1. Who has the honor to talk to us? State your name, rank and occupation!
John Whitmore, Director of Development over at 2015.
2. First off, how has the Men of Valor: Vietnam development process been so far? What is its current state of development? How many people are on the development team?
Things are going very well and the product is on schedule for its Xbox release in Q1 of 2004 thanks to the efforts of the 25 or so developers beating away at it. We’re wrapping up the second pass of the single player levels, putting in scripted events and adjusting gameplay. And we’re starting to get multiplayer and Xbox Live functionality solid.
3. Since Men of Valor: Vietnam will use the most recent Unreal engine, was there any need to add extra features to the engine or did it satisfy your needs completely? If it needed extra/new features, which did you add and what do they do?
We had to add an awful lot. I don’t think there is any aspect of the engine that didn’t have to be addressed to some extent. Most of the modifications involve getting it to work on the console with a solid frame rate. AI is wholly rewritten, and we added a shader system for some advanced graphics effects.
4. How about the audio portion of the game? How realistic are you planning to make it? Example: A grenade explodes close to you; you start to hear the ringing in your ear and nothing else. Is the audio done in house, or outsourcing?
Audio is excellent. We recorded weapon sounds from the authentic period weapons out in rural Idaho, and the Xact sound system and Dolby 5.1 support make them sound very realistic. All our audio is contracted – here in Tulsa, there are not a lot of Hollywood caliber sound facilities.
5. Lately system specs for AAA titles have been skyrocketing, what sort of system requirements will it take to run MOV: Vietnam at an acceptable frame rate, with respectable visuals?
Because the game is built on Xbox first, minimum specs will be pretty modest – something like a P3 850 with a GeForce 3. The better machine you have, of course, the better the game will look and run.
6. What will the single player story be about? Will it follow the career of one man or a group of men? Is it a campaign type story or more a skirmish type mission after mission?
The single player campaign follows a young Marine, Dean Shepherd, through some of the major events of the Vietnam War between 1965 and 1968. The story is pretty strong for a first person shooter, but it doesn’t get in the way of gameplay. As in all 2015 games, the story is relayed mainly through scripted events that happen during gameplay, so the player isn’t pulled out of the action.
7. Since you will be able to travel in a group, will your squad mates be available to you via commands or by switching to them at any point, sort of like Ghost Recon/Rainbow Six style?
Squadmates are very important in Men of Valor, and in most missions Dean will be able to issue commands to his squad to set up tactics and help him achieve objectives. The command system is very simple to use and not as complicated as a more “simulation style” game like Ghost Recon.
8. Can you give us some info on the AI? Will enemies actually use tactics; will it adapt to your playing style to offer you more of a challenge? Will the AI come with several settings to give the more experienced gamers an extra challenge?
The AI is flexible and much less script dependent than, for example, MOHAA. The enemies you face were historically very crafty and adept in jungle combat and fighting from conceal positions, you will be able to see all of this in the game’s encounters. They are good at exploiting a player’s mistakes and will make you pay if you blunder into an ambush or get caught out in the open with no cover. We plan on three separate difficulty settings.
9. Since Vietnam was mostly fought in the jungles, how about the maps that create the environment, how do you plan to re-create the feeling? Will you also have the secret tunnels etc that made it though for our Joes to traverse?
The artists and designers have done an incredible job recreating the dense natural environments of Vietnam. We’ve come up with some innovative ways to display lots of vegetation without bogging down the frame rate, subtle vegetation movement and ambient sounds really immerse the player. The player will definitely be fighting his way through tunnel networks from time to time.
10. Any idea on how many levels will be included? Will they all be jungle based or will you also throw in some cities/urban combat to have a healthy dose/mixture of in/outdoor settings?
We have some very diverse environments, from papaya orchards and rice paddies to abandoned rubber plantations, underground bunkers, and a healthy dose of urban environments as well. A lot of people don’t realize that some of the most brutal street fighting the Marines ever engaged in took place in Vietnam.
11. Are you trying to make MOV: Vietnam a realistic game? Or will it still hold some of the classic mow things down with your chain gun game play? Will there be any blood & gore involved, or are you going to keep it “clean”?
We’re trying to create a dramatic, but authentic depiction of combat during the war. Weapons are modeled with realistic accuracies and characteristics, the effects of recoil and movement on aim are represented. Wounds will cause an appropriate amount of blood and the game has a darker and less comic book tone than MOHAA.
12. Let’s get some info on the weapons, how many types of weapons are you planning to have? How many different weapons will you be able to carry? What is your favorite weapon in the game so far, and why? Are they researched and realistically portrayed in the game?
We have about twenty different weapons in the game currently, from both sides of the conflict. In most levels you’ll be able to pick up enemy weapons and there’s no absolute limit on weapon carrying, although you’ll seldom have the opportunity to acquire more than three or four at a time. We did a lot of research to portray the weapons accurately. I really like the punch and feel of the M14, and the M79 grenade launcher is very fun to use.
13. Will there be any kind of class system a-la Battlefield ? Will you be able to play the side of rescuer, get in a hot zone and evacuate your Joes?
We are planning on a class system for multiplayer.
14. Any chance of some useable vehicles? Can we climb behind the stick of a huey, drive off with a jeep, tank?
You will definitely be riding in vehicles and mounting their guns or firing from them. Sorry,. no Huey pilots, though – that’s a different game!
15. Since you will be implementing Multiplayer what sort of game modes will there be besides CO-OP or death match? Will you implement an in-game server selection or use a Gamespy type service?
For Xbox obviously we’ll be using Xbox Live, and we’ll announce multiplayer details for PC next year. We have several game types, including an objective based game where the maps portray actual historical battles from the war. Each team will fight to see if they can repeat or prevent history at places like the Saigon Embassy, the battle of Dak To, or Da Nang airbase.
16. In co-op how are you planning to deal with the problem of saving? Will a mate, who is not able to play as long as you, be able to catch up if the player works his way further into the game?
The save will be preserved on the machine of the person who initiated the session, so you won’t be able to continue together unless both of you are ready.
17. Cheating has become the Achilles heal of online play, are you planning any sort of anti-cheat measures such as punk buster/cheating death etc?
We are examining a number of options at this point.
18. Since we will be seeing this on the Xbox and the fact that it will support live will there be any noticeable difference between the Xbox version and PC version? Are you planning any exclusive content for the Xbox only to motivate gamers to purchase it? Downloadable content in a later stage?
Xbox is greatly hampered by its small amount of RAM compared to PC, so we can really up the amount of data on the PC version to give you higher resolution textures and other RAM intensive features. We haven’t shown anyone a PC build of the game yet, but it looks really sweet – levels can hold a lot more detail. We do plan on supporting downloadable content for Xbox Live, but we haven’t announced what form that will take.
19. How many players will multiplayer support for both Xbox live and PC?
We’re still experimenting with number of players but we aren’t ready to commit to anything yet.
20. Will the PC version be mod friendly? Will there be any construction set/editor/ tools packaged with the game, or maybe an SDK released later on?
Definitely. We’ve made some nice modifications to Unreal Ed to make it easier to use and to create scripted events and set up gameplay. We plan to release a tool set and support mods as much as we can.
21. It is not very common that an Xbox version gets released first when a PC version is also in the pipeline. Why is this the case with MoV:Vietnam? And why the big gap between release dates?
We didn’t think that simultaneous development on multiple platforms was a good way to make a great game for both versions, so we concentrated on Xbox first since we could be sure that anything we did there would run on a PC. We wanted to be sure we had enough time after the Xbox release to adjust the gameplay and assets to take full advantage of the PC. Console and PC first person shooters have very different gameplay requirements, and we want to have the time to tune all the levels so they play as well on the PC as they do on Xbox.
22. Will we see a demo released prior to the game appearing on store shelves (multiplayer/singleplayer)? Any type of public beta test people can look forward to?
A demo is definitely planned.
23. This wraps it up, thank you for putting up with our yapping & questions
The pleasure was all mine...
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