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Ghost Recon 2 Xbox Interview
By: NYR_32
Published : September 12th, 2004
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Ghost Recon 2 Xbox Interview

Interview : Christian Allen
GR2 Game Designer
Red Storm Entertainment

The staff of Ghostrecon.net wish to extend their appreciation and thanks to Christian Allen for sitting down and answering a few question for us. Taking the time out to answer the questions of the hardcore Ghost Recon fanbase shows some of the commitment Red Storm have towards making Ghost Recon 2 a success and we thank them for their efforts!

 

Q: Will there be any sort of map that we will be able to pull up since commands are now done on the fly?

A: Yes. We have what we call the “Reference Map”, which is used for, well, reference. Because commands are given in-action, there is no need to bring it up to order your teammates, so it is mainly to keep you aware of where you are, and to help you formulate plans of attack on objectives. We have also implemented a grid system on the reference map, to help with team communication for multiplayer by providing a standard location reference.

Q: Will ballistics be modeled allowing a damage system based on the caliber of the round?

A: Yes, each round has a set amount of energy that is used to determine the lethality of the shot. Each weapon is calculated individually, so that allows us to adjust the muzzle velocity, based on the barrel length and other factors.

Q: Can you pick up/swap any piece of equipment, or just primary weapons? Can you pick up a fallen teammates weapon, or just enemies?

A: You swap out your primary and secondary weapon when you do pickups. You can pick up teammates weapons.

Q: Due to the limited amount of soldiers, do dead ones come back to life for the next mission?

A: We consider downed soldiers as “incapacitated,” and they will return later in the campaign, though not for the next mission (there is a period of recuperation). This was mainly a resource issue, as otherwise you could end up with a team of “generic” soldiers after the second mission. This allows us to add much more personality to the characters in the game, as well as concentrate a lot more on making the Ghosts more detailed then they have ever been.

Q: How much realism is the Dev team shooting for?

A: As much as we can, as long as the gameplay is still fun (it may be fun to break your ankle in a gopher hole, but it doesn’t make for good gameplay). We focused a lot on the little details, from how you can clamber over small obstacles, to the Ghosts wearing the appropriate gear for their role. The new combat model for the AI also adds a lot to the realism, as enemy soldiers now engage you realistically based on their training. There is a big gap in how effective they are compared to you and your Ghosts (until you run into their elite troops and snipers).

Q: With the inclusion of the Havok2 physics engine will a large amount of territory (buildings, cars, walls etc.) be destructible or will it be limited to mission specific objects/objectives?

A: We are planning to make as many things destructible as we can, based on performance restrictions, including several mission specific objects like a tower, bridges, roadways, etc. The biggest impact of Havok2 is on the characters and vehicles in the game. When the characters transition from their death animations and react with the environment, it looks awesome.

Q: With the introduction of helicopters and cinematics in Island Thunder it was discovered that helicopters would not work online and cinematics would crash a dedicated server. Have these issues been fixed, and will we see helicopters in online games?

A: That and more! Helicopters have been totally revamped, and the new AI system our engineers developed is awesome. Instead of vehicles (including helicopters) always having to follow a set path, there is an engagement AI that is simply turned on by the scripters. The vehicles can then hunt you through the level, moving around objects and engaging you. Helos will make strafing runs, and they pitch and yaw realistically as they move through the space. Vehicle implementation has come a long way, even since E3!

Q: How will reticules be modeled in the game?

Will Aimpoint, Holo, and or Reflex sights be modeled? The most prominent sight utilized by Special Forces, and all SOF during night operations is the AN/PEQ2A. This has never been featured in any game. Will this be modeled?

 

A: All of the weapons are modeled in the most modern way, with current red dot, holo sights, and other attachments on the rifles.

Q: Initial media has shown night vision in the OTS mode as “full screen”. Will this be the case for the final version? Also will NVG’s be modeled on the characters a la RvS (i.e. when NVGs are used will they appear on the character model)?

A: Yes, Night Vision in OTS is full screen. We played with different implementations of this, and this is the one that worked the best. For the night mission, the Ghosts will be equipped with NVS equipment that you can see on the character model.

Q: The GR1 kits were severely limited. For example, if a player chose extra ammo, he could not have grenades. Have the player load-outs been expanded to allow for more items, that is, a more realistic load along the lines of what a Special Forces Operator would carry?

A: We opened up the kit selection to give the player more options. You now have four kit slots, which you can fill with a Primary Weapon, Secondary Weapon, Explosives (grenades, claymores, etc.), and a MAAWS launcher or mission specific equipment. For each mission, we give you intelligent defaults, so you can jump right into the action, or, if you like, you can choose your own load out.

Q: There has been some discussion on the GR.net boards concerning ammo counts and magazines. Will the game track rounds left in individual magazines a la GR1, or will the magazines always be full if there is at least the appropriate number of rounds remaining?

A: For the Xbox version, we are displaying the remaining ammo, and reloading tops fills out of this number. This was mainly an interface issue, to keep things clean and simple. Our goal was to focus you on the action, not the ammo counter.

Q: Is friendly fire on in Single Play? Some recent titles in the name of action have removed this, arguably to the detriment of the game.

A: Definitely. Fire discipline is part of the real world, and making your troops immune to your fire would only encourage players to shoot indiscriminately in an unrealistic fashion.

 

Q: Will there be random mission incidents in the game? An example is one time the player makes his way to a position to call an air strike and the support rolls in and hits the target. The second time in the same mission, the supporting air is downed by anti-aircraft fire and the player must utilize alternative means to destroy the target?

A: We are exploring different dynamic objectives and random elements in missions. We want to add replayability, without ruining the learning curve too much.

Q: Will flashbangs, claymores, smoke grenades etc. be modeled in the game?

A: Right now we have grenades, claymores, and satchel charges. Flashbangs were not found to be useful in the GR2 outdoor settings, and smoke grenades were not included for performance issues (especially in MP).

Q: When attending to wounds, to what degree is healing provided in the game?

A: The Medic system enables you to get a soldier back up from near death into fighting condition. Their aim, etc., is still affected by the wound, but it keeps them from dying (if medic is not performed, the soldier will bleed out and you will lose him from the mission).

Q: Will the PAS-13 Heavy or PAS 13 Light Thermal Scopes be modeled in the game? If so will they represent a realistic picture (black and white) rather than the Hollywood Predator vision model normally seen in titles like R63 and Splinter Cell?

A: We decided to stick to standard EVNG night vision for the game, rather than try and wedge every possible vision mode in.

Q: Will proper unit designation of the Ghosts be portrayed?

A: We chose to go a little more generic with the unit designation of the Ghosts, they are portrayed as an element of the 5th SOG. We did not want to choose a very specific unit, as we did not feel that would be appropriate.

Q: Are there plans for uniform selection in either MP or SP?

A: In MP there is a planned uniform selection system where the server can choose uniform “sets”, and then the players can choose from within that set.

Q: Is there a possibility of weapons jams for both the player as well as friendly and enemy NPCs?

A: It is in there for the enemy NPC’s, we call it a weapon “fumble”. Every once and a while, you can see one of the regular army enemies have a weapon jam and move to clear his weapon. We decided for gameplay reasons not to cause weapon jams for the player.

With each new thing we learn about Ghost Recon 2 it looks more and more like Red Storm has stayed true to its roots. Thanks again to Christian Allen for the interview.

Also thanks to Sartillies, SuperBob, HatchetForce, NYR and various GhostRecon.net Forum members for putting this list of questions together for the interview!


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