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Alpha Prime Interview
(hx) 05:32 PM EDT - Jun,14 2005

GGMania got a chance to chat with Black Element's (Shade: Wrath of Angel makers) lead3D Artist and technical director Jan [Hey Jan what's your surname? :)] as he talks about Alpha Prime, their upcomig first person shooter based on story written by the foremost Czech Sci-fi author Ondrej Neff.

GGMania: Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little bit about what you do on Alpha Prime?

Jan: Hello! My name is Jan and I'm lead3D Artist in Black Element. I'm responsible of 3D look, animation and from time to time I'm something like technical director.

GGMania: To start off, can you give us a brief overview of Alpha Prime?

Jan: Alpha Prime is a first person Sci-Fi action game. It will have a strong story line because its written by our (Czech) best Sci-Fi writer Ondrej Neff and it will be build on our state-of-the-art technology - Enforce2 engine. Story itself will be placed on the abandoned and closed mining facility on an asteroid in the forbidden zone. Why this facility was closed, why this zone is forbidden, why player receive a message from his old friend about this asteroid and why all robotic staff at the base trying to stop him you'll have to find for yourself.

GGMania: What is the range of different locations in which Alpha Prime takes place?

Jan: We want to make every level as unique as possible. Story will guide player's steps through his own cargo ship, down to asteroid itself, technical background of mining base, crew quarters, mining shafts, prospector's ship and even on the asteroid surface.

GGMania: How will this set your game apart from other first person shooters? Will the gameplay actually be different in any significant ways?

Jan: First is technology itself. We have best pieces from all others. Dynamic diffuse lighting based on normal maps, specular lighting based on normal maps, reflection, refraction... But what's the best part is that we have it all nicely and smoothly working on both the PC and console platforms. The game itself will feature quite new gameplay principles in using the items and manipulating the gravity and time. You also have the ability to control robots.

GGMania: The weapons arsenal, always important in first person shooters. What kind of weapons will we get to use in the game?

Jan: Alpha Prime have an arsenal of common and not so common firearms from personal pistol through automatic assault rifles to energy weapons and few special things that are secret right now but you'll enjoy lots of fun with them.

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

Jan: Yes. Most of weapons in Alpha Prima have alternative firing modes and yes, there will be a simple upgrading system to some specific devices that player will carry along.

GGMania: What kind of enemies can players expect to find in Alpha Prime?

Jan: Most of enemies will be robots ranged from cleaning robot, manipulators, welders and miners through security bots of different levels of firearms and heavy combat robots. They will also use a different types of transportation varying from their own legs (two, three,fours.. six), wheels, tracks to antigravity engines.

GGMania: What will the AI in Alpha Prime allow the enemies to do in the game? Can they work in group or protect their lives?

Jan: We will use our current (pretty smart already) AI as a root of more robust system which will allow as to do more complex behavioral systems.

GGMania: Will there be vehicles in the game players can use?

Jan: Yes but lots more. For instance, you can control a manipulator robots to do the hard work for you, hack a camera behind the corner (or behind the wall) or even your enemies if you'll want to.

GGMania: Can you give us an example of specific missions in the game?

Jan: It's too early to reveal things like this. Ask later.

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

Jan: As I said above, we upgrade our engine that already works smoothly on lots of platforms and every eyecandy that we add takes it to another level. Normal maps are used not only for specular but for dynamic diffuse lighting, we have a breakable glass system which along with refraction looks very astounding. We have a robust particle system before but now particles itself are lit dynamically and they even collide with the environment which are not so common things in game engines even in these days. Because we have all key features done and working already, we can focus mainly on those eye candy stuff that allow as to do much richer atmosphere for players.

GGMania: What the current system requirements are for the game?

Jan: They are not stated yet.

GGMania: What type of music will be played during the missions?

Jan: Music will be modern but don't expect simple brainwashing trash-metal. Our musician is already working on score and you can make a picture about the style from our physics video and Alpha Prime first teaser.

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

Jan: It's not stated yet. Because the story itself is written for single player mode, we will se in the future if we will have just multiplayer or even cooperative mode. But for now, the matter is still undecided. It depends on many things. It will definitely be subject of further discussion.

GGMania: What, in your view, is the most exciting aspect of Alpha Prime?

Jan: Story, enjoyable and fast gameplay, technology and great sci-fi mood.

GGMania: What are you currently focusing on in the game, in terms of development?

Jan: I'm working right now on different types of NPCs and enemies models.

GGMania: When can we expect to see the game hit store shelves and at what price?

Jan: It's not stated yet.

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

Jan: Are you too tired of all those slime dungeons, rusty knight's plates and demons from hell? Keep an eye on Alpha Prime ;)

Related links: physics demonstration video (19MB ~ DivX), teaser trailer (12.9MB ~ DivX), homepage

genre: first-person shooter
release: N/A
developer: Black Element Software
publisher: homepage

last 10 comments:

maga(01:39 AM EDT - Jun,15 2005 )
nice, looking forward to this game.

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