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Auto Assault gears up for conflict - new shots, interview

It's total mash-up in new screens from NetDevil's PC massively multiplayer online vehicle combat game; plus: the game's project lead speaks

Auto Assault - it's a game of vehicle combat, dontcha know. But not just any old game of vehicle combat. Oh no. NetDevil's game is massively multiplayer online meaning massively multiplayer mash-ups as players drop into a post-apocalyptic Earth of customized cars, motorcycles, and semis decked out with crazy firepower and indulge in fast-paced destruction. It contains plotlines with missions and scenarios for solo and group/faction play, but what we really like about Auto Assault is that you get to blow things up in really explosive manner.

But despite the heavy action, there are role-playing elements involved too and project lead on Auto Assault Scott Brown has recently spoken about the more beardie side of vehicle combat in an internal interview...

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How do I get ahead in Auto Assault?

Scott Brown: A big part of your time in Auto Assault will be spent customizing your character and vehicle statistics. As you gain levels you can spend points on both attributes and skills. Attributes affect your combat abilities while skills give you additional bonuses or types of strategic capabilities you can bring to the fight. As you play the game you will find drops from enemy AI that you can equip, trade, sell or reverse engineer to try and create something even better

What is Dynamic Loot?

Scott Brown: All the loot in Auto Assault is dynamically generated to be statistically unique. This will allow players to continue to hunt for loot that is always just a little better than anything else they might own. It also means that no two players will have the exact same inventory...even if you both have a flame thrower, it is likely that the stats on that weapon will differ for each player so, in essence, every item is rare in Auto Assault.

Can I 'Craft' in Auto Assault?

Scott Brown: Crafting ties into the dynamic loot system, allowing players to have the opportunity to be the only player in the game capable of making a particular piece of equipment. Players can train in multiple disciplines and, through practice, can gain new crafting abilities. Some items in the game allow for multiple enhancements that crafters can utilize through experimentation on an object. Though there are no set recipes for enhancements, different commodities will tend towards a particular class of enhancements. The more the crafter experiments the better the chance for greater enhancements, but this also increases the chance for failure.

Are there traditional RPG missions in Auto Assault?

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Scott Brown: There are a number of major story arcs for the players to discover as they play each race. You will learn more about why your race is where it is today, and where your race plans to take what is left of the Earth from here. There are a wide variety of mission types in the game. Some you will have seen before in other MMORPGs, like deliveries or kill tasks, and some are completely unique to Auto Assault - for instance environmental destruction or the ability to jump over obstacles.

At the end of many of the story arcs in Auto Assault are instanced missions for either the individual player or their convoy. Instances include scripted events, frequently showing off our physics engine, a feature found typically in single player games only. Giving the players a way to feel a sense of progress and change of the world, Auto Assault remembers the missions you have completed on these maps so that when you return the map will progress to its next state. For example, if you destroy a base on a map, you may return to find the base being rebuilt by another enemy faction or the base may be completely gone, replaced by a new mining facility your own faction needs help setting up.

These instances often conclude with a variety of cool boss encounters. The types of encounters range from souped-up vehicles to alien craft which require the destruction of a number of items on the map to even begin to damage them.

Now that you are in closed beta, what are some of the key changes that have been made since opening the game to beta testers?

Scott Brown: Now that the closed beta has started we are doing more than fixing bugs. The crafting system has already gone through a complete overhaul based on early feedback, as have mission rewards. We have also added several interface improvements and tweaked the driving model to enhance the way vehicles control. We're enjoying the feedback and we're improving the game every week!

Auto Assault rides into Europe later this year.

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