Silent Storm: Sentinels Chat Log - 21/10/04

on 20th Oct 2004

This is the transcript from a chat we had with representatives from Nival Interactive and JoWooD Productions about Silent Storm and it's expansion Silent Storm: Sentinels. We also got a little information on their upcoming game, Nightwatch.

Development

Placid: Have you started a new project yet? I know there are quite a few people out there that wish for you to use that fine S3 engine for a Fallout or X-Com like game...
Nival: Well, Yes, actually, at the Russian market we have announced our new title - "NightWatch". This the TBS game and is based on the S2/S3 engine. The game is set in the modern fantasy world of the popular book by Lukyanenko - extremly popular Russian author.  But, nevertheless, we're thinking about the next game in the world of Silent Storm.

However, it's too early to state the final decision, we're gathering feedback and have to make some research reagrding the new advancements in our graphics amnd gameplay which undoubtedly shoould be one level up compared to that in S2/S3. In this regard we're always happy to hear your opinion at our forums
Falloout has been license to some other company, we can't use it so far, X-Com


blooshoo: Hmm? Oh. What kind of feedback are you getting from SS and what sort of changes will be/would be in the next game? Whats the biggest major change that would be in a sequel currently?
Nival: The Feedback is mostly about more tactic possibilities and more realistic gameplay, as well as faster graphics engine and some vehicles. Larger locations, some changes in the role-playing system.
So, if we decide to make the next game in s2/s3 setting we'll make faster and much better turn sequences, even more life-like animations, more units, items, interesting and versatile weapons. And above all, better main story.


bloo: Both Silent Storm and Silent Storm: Sentinels took very long between the launch in Russia and the launch in Europe. How come?
JoWooD: It's because there is still some work to do for releases in other countries like the localization and recording of voice overs in different languages. This has to be implemented and tested also. That's why it does take some time.

Placid: What was the most challenging/problematic part of making S2/S3? The engine is quite spectacular, and I can imagine it was hard putting it together.
Nival: Yes, all in al it took us three years to come up with the final concept of the game as well as to create the game engine. It was quite hard. NO game in TBS genre ever had such 3D graphics, not to mention the truly destrucible environments with complex path finding and therefore lots of programming and math problems. So, we had to make the engine from scratch and that was the most challenging thing

Placid: What book title is Nightwatch by the Russian author Lukyanenko based on?
Nival: Err... It's the own title of the book if understand you right. This is the series of books - NightWatch, DayWatch and TwilightWatch. It is set mainly in the modern Moscow and other European capitals, says about the life of vampires, werewolves and modern mages, Dark and Light side. Modern Light and Dark mages have an agreement to keep the balance.

Slaughter: When will we see Silent Storm II?
Nival: We think it's rather early to set the dates

bloo: With the high flexability of the Silentstorm engine, is there any plans for jowood and or nival to embrace future releases' mod community as another developers have (as far as hosting mod files and or websites and giving -more- tech support and tools?) Or is that beyond your current scope?
Nival: We're planning to exercise these things (community and mod support) much better, for sure.
JoWooD: We always have an "open ear" for the mod community. If they are going to contact us. (plex@jowood.com - community manager) He will answer and forward all questions regarding such things.
Nival: We'll strive to make our modding tools as easy and understandble to common players as it's possible, while keeping their developing and creative force.


Pete: Because there is no multiplayer in S2-S3 a good opponent for the player is needed so do you plan a better (faster and smarter) AI for your coming game?
Nival: Sure, we're working on it, In Sentinels we've fixed some Ai thingies and implemented better tactics. In our future TBS, we're going to push it even further. That's for sure. We have some interesting ideas and insights for this, we will experiment with them and will incorporate the best into our next generation products

Placid: What direction (in time era) is the next game in the SS series going to take?
Nival: CLASSIFIED information, we'll have to riddle you with .50 MGs if we tell

Placid: Is the game mission structure of S2 or S3 going to be retained at the next line of games or should we expect to see something completely different? And if yes what?
Nival: We like experiments Stay tuned, if our experiments are succesful, you'll get some really weird stuff

Game Elements

Arach: Are there any major gameplay features that Nival would love to try or experiment with in SS, but have never had the time?
Nival: Yes, sure. these are vehicles, suicide dogs, mortars, super heavy weaponry...flamethrowers, gas grenades, etc.

bloo: From me (as someone who's never seen/heard of nightwatch) to nival, In this project will you play as a vampire? will it have more RPG aspects than SS?. Or do you simply play some sort of "hunters"? And if you get to be A vampire do you get to turn people? Do you have a good source offhand an American/english speaking person could learn more about nightwatch?
Nival: We don't have the English source for Nightwatch world at the moment. However, we shall open one when we announce the game in Europe, USA and other countries. you can't turn people, but you have lots of abilities, skills and spells as you play for one of the three classes - Werewolf, Mage and Enchanter, investigate the darkside intruigues and save ppl from death and worse

Briosafreak: The Turn Based combat in S2 and S3 is awesome, still is there a chance of making aimed shots right clicking the critter and choosing the bodypart on a screen, like Fallout? Or the keyboard combination is here to stay?
Nival: We think that the numpad is more convenient, however Fallout had very cool aiming system as well, it's just a matter of taste... and choice

bloo: Are their any plans to incorperate truely randomly generated encounters within future SS releases? As in not just 4 or 5 maps but with a map generated on the spot for each map "section"? Is this possible with the current engine? (maybe something that was cut because of time constraints in coding or such a thing?)
Nival: It can be done with the current engine, but it's hard in terms of the game's story. According to your feedback and testing, ppl like story-driven and tree-like scenarios. That's what we did in Sentinels, they're more story-driven and players like it.
We have ideas though about the random generated encounters and even more - returns to scenario locations with all the changes the player left in. All above in our next project.
JoWooD:  just a few words to the random encounters from the producing side you always have to keep in mind the balance with producing a game. where do the costs go and when you have to meet the market. So it is by default very hard nowadays to get the time for fully scaled random encounter if you have a timeline to meet and those things would really eat up time. We discussed a few different options at the beginning which sounded very nice, but it turned out that it would blow up the budget and timeline which is very tricky for both developer and publisher. But with the feedback and the experience it will be easier to find a good solution in the next game for such a problem so watch out for it
Nival: true


Silvergryphon: Just a comment to Nivals remark about story-driven: the problem with S2 was that most of the time it was not clear WHY and WHAT EXACTLY to do in each mission, I dont think the random missions as such were the issue of frustration.
Nival: Yes, that was a problem, it needs lots of time to find and eliminate these setbacks. We have considered and fixed this thing with Sentinels.

Nico: What are you most pleased with in Sentinals. (features?)
Nival: New wepapons (Ak47, etc), economic gameplay, new settings, gameplay improvements like break-downs and jamming for weapons, new Thor Hammer's soldiers (and girls, of course)
bloo: I was more favoriable to the sential girls. espcially the ones on the base defending mission.. o.o


bloo: Is developing a multiplayer aspect high on your priority list for the next SS game?
Nival: It's not very hard for us, but we're not very sure that this mode we'll be interresting to most of the players of TBS. We'll think of it, definitely.

sakus: Sorry if this has been asked already, I came in late.. will panzerkleins still play such a big role in future SS title(s) and if so, would it be possible to include a "no scifi" option for those who may not like them?
Nival: Do you mean Sentinels? Or the next game s4, for exmple?
Sakus: Future SS titles, S4, S5, etc
Nival: PK will get rusted at the junk site If we use them in our next game, we will add some even more effective counter measures. However, in S3 we've weakened them, added bullet-proof vest and heavy armor, as well as AT grenades... ...to stop them.


Localisation

Silvergryphon: Ok, my question is to either Nival or JoWooD if they plan to release Nigthwatch in the rest of Europe and USA also
Nival: Nightwatch hasn't been licensed for any publisher in the world except for Russia, we will announce the details and distribution information when we're ready. Somewhere in Q2 2005.

Guest354: When will Sentinels be released in USA?
JoWooD: Encore Entertainment released Silent Storm in the US. For Sentinels we are still in negotiations. But if we have it fixed we'll announce it at our homepage and give the info to the forums.
Slaughter: Estimate?
JoWooD: I'm sorry but there's no ETA yet.


Silvergryphon: When will the German Seintiels patch be released?
JoWooD: It is released =)
S3 V1.1 patch is available for the EN version and the GER version.


Ib: Im from Norway, how come I haven't heard of the game before now? Did scandinavians get overlooked in the marketing process?
JoWooD: We are in negotiations with a distributor for the Scandinavian market. Hopefully there's a solution soon for this market.

Slaughter: How about advertising in general? Haven't seen many S2/S3 adds online...
JoWooD: S2/S3 is a niche product. It's the best for a niche product to advertise in SI magazines.

Arach: Will Gothic II : Night of the Raven be published in the UK, US? Additonally, anything on Gothic 3?
JoWooD: We are working on that =)
Gothic 3 will come at end of 2005


Other

Briosafreak: If the rumours stating the Jagged Alliance license will change hands until the end of the year come up true, is JoWooD interested in picking it up?
JoWooD: We don't have the license at the moment but everything is possible. It just depends on the offer =)

Slaughter: Do you have any merchandise available for S2/S3?
JoWooD: No, we don't have merchandise articles for it.

Slaughter: Why not?
JoWooD: It's a good idea but it'll need a bigger fan community. Just to throw in a 2 cents for the merchandising is a great thing to have but if you are not EA or some superplayer in that industry you have to watch very carefully where to spend your marketing money
Nival: true
JoWooD: thats why its often very hard to get adequat merchandising budgets into the projects we made it for Spellforce just as an example. maybe nex Silent Storm is candidate... you never know =) keep asking for it!


Placid: How does Nival feel about an open ended mission concept more along the lines of Civilization or "Risk" where you would command multiple squads in order to control regions over the course of the game? It seems like the functionality is close to being there, is this a direction that would be possible in future versions of Silent Storm?
Nival: If understand you right, the idea and concept of our next game in Silent Storm setting should be very close to what you're asking for We had such an idea before and we keep it in mind.

Whip-0: How about your other franchises? Will we ever see an Evil Islands 2 or an Etherlords 3?
Nival: Quite possibly, Ethelords and escpecially Evil Islands franchise are very nice game worlds, we're thinking of making new games in there

Arach: Considering Turn Based is something of a niche genre now, how well has Silent Storm done on the market?
Nival: If you ask us, it has received several Editor's Choices and high ratings - 8.3 at the average.
JoWooD: Yep - Silent Storm got the best ratings from the Press.


bloo: We all know its an awesome game I think he was aming more towards sales figures? (jowood guys??)
Nival: http://www.gametab.com/pc/silent.storm/1860/

Placid: Has the number of S2 / S3 copies sold met your expectations?
JoWooD:  In Europe it performed well but it always could be better But the Gold Edition will come soon. In Finland we had a sold-out with S2 and S3.

Placid: What size is the Nival team working on S2/S3, and what size is Nival?
Nival: S2/S3 size was changing from milestione to milestone, but the core remained - 15 ppl. Nival is 120 atm. We have four projects (at least)under development and we grow bigger to afford more projects at one time and meet your expectations for all the franchises and good games

Credits

First of all we'd like to thank Dmitry "Wolf_Pack" Kolpakov, Dmitry "Zak" Zakharov, Daniel Wehner and Stefan Spill for chatting with us.

Second, we'd like to thank Wormfist (making the transcript), PlacidDragon and blooshoo (voices) for helping out with the chat.

Third we'd like to say thanks for ChatSpike for hosting the chatroom and helping with the chat.

And fourth we'd like to thank everyone that attended for making this a interesting event. Hope to see you again in future chats!

Game Card

Silent Storm: Sentinels Box
Silent Storm: Sentinels
Nival Interactive
1C Company
2004


Screenshot

Databank Details

Silent Storm Series

Purchasing Options

Links to Gamersgate, Steam etc will go here