sam game instead.

Peterposted - Oct, 03 2002 - 17:59
BUY SERIOUS SAM : FIRST ENCOUNTER & SERIOUS SAM : SECOND ENCOUNTER - THEY ROCK FOR 1st person shooters!!!! Also watch for SERIOUS SAM on XBOX - coming soon.

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