FS: It sounds like this title has a lot in common with other popular FPS/RTS games borne out of the Half-Life modding scene, Natural Selection and Empires. Can you explain what differences there are between those and Nuclear Dawn? What makes your game “the first to offer a full FPS and RTS experience?”
Igor: There is far more than the modding scene in that picture. There have been several AAA titles that offered similar game experiences, such as Battlezone and Savage. We played, and enjoyed, many of these titles in the past. In spite of loving some of them dearly (Semper Fi, Battlezone 2), we felt that they always somewhat sacrificed part of either the strategy, or the shooting, to mesh the two together.
In Nuclear Dawn, we have simply attempted to achieve our own personal sweet spot between the two. Taken out of context, either of the two sides of the game behave as a fully functional example of their genre: the FPS gameplay is fast, tactical and unforgiving, and the game experience is on a level with every online shooter out there.
The RTS part is fast-paced and complex, allowing the Commander to truly feel like he’s an RTS commander with a full-time job on his hands, and not ‘just’ a player who’s stepped in to build a couple of turrets for a minute.
FS: From what I’ve read, it seems you aren’t big fans of Capture the Flag, so that won’t be in the game. Can you tell us about the different modes of play you will be offering?
Igor: That came across all wrong when we wrote it. Generally, we are great fans (well, some of us are) of CTF game modes, and have enjoyed them repeatedly from UT CTF to WoW CTF. That’s a whole lot of CTF, and we feel that with a game like Nuclear Dawn on our hands, we can do better than the generic formulas.
We’ll have more information on additional game modes soon, but for now we can only confirm the Warfare and Team Deathmatch game modes. Team Deathmatch is… well, pretty much what the label says. Warfare is the full, undiluted Nuclear Dawn experience, with Commanders, RTS, unlockables and everything else thrown in the mix.
FS: An older trailer showed a tank in the game, but the newest one does not. Were you planning to include vehicles at one point? If so, why were they scrapped?
Igor: We were not planning to include vehicles: we had included vehicles. An entire, custom vehicle engine was included, with all the bells and whistles that other AAA titles feature: accurate engine/transmission/suspension simulation, working tanks and buggies.
Unfortunately, that kind of complex implementation turned out to require some rather extensive surgery to the physics and net code backbone of Source in order to perform well outside of a LAN. The overhead required to make vehicles work to the standards we set ourselves was a potential bottomless time sink, and so decided to remove them from the game.
Though, as we already stated, if commercial support makes that kind of operation possible, then we’ll definitely be re-implementing vehicles.
FS: What will the upcoming closed beta be like? Is it an actual test phase, where you’re looking for some feedback from a larger audience, or is it more of a playable demo to entice people to pre-order?
Igor: The closed beta will be a little of both. It’s an early look at the game for those who supported us, though not a demo. In our mind, a demo should be a cut-down version of the final product.
This will also be a great opportunity to take a look at any design and balance flaws that could only be revealed by the kind of stress testing that a few thousand dedicated players can provide. We’re looking forward to addressing any feedback that comes our way in this period, as well as implementing any required modifications.
That said, the game’s largely in content lock at the moment, and some of the more extensive suggestions will have to be weighed against impending deadlines, so we may not be able to implement quite every single request.
We’re planning to keep a close watch on community feedback: games have to be fun to play above all, and if our fans aren’t having any fun, or if they could be enjoying Nuclear Dawn better, it’s our duty to make it so.