I bolded the best part....
So to prepare ourselves for rush hour we spoke to Cord Smith, Full Auto’s producer at PSEUDO. Turns out it’s come along way since that stunning XNA demo…
Cord Smith: In many ways, modern game developers live and die based on the strength of their technology. The XNA opportunity was most definitely a “stepping stone” to what would become Full Auto. Not only did PSEUDO Interactive get the chance to work with MS’s talented Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), but the XNA demos afforded us a chance to further develop our core engine while gaining major exposure among the industry’s top publishers.
How did Full Auto evolve from those stunning demos to the game we see now?
Cord Smith: Early concepts for the game were being kicked around at the time of the XNA demos, but I’ll be the first to admit that those concepts bear only a subtle resemblance to the game you now see before you. In the summer of 2004, PSEUDO began heavy recruitment to add additional talent and expertise to the team. One of those hires was Lead Game Designer: William Ho, who quickly organized large-scale meetings to flesh out exactly what the team truly wanted Full Auto to be. William was responsible for laying the foundation for the entirety of the game’s design, although each and every department at PSEUDO has had a voice in shaping the game and its innovative features.
Destruction is a big part of the Full Auto experience. How has the power of the Xbox 360 allowed you to blow stuff up in such cool ways?
Cord Smith: We start with the creation of an incredibly detailed world. Most of the racetracks in Full Auto contain up to 10,000 individual elements, a majority of which are both physicalized and destructible. By combining the tremendous capabilities of our proprietary physics engine with the processing power of the Xbox 360’s 3-CPU architecture, we create a truly interactive world in which gamers can destroy nearly anything they see. The icing on the cake comes with a technology we call “auto-chunking,” which allows any mesh to be broken up procedurally into chunks that retain the qualities of their “parent.” Once you add particle effects, dynamic lighting, and screen-space effects, you’re left with some of the best-looking destruction ever witnessed in gaming.
Just how much destruction is there in the game? Can you destroy the environments as well as your opponents?
Cord Smith: In an effort to sustain player immersion and consistency within our gameworld, we made certain to apply destruction rigging to each and every asset. Players can actually turn the environment into a weapon by taking out gas stations, gas tankers, etc. when opponents are in the vicinity. It works the other way as well, since players will often witness grandiose environmental destruction when the flaming husk of an opponent gets sent sailing into all manner of destructible buildings, structures, and heavily populated streets.
And how are you rewarded for blowing stuff up?
Cord Smith: Full Auto’s win parameters encompass both your race position as well as the amount of destruction you cause during the race. In order to achieve the highest merit levels, players will need to be fast AND destructive. Additionally, players earn energy for their all-important “Unwreck” meter by causing destruction—especially when taking down large structures or aggressive rivals.
The Unwreck feature is definitely a nifty technical trick, but what does it add to the gameplay?
Cord Smith: I think everyone can use a “second chance” now and then. Unwreck prevents the age old racing genre curse of a mid-game restart by allowing players leeway to correct mistakes or live on the edge. Since players need to earn Unwreck in order to use it, it promotes wanton destruction while also affording them the freedom to try maneuvers or shortcuts that have high risks associated with them. We’re confident that once gamers have experienced the benefits of “Unwreck,” they’ll never look at another racing game in quite the same way.
Of course, Full Auto’s still a racing game at heart. Have you gone for a very arcadey feel, and how important was it for you to get the driving right?
Cord Smith: There’s no denying that we crafted Full Auto as a very pick-up-and-play experience as our intention was to build a racing/combat hybrid that any gamer could immediately appreciate and enjoy. That said, we’ve gone to great lengths to add both playability AND personality to each of our vehicles. We’ve been tuning them for months to ensure that each one retains a unique feel, whether they’re zipping down a straight-away, powersliding around a tight corner, or launching off the tailgate of a flatbed.
Will players be able to use shortcuts and jumps to gain an advantage on the competition?
Cord Smith: We build each track “moment by moment” to ensure that each and every block contains something new and unique. Alternate paths, shortcuts, jumps, dynamic hazards, etc. all play a part since we want each and every lap to stand out as a unique experience. We can’t rely on just the racing and combat to deliver a next-gen experience. It’s important that we push the track design to its limits--and dynamic jumps and shortcuts are par for the course when you’re crafting the most destructive arcade racing experience ever.
Full Auto has already been compared to Burnout and Twisted Metal. How do you react to these comparisons and where do you see your game sitting?
Cord Smith: To be totally honest, we’re thrilled to be compared to such well-established franchises, but we still see ourselves as a unique hybrid of the best elements from each. Since the crux of our game still boils down to racing, we’ve never really considered ourselves a strictly vehicular combat game a la Twisted Metal, but we have taken inspiration from the explosive mayhem contained within that particular genre. Ultimately, our goal has been to elevate the intensity of the finest arcade racers and then kick it up 10 more notches through weapons, destruction, and dynamically changing tracks. While the separate elements may seem familiar (cars, guns, stunts, etc.), the way in which we’ve combined them is totally unique. Once you take into account new features like Unwreck, our hope is that other great racing franchises will begin to be compared to us instead of the other way around.
What are your plans for Xbox Live play?
Cord Smith: We’re keeping a tight lip on our Live plans at this point, but I can tell you that we’ll support all manner of standard racing modes and allow for at least 8 players to partake in the addictive chaos of Full Auto online.
How important are the Live modes for Full Auto and what kind of community do you expect to spring up around it?
Cord Smith: We recognize the fact that the bulk of a modern game’s replayability often lies in its multiplayer modes. To that end, we’re hoping that both hardcore and casual gamers within the Xbox 360 community will find something to love about the Full Auto Live experience. Rankings and stat tracking should allow gamers of all skill levels to find one another and compete on equal ground. Additionally, we’re introducing unique modes that can’t be found in other racers. Whether gamers jump on for one match or play for an entire afternoon, the adrenaline-filled gameplay should keep them hooked for months on end. Having successfully blended two of the most popular genres in the online realm, we have high hopes.
Finally, how have you found the experience of creating Full Auto for Xbox 360 and how do you see the future of the console?
Cord Smith: This decade has been such an amazing time for the games industry and our studio. In the past year, PSEUDO Interactive has doubled in size as we recruited tremendous talents from throughout the industry. We’ve always seen Full Auto as a franchise, and we hope to push new boundaries with each successive iteration of the game. As for the Xbox 360, it’s quite clear that the games are only going to get better. If the progress at our studio is any indication, the second generation of Xbox 360 software will absolutely eclipse the first, ushering in an even greater era of high-definition imagery, innovative features, and unparalleled player interaction. Whether we’re talking ‘wow factor,’ ‘fun factor,’ or the ‘X factor,’ the future of the Xbox 360 seems unbelievably bright.
See that Ozy?
we ain't seen nothin' yet
Edited by Deftech, 30 September 2005 - 06:17 AM.