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Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars Q&A
(hx) 05:58 PM CEST - Apr,22 2005

GGMania got a chance to talk with Aleksey Tchetsnikh, writer and the lead designer on Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars (formerly known as ExMachina), the upcoming action/RPG is set in the post-apocalyptic environment full of menacing mysteries and unfriendly inhabitants. He provided us with pretty interesting information and four exclusive screenshots. The game is slated for release in Q4/2005.

GGMania: Please start off by introducing yourself and giving us an idea of your involvement with Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: My name is Aleksey Tchetsnikh, I'm the writer and the lead designer of the project.

GGMania: How did the idea for Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars come about?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: We wanted to do something different after three years of working on RTS/RPG projects (Battle Mages and its addon) - something with more drive and adrenaline. Action on heavy trucks sounded just right - you can drive, fight and destroy things. At the same time, we didn't want to forget our experience of RPG projects - that's how the idea of Action/RPG on heavy trucks came about.

GGMania: Can you give us a brief overview of Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars, telling us what the game is all about?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars is an action/RPG where the player will fight his way through a dangerous post-apocalyptic world. Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars is about driving and heavy truck combats, with trade and an intriguing plot.

GGMania: What kinds of locations and settings will Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars have?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: There will be a number of large regions of the New Earth, each consisting of several maps with unique landscape and environment. The player will see plains, jungles, rocky terrains, wastelands, deserts, swamps. New settlements, that are just starting to appear and ruins of the old civilizations.

GGMania: The game world has been described as "post apocalyptic". Why the choice of Post Apocalyptic? Do you like Mad Max movies?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: Yes, of course we like this series, but other than that we like science-fiction and games like "Fallout". The post apocalyptic world is the world where the old is destroyed, but the new is yet to come. It's a world of great hopes and opportunities.

GGMania: What can you tell us about the storyline for the game?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: The action takes place in a not-so-distant future, when the remains of the human race are recovering after a major catastrophe. The main character is a young man, who gets involved in a series of tragic events, which urge him to seek revenge. Little does he know of where his quest will lead him...

GGMania: How big is it compared to other games, and roughly how many sub-quests or subplots will there be on top of the main story?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: The game will offer over 30 hours of gameplay with several hundred quests and sub-quests. Apart from the major storyline, you will get involved into some territorial conflicts and meet lots of people, all trying to load you with their problems. But it's up to you whether to help them or not.

GGMania: What kinds of choices will the player have in the starting player character?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: You won't be able to choose the character (your truck) at the start, but as you go, there will be lots of opportunities to change, upgrade and tune it, so that you will ultimately get the car of your dream.

GGMania: How are the trucks being balanced against each other?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: Each truck has a number of characteristics, including speed, engine power, carrying capacity, armour and weapon, so the player will have to choose between mobility, richer arsenal of weapon or greater carrying capacity.

GGMania: How will upgrading work in the game?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: To get the maximum out of your truck you will be able to change the chassis, the cabin and the body of the truck, add various gadgets that improve its technical and battle stats. You can also equip the truck with several guns, including machine-guns, shot-guns, lasers, rockets and much more. You can either buy them at shops, loot the destroyed enemy cars or find them in secret places.

GGMania: Is there anything else you'd like to add about the RPG elements in the game?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars is not only about upgrading your truck and making it a juggernaut, but also about communication, exploration and investigation. The players who prefer action, will get action, while those who enjoy exploring the world, will get plenty of opportunities to do it through dialogs with numerous NPCs and books that reveal the secrets of the lost civilizations.

GGMania: What kinds of enemies will the player have to face in Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: There are several powerful and less powerful groups fighting for influence in different regions of Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars world. Each group has its own variety of cars and combat tactics to fulfill their aims. The player will fight with different types of military machines, heavy trucks, deadly robots and fast scavenger vehicles, not to mention extra powerful bosses.

GGMania: What kinds of weapons and items will the player have to use in the game?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: There will be a variety of weapons in your arsenal: from machine guns, to plasma guns and rocket launchers. A car can be equipped with several guns at a time. Apart from guns, there will be lots of gadgets that improve combat and technical stats of your car.

GGMania:  How is combat handled in Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: Your truck is controlled by the mouse and the keyboard, you aim and shoot with the mouse, and drive your truck with WASD. The enemies use various tactics in combat, depending on their number and their arsenal of weapon. The player, in his turn can use various guns, each with its damage type and shooting distance. So, the combats will not resemble one another.

GGMania: You claim the game will feature "Realistic driving and combat physics". What gamers can expect?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: Gamers can expect truly impressive combats: the cars get damaged from collisions, their parts burn and the cars explode in a dozen ways. Tons of objects can be destroyed or broken into pieces, with every little bit behaving according to the laws of physics.

GGMania: How does the damage model work? How is it tied to truck performance?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: A truck has several parts, each of them damages independently and has several degrees of destruction from intact to broken with smoke and fire and additional animations. The bullets leave traces when hit. The explosion of the truck may happen in dozens of ways: from the complete annihilation in the ball of fire to falling into intact pieces. We made a decision not to frustrate the player with decreasing performance of the vehicle as it gets damaged.

GGMania:  Can you describe the trading system in the game?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: As you travel the world you will come across towns and villages of different kinds: agricultural, science- or technology-oriented and criminal settlements. Each town offers its own, specific variety of goods: from potatoes to electronics. And each town needs a certain type of goods to grow, so one of the ways to earn money in the game would be to buy cheap in one place and sell at a high price in another.

GGMania: What other gameplay elements in the game do you consider to be important and/or unique?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: To begin with, we consider such combination of driving, Action, RPG and trade unique. Besides those gameplay elements, Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars has some mini games involving racing, treasure hunting, arena-fight and finding your way in a labyrinth.

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

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: We have a modern engine that supports vertex shaders 2.0, environment-mapping, bump-mapping, so that you will see reflections and shades. Our particle system allows us to create spectacular visual effects, making the combats truly impressive.

GGMania: Will the game have a multiplayer mode? If so, what will it include?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: No, but we are negotiating such option with the publisher.

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

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: We are currently testing the alpha version of the game. The game is 70% complete: we finished scripting levels, the graphic content is almost complete. We are working on the balance, the decoration of the maps, in-game video and the last, but not the least - we are fixing bugs.:)

GGMania: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars?

Aleksey Tchetsnikh: Thank you for your questions. Expect Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars in Q4 2005.

genre: action/RPG
release: 2005/Q4
developer: Targem
publisher: Buka Entertainment

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