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Neuro Interview
(hx) 02:43 PM CEST - Aug,27 2002

Russian publisher Russobit-M let us know that they are presenting absolutely new project at Leipzig Game Convention 2002 - 3D first-person shooter Neuro, which is set in the 3Map Games (former Revolt Games) created universe of their upcoming space combat sim - Homeplanet. (see recent interview article). A few days before Leipzig's Expo, we managed to speak with Russobit-M's international PR-manager Irina Semenova to find out more about their plans for this upcoming action title. Here is a brief interview as well as five exclusive screenshots from the game.

GGMania: What kind of game is Neuro, and how do you classify it in terms of its genre or genre blend?

Irina Semenova: Neuro is a classic first person shooter game with various missions, tasks, environments and without any RPG or other genre elements.
The basic idea of our game is new gameplay, based on an opportunity of the main hero to grasp the enemy's consciousness.

GGMania: Can you give us a little background on the development team working on Neuro?
Irina Semenova: This moment your magazine readers will be the first, who'll know about last news in the developing studio's activity. The Revolt Games Company has changed its name to 3MAP Games and since now they'll present their projects under this title.
Ok, now briefly about the story of studio. The base part of the 3MAP Games stuff worked earlier in the gaming element of New Media Generation Company where they created a completed multiplayer shooter Hired Team: Trial. After that the backbone of HTT developing team established new Studio Revolt Games in May, 2001. The first highlight was a signed contract with Russobit-M company involving game localization. The Studio translated for Russobit-M such games as Battle Realms, Trophy Rally, World War III: Black Gold and few others working with the world famous companies Ubi Soft, JoWood, Dinamic, Arxel Tribe etc. Now we also present two self-developing projects: spacesim Homeplanet and 3D FPS Neuro. And as key figures of Neuro developing team I should mention Sergey Mironov who is project director and author of the main artistic part of the game, Edward Kozadaev, lead programmer and Artem Khahin, AI programmer.

GGMania: What is the gameworld like, what variety of locations does it include?

Irina Semenova: Neuro gameworld - is a world of far future. Humanity developed a completely new form of space travel that brought nearby star systems within reach and started to conquer the galaxy. The majority of appeared Colonies were joined in Confederation with the Earth at the head. But there were also independent planets. One of them is the Klouto planet, which is the starting point in the Neuro's storyline.People haven't been leave on the one planet for a long time already. Eventually the social structure, technologies and even private life differs more and more on many planets.

The basic concept of our game which is defined in the game universe is a new level of human evolution, where implants in the human brain and increasing psi-abilities are usual things. Actually, the opposition of such people is the basic theme and the basic conflict of the game.

GGMania: How extensive is the backstory that brings the player to the start of the actual game?

Irina Semenova: Neuro has a futuristic setting, when humankind invents a totally new way of traveling in space. That is why people already inhabit the nearest star systems. Time passes by and these colonies grow into the biggest industrial and scientific centers. Obvious enough, they want to get independent and quit the Earth Confederation. The game starts on the surface of one of the colonies - a planet named Sorgo.
Craig Richards is the main game character, who finds himself in the epicenter of the conflict between special services of the Earth and a military clan Troiden. But he, himself is a psionic soldier serving the Earth Confederation.
The gameplay of Neuro is built on player's special ability to take any living being under psi-control. Thus, the player stands a chance to fulfill the level objectives in a rather untraditional way.

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

Irina Semenova: As the gameworld of Neuro is Cyberpunk, we follow this style during the whole game, but in common the locations will be completely different.
The action in the game occurs on two planets and on a space station. Each indoor or outdoor locations includes several levels. For example, the location with our conditional name Space Station will have levels the Docks, the Spacecraft etc.

GGMania: What kinds of weapons will be available in the game?

Irina Semenova:
The basic factor in the creation of weapons for the game is the opportunity to use the ones that players are used to, and which are presented in many previous games. But it is also necessary also to include some original weapons in the game, which could make the gameplay more interesting. So, we try to find a golden mean taking into consideration, that the actions will occur in the far future.
In total, there will be 15 various weapons divided to four groups - Light, Standard, Heavy and Special weapons. The first two groups mostly include weapons such as shotguns and SMG. etc that are already familiar to players. But there'll be also original weapons in these groups. For example, we've discussed very actively a grenade cup discharge that creates a volumetric explosion. This weapon will be not so dynamic, but very effective at destroying opponents in closed rooms. The most interesting weapons will be in two last groups, particularly in the Special group.

Here are some examples of the weapons:
- The rocket launcher is destined for the destroying an armoured objects as well as for the killing of enemies (special reactive shells with a gas mixture)
- Stiletto is a pneumatic weapon shooting by iron needles.
- Electromagnetic cannon is a special kind of weapon for the destroying an electronics of the armoured objects or for the killing of enemies with implants.
- Neutron blaster is another special kind of weapon for the killing of enemies. Using of the IR-sight player will be able to destroy the enemy even through the walls. But this weapon is vain against the electronic and mechanic enemies.

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

Irina Semenova: Despite the far future time of our universe, there will not be terrible monsters - mutants or aliens. Your opponents in the game will be people. In similar cyberpunk worlds, it's pretty easy to find people who will kill for money. The world of our game is no exception. Different groups of people will be your enemies, but they all will be used by the basic negative character in the game. Among your enemies will be mercenaries, (remember that the world of game is cyberpunk), drug dealers and soldiers of the militarized clans. Don't worry about a wide range of enemy characters, there will not be a mob of the bad guys in the game but each of them has its own role in the storyline.

GGMania: How many levels in total will we have to play?

Irina Semenova: There will be 22 different locations with several sublevels in each of them in the final singleplayer version of Neuro. The game will contain about 50 % of indoor and 50% of outdoor levels.

GGMania: I noticed that Neuro utilizes an in-house engine by Revolt Games, what are the important features of your engine that make it especially suited to your game design?

Irina Semenova: Yes, Neuro is based on the in-house engine of 3MAP Games and we're presenting here the detailed list of its features:

Rendering system
The main advantage of Neuro's rendering system is the ability to render a high count of polygons with per-pixel lighting and dynamic shadows with acceptable framerates.
Vertex and pixel shaders are used for per-pixel lighting (available on the last-generation video cards like GeForce 3, Radeon 8500 or more recent). This lighting model also includes bump mapping and specularity that gives much more realism to the rendered picture.
Our shaders' system allows also creating any materials with no troubles. We can render geometry with bump maps, gloss maps, specular highlighting etc.
There are realized following variants of per-pixel lighting:
Diffuse lighting with bump map;
Diffuse lighting with bump map and specular highlights. Here the gloss maps, which assign the of the specular intensity on the different surface's points, are also available;
High quality diffuse lighting and specular highlights. We use for it the special i.e. HILO bump map available only on video card GeForce 3 or later.
The Neuro's rendering system allows render the realistic dynamic shadows from game characters casted by all lighting sources.
Thanks to the effective T&L using the engine is able to render high-polygonal objects with a full speed.
The developed LOD system allows the adaptation of the engine for different video cards and the support of FPS on the more or less permanent and acceptable level for comfortable game.
The HSR system is also developed in the engine.
The rendering of characters and other models.
The using of bump maps allows reach nice quality in view of enough low number of polygons (up to 2000 for the character)
Using our developed shaders it's possible to create the mirror surfaces. At that it's possible to make the reflection of usual mirror and also of curve mirror (if the reflecting object will be enough small relative to the other objects and to the distances between them)
There will be realized quality water with reflection, refraction and caustics.
The engine will support different types of effects, such as particle systems, volumetric fog etc.
The characters are animated using the skeleton animation technology and its most advanced variant, i.e. inverse kinematics. The inverse kinematics can be used for the improvement of animation quality, increasing of the realism and for the liquidation of the earlier games' defects.
There are also provided in fact non limited number of "bones" for a character.
The model animation is strongly optimized for Intel and AMD processors and for GeForce 3 & Radeon 8500 video cards.
High-effective collision detection system. Realistic physics of game objects. The physics creates taking into account the nearest approach to the real life.
AI & scripts
The advanced level of computer opponents' AI, various systems of co-operation of bots and player. The effective scripted system allows to change and tune up the gameworld parameters, "quick-wittedness" and of AI thinking without recompilation of game code.
DirectSound3D, OpenAL support. There are EAX3.0 possibilities used for the effects of the scene environment and sound imitation of level geometry.
The client/server system is developed with support of UDP protocol for the net correlation. The optimization of the internal net protocol for playing on low-speed net links (modems).

GGMania: What the current system requirements are for Neuro?

Irina Semenova: The proper Operation Systems for the game are Win9x /Me/2000/XP. Minimal requirements - P2-333, 64 MB RAM, GeForce1,2, sound card, recommended requirements - P3-1000, 256 MB RAM, GeForce3/4, EAX sound card.

GGMania: Will the game include a multiplayer mode?

Irina Semenova: You see, we've already created the completed multiplayer FPS project "Hired Team Trial", so for now we'd like to concentrate on the single-player mode, and the multiplayer will be represented in Neuro by traditional deathmatch. Maybe we will add some new multiplayer abilities after the release of the final version of the game.

GGMania: When can we expect to see the game hit store shelves and at what price? Will it be released in North America?

Irina Semenova: The release date of the game is fourth quarter 2003 and sure we're planning to release Neuro in the North America too. As the release date is enough far we're still in the negotiations concerning the Neuro publishing. Actually we plan to publish this game for worldwide territory.

GGMania: Do you plan to demonstrate a playable build of the game at Leipzig Game Convention 2002?

Irina Semenova: At the Leipzig Game Convention we present the show-demo of the game, where you'll see the level environments and main features of the engine in power. Welcome to our Booth # F 08 in the Hall 3.

GGMania: Do you plan to release a playable demo for public?

Irina Semenova: We are going to present public demo after the preparing of alpha-version. I think it could be before September 2003. GGMania: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview, is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?

Irina Semenova: In the nearest time we're planning to open the internet site of Neuro, hope it will be interesting for all gamers. We'll announce it soon after the Expo.

genre: first-person shooter
release: 2003/Q4
developer: 3MAP Games
publisher: Russobit-M

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