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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Related links: trailer
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.