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Wir hatten die Gelegenheit, ein Interview mit Jiri Rydl vom tschechischen Entwicklerteam Altar Interactive zu führen - Hier die englischsprachige Originalversion:


At the beginning of our interview please introduce yourself and please tell us which part do you take in the development of UFO: Aftershock?

My name is Jiri Rydl and I am responsible among many other things for communications with fans and journalists.

Please be so kind and tell us which ending of aftermath did you choose to refer to Aftershock?

The story takes off from one of the ‘bad’ endings of Aftermath: About fifty years ago something terrible happened to Earth and ever since no human set foot on its surface, until now. Winning our planet back from the alien scum is going to require cunning and skill in tactical combat coupled with economic thinking and resourcefulness in global strategy. Tactics and strategy that put you in total control of things; sneaking, sniping and scavenging in one moment, managing, examining and manufacturing in the next.

General Gameplay

We heard there would be several groups that must not be hostile. In which way can you act with them?

To gain access to strategic resources you have to deal with inhabitants of resourceful territories and there is the place, where you can use your diplomatic skill. You can either take the territories by power or by peaceful way, for instance by offering army support to locals. It’s important to find the balance between finding new resources and defeating the ones already in your possession.

                     

What happened to the biomass? Are some parts of the earth still contaminated? (Thanks to "The Punisher")

I believe it’s something you should know before you step on the planets surface first time after fifty years. But I won’t answer this question; it’s up to your scientist to find out, where is Biomass and if it’s safe on Earth again.

Can we expect any kind of multiplayer? As there are several groups, maybe each player will take control of one group an then they battle each other or make alliances against other players?!

There is no multiplayer, because it would be very hard to find multiplayer concept for both strategic and tactical part. Maybe next time.

Base Management / Strategic Gameplay

How important are resources? Is there any kind of money/currency? Is it possible to buy weapons etc. or sell them?

You always have to watch over resources, which are necessary not just for building but also for researching and manufacturing. There is no currency, planet is destroyed and people are looking for resources to help them survive, not for trading. The same works for weapons and equipment, if you need some, you have to develop and manufacture them. After that they are valuable just for you and your allies.

                   

What can we except from the base management? Is it like in UFO: Enemy Unknown or is it something totally new?

UFO: Aftershock is different game, thus don’t expect anything you already know. It works like this: you choose, what buildings would be in your base, it’s up to you if you start with army training facility for your troops or scientific laboratories for your research or manufacturing factories to make more equipment. There is only limited number of building slots in every base, thus you have to choose what is more important now and what should wait for next time.

Do the oceans will have a part in the game play? Maybe like in Terror from the Deep where you can build underwater bases and fight against the enemies in underwater missions?

No, there are no underwater missions in UFO: Aftershock, but you can look forward to fight on board of the big transatlantic freighter.

Tactical Gameplay

Please tell us something about the progress in combat system compared to the prequel.

Our system of simultaneous action worked well, thus there is no need for change, but we added several more types of movement like kneeling or crawling. We also focused on better interface to let player know what is happening, what is the plan of every trooper and what will happen in next few seconds. There are more possibilities for planning in UFO: Aftershock too, for example guard or shoot only when you can hit the target etc.

What can we accept from the tactical missions? Are there new types of missions? Maybe the player will be pressed for time in some missions? (Thanks to “The Punisher”)

There is bunch of new missions and what is more important in Aftershock you can enter buildings and use multiple levels for cover, sniping, ambush etc. Tactical missions are smaller then in Aftermath, but thanks to reasons I have just mentioned, there are countless tactical options and always several ways to win (or loose) the mission.

As for the types, there are missions with different goals, for instance you will help your allies to defend territories or you will defeat your magnetic track system or you will have to gather some intel on your enemy and so on. Missions, where you have to defeat yourself are of course time limited, if you don’t resolve them, you either win or loose the territory, which depends on the power of local inhabitants and your militia. But when you decide to fight with your troops, there is no time limit for the tactical mission, the limit are closing enemies and number of bullets in your weapons.

Is there quantity or quality of weapons in UFO Aftershock? Some games have a huge bunch of weapons but most of them are useless because in the end they take the super laser weapon, which kills everything.

I think in UFO: Aftershock there are only useful weapons with different impact and armor piercing or striking distance specifications. And if you think your weapons are weak against opponents, try some upgrades or add-ons to make them more powerful or more accurate. It’s your decision what weapons are the best for close quarter mission and which you will use against almost unbeatable aliens.

Another limits in using weapons are loading capacity and skills of your soldiers. For instance only man with specific training can use under-barrel grenade launcher. And you can have only several grenades with you, what will you do when you run out of ammo? Which second weapon is the best? You decide!

Are there stunning weapons? Like a taser or flashbang? And is it possible to catch stronger enemies/aliens with those weapons? (Thanks to “Dabrasch”)

Yes there are! But they are not very powerful against armored opponents. Anyway there are ways to develop very powerful stunning weapons, but you will have to wait for outcomes of your scientists to find out :-]

Is it possible to aim at designated parts of the body as you can do it in Fallout (Tactics)?

Yes, you can unarm enemy by shooting in his hand for instance.

Are soldiers able to camouflage their self (e.g.: JA2)? Is there any kind of stealth technology? (Thanks to “Dabrasch”)

Yes, you can cover your soldiers or whole team by special devices like visibility cloaks or sound absorbers.

Are there more role-play elements in UFO Aftershock?

Every soldier has set of skills, which can be raised by gaining experience in combat. Having some level of skill you can send the soldier to train him a sniper or rocket specialist for instance, which means, you can’t use him for some time. And what is more important, you won’t be able to train him more then three times, which means he can become moderate healer and sniper beginner or you get over the loss of healing skill to make him excellent sniper. It’s up to you to train you elite squad, which will be useful in every possible tactical situation.

Do soldiers have an attribute for morale like in Jagged Alliance 2 and X-COM? Does it act on their behaviour?

No, they don’t have morale, because our SAS system already used in Aftermath, is based upon the rule “You control everything”. If you see, you are overwhelmed by enemies, you can choose to retreat to safe lives of your soldiers, but they have no volition of their own. But don’t expect your troops are safe from stunning, poison or psi attacks, you have to lead them into battle and most important out of it.

Are there vehicles that support us in combat?

There are no vehicles in the game, but you can use support from different types of combat bots or mechanical scouts, which can be equipped with special weapons. Bots are not soldiers, so if you lost one, you won’t mourn for it long. On the other hand they have no possibility of changing weapon when they are out of ammo, they can’t hold anything in the backpack and don’t have special abilities like healing or psi. It’s up to you, if you send seven soldiers or combination of several people and cold-minded robots.

                   

Technics / Others

What can you tell us about your graphic engine? What progresses did you make?

We use engine from UFO: Aftermath enhanced in every possible way, thus it’s almost new one. The most important feature is swift 3D view of battlefield, where you can rotate and zoom to gain better view of tactical situation and to have better impression of nice visual effects and detailed enemies. There is much more graphics data in Aftershock in comparison with it’s predecessor.

Does the game have a realistic physic engine? What can we except from the engine?

You can’t expect HalfLife2, but when grenade blows, no one near would stand on his feet, people shot in height can easily fall down, kill themselves and so on. So there is physics.

                   

Now an easy question at the end: What can we except after UFO:Afterhsock from ALTAR?

As many decision in life of a developer, this is one we have to discuss with possible publishers. There is several ways we can go now, we have some ideas left for possible sequel to UFO and we have great design document and technological demo of fantasy RPG Vision [www.rpg-vision.com] to offer, but it’s all question of the future.

Thank you for interviewing us!




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