Drew Markham 01-20

January 20, 1999 on http://www.next-generation.com/jsmid/news/5573.html
A = Drew Markham (Original Concept, Design and Direction)

Due for release in Spring of 1999 for PC, Kingpin's minimum specifications look like being a P200 with 32 Megs of RAM, and a Voodoo-based accelerator card. Xatrix is developing the game so that the user will have a multitude of installation options, including lower resolution textures and sounds, to significantly increase the game's performance on any given machine.

Set for publication by Interplay, Kingpin is an unusual first-person action-adventure based in the seedy underworld of an alternative 1930's Chicago. The game is based on an enhanced version of the Quake II engine and Markham offered an explanation as to why this was the case.

Q: Did your work on the Quake II mission pack influence you when developing Kingpin? Did you learn anything from this experience?

A: "The Quake II mission pack was a great experience for us, our first real foray into true 3D after working with the Build engine for so long. It was a very liberating experience for us and inspired us to do our own work on the engine."

Q: Is it true Kingpin uses the Quake II engine? Did your work with the Quake II engine influence this decision?

A: "Yes, Kingpin uses the Quake II engine, although a heavily modified version. We have added a ton of new features, including 32-bit color; full alpha transparencies for chain link fences; goraud lighting of characters and all non-world objects; procedural fire and smoke; environment mapping and a few other surprises.

We rewrote the .md2 format that Quake II used for models into the .mdx format. This allows us a model to have up to 32 separate articulated pieces, and works really well with the characters. We have broken up all the characters in the game into 15 discrete pieces: feet, lower and upper legs, pelvis, torso, upper and lower arms, hands and head. The player can target and cause damage to those individual pieces, which makes for some interesting battles. Now you can shoot an enemy in the legs and watch him limp away, and head shots are obviously deadly. We also have a very cool weapon physics and body armor system that will keep the player guessing as to which weapons to use in different situations."

Q: How would you describe Kingpin? How are you going to overlap the adventure and action elements in terms of gameplay?

A: "Kingpin is an action-adventure game. There are enemy gangs, rogue gangs and neutral characters that you must talk to make it through the game. If you kill everyone that you see, you will never finish the game. There are scenario-specific elements in each episode and the player will need to use a combination of brains and brawn to make it through in one piece."

Q: How will you incorporate the different vehicles into the gameplay?

A: "Once an episode is completed the player will encounter a vehicle-based level. These levels are integral to advancing the plot forward, and also serve to give some geographic separation between episodes. The controls will be the same as the first-person levels, but the dynamics will be tweaked to represent the particular vehicle's physics."

Q: What different environments can we expect to see in Kingpin?

A: "Some of the environments include urban ruins, a chemical plant with acid rain, and MicroVac laboratories, complete with bizarre retro-tech machinery."

Q: What would you consider to be the main features of the game? Are there any features of Kingpin unseen before in all the other shooters out there?

A: "The biggest thing that we are trying to accomplish is creating a world filled with characters that have their own agendas. This might sound trivial, but once you move away from a play experience where everyone in the game is basically trying to kill the player, the complexity goes up dramatically."

Q: How much interaction between characters and NPCs will Kingpin feature?

A: "The characters are broken down into three groups - dominant gangs, rogue gangs and neutral population. Dominant gangs run a specific territory and generally want to see you dead. The player can hire individual thugs from the rogue gangs that populate an episode, and neutrals include scenaric characters, who might have valuable information about how to accomplish a certain task. Interaction between the player and NPC's is crucial to staying alive and getting through the game."

Q: Can you confirm any multiplayer modes of play at the moment?

A: "Absolutely. I think it's safe to say that the Quake II engine still does multiplayer better than anyone else, and we will be building on top of that already successful system. We will, of course, be adding a few new wrinkles to deathmatch options."

Q: What weapon options stand out in Kingpin?

A: "One of the cool things we're doing is allowing the player to purchase modifications to the weapons, and also the ability to use different kinds of ammunition. For example, there are .45 slugs that are acid tipped, but they won't work in the tommygun unless you have the right modification.

"Another cool thing is the flame-thrower; we just got that working recently, and it is a spectacular, gruesome weapon."

Q: What are your hopes for Dreamcast and PlayStation 2? Are there any plans for Kingpin to be seen on any of these consoles?

A: "My hope with these two systems is that we will finally get some kind of decent level of graphic and CPU performance out of a console system. A game like Kingpin is just too complex to run on the current crop of console machines, and that's the real trap that we get into developing for the PC where we have such a tremendous amount of power at our disposal.

"Of course, the big plus developing for a console is that you have a known standard, that your game is going to run exactly the same on everybody's system. So, I'm really hoping that these two systems will finally give us the power to do a decent version of what we're now doing on the PC and bring it out to the masses."

FREDZ | Tuesday 18 January 2022 - 20:02
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