Kreed: Interview to Vladimir Nikolaev
In the 30th century, after many years of genetic manipulation and developement of advanced nanotechnologies, the definitive soldier is now ready to guarantee peace in the galaxy and avoid new, terrible wars between different races. In 2944, the merchant spaceship Aspero is attacked by an unknown enemy and, during the battle, the two ships reach a strange area, marked in red in every space map...
Nextgame.it: You said that we will experience individual missions and team skirmishes. Does it mean that we will be able to command a team or being part of it in reaching certain goals? Can you explain how the player will be able to relate to his AI companions, if this feature is going to be in the game?
Vladimir Nikolaev: In single player mode there will be moments when you will accomplish this or that task with a group of "conscious" bots. The player will have the possibility to give orders to his teammates and analyze their fulfillment. During the Mission, you will talk via communicator and this will introduce changes. In general, the team will follow the player supporting him with gunfire. But of course, the longevity of the teammates will also depend on the player. For example by helping the defending ally that is overwhelmed by enemy, the player can get some important and useful information.
Nextgame.it: What about multiplayer? Are we going to see some kind of interaction between players in the same team, in a cooperative mission mode? Will you set up roles, like for example in Return to Castle Wolfenstein or Tribes?
Vladimir Nikolaev: In Kreed you will of course have multiplayer. The client-server architecture of our X-Tend engine allows several users to play by Internet or LAN. We will include DeathMatch, Team DeathMatch, Capture The Flag, Last Man Standing, Assault modes. In team mode the players will have an excellent possibility to act as a real team. Their behavior will define their success. This is a good way to show what you are made of because you will have time to use your various skills. So, your individual qualities are in the first place. That's why we will not have predefined roles in the game.
Nextgame.it: You say Kreed will provide sort of dynamic world in which the player moves his steps, rather than the usual formula "breafing - mission - complete - breafing...". Can you explain us, using some examples, how you could obtain it?
Vladimir Nikolaev: We worked real hard to introduce storyline through script scenes, dialogues and diaries. The player will not be strictly linked to the game and mechanically accomplish the objectives from briefings (something like got from point A to point B). He will have to think before he gets to the final destination.
The enemies will not fit into the "raw meat" category. You will see some surprises and will think how to get through this or that sector more effectively. In one of the missions you will face an insectoid Tiglaary "queen". To eliminate it you will have to move on floating antigrav islands, switch of the force fields and avoid its deadly tentacles. The missions promise to be full of routes and events. This explained by the variety of elements that provide alternative ways – sewer systems, ventilation shafts, labyrinths, original traps. The player gets to the ventilation shaft were the air flow generated by him will carry him to this or that pass, and only one of the passes will be right. Laser traps will also not allow you to be bored, you will have to avoid, jump, duck and so on... The player will have to spend some time on destroying the obstacle from an experimental weapon that is activated from four control panels.
Nextgame.it: What can you tell us about X-Tend engine? How difficult is to write such a complex game engine and how long you needed to work before everything was stable enough to power your game? Are you going to licence it?
Vladimir Nikolaev: Functionality provided by the X-Tend engine is fairly enough for a complicated game like Kreed. Although X-Tend engine still shares the common concepts of modern game engines, it differs a lot from numerous quake-clones in a way it works with its levels. As you probably noticed, X-Tend engine is capable of maintaining pretty large amount of logically independent game entities, thus increasing the interactivity of the game and adding neat features like possibility to damage light bulbs, computers or other fragile machinery. There are several types of lighting in Kreed that are used in conjunction with each other, allowing different lighting effects to be produced. For instance, if you shoot the computer monitor the area it used to light becomes dark.
It is difficult to write a game engine from scratch, that's for sure. Frankly, the engine cannot be considered finished until the first game based on it gets released. It took us nearly eighty months to get the engine stable enough so we could start building game levels. Yes, we plan to license the engine, but it won't be done until the engine gets matured and easy-to-use development tools appear.
Nextgame.it: What can you tell us about music & audio in Kreed? There will be dynamic music? You will support audio 3D or Dolby Digital 5.1?
Vladimir Nikolaev: There will be about 20 sound tracks in Kreed. We consider the possibility to change them according to the appropriate game situation, but we think that should be optional feature. The sound engine (D.A.R.E.) supports a variety of audio standards including EAX 2.0. There's no Dolby Digital 5.1 support for now.
Nextgame.it: What reactions did you encounter in the people who came to shows and tested Kreed? Were you satisfied from the responses, did you take some suggestions from players who, for the first time, could try your game? And did you have the chance to show Kreed to some other developer?
Vladimir Nikolaev: We have showed Kreed to many guests and on international shows along with the test versions that had been sent out to our friends. Still we have been getting only positive feedback, but of course we take into account all comments if they are grounded enough.
Nextgame.it: When will be the game be done? Do you have in your plan version for other platform (consoles)? What can you tell us about other and future projects after Kreed?
Vladimir Nikolaev: We plan to release the game in March 2003. Without any complications it can be ported to Xbox. It is too early to speak about any future projects, though the related documents are being prepared. All programmers and artists are fully involved in Golden Land 2 and Kreed projects.
Thanks for your time and keep up the good work.