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Auto Assault

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: NCSoft
Developer: NetDevil

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'Auto Assault' Developer Q&A #4 - Screens

by Rainier on Aug. 22, 2005 @ 2:19 a.m. PDT

Combine fast-paced vehicular combat with high-tech, futuristic weaponry and hundreds of intense skills and you get Auto Assault – a unique departure from traditional Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). Hop in your own customized cars, semis, and motorcycles and prepare to fight the mutated creatures and bandits of Auto Assault's post-apocalyptic world. Battle other players both in arenas and in epic race vs. race wars for control of the regions in a devastated Earth. Auto Assault uses the power of the Havok physics engine to let you make insane jumps, send obstacles flying and even blast bridges, buildings, fences and trees with your car-mounted rockets. Anything you can hit, you can destroy!

Q: Games like Guild Wars and World of Warcraft have shown that it's possible and very desirable to make a game accessible and rewarding for both hardcore gamers and the average Joe Bloggs on the street with a couple of hours a week to spend on his PC. Does Auto Assault have similar aspirations? And what is it that determines your approach in this regard - resources, time, commercial obligations, etc?

A: From the start Auto Assault was built to be friendly to players who had never played an MMO before. Arrows to find your next mission objective, simple group finding, no death penalty and so on. We are committed to bringing action gamers to the MMO space.

Q: Do you think that massively-multiplayer game developers will learn the lessons of games like GW and WOW, or are those two exceptional cases?

A: I think those two games specifically have spelled out that if you want big numbers you must be an accessible, fun game. I don't believe that a user that is new to MMOs, thanks to these two games, is going to accept a more hardcore or grinding-style form of game play. Thankfully, this has been our focus right from the start.

Q: Apart from the obvious, what would you say influenced you in the development of Auto Assault? Not just in a broad sense either - were there any games, movies, or what-have-you that had a direct bearing on some aspect of the game?

A: I don't know that there is a direct influence on the game - so many different people's ideas and backgrounds have shaped the game into what it is today. We have wanted to do a car combat MMO for a long time and setting it in a post-apocalyptic universe just makes sense thanks to movies like Mad Max and games like Wasteland and Fallout.

Q: Furthermore, was there anything that you saw or played during development that had a sudden bearing on Auto Assault's direction?

A: Certainly, we all play lots of games here and have been influenced by ideas from those games that we thought would make sense in Auto Assault. We have also seen games do some things we were trying that did not work and allowed us to rethink and remove during development and early testing. An example would be that we had the goal of making Auto Assault very mission-centric – looking at WoW gave us some additional ideas as to how to make this happen. Another example is from City of Heroes where when you do something the text element moves to the place in the UI for you to interact with - such a great idea!

Q: In terms of technology, games obviously tend toward standing on the shoulders of giants rather than reinventing everything - would you say that your game draws more inspiration from past games technologically or creatively?

A: This is a tough question, but I would have to say creatively. Even though our story is very unique, the "feel" of what it means to be a post-apocalyptic game has been defined pretty well and we are certainly influenced somewhat by this. Technologically, since we are the first physics-based MMO there is little of our engine that we could glean from existing technologies.

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