UFO Aftershock Chat Log - 25/11/04

on 25th Nov 2004

These are the people from ALTAR interactive that attended the chat:
Jiri Rydl - Public Relations
Robert Hoffmann - Business Development Manager
Martin Klima - Lead Designer

Index:
- Strategic
- Tactical
- Other
- Credits


Strategic


Hyperion: Will it be harder to capture live aliens and when you do will the reasearch options be different than having reasearched a dead alien? (like interogation for secret alien labs so u can raid it and steal some kind of doomsday machine.)
ALTAR: In Aftershock, the aliens and alien research is done a bid differently. Instead of large number of different types of basically non-intelligent enemies, you will be facing a small number of intelligent races. The research option will reflect this -- dead enemy will not tell you where does he come from and what he wants.

Hyperion : What is the advantage of having a base next to the sea?
ALTAR: You can build sea routes.

Thorondor: How do the humans that "just" captured the Reticulan Laputa view the planet below and the life forms it harbours ? (an unknown 'monolith', an unchecked, contaminated environment, a place of pervading death, indifferent, a lost home) ?
ALTAR: When the humans arrive at Reticulan Laputa, they find just pitiful remnants of Reticulan crew. Reticulans are weak, lacking will to fight, disoriented. To find out why it is so, is the first task for the player.

Elevrai: Will targetable body parts be implemented in the game? If yes, will there be an specific research to be made and some aliens with vulnerables parts?
ALTAR: Yes, they will be, and it will requir a special training on the part of the soldier to be able to target body parts.

Hyperion: Will the reasearch screen be more detailed?
ALTAR: The illustrations for different technologies should be more "to the point". These won't be just more or less random videos. If this is what you mean.

friede: Will it be possible to recruit some Aliens into the player's squad?
ALTAR: Play the game and you will find out.

friede: Which role will the oceans play; will it be possible to build up bases there like in Terror from the Deep and will there be combat on or below the water?
ALTAR: No, yes, no. So there won't be sea bases, but there will be combat on sea vessels. No combat on the sea floor, though. But the most important role of the ocean is the one of a communication channel. Bases on different continents must be connected via sea routes.

Thorondor : If a definite answer can be provided at this time, I'd like to know if there will, or will not be, different weather effects implemented in the game.
ALTAR: It is unlikely.

friede: Will there be "real" NPCs in UFO: Aftershock, to talk with or to get quests or equipment from? Will it be possible to recruit them for your squad then?
ALTAR: Not real NPCs like in a CRPG, but there will be various "named characters" you will meet and talk to. They will not be a part of your squad, though.

Thorondor: It has been mentioned more than once before that the efforts fielded in Aftermath (in terms of asset creation) to make locations in tactical missions fit their region of the world didn't pay off in the end. What is being done to ensure that, visually speaking, the missions won't become too repetitive too soon, in UFO: Aftershock ?
ALTAR: Aftershock takes place in different sort of locations than Aftermath did. Instead of cities and open wilderness, you are going to be fighting in factories, old warehouses, abandoned military bases, power plants and the like. These structures look similarly all over the world therefore we can concentrate on making these environments different from each other not different in various parts of the world. We can also, up to a certain point, modify the environment the missions are taking place in depending on the previous missions. So that the same environment does not come in rapid succession. This was I believe the main problem in Aftermath. You spent too much time on one place, get to know it very well, while other areas you hardly saw at all. I hope this is enough for this question.

Lightning: How will the actual gameplay be ? Will it be simple and effective like old UFO series or bloated like newer strategy games ? What are the differances that would want to make me buy the new UFO game ?
ALTAR: This is not what you would call a neutral question, is it? I surely believe the gameplay is simple and effective. Anyway, I think the gameplay in its core is similar to Aftermath. The AI should be better and this makes the game more challenging. You have some new options for controlling your soldiers, this makes it more fine-tuned. And you have many more options for the kit you are taking with you. What is really going to change is the Strategic game. It is much expanded, but I presume, you could also say it is bloated.


Tactical


Elevrai : Will some weapons/equipement have side-effects? For example, a health-draining rifle or an automated grenade that may "bounce back" if it doesn't lock on an enemy?
ALTAR: We are trying to have a very generic system for in-game items that allows different combinations of effects. I don't think we shall have specifically that what was asked -- the players by and large are not so keen on weapons or items that can hurt them -- but there will be other items, with different interesting effects.

Thorondor: Will there be true flyers in the game (flying creatures whose flight varies in altitude) ?
ALTAR: No, because it would be very difficult to plan. However, there will be jumping packs that you can use to move from one platform to another one -- you can be shot at in mid-flight.

Tre: Will the firepower be futuristic or will it be weapons of today?
ALTAR: There will be present-day weapons, but most weapons and items will be developed during the game and will have little in common with the weapons we have now.

Tre: How many different kinds of enemies will there be in the final game?
ALTAR: It depends on how you count them. There are three main enemy races, but each has different units and sub-types. I would say, there would be about fifteen different enemy units.

Tre: Will we be able to scan the battlefield from the Laputa, for how many aliens, if there are allies on the map and so on?
ALTAR: There will be some information presented to you at the mission briefing. The exact nature of this information depends on the type of the mission.

Pendragon: If an alien sees me run away around a corner, will he be smart enough to throw a grenade over the wall?
ALTAR: Depends on the alien. I am hoping at least some will. ;)

Thorondor: Is the fog of war a three-dimensional one (respective to height) and how does it behavedifferently, if at all, during the night-time ? How is progress coming along with this newlyintroduced feature ?
ALTAR: Yes, FoW is 3D, i.e. if you have two squares on the same place but in different floor, one can be in FoW and the other not. The progress is going on quite well, thank you. During nighttime, the principle remains the same, but the field of vision is much smaller.

Pendragon: Will 'night time' missions be relevent and flares necessary, making missions more 'scary'.
ALTAR: There will be special equipment for night vision. Hopefully, the night missions will be quite scary.

Thorondor: Is friendly fire implemented in UFO: Aftershock ?
ALTAR: Yes, definitely. This is something we already wanted to have in Aftermath. When you plan an attack, you see the chance of accidently hitting your own soldiers.

Elevrai: Will there be enemies with immunities? Or even worse, ennemies that when hit by specific weapon (for example, electric foe hit by electric element) regain health?
ALTAR: Each enemy is going to have specific weaknesses. We can make these more pronounced than we did in Aftermath. But I don't think any of them will actually regain health.

Thorondor: It has been explained that, for 'safety' reasons (to avoid making some passages impassable/inaccessible) partly destroying walls or buildings won't supply a means for temporary blockage of enemy threat. Have you since explored other ways to make acceptable exceptions to this rule ? If not, are the physical properties of the "debris" considered when calculating the damage dealt to living targets just the same ?
ALTAR: You cannot be hit by the debris. Though unrealistic, the material dislodged from a wall just crumbles to dust and disappears. The objects you destroy "in-place" (e.g. trees or lamp posts) just change to charred remnants and then also disappear, leaving just a dark spot.

Pendragon: Will the game be designed so that players can zoom up and close or will players still find playing max zoomed out the most effective way to fight battles.
ALTAR: It depends on the situation. The camera in the game will offer more freedom than it did in Aftermath, so everybody can set it up the way he likes. There will also be a minimap, that can make it possible for you to play more "zoomed-in" if you prefer.

Elevrai: Will there be "interactive objects" in the tactical missions(For example, a switch in a base for lights(on/off), locks requiring skills/items/firepower or an control console for other objects(cameras, traps) on the tactical maps)?
ALTAR: I am afraid interactive objects are limited to the doors that can be opened and closed. We must leave something for ourselves for the next sequel.

Elevrai: Will some aliens be able to "spawn" underlings? For example, an spider-alien which has 3 lesser spiders which could be regenerated each few minutes?
ALTAR: That's a very good idea. But unfortunately, we don't plan it for Aftershock. Again, maybe in a sequel.

Lightning: Will the aliens be able to act like a team ? for example will they react to a gun fire and attack the attacker ?
ALTAR: Yes, the enemy should exhibit some group intelligence.

Hyperion: Will there be bigger nastier enemies than what we encountered in UFO:AM ?
ALTAR: Just you wait!

Thorondor: Will weapons be made to sound differently when fired indoors and outdoors ?
ALTAR: We are using EAX 4.0 that supports this feature. So we won't have different sets of sounds, but we shall modify them by software.


Other


Thorondor : Will we be having the opportunity to follow the progress of the game, and gain some insight into the "behind the scenes" work of the team at ALTAR, via another series of Designer Diaries as was our privilege with the first title ?
ALTAR: Thank you for compliment. I am not sure at the moment, but I think some sort of Design Diaries is in order.

Otto_OS: Couple of minutes ago you mentioned, you would support modding. What exact tools will you release?
ALTAR: There are in-house tools we use to create the game: mainly the "component catalogue" that can allow you to construct your own missions from the components present in the game. There is also a set of tools for creating game stats. But our first priority is the game. We shall only release the tools when the game is out of the door.

Aralez: Will UFOAS have a replay feature like e.g. Dawn of War or several other games ?
ALTAR: As for modding, we want to support it, but a game like Aftershock, with pseudo-random missions, is different from a game with set number of predefined, scripted missions. We shall however release the tools we have and documentation for them. As for the replay value, I believe it has a reply value on its own: with random missions, the game is always different.


Credits


First of all we'd like to thank Martin "Martin" Klima, Robert "pasik" Hoffmann and Jiri "J.R." Rydl for chatting with us.

Second, we'd like to thank Wormfist (making the transcript) and PlacidDragon (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

UFO Aftershock Box
UFO Aftershock
ALTAR Interactive
Tri Synergy
2005


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