Heavy Duty Interview

by on 12th Aug 2007

This is an interview with game producer Peter Winichenko from E3 2007.

Heavy Duty Q&A

SC: Did Heavy Duty start out as an action game?
At some point it started out as an action game, but that was many years ago. But even at that time we already thought that it would be much better to make it as a strategy game. The first idea was to make a really advanced engine with one big planet and try to make a global strategy game with some action elements, with strategic control, combots, mechs, air simulator. The thing is that the developers are fans of the X-COM series, so they decided to move in that direction.

SC: Why was it changed to a strategy game?
As this game is developed for PC, it seems that the audience is mostly interested in strategy games and role playing games. As it is a game for PC only, that is why it was changed to a strategy game. There is a big audience for PC strategy games right now. But we didn’t forget about people who like action games, so we’ve got those elements as well.

SC: What changes were made to convert it from an action to a strategy game? I know that's a very broad question...
It’s a really big question. We used the same engine that was created for the action game, but changed many things to develop a strategy game. Actually we are now developing a completely different game though based on the original action. Just like in every strategy we have included many new features: construction of bases, recruiting and hiring of staff, purchasing of various ammunition, research, manufacturing, etc.

SC: It looks like the game has a very detailed engine. Is everything destructible?
Not everything, but most things. All buildings and trees are destructible, most of the landscape, all units are destructible, there is a really great morphing here, you can even destroy small parts of the planet itself. The biggest damage to the landscape is caused by a unit destruction or explosion of a missile that hits the surface. There’s a nuance here: within a specific zone one more explosion can’t influence the terrain until it recovers from the previous damage.

SC: Is it a persistent universe, meaning that if you knocked down some trees and came back to that same spot, would they still be knocked down?
Yeah, most of them (buildings, broken trees) would still be knocked down while some minor objects (bushes, dwarf trees) are impossible to knock down.

SC: Can the units climb all the surfaces? Like climbing mountains or...
Sure, there are a lot of mechs that have special kinematics that can climb on everything - I can say that zigzag climbing makes it the most appropriate way to overcome some steep slopes and other obstacles. It’s even possible to walk on the water.

SC: They can go under water?
They can, but not too far away from the shores.

SC: It looked like a squad based game when you were loading up the transport. Those units, are those units comprised of say one tank or is it a platoon of tanks? What is the scale of the game?
Actually, the transport is the core of the battle group. A transport can be loaded with up to six units, which are comprised of any combination of units you want. Each unit represents one soldier, and a soldier can have one of four specialties: ground vehicles, mechs, cyborgs (units wearing some powersuits) and flying units. The battle group acts as a squad.

SC: Are there any RPG elements?
There are RPG elements for your soldiers. Some RPG elements, but of course not so deep as a real RPG game.

SC: So, the soldier’s level?
Yeah, there are different levels, they have different salaries, different characteristics. It's actually the same for scientists and for engineers as well. There are four science specialties: chemistry, biology, physics, and cybernetics. And for engineers, there are four construction specialties as well: units, buildings, weapons and other objects.

SC: So, let’s say this scientist advances to the next level, can the player choose which skill is improved, or is his advancement automatically selected based on what he has previously built?
If, for example, a scientist works on a project, he will increase his knowledge mostly in chemistry, but in the other areas as well. His specialty will be in chemistry but the project will need a mix of specialties, so while he contributes toward the chemistry portion of the project, he learns about the other areas as well, but to a lesser degree.

SC: How long have you been working on the game?
About 3 years.

SC: How long as a real-time strategy game?
Something like 1 year. Not more than that.

SC: What are the current release dates...you’re planning to release first in Russia, then US and Europe?
Yeah, we’re planning to release it in Russia in October or November, so I think it will be released in Europe and the US maybe Q1 next year. Or if we hurry up, maybe in December.

SC: Is there are publisher in Europe and the US?
No, right now we are in negotiations with some big publishers. But it wasn’t signed yet.

SC: Was this game self funded?
Yep, it’s self funded.

SC: Will there be a demo?
Sure, maybe in a couple of months.

SC: And will there be internal or external beta testing?
I think it will be external.

SC: Okay, that’s good. So, what would people have to do to become a beta tester?
That’s a question for the PR department, not me, sorry. (N.B. as a PR contact I can say that a tester should just love to try something new. In Russia we usually invite mass media reps and kids while international beta-testing aims more at journalists and publishers).

SC: Thank you for your time.
You’re welcome! 


Add Comment Comments

17 Aug 2007 - 1:12pm

Azrael Strife, on 14th August 2007, 4:12am, said:

Finally a geoscape with clouds!

Looks nice :blush:

Looks good to me too.

/me going to read the interview searching for a release date.
Azrael Strife\
14 Aug 2007 - 2:12am
Azrael Strife
Finally a geoscape with clouds!

Looks nice :blush:


Add Comment

You must be logged in to reply. Please log in or register an account.

Game Card

No Box Image
Developer: Quant Games
Publisher: Akella
Status:In Production