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Vivisector: Beast Inside

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action
Publisher: 1C / Brigades
Developer: Action Forms

About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games...

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'Vivisector: Beast Inside' - Developer Q&A

by Judy on Nov. 19, 2004 @ 5:18 a.m. PST

Vivisector: Beast inside is a unique mixture of 3D Action/Horror that blends an immersive interactive story with intense, high-adrenaline action. In the year 1878, the mysterious Dr. Morhead built a laboratory on the remote Soreo Isle and resumed his experiments on human/animal hybrid genetics, violating the very foundations of nature. His work was aimed at the creation of animals that look, feel and behave more like humans. He has created bizarre never-before seen creatures, ModBeasts, Humanimals and Brutes, each kind with unique abilities, tactics and firepower.

Q : First of all please introduce yourself.

My name is Serge Roar and I am the PR manager at Action Forms, the development studio for Vivisector.

Q : How long has Vivisector been in development?

The prototype project called Duke Nukem: Endangered Species started in the year 2000. But Vivisector is a completely different game and we had to start from the beginning. I can say that the project has been in development for about 2 years.

Q : What is the plot behind the game?

The action takes place in 1978 on a small island called Soreo. The main character Court Robinson together with a squad of four Navy Seals lands the coast to fulfil a simple task to destroy a drug dealers’ base. But everything turns out to be much more complicated: the island is used as a testing ground for creating genetically modified soldiers.

After an initial skirmish, Court soon finds himself as the only survivor out of the whole squad and has to fight for his life if he wants to leave Soreo. His primary motivation is to revenge the deaths of his fallen comrades.

As the game progresses, Court finds out that there is quite a fierce power struggle on the island between several hostile groups. Court will have to meet each of them and learn something about both the history of current events and his parents too.

Q : Vivisector is a First Person Shooter on PC. What features are unique to your game?

The player can gain experience points by fulfilling different tasks or special moves. These can be gained from finding some sort of a secret, quick annihilation of several enemies simultaneously, extraordinary accuracy or a performing a stunt. The player can spend those points accumulated to increase their character or weapon’s parameters.

Vivisector’s game physics are not only used for the arbitrary amusement (throwing crates all around the place etc.), it’s an essential part of gameplay. For example, one can easily use certain objects to throw into an enemy or hide behind it.

Many objects in the game can be destroyed or damaged. You can try and hide behind a crate or piece of furniture but the enemy can shoot up the cover, gradually reducing it’s effectiveness as protection. The player can adopt the same tactics and target a monster hiding behind a crate. Bullets can pierce the crates and hit the cowering beast behind it.

We are really proud of our damage system. It’s already established in the mechanic of FPS games that a headshot inflicts more damage than a shot in the belly. We decided not to stop there and to go even further. In Vivisector, the player can blast off his enemies’ limbs and even make holes in enemies’ bodies.

Furthermore, the size of these holes depends the level of firepower of your current weapon. In Vivisector you can shoot through the belly of a monster, put your barrel in the bleeding hole and kill another monster directly behind the original target. Everything in the game should be theatrical. This makes the game similar in a certain way to Hollywood action movies.

We have also incorporated the idea into less obvious elements of the gameplay. Have you ever thought why ammunition in secret bases usually lies on the floor? In Vivisector it is kept in containers and crates and players will have to break those to get some new weapons or a health bonus.

We are also proud that AtmosFear engine realistically renders fur and hair. Up to now hair on animal characters has looked unrealistic. With our proprietary engine, we feel we achieve excellent results visually.

Q : Where did you get your inspiration for the storyline?

We read The Island of Dr. Moreau by Herbert Wells. We also became acquainted with works of Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Brazil, 12 Monkeys), movies by David Lynch and Monty Python humor.

Q : What kind of weapons are we going to see in the game?

Mainly there are modern weapons in the game – weapons that was present-day in 1978; knives, pistols, shotguns, carbines, sniper rifles. You will also come across captured futuristic types, but that will be closer to the end of the game. We don’t want to give a player bigger advantage over the enemy – it wouldn’t be much fun then.

Q : How have you used the latest features in DirectX9 and Shader Model 3.0 within Vivisector?

Flexible HLSL support for different PS, VS effects (Full HLSL utilization)

Pixel shaders:

  • Refraction (for static and for particles) – space refraction along the displacement texture (made for PS2.0, PS3.0) – glass, smoke, water;
  • Per pixel lightning (PS2.0).

Post effects:

  • Post Smooth
  • Glow

Vertex shaders:

  • Animated objects (VS1.2 and higher);
  • Lightning (VS1.2 and higher);
  • Dynamic geometry transformations (water, waves, lava, devices, etc);
  • Environmental mapping, Phong, etc.

Q : How many levels are there?

There are 20 levels in the game that the player will see on the island – from the external perimeter to the Rebirth Temple at very heart of Soreo. Here you will find both open environments and dark obscure locations. Our favourite environments are the inside of the scientific base, where you can watch the creation of the humanimals from skeleton manufacture up to cryogenic freezing and following reanimation.

I think the players will also like the military training area, where these creatures were tested – there is quite a lot of space for developing your murderous tactics. A similar military training area was used by the Soviet Union during A-bomb testing – this is an exact model of the city.

Q : Does Vivisector have a multiplayer option?

No, unfortunately, we had to give up the idea of creating a multiplayer mode for the time being. For us, multiplayer is, in fact, a game within a game that requires a lot of development. You cannot just put players on the same levels we have created, with the same weapons one just had in the single campaign.

We would have to rebalance gameplay once again and this became too time consuming in terms of production time. That is why we decided to create a good single player game and not to spread ourselves too thinly just to create a mediocre multiplayer mode. It is possible that we will develop a multiplayer expansion pack to Vivisector at a later date.

Q : Is there anything you wanted to include but weren’t able to because of time limitations?

The main thing we had to give up is multiplayer mode. We also had to exclude a couple of additional monsters. But all the most successful creations of Dr. Morhead will be in the final release don’t worry about that.

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