Ion Assault Interview

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posted 9/29/2009 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: 360
When I previewed Ion Assault a few weeks back I was immediately pulled in by the games twist on the top down shooter genre.  Here's the interview from the folks at Coreplay that goes into a little more depth about the game.

Can you introduce yourself, talk about your role on the project? How did you get into game development and what's one thing that you love about the industry?
My name is Dominik Mieth and I worked on Ion Assault as a game and level designer. I got into the industry writing reviews for online magazines while I was attending college, but my first job in development was as an assistant producer, which I gave up to join Coreplay as a game designer.

The nice thing about game development is that I work on games all day and I also only work with people who share my same passion for the industry.


What was the inspiration behind Ion Assault? How would you compare the game to something like Geometry Wars and Super Stardust?
Our main reference for Ion Assault was the original “Asteroids” which was more about taking control of your ship rather than about shooting and destroying tons of objects.

With “Geometry Wars”, all of us here at the studio have played it and we truly enjoyed it, but we had some issues with the way the game increases pressure on the player. When a player starts up “Geometry Wars” they usually only last maybe a minute before they are overwhelmed by a massive wave of enemies, and not long after, they need to restart the game and go through the same phase again. Players can eventually progress over time but they have to earn every second of survival the hard way.

We wanted to deliver a game that adjusts to the skill of the player. Meaning if the player has limited experience with the game Ion Assault will actually adjust to their experience level. And for the more experienced players they can blast their way through the stages a little quicker while also raking up the points.

Apart from that, Ion Assault plays very differently than any other shooter on the market due to the particle physics system.

Ion Assault has some fantastic particle effects, was that something you started out with or something that happened in the development of the game? Were there any happy accidents in the development process?
The particle physics system was part of the idea right from the beginning. In fact we had a tech demo running that gave us the initial idea for this game mechanic.

Other games usually use particles for visual effects where players shoot a target and see an explosion, that's it! Ion Assault also has those types of effects but the ion particles that are used to destroy enemies are also part of a physical simulation run on the GPU.

After players collect ions and shoot them off the GPU keeps track of their position and speed. The faster they fly and the higher concentration the more damage they will inflict on the particular target!

Ion Assault is the first and only game I can think of that truly uses the next generation hardware for a game mechanic that couldn’t have been done on a previous console generation. That's why we call it a true next-gen experience.
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