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Interview - posted by Ausir on Wed 24 December 2003, 00:54:00Tags: Forlorn World; Ground Zero
1. Tell us something about the Ground Zero team. Where are you from? How did you meet?
A small website written in notepad, some information on the Tytan forum, a Yahoogroup. That's how I started. It was so long ago that I'm starting to forget how it all began. There was an idea, and there was patience - the rest came with time. Slowly, very slowly, the team was formed. People came, and people left. Now there's more than a dozen of us, all of us from Poland, and we know each other only from the thousands of e-mails exchanged during the development of Trinity.
2. Making cRPGs is not easy. Why did you start your game design career from making a role-playing game?
Making a computer game is never easy. Every genre has its difficulties. We - can't deny it - were fascinated by Fallout, and the urge to explore virtual worlds. The only reasonable combination of those two is a post-nuclear cRPG.
3. When has the development of Trinity begun? How advanced is the work on the game? When do you expect to finish it?
I think that the first idea appeared in the year 2000. The idea was growing slowly, and even now many parts of the project haven't been documented and finished. How the world function, looks, and the story are still very likely to change. Until the works on the graphics engine are "nearly" finished, many things can change.
As for the progress, To be careful, I'd say - 25%. Many things are done, many things have been started. It's impossible to say exactly what percent of the final game is done.
We plan to finish the game in 2006. Looking at the scale of the project, and some of the problems - we don't have that much time left.
4. Where and when does the game take place? What's unique about the world of Trinity, that makes it different from other post-nuclear cRPGs?
The game world is Middle Europe, which in the year 2002 was hit with a nuclear war. The time available to the player ranges from 2017 to 2084 (the end date depends on the PC's death). The world of Trinity is a world that has survived a global nuclear war.
Creating a more or less realistic image of such world has taken us quite a lot of time, and was rather difficult. Maybe the aim for realism and showing it in the game will be interesting? We'll see.
5. How big is the game's world? How many main locations are we going to see?
On Trinity's world you have to look in terms of time-space. There will be a set number of locations (very large, about 4x4 km, definitely more than 10). And there will be 80 years of in-game time, and every year (or even season) the locations will change, new ones will appear, old ones will be destroyed.
Our goal is a world where you won't be able to visit all locations in one game. How the world and character system is constructed will guarantee that.
6. Will the game be linear or not? How much freedom will the player have in exploring the world and the plot?
The player will have only one purpose after starting the game: to survive as long as he can. We might give the PC some quest to do, which will be his goal in life. However, as in life, he won't have to reach it. All the quests, campaigns, adventures, will be only an addition to the Great History of the World. In this game, the PC won't be a hero saving the mankind. The history of the world will be created by those that inhabit it, and the PC won't be able to influence the most important events. He will be able to try to get to know its details, meet the NPCs creating the history, or run from the place of historic events - for his own good.
As the freedom? Nobody likes limitations, and neither do we.
7. What will be the role of NPCs in the world? What kinds of interaction will be possible? How important will they be for the story? Will they be able to join the PC?
The NPCs are, I think, the most important element of the world. They're the foundation of good game, either when we talk to them, or when we shoot at them. The NPCs create the world. All NPCs will change with the passing of years, they will die, they will be born, they will move from one place to another, they will cheat the PC, laugh at his scars or stinking clothes.
The NPCs might join your party. But... every NPCs has his own goals, and will follow the PC only when it serves his purpose. Unless the NPC will be deeply in love, and even in a desperate situation won't fly from the battlefield for his own good.
8. What else is unique about Trinity, that we haven't seen in other games?
I don't know, I haven't seen many other games :-). As far as I've heard, the idea of dropping the bombs yourself before the game, thus shaping the new world.
9. How will the game look? Why have you decided to make your own 3D engine? What advantages and disadvantages does it have?
The view is pseudo-isometric (similar to Fallout), maximum size of the character models will be 50% of the screen, zoom, camera rotation, natural Fog of War (dust, fog, snow, rain), avoiding sterility of the surroundings, climatic colours.
Writing our own graphics engine was a decision of the programmers, after a long discussion. The list of advantages and disadvantages is very long and depends on the criteria we take. It's better not to think on whether we did good or wrong. :-)
10. Why have you chosen FUDGE as the character system? Why this one, and not any other free ruleset, or your own system?
I don't know. The decision was made based on the opinion of several specialists. Of course, every decision can be changed, as the RPG ruleset implementation is on a very early stage.
11. What combat system will be implemented in Trinity? Will the combat be turn-based or real-time?
Turn based combat is much easier to do. That's definitely what we'll start with.
12. Will the game be freeware, or will you try to find a commercial publisher, or release it as shareware?
It's too early to be talking about that. The most important fact is that we don't work on Trinity for money.
The question is very hard, and we can't give you a definite answer - some commercial games are being sold for a small, symbolic charge.
13. Do you have any plans for the future? Do you plan on making any other games after Trinity? Any ideas for further projects?
Plans are plans, and the current work is waiting. There's lots of ideas - but let's finish Trinity first.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all RPG Codex readers from the whole team!
Thanks to Przemo_nie for taking his time to answer our questions and provide us with a lot interesting information about Trinity. And merry Christmas to you too!