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Precursors Q&A
(hx) 11:22 PM CEST - Oct,05 2006

Gameguru Mania got a chance to talk with Sergey Zabaryansky of Deep Shadows, as he talks about Precursors, the upcoming PC/Xbox 360 action game which "leads the gamer into unexplored regions of space, where he can fly with huge battle ships from planet to planet." The game is slated for release in December 2007.

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

Sergey Zabaryansky: Hi. My name is Sergey Zabaryansky, I'm a director of Deep Shadows.

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

Sergey Zabaryansky: Our development team had experience in the game development where events happened in a free world which has its own rules. We take into account all positive and negative sides of Boiling Point game and, as a result, we improve a conception of developing the game. In Precursors the player is free in moving not only in some locations like cities, towns, military bases, but he can also fly between planets. Each planet presents you new friends, enemies and aggressive aboriginal fauna.

GGMania: Is this the same core team with which produced Boiling Point?

Sergey Zabaryansky: The games of Boiling Point and Precursors have two different teams working on them - artists, modelers, script editors; some of the programmers work on the engine in general, at the same time the others work on the engine by tuning up its libraries for the particular game - for example, space flights. Each team has its leading artist of the project who is in charge for the style of the game by characters, textures, models and levels.

GGMania:Were you pleased with the reactions that Boiling Point received? Why the game (especially the initial release) has so many errors? What's happened?

Sergey Zabaryansky: There were ups and downs. We're glad that many gamers liked the game. As for conclusions, first of all, we realized that the game of that size needs much more time for polishing. Unfortunately, Boiling Point was being tested for only 4 months but we tried to do our best.

GGMania: Can you give us an overview of Precursors, telling us what the game is all about?

Sergey Zabaryansky: The protagonist is a young man of Amarns, and he isn't amnesic. The main hero is a young pilot who has just graduated from the Flying Academy; he belongs to a small and independent race. The main hero is getting into the circle of events - being one of innumerous survived pilots he's sent to search for what had happened in the universe. We've created several totally different worlds, for example, a planet, scorched by manmade disasters, a desert, jungles with unusual inhabitants, the world of red sands, a space base. You'll have a chance to visit not only cities and bases but also minor sub locations. Stellar bodies are marked by their inhabitants. For example, on one planet you can find blood-thirsty flowers while on the other one there are many flying varmints.

GGMania: From where did you get the inspiration to make this game? The press release claims that the game is "an updated conversion of good old and still famous game "Elite", a modern First Person Shooter, classic science fiction movies and the world of the novels from Andre Norton". Can you explain further how the game play works?

Sergey Zabaryansky: The idea of the game appeared after reading of Andre Norton's books. However, there is no tie-up between them and our plot. We try to recreate space adventure atmosphere itself that was reproduced in "Solar Queen". The genre of the game is a free-play shooter.

Be sure, the game will be very dynamic; shooter fans will enjoy it. When you are on the planet the game will look like a shooter while in the space it will look like a classical space simulator. All the enemies have different models of behavior; there are also different types of enemies in the game (they are soldiers, monsters), different conditions (wounded, scared, etc).

GGMania: What races will players be able to select from, and what character classes?

Sergey Zabaryansky: I should say that our universe is mainly inhabited by people: Democratic Union, Empire, Amarns... However, there are other races, representatives of which, as a rule, live on such planets where high tech mix well with a half-primitive mode of life.

GGMania: What kinds of weapons and items will players be able to use in the game?

Sergey Zabaryansky: One of the key features of Precursors is organic weapons. These are animals which have such natural offensive features as, for example, acid spit. Adequate food is their recharge. The owner feeds his animal himself; he knows all his vulnerable spots, that's why it's not a problem for him to control it.

GGMania: How will players go about upgrading their weapons? Can they make their own weapons?

Sergey Zabaryansky: No, you can not make your own weapon, but you can upgrade it. There are more than 15 types of weapons that you can use during the game. For instance, you can improve accuracy, magazine size, and effective range for your weapon. It's your choice, what kind of enemy's annihilation to take.

GGMania: Tell us about the enemies that we will be finding in the game as well as to their AI.

Sergey Zabaryansky: As for the Precursors game, we've created a lot of types of the enemies. You will stand against soldiers, robots and various monsters which are different on each planet; there will be many techniques: helicopters, tanks, trucks, jeeps, etc. As for "battle" AI - all the enemies AI use "virtual vision" and "virtual hearing" algorithms. The virtual hearing algorithm allows rivals to react upon sounds spread around the level. Thus, for instance, the sound of skirmish or explosion will attract an enemy that have heard it, or if the player passes behind the backs of an enemy, the noise produced by his steps may end up in the soldiers turning back and opening fire. As for peace AI, most NPC will change their relations to you, depending on your actions.

GGMania: Tell us a little bit about the economic aspects of this game. Is this a barter/trade/import/export game, or will players be tasked with harvesting?

Sergey Zabaryansky: Economical system of our game looks like a classical RPG economical system. You will have a lot of opportunities to earn money. The player's principal earner is undertaking different kinds of tasks. Certainly, you can sell weapons or anything else what you can take from any killed enemy. Additional revenue is organs of the killed monsters. You can sell limbs or teeth of aggressive monsters on each planet. We don't forget about space trade, you can earn money by interplanetary commerce, like in Elite game.

GGMania: What sort of missions will be a part of the single player game? Can you give us an example?

Sergey Zabaryansky: We have various types of missions. The player can choose a mission to his taste: he can attack escorts or defend, look for artifacts, destroy or steal enemy's techniques. Also the player can play peaceful missions to trade with inhabitants from various planets. Almost each character in the game can give different missions, the hero will visit different planets and on the one planet he will visit Empire military firing range where he has to protect scientific men who will try to test a war robot. But the bandits, who also want to get this newest weapon, will try to convince the hero to make a photo of this project.

GGMania: I've noticed there will be controllable space ships. How do players figure into ship departments, and how is the ship captained?

Sergey Zabaryansky: You can run only your ship. Running the departments and fleets in any case could only complicate not a prime game concept. You are able to teleport to enemy's ships where you can kill a pilot, take a mission, rout the ship, etc.

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

Sergey Zabaryansky: The game is based on next-gen Vital Engine 3. It supports shaders 3.0, all the modern effects, such as motion-blur, High Dynamic Range and others. Vehicle physics has been greatly improved as compared to Boiling Point. One of the advantages of this engine is handling of many breakable objects.

GGMania: What system specs will players need? (I would like to know since Boiling Point needs 1GB RAM...)

Sergey Zabaryansky: We don't forget all the troubles you had with Boiling Point and for that moment when Precursors are available for sale its system specs will be such ones that players, who bought computers two years ago, will be able to play without any problems. We also develop Xbox 360 version of the game and this restricts us to 512Mb of Memory.

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

Sergey Zabaryansky: Of course, we really want to do a multiplayer mode but now we are mostly focused on the single player, but we really want to make a cooperative mode if we have enough time.

GGMania: What do you see as the best feature in this game? Finally, what do you think gamers will enjoy in Precursors over other games like it?

Sergey Zabaryansky: When you're on a planet, it's FPS with various vehicles. At any moment, however, you can board your space ship and take off the planet. Then you find yourself in a space-SIM mode and can fly wherever you want or make a hyper-jump into another solar system. As the game is a mix of several genres (FPS, RPG and space-SIM), the most difficult task was to balance the game play and sophistication. We'll try to realize everything at a high level. We have already a prototype and we're sure that it'll be very interesting and thrilling to play this game.

GGMania: Currently, how far in development are you and when do you expect to release the game?

Sergey Zabaryansky: Oh, we're working nonstop. The release of the game is planned for Q4 2007.

GGMania: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Is there anything you want to add that we didn't cover?

Sergey Zabaryansky: You're welcome. Thank you for your interesting questions. We'll keep you informed about our plans.

Related links: trailer.

genre: FPS/RPG
release: 2006/12
developer: Deep Shadows
publisher: Russobit-M

last 10 comments:

xxxx(06:01 AM CEST - Oct,06 2006 )
those look like xbox360.. quality looks too good for pc...

Nosferatu(06:56 AM CEST - Oct,06 2006 )
I was at an exposition in Kiev where they demoed the game. I saw the same video quality in action on a PC as you do see now on the screens.
Still it lagged because they didn't optimise that much so far.
What I liked were the leaves of trees and bushes swaying from a shockway of nearby explosion. The effect didn't look as smooth as in Crysis, but it caught attention nonetheless.

xxxx(09:29 PM CEST - Oct,06 2006 )
Ah k, well someone since told me those shots are from Xbox and not PC.. HX? Do you know? Looks good either way!

(10:06 PM CEST - Oct,06 2006 )
xxxx> Ah k, well someone since told me those shots are from Xbox and not PC.. HX? Do you know? Looks good either way!

I have no's really hard to get any info from developers...but I will ask publisher....

xxxx(02:02 AM CEST - Oct,07 2006 )
Here's another that claims it is PC, gfx don't look as nice to me. I've seen this prior to seeing your screenshots that's why I asked. You'll notice in 'this' shot it doesn't look as pretty. Look at his hand, the creature appears to have less detail, nowhere near as sharp as your shot..

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