Jump to content
Ghost Recon.net Forums

PC Gamer (UK) article - PART 2

Recommended Posts

Buggs has posted over at BIS forums, some scans of an article in the August issue of PC Gamer magazine:

    pcGameraug01s.jpg pcGameraug02s.jpg

    pcGameraug03s.jpg pcGameraug04s.jpg

    pcGameraug05s.jpg pcGameraug06s.jpg

    *Click the images for the full screen versions

and here is a copy of the text in the article (Covering game #2) :

Their new, as yet untitled, game is the next step on from Flashpoint, toward creating this far-future dream - marching what was a straight soldier-sim into new, more obviously cross-genre terrain. "We don't necessarily have to stay with the same gameplay," explains Marek, "That's what Armed Assault is far: a new engine, but the old gameplay. [The new game] could easily have been a sequal as well, but we had a different style of gameplay in mind." And what's that? "Most of us are more roleplaying game fans," Marek grins. "We love first-person shooters... but we like roleplaying games much more."

An RPG? Previously, the only RPG that had anything to do with Flashpoint fired rocket-propelled grenades. "For a sequal, it'll be a surprise, but hopefully a good surprise," says Marek. "Our take on a roleplaying game is very different, unlike other games. But still, 'roleplaying game' is the only term we can use to describe it." They're talking about creating a game that reflects your actions.

You are a soldier, in a war zone. There are no seperate missions, or 'Level Complete' screens. The world continues around you - generating situations and objectives determined by your actions (and those of the AI) in previous encounters. The nearest game to what they're describing, according to Marek, is Morrowind - an open world where you're free to go and do as you please. [Map feature as part of magazine] is your first look at that war zone, targets marked for your elimination. "The gameplay is more continuous in nature," Marek expands, "You don't have short, isolated missions. Rather we have much larger level goals. What you might call a chapter will last for many hours of game, but still be in a persistent world.

Whatever happens goes forward to influence what happens next." On top of the size and continuity of this world, they're aiming to make it far more lively. "Wherever you go, any place in the map, there should be something there," Marek states, "not only men with guns!. While they're adding as much of an ecosystem as they can manage (during [PC Gamer's] visit, we found the team busily researching butterflies to add to the simulation), the biggest change to the platers will be the NPC civilians. Depending on your actions you will either alienate or befriend the population, the help they provide dependant on your social standing with them. For the first time a soldier game is about something more than just pulling the trigger: the very real business of soldiering in a difficult political situation, trying to win hearts and minds.

And to communicate with civilians, you need a conversation system. The game will feature an elaborate version of a conversation tree system, where you choose the line of interrogation. While some topics will be pre-determined, many options will be contextual, and generated on the fly. If you interrogate anyone about the locale, for example, they may know something about the movement of nearby troops and tell you (the information is actually taken from the AI's knowledge of the world's changing events). Friends, captured enemies, the local baker - anyone can be talked to. How the world dynamically changes is crucial to Bohemia's plan. Games which try to create a large continuous environment usually just treat that environment as a static place to explore.

More elaborate games such as Vice City introduce simple reputation systems, so the inhabitants of a region change their behaviour towards you as you progress. Bohemia's shooter will go further, actually making inhabitants move about the map accordingly to their desires and orders. While the technology is currently being tested on seagull colonies and how they spread across the map (look closely in Armed Assault, and you may see them), its eventual use will be modelling the behaviour of thousands of soldiers. The distribution of troops will change constantly, depending on the offensives, manoeuvres and retreats - with your soldier often stuck in the middle.

And more than just 'stuck'. That implies the situation is passive. In fact, you'll be given missions that are generated by the circumstances you find yourself in. If the movement of troops means a group has been ambushed in your locale, your commanders may order you to take a look. Incredibly, even this technology isn't centred on you, but simply on following the logic of the situation. You're the nearest soldier? You go and see. A computer-controlled patrol is nearer? They get the order.

This dynamic war feature, previously only seen in combat flight sims, was supposed to be a cornerstone of the original Flashpoint. It was hopelessly ambitious at the time. "The idea was never wrong," Marek insists, "it was that we started the dynamic campaign before we even had a game. We're not looking at something that drastic now. We still want to do some storytelling. The [unused] original campaign was fully dynamic."

This being a realistic game, the US-based blue army will eventually win the confluct through sheer force of arms. The question is, what does this mean for your lone soldier, hunting a general across the map? The mix of scripted missions (following a main story arc), and those spontaneously generated by the war, should convey the feeling of being an individual with a purpose, and also being a big part in a huge war machine. Wars have been used as a backdrop for sweeping fiction for years, and that's the effect this project aims to achieve.

Bohemia's technology enables some other flourishes. There are fully destructible vehicles, each capable of being reduced to their component elements. Yet due to the continuous, persistant nature of the world, anything you destroy stays destroyed. Prevously destructible scenery has mainly been used for the visceral thrill of seeing something blown apart. Here, it could be married to an emotional impact. You'll only see the explosion once, but the rubble will remain as a reminder of your failure forever.

It's an ambitoous remit, and one that would overwhelm most developers. Bohemia do have advantages, however. Constructing the game directly on top of their pre-existing technology means that certain huge technical challenges, like the sprawling environments covered with huge armies, are already possible. They have the experience, and are now free to push in these brave new directions.

Very few games have conveyed the intermittent horror and quiet tension of modern combat. Flashpoint was unique in its realism, but was still only about the actual fighting. The game-previously-known-as-Flashpoint 2 may offer us a chance to not just be a fighter - but to live as a soldier. As they say, how can this be considered anything other than as an RPG? That makes it different. And very exciting.

Part 1 of the article can be found HERE

:drool::D This is going to be well worth waiting for :santa:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...