Drew Markham 02-04

Februari 4, 1999 on http://www.stomped.com/interviews/xatrix.html
A = Drew Markham (Original Concept, Design and Direction)
Q = jcal

Xatrix Entertainment has come a long way from Cyberia and Redneck Rampage. Its upcoming first person shooter, Kingpin, looks extremly promising with its film noir crime-based setting and its use of the Quake II engine combined with a number of nifty technolgical and gameplay features of its own. We asked Xatrix CEO Drew Markham to talk a bit about what gamers can expect from Kingpin.

Q: Give us a brief bio of who you are and what you do at Xatrix.

A:Brief bio: Born, played games, grew up, played games, got in the game business. Currently CEO and lead designer at Xatrix.

Q: What was the genesis for the idea that then became Kingpin?

A: Probably my boredom with almost every first-person shooter being based on either sci-fi or fantasy/dungeon themes. I wanted to see more of a "real world" setting.

Q: What sets Kingpin apart from the rest of the first person shooters coming out in 1999?

A: Attitude, ambience and attention to detail. There are quite a few RPG and adventure game elements that we've woven in, like the ability to talk to NPC's and buy weapons and items at the Pawn-O-Matic (conveniently located in several levels of the game). Also, the ability to hire other gang members to run with you is pretty cool.But, make no mistake, the action quotient will still be high.

Q: You used the Quake II engine for the offical QII mission pack, The Reckoning. Why did you decide to use it again as the engine for Kingpin? Also, what changes have you made to the Quake II engine to make it work for your game?

A: Working on "The Reckoning" got us quite comfortable with the QII engine, and it was a natural progression to use it for our next project. Obviously, QII Death Match is still the hands down winner, and we wanted to make sure that that component of gameplaywas something that we didn't have to sweat too much.

As for changes to the engine, here's a short list of feature enhancements:

1) 32-bit color
2) True Gourard lighting on all models
3) Sprite effects, like coronas around lights, gun flares, etc.
4) Procedural smoke and fire effects
5) Fog
6) Environment mapping
7) Material differentiation (metal, concrete, wood, etc.)
8) Team AI functionality
9) 15-segment character models with location specific damage

Q: Advanced AI is becoming more of a requirement in a first person shooter. What advances in that area can players expect in Kingpin?

A: We have completely re-written the AI code for characters in Kingpin. First, all characters use a NavData system that allows them the navigate the levels more efficiently. Also, all characters are able to recognize a variety of variables that determine their behavior in certain circumstances. For example, if you encounter a lone enemy and you have a lot more firepower than he does, he will more than likely have a tendency to run off and find some buddies rather than marching head-first to a certain death by engaging you in a battle.

Characters are also given a "morale" value from 1 to 7, that will affect their behavior.A morale value of "1" is the lowest, with "7" being completely psychotic. The shades of gray in between allow us to create groups of enemies with realistic individual behavior.

Q: What kinds of weapons will the player have access to in Kingpin?

The current weapons roster is:
1) Lead pipe (my personal fave!)
2) Pistol
3) Sawed-off pump shotgun
4) Thompson sub-machine gun
5) Sniper rifle
6) Multi-grenade launcher
7) Rocket launcher
8) Flame thrower
9) ECD (Electro Capacitance Discharger)
0) Concussion rifle

We're also adding mods for some of the weapons. These will enhance the lifespan and playability of those weapons by adding new features to them. For instance, the pistol will have four mods. The first is the ROF (rate of fire) mode, that does exactly what it says; increase the pistol's rate of fire. The second is the RLD (reload) mod, which increases the speed at which you can reload the pistol, and the third is the MAG (magnum) mode, which increase the muzzle velocity of the pistols bullets. The fourth mod is a silencer, which will last for about ten or so shots before crapping out.

Q: Much has been made in other articles about Kingpin about the animation system. Can you go into more detail?

A: As we mentioned earlier, Kingpin uses a proprietary character model system that breaks the body up into fifteen pieces; head, torso, upper arms, lower arms, hands, pelvis, upper legs, lower legs and feet. Each of the fifteen pieces has its own dynamic bounding box, so that accuracy is increased dramatically in tracking where a character has actually been hit. Pain skins are also attached to those specific areas, so that you will know exactly where you hit an enemy. This also allows for tracking of exit wounds so that enemies "bleed out" properly once dead.

Q: The subject matter of Kingpin is definatly adult oriented. Do you believe that the game could cause controversy in that regard?

A: I think that anything that's even SLIGHTLY over the line these days will cause controversy, so its a safe bet that Kingpin is bound to ruffle a few feathers. However, we haven't set out to create a game that uses gratuitous elements just for the sake of controversy. In fact, we have purposely avoided putting in certain "easy" elements that would have made the game wildly controversial.

Q: Dennis Farina has been announced as the voice for the player's character in Kingpin. How did you get such a popular actor to work on the game and how was he to work with?

A: I must sadly report that Dennis will not be doing the voice for the player's character. He's still one of our favorite actors, but we're searching now for someone else portray the character's voice.

Q: Cypress Hill will be handling the music for Kingpin. Will they be contributing all new songs for the soundtrack?

A: Cypress will be contributing three songs off of their latest album for the game. We have the original tracks as well as instrumental versions that will be used in various locales in the game.

Q: What do you expect the system requirements will be for the game?

A: Minimum spec is a P200 with 32 megs RAM and 1st generation video accelerator. We recommend the fastest machine that you can get your hands on, of course! We also wholeheartedly endorse the Riva TNT card, as Kingpin uses all 32-bit artwork. The game looks amazing on a TNT.

Q: Is the game still on target for a Spring 1999 release?

A: If I can get all of these interviews out of the way... ;)

Q: Finally, can you give us some clus as to Xatrix's future projects?

A: Unfortunately, not at this time. But, we hope to be announcing something quite cool in the very near future as a follow-up to Kingpin.

FREDZ | Tuesday 18 January 2022 - 20:49
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