FireFall Interview


posted 12/3/2010 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: PC
Since nothing in life is free, what kinds of things are you going to be charging for? How do you balance the need to get people to pay to play the game vs. keeping the game balanced and fair for everyone?
We believe that if we make fun and compelling gameplay, we will be able to sell certain items or perks that will give us a sustainable source of revenue that will allow us to continue to make great content for gamers in years to come. While we're not ready to talk about the details of our micro-transaction model, we do want to be very clear skill-based gameplay is very important to us. We will take the appropriate steps to ensure that we do not compromise our skill-based gameplay via purchased items. Even though we feel that the micro-transaction purchases will help to enhance the game, anyone will be able to play through the entire world without spending any money.

Firefall is drawing a lot of comparisons to Borderlands; did the game have any influence on the development of the game? What other games did you take inspirations from?
Borderlands is a great game. Many people see the cel-shaded graphic style of Borderlands, and the Manga-inspired style of Firefall and they see similarities. It helps that they are also both shooters that feature non-photorealistic art style.

It is important to remember that Firefall has been in development for more than three years, long before we ever had a chance to see Borderlands. Inspiration for Firefall comes from many other games: Starsiege Tribes, PlanetSide, Quake, Half Life… pretty much any great shooter out there has had some influence on what Firefall currently is or what it will eventually become.

Could you talk about the art design for the game and the look you are trying to go for? From the videos we’ve seen it almost looks like the characters are that accurate or are we missing something?
As we were setting out to define the look and feel for the game we wanted to make sure that Firefall had great ‘over the shoulder’ appeal. That is, when you walk up behind someone playing Firefall we wanted you to be immediately drawn to what you see on the screen. In addition we wanted that look to be something that really stood out on its own and wouldn’t be easily confused with another game.

In addition to high visual appeal we are also building a game for the world market, so we wanted to make sure that our art style will have world-wide acceptance. We are fans of Manga and Anime and we wanted to bring our own signature style to the game. Graphics are an important part of a player's gaming experience and we feel that the custom "Manga" shader we have created to achieve the visuals you see in the game captures the essence of Firefall perfectly. The best part of making a game is to do things you and your team enjoy – that’s what we’ve done with Firefall.

Did you roll your own engine for the game or are you using an existing technology (Offset engine)? The huge world seem to load seamlessly, is that something that was baked into the engine or something you added?
The engine we’re using was at one time the Offset engine. In the course of developing Firefall we have modified, rewritten, and gutted most of the original code. It’s highly customized to handle the things we need – you already mentioned load times, but also frame rate and latency and most importantly high player counts.
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