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Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Exclusive: Splash Damage's lead designer Paul Wedgwood reveals all on the epic Quake-inspired humans versus Strogg online blaster

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You're encouraging teamplay, there's the emphasis that you must combine into teams. How's that going to work?

Paul Wedgwood: There are two elements to it. When you first start playing, I think there's a potential for the game to be a bit overwhelming if you wanted to know what every single character class does. So we've got the solo assignment system, and independently of the main objective your team is going for, the solo assignment system, based on the status of the match and certain eligibility criteria - like how many experience points you've got, what weapon load-out you've got, what special reward items you've got, how far you are away from the thing it wants to propose to you - it will assign an objective to you. And that objective will be to go somewhere, and it'll tell you exactly where you have to go, what you have to do when you get there and what you're reward's going to be for completing that objective.

Zoom

That's basically a kind of a in the field, soft introduction to the game without you feeling like you're offline and some sergeant is giving you and over-expositionary explanation of how to fire the shotgun.

The second level of that, as players become more advanced an break into fireteams and what to go after objectives as a co-ordinated team, is that using the same system, we have a one-touch, context-sensitive radio key going in and you point and something, and depending on the entity that's under your crosshair, it sends the appropriate order to the appropriate person on your fireteam.

So if we're with Mac (who's demoing for us), and Mac's not very good at playing, he dies a lot and you're a Medic and I point and click at him it will send a revive request to you to go and help Mac. Equally if there's a destruction objective, and Mac's gone into to try and destroy it and obviously failed, you're a soldier, I can point at the objective and it will suggest that you go there and place your heavy explosive charge.

What's your aim for number of players supported, maximum and optimum?

Paul Wedgwood: The real sweet spot for fighting over a single objective across a frontline is 24 to 32 players. Any more than that and it really descends into a kind of street fight and co-ordination starts to break apart. In Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory there was no hard player limit, and there won't be in Quake Wars either, so if a server administrator wants to run a 50-player server or a 64-player server, then they're absolutely able to.

In the initial announcement of the game there was talk of accurate simulation of weather and atmosphere and so on. Will that actually have a direct impact on the gameplay?

Paul Wedgwood: To a degree. In the demonstration I showed you how the Mobile Command Post can be completely camouflaged in one atmospheric setting and in another it's really obviously present. Shadows and dynamic lighting play a big part in whether you can see stuff. We have a HDR-like solution called Bloom which is much cheaper and that gives us the really bright skies, lets us do sunsets and stuff.

You're certainly not holding back on the vehicles. What's been your approach to vehicles because sometimes it can be a problem - you want a mixture of infantry and vehicular combat rather than everyone just hoping in a vehicle.

Paul Wedgwood: Firstly I'd say that the general temptation in a game that features vehicles is to think of vehicles as simply replacing your avatar with improved mobility, firepower and armour. The problem with this, is that it's then not much fun when you're on foot. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was very focussed on foot combat and that's really critical for us, so we wanted our vehicles, rather than simply swapping out your avatar and giving you something else to fight with, to be and extension of the character classes and the way that they approach and attach specific objectives.

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