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'Platoon' - Producer Interview

by Rainier on Nov. 10, 2002 @ 11:55 a.m. PST

The game Platoon is developed for PC by Digital Reality and will be published by Monte Cristo and Strategy First in November 2002. Based on historical facts, Platoon will recapture the suspense and thrills experienced by soldiers throughout the Vietnam war. The game will benefit from Digital Reality’s latest 3D graphics and sound engine and an engaging storyline. We had a sit down with Platoon's producer Nabil Yared, and asked him a few annoying questions ...

Q : Who has the honor to talk to us? State your name, rank and occupation!

Name is Nabil Yared I am the Producer of Platoon here at Strategy First.

Q : How long has Platoon been in development? How many people are on the team?

Game design started back in June 2001. The core team was assembled and programming work started in late October 2001. Then the team got bigger and bigger and reached its final composition in March 2002. How many people? Quite a few ?

Q : How many troops will you be able to control at once?

The number varies from one mission to another. The most you can control is about 25 soldiers with a couple of vehicles.

Q : How many total controllable vehicles will there be? Tanks, APCs, helicopters?

There are 2 types of vehicles you can control: M113 APC and M-48 Tank

Q : What will your multiplayer possibilities be? Internet, TCP/IP, LAN?

Either through LAN or the Internet (which also includes TCP/IP)

Q : Are you planning any kind of Skirmish mode?

There are no plans for skirmish mode.

Q : Will your troops be able to pick up weapons, off of dead enemies/friendly units?

That feature is not included in the final version of the game.

Q : Will there be an Editor shipped with the game so the player can create their own maps etc?

There are no immediate plans to ship the editor upon release.

Q : Will the single player follow the movie or will the game follow a separate story?

The main focus is to bring back the feeling of the movie, not do a game based on the movie. The scenarios were built following real-life events and battles.

Q : Will any of the characters that played in the movie be in the game as NPCs or as units you can control?

Well you have Sgt Lionsdale. In addition you can have “heroes” who come with their own personalities.

Q : Since the 1st Airborne Cavalry Division actually served in Vietnam, how authentic is that Division portrayed in the game? Did you get/ask help from veterans or consult people involved in the movie project?

A huge amount of photos, videos, diaries and data were used to bring realism to the game, from historical data to military information about US and NVA troops.

Q : Will there be a building aspect to the game? For example building a barracks to produce more units? Or will you have a pre-determined amount of men?

This is not your typical RTS. At the start of a mission, you are given your men with an objective. Micro management is practically non-existent. Your only worry is mission completion and survival ?

Q : How realistic will the environment be? Will trees fall if you run them over with a tank? Will explosions leave craters?

We attempted to make this as realistic as possible. Certain objects are destructible, others are not. Explosions will leave craters, grass and trees will give you cover and obstruct your views. Tanks will not be able to trample down trees. This was done in order to create a balance between realism and playability.

Q : Will there be a medic unit or building to help your wounded men?

One of the squads available to you is the medic.

Q : Can you list off some of the abilities your soldier will receive when the gain a level?

Your soldiers will not gain levels and experience as the campaign progresses, although that was the original plan. Now it is only Sgt Lionsdale who gains experience and moves from mission to mission.

Q : Can you give us some info on the different animations of the soldiers? Can they crouch, go prone, or jump out of the way of incoming artillery?

With over 400 motion-captured animations, Platoon’s infantry movements are realistic and use vertex shaders for movement as well as grass effects. This happens when they are not in a combat situation. When a firefight breaks out, you get to walk, run and crawl. Each has advantages and disadvantages of course.

Q : How tough are you planning your AI to be? Will it have a difficulty setting?

The AI is certainly an important factor in Platoon. You have the option between 3 difficulty levels: easy, medium and hard.

Q : How intelligent will the AI be? Will it avoid you if spotted, or have a better feel for the environment and use the jungle to its advantage?

The enemy would not only see your men, but also hear them and respond differently to each and every situation. The plan is to push this bracket even further; the enemy will always act after considering each and every consequence of the actual situation.

Q : Will the weather effects, day to night changes be mission specific or will it be real time?

The missions are chronological; you might have a period of a few days or hours or weeks in between missions. You can see it will be hard making the weather real time.

Q : How many levels will there be in the game?

The game will ship with a 12-mission campaign and 4 MP maps.

Q : Can you elaborate on the controllable static supporting units?

During the course of the campaign, you get to call on air strikes and artillery support. Also in some missions you get to control mortar squads.

Q : When are you expecting Platoon to be ready for launch? Are we going to have the opportunity to see a demo prior to shipping?

The demo is available for download. By now it is available on every major site out there.

Q : Are you planning or have planned any kind of mission pack or sequel to Platoon?

It is too early to tell but the possibility is there.

Q : Finally is there anything you would like to say about Platoon to all the RTS gamers out there? Give us your best sales pitch!

This is a one of a kind game where strategy actually plays a role. You can outnumber the enemy but if you recklessly charge you will get wiped out. No resource management, no base building. Platoon is a tactical RTS, where the stunning graphics are more then just cosmetic addition.

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