Korea: Forgotten Conflict Developer Diary #2

By Scott Parrino 09 May 2003 0

Editor's Note: Game Designer Michael Lekovski of Plastic Reality is writing a periodic column on his team's experiences as they go through the development of their upcoming game, Korea: Forgotten Conflict. The first article was published earlier, and this is the second.

Introduction

Again, we have a huge amount of work to do and so little time to do it all in! Happily, our team is expanding. We have three new colleagues who are fully involved in the development process of Korea: Forgotten Conflict. The total number of full time members has increased to 18. We simply could not complete the main parts of all the development stages without more in-house developers.

From a large pool of candidates eager for the positions of level designer, we chose people who were truly enthusiastic about games, and subsequently their position on our team. One very important factor in our decision making was the ability to start work immediately. In reality, this meant the newbies had to cooperate effectively in a very friendly atmosphere, and they had to have the ability to start using our customised Typhoon Engine software, which we use as editing software for individual missions. The level manager will use the Typhoon software for play-testing, working on particular level environments, and host of other jobs.

By the end of March we had to have three levels complete and in the alpha stage, which took up about ninety per cent of all our work. The rest was spent on tuning and repairing bugs and other mistakes. As we neared every milestone, our daily working time became longer, with some of the developers even sleeping at the office. Going home after midnight was simply too time consuming! (Who says developers have an easy life!?)

As the final date of the milestone approaches, only fourteen days remain, and we still have to do some fine-tuning.

Vehicles in the Game

One of the major game play features in Korea: Forgotten Conflict is the use of vehicles. For instance, when commandos hide in a lorry and the driver is Korean, the player must cleverly go through an enemy checkpoint and pass enemy guards without firing a shot and obviously drawing unwanted attention. Early in the development process, when we were creating the design document, we wanted the player to control vehicles by clicking the mouse buttons, so the vehicle should drive to the place where player clicked. While working on this concept, we developed a system of traction, which enables the vehicles to find a proper route effectively and as quickly as possible. 

After some exhaustive testing, we decided to provide the player with much more hands-on experience in controlling vehicles. The player will have the option to control the vehicle via the keyboard, with no mouse click required. From the moment a member of the team gets into the vehicle, the player will take control of the vehicle and drive wherever he chooses. Of course, the speed depends on the player's mood and the number of enemies around!

Don't forget that if you'd like to get in a tank - like a T-43 - and slam your way into an enemy base to cause maximum damage, you'll find that the enemy will react very quickly (and not very kindly), and your tank will most likely be destroyed by an anti-tank missile or rocket of some sort! Instead of just barging right in, the player will have to find an enemy convoy and act as part of it-otherwise the chances of living to see the next mission are very low-usually somewhere between nil and zero!

Korea: Forgotten Conflict is, to a large extent, a stealth-strategy-action title, which means that all tasks have to be fulfilled silently and all targets and enemy facilities have to be destroyed very quickly, without letting the enemy react and attempt to defend itself.

Finding the right vehicle to use for the right action is also very important, and there are many different ways to gain possession of said "right vehicle." One method is to place a dead enemy body on the road and wait until an unsuspecting enemy truck or tank comes along. When the driver stops and approaches the body in order to find out what has happened, you'll have your chance to either to kill the driver and capture the vehicle, or be more humanitarian about it and simply get in the vehicle and drive away. Or you can combine the two: stealthily commandeer the vehicle, gun the engine, and run that sucker of an enemy driver down! The beauty of Korea: Forgotten Conflict is that the player, not the parameters of the game, decides what is appropriate.

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