Auto Assault Interview


posted 7/1/2004 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms:
GamingNexus: How does PvP work in this game?

Ryan Seabury: The default server ruleset allows for two major types of PvP: team-based outpost wars, and arena competitions. Outpost wars take place in a number of areas, mostly centered in the world map’s frontier region. The frontier regions are dangerous because you can encounter players of other factions on the highways here, and you are free to engage opposing factions to the death. The big take will of course be the outposts, which will offer bonuses to the faction who captures it. We also intend for every outpost to be its own mini-game with directed objectives, and not just a death match.

Arena competitions include a variety of PvP scenarios with rankings, both solo and cooperative. You can compete against your own faction members here for prestige, and there may also be some cross factional scenarios to master.

GamingNexus: What are some of the mission types available in the game?

Ryan Seabury: We have a very flexible back end that allows us to do some pretty cool scripted scenarios. We want to make sure all missions involve some rough-and-tumble combat. For example, if you’re delivering an item to some NPC off a highway, you can bet you’re not going to make it to them without something happening to stop you. That could mean a simple ambush, or something as insane as a meteor striking a cliff, causing an avalanche of rock, which can only be cleared by an ion cannon strike, which you need certification from another NPC to call in, who has been kidnapped by Pike bandits… and so on, you get the idea. The story missions will be very involving and directed, with lots of “rand-crafted” missions to do in the highway exits after you complete them.

To illustrate the “rand-crafted” idea, imagine now another player has also cleared the mine and has received a random mission to come and check on the status of the new base. Instead of TemperNet invasions, they might talk to the NPC, and be sent to retrieve a component needed for construction elsewhere, where some other kind of event will occur. It’s very exciting to both watch and play, and I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating when I say I’ve never seen another MMO do this kind of thing before.

GamingNexus: How many different vehicles will be in the game?

Ryan Seabury: I assume you mean player vehicles, because of course there will be a large variety of enemy AI vehicles to fight. I don’t have a definite answer on that right now. We have 4 character classes per faction, so 12 character classes total. Most of the vehicles you can acquire will be specific to the character class, so the tank-type classes will drive beefy military equipment, special ops classes will drive armored bikes and buggies, and so on. Our loot system is dynamically generated, and so two chassis types might be identical visually, but have different abilities and stats. So in that regard, we’ll have a nearly infinite number of vehicles for gameplay purposes. Visually, there should be enough choices for each character class to play a little more agile or a little more brute force as the day calls for.

A few more things that will provide variety are “Tricks & Trims” and melee kits. Tricks & Trims refers to a system for customizing the appearance of your current chassis. This consists of little 3D accessories, paint jobs, and effects kits that you can use to trick out your own custom look. Melee kits include things like spikes and blade bits that can actually add melee damage to collisions. We did a test with both of these systems and just iterated through random choices and colors, and on the same base chassis we got literally hundreds of unique and different looks.

GamingNexus: Physics was an important part of the demonstration at E3. What are some of the things you’ve done with the inclusion of the Havok physics engine that makes you go… Wow! That’s cool!

Ryan Seabury: The coolest thing about realistic physics is you never get that “I’ve seen this before” feeling when things explode and destroy. It’s always different. It’s the subtleties that are the coolest… like when you hit a barrel with a machine gun and it starts to roll back a little bit. It is so cool, we all find ourselves just driving around running into stuff when we’re supposed to be testing other things!

Actually, what really makes me realize how cool the physics engine is is when I play most other games now. I’ll see a crate or some innocent object on the ground, and instinctively head straight for it to crush it… only to be stopped in place. And then I realize how interactive our environments are and how fun it is to destroy everything!

Right now we’re messing around with other ways to utilize the physics engine, so you may see even more cool stuff in our world in the future.

Page 3 of 4