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Interview: Brink (part two) – Splash Damage’s Paul Wedgwood

Tuesday, 4 May 2010 15:30 GMT By Johnny Cullen

brink2

Brink is downright fucking awesome. We know because we saw it at a pre-E3 Bethesda event outside Paris last week.

The demo was split into two, showing us one part of the story as Security and one as Resistance, with the game’s impressive scale of customisation shown off in-between.

Needless to say, “downright fucking awesome”.

After the demo was shown, we spoke to Splash Damage CEO  Paul Wedgwood. His interview took place a day after we chatted with Brink writer Ed Stern. You can get his talk here.

[Interview by Johnny Cullen]

VG247: I’m gonna start with co-op. You said at the beginning of the Q&A after the demo that you wanted to reward more players with less selfish moves. Can you explain more about that?

Paul Wedgwood: Sure. So to take an example, lets say at the start of the security tower, Richard takes the mission to plant the bomb on the conduit. If I then go into my mission, that’s when I play as a medic, when I go into my mission system, the number one thing it’s going to ask me to do is escort Jolly.

Now, if all I do is run over and stand near him and engage in combat near Richard, I’m going to start to get XP ticking into my retainer, going on just like five, five, five just because I’m near Richard and I’m doing stuff.

If I give him health and he needs it and he’s the guy who’s doing the primary objective, I’m going to get a bonus.

Also, if I give Richard health and he gives me health, or if someone else does, we only use one power pip each. But if I heal myself as a medic, it uses two power pips, so it’s cheaper for us to heal each other and buff each others weapons and look after each other than it is to play selfishly. The notion of the mechanic is that we reward you whenever you make the game more fun for other people.

Of course, we still reward you for just general kills and stuff that you get done, but almost everything that you do in the game, any mission you take on and complete, actually does end up helping your squad in some way. And in the end, it feels like your kind of playing as part of a coordinated team, even though you could be a bunch of strangers just playing together online.

You said in the demo that you just hold the SMART button down, aim it to where you’re going and Bob’s your uncle. Would you feel that’s sort of…

Paul Wedgwood: I know exactly what you’re gonna say.

Do you feel like it’s some sort of a cheap way to play?

Paul Wedgwood: No, it’s not an auto-pilot. I know it looks a bit like that when you watch me play, Actually, it’s a bit more like a sprint button or a jump button.

It’s like a contextualized jump button that understands the environment in front of me. If I am sprinting along and I look down under something and I press the button, I’ll side underneath it. If I sprint along and I look up and I press the button, I’ll mantle up over the top. If I am running towards something I can vault and I hit the button, then I’ll vault over the top. I still have to interact with the game and I have to give it my permission to do something.

The second thing is I’m not entering a canned animation, so you can interrupt it any time you like. If I’m climbing up a wall, and my first hand comes free, I can start shooting. My second hand comes free, I can start reloading. If I let go of the button, I just drop straight back down again; it’s absolutely instant.

If I’m sprinting, and I press SMART and hit crouch and I slide, I can turn sideways and start shooting while I’m sliding. And now I can do combos I couldn’t do previously, so I can sprint towards the top of the building, launch myself off the top and as I am coming down, hit SMART, hit my crouch button and absolutely land sliding, which reduces my falling damage.

If anything, for the hardcore player, it introduces a load more opportunities than you had before. It definitely isn’t an auto-pilot.

At no point is it taking over from you. All we’re really doing is removing some kind of artificial and frustrating constraints from the game that you’d never experience in real-life. Like, when you walked into this room you didn’t fall over any of the chairs, yet in shooters, we stop… all the time… because we can’t see our feet. So it seems wrong to punish people for the fact they can’t see their feet and it also seems wrong to reward people just for being good at our interface.

There’s been a lack of HUD in the gameplay videos. Can you play the game without most – or maybe without any – of the HUD features?

Paul Wedgwood: The HUD that we’re showing at the moment is just our Alpha HUD. It’s not the final HUD that will be in the shipping game, but it displays enough information for us to be able to debug the game properly, to playtest, and everything else.

The intention is that everything turns off, and it only turns on when you need to know about important information, so much of the time it will just be you and your crosshair. As and when you need to know things, they pop up. You can also go into options and you can change… components and stuff as well.

You mentioned as well in the Q&A after the demo that the AI has the same mission system as the player. Can you explain that a little bit more?

Paul Wedgwood: Imagine you kicked off the game and you weren’t in the game at all, you could just be a spectator. You can actually watch the two squads just fighting against each other and trying to get missions completed and trying to get stuff done.

Let’s say, for example, that I’m a soldier, and I bring up my objective wheel. It’s a dynamic AI system that’s actually compiling this list of missions I can do.

It takes into account my location on the battlefield, the abilities, tools and items that I am carrying in my inventory, my combat role, all of the other missions that the other people are on and the status of the map’s big objectives to create a list of five or six things that I can do that’s unique to that kind of location and that time and that moment in the game.

I could capture a command post, I could escort someone that’s doing a really big mission, I could go over there and plant something and destroy it or I could just use it to find my way to a command post so I could get another kit and perhaps do something else.

The AI works in exactly the same way. If you’re not playing medic, the team still needs to have one, so the AI’s going to use that mission system to work out who needs reviving, he’s gonna prioritize the squad-mates that are trying to do big objectives, then it’s gonna prioritize other medics because they could help more people get back on their feet, and it’s gonna prioritize other team-mates that are doing secondary missions.

They just use exactly the same priority system, the same mission system to organise themselves into a group, and the great thing is that it means if AI does nothing but simply follow the missions… Of course they’re smarter than that; they know how to use other abilities, tools, items, they know which weapons are appropriate, they’ll run for cover and they’ll hide. When they’re losing health, they’ll back off and wait and they’ll heal and they come back at you and attack again. If I hold them down, a whole bunch of them, they’ll go round the outside and start attacking you from the side instead, so they do exactly what you kinda expect a squad to do in real-life. Which is really cool.

Awesome. You mentioned Brink was being built on the basis of id Tech 4. For a start, Brink’s been built from a new engine on the basis of Tech 4, yes?

Paul Wedgwood: Yes.

Would be able to say…

Paul Wedgwood: Is it completely a new engine or is still kind of id Tech 4?

Kinda bit of both.

Paul Wedgwood: RAGE is its own game. id Tech5 is ideally suited to that, and if you’ve seen it, you know it’s beautiful, it’s absolutely beautiful. Probably one of the best-looking games that I’ve ever seen.

But what we wanted for Brink was to be able to take advantage of things like spar-spiral texturing that allows us to have super high-resolution textures in our environments and maps and stuff, but we’re also gonna be radically changing the way movement works, the way the networking model that works, no matter how you play: single player, multiplayer or co-op.

And it means that, in essence, it’s like you’re hosting a server the entire time; just in case you change your mind and you want to invite your friend in or something like that, you have complete control, you have to give your permission.

But because of the way that works, we knew we were gonna have to take the engine in a slightly different direction, so while we’ve kind of advanced from id Tech 4 onwards – of course id Software have done the same thing with id Tech 5 – but we’re at the point where it’s really a completely new technology, highly specialized for this game.

How long can you off the beaten path with missions that aren’t connected to the main story? How long before you’re brought back to the main story arc?

Paul Wedgwood: Basically, the way that it works – and we’re pre-Beta at the moment; we’re doing Alpha play-testing, so some of this is subject to change – but we use a system at the moment where you essentially have a set amount of time your squad is gonna attempt this next objective for. And while they’re trying to complete the objective, if they’re successful, imagine for example their morale is boosted, they’ll now take additional time on the next objective they’re working towards.

That’s the time limit for getting that first big objective and the next objective done, and the game is gonna require your contribution in some form to the squad to help them progress forward. Now even those side missions, like capturing a command post, can really change the way the battle flows, because if you capture a command post everybody on your team gets an extra health pip or power pip, and the whole squad can become slightly more powerful as a result of that.

If you go up and you hack into a back door, and you open up a back route for your squad to run through because your playing operative, that opens up additional routes that makes it more likely they’re gonna complete their objective. So almost everything you do as a side-mission contributes in some way to improving the progress of your team, or impeding the progress of the enemy squad.

I asked you in the Q&A about clan support. Can you clarify what you intend to do, what you’d like to do with that?

Paul Wedgwood: Because we’re pre-Beta, most of our focus is on game balancing and deciding which things we keep because they’re fun, and which things we cut if they turn out not to be fun.

Once we get to the end of Beta, we have very ambitious plans for online services, but we’re not ready to announce yet because we haven’t finalized all of the gameplay components of the game. It would be a mistake to describe the nature of how we’d think how a perfect tournament would work if we might still change the way a gameplay mode or an objective functions.

Once we get to Beta, we’ll have a better sense of what that plan is and how it’s going to work out. But in the past we’ve always done really great things for our games and supporting the community and stuff, and we really hope to be able to do the exact same stuff going forward as well.

OK, last question. I spoke to Ed [Stern, Brink writer] about this last night. I brought up DLC for Brink, and on the screen it said “downloadable content” in the demo. What would you like to do in terms of downloadable content?

Paul Wedgwood: All we’re doing at the moment is what every good game developer should do, which is to make sure our game supports that kind of technology.

But right now, we’re just focusing on Brink 1. I think there’s loads of great potential for things that could be done, but really, I just want the studio to focus on this game first, get everything done, make sure that we’re really happy with it.

Because again, I think if we go off on a certain path of worrying too much about the design for things we’re gonna sell to people after the game has shipped… It’s kind of presumptuous, it’s nice to know they like it first. You know, that’s part of the plan.

Part of the charm. Ed also said as well about any potential plans for Brink 2 and Brink 3. Would that be something you’d like to do, maybe DLC could be branching between the two?

Paul Wedgwood: I think there will, we always want to work on things that we’ve created. But again, beyond Richard Ham, our creative director, saying “Yeah, of course I’ve thought about the future,” there are absolutely no firm plans to do anything at all at the moment.

All we’re doing is we’re focusing on Brink 1, and that’s the sole focus of the studio. It’s the only thing anybody’s working on at the studio, and I think that’s the right thing to do: make one really good game first, and then worry about what’s coming after that.

Brink releases this fall for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

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1 Comments

  1. endgame

    gd stuff. it’s gd to know how SMART actually works. ty for this Johnny. :)

    #1 5 years ago

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  • Steam roguelike sale is live, offers deep discounts on a stellar collection of titles

    If you’re into challenging, procedurally-generated, and infinitely-replayable games, Steam’s current sale will hook you up. Steam is hosting a sale on roguelike games. Plenty of titles in the genre are on sale for upwards of 75% off. Highlights include Risk of Rain at 75% off, Don’t Starve at 66% off, Spelunky at 75% off, FTL: […]

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 finally gets online co-op in Raid Mode on Xbox One

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has been patched to support online play in Raid Mode on Xbox One. The Xbox One version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 lacked online support in Raid Mode for a long time. Until today. A new patch has been released to bring that version in line with the rest of them. […]

  • A section in Killing Floor 2′s EULA about cyberbullying is riling up some fans

    Killing Floor 2 has recently got into a bit of trouble with some fans due to a clause in its EULA that gives the developer the right to revoke a user’s license without prior notice. The Killing Floor 2 EULA – just like many others found in modern games, has a section dedicated to cheating […]

  • World of Tanks: 2,000 free tanks and in-game cash to giveaway

    To celebrate the World of Tanks grand finals this weekend we’ve got some great freebies to give away to new players. We have 2,000 PC invite codes to giveaway, with each one offering new accounts a T2 Light Tank, 100 Gold and 1 Days Premium worth around €8.00. All you need to do is enter […]

  • Marvel announces partnership with Telltale, first game due in 2017

    Marvel and Telltale have entered into a partnership that will allow the developer to work on a new game series, due in 2017. Telltale has announced that it has partnered with Marvel Games, Marvel Entertainment’s video games division, for the development of a new game series. No indication was given as to what the new […]

  • Destiny: Bungie is not saying no to a player trading system

    Bungie has not completely ruled out the idea of bringing a trading system to Destiny. Destiny does not offer any way for players to trade items amongst themselves. But ever since the game’s release, players have never stopped asking Bungie to add one in. While the developer does not have a satisfying answer, it’s still […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for April 24, 25 – MIDA Multi-Tool edition

    The weekend Exotics market run by Xur: Agent of the Nine is now open for business. Destiny’s bizarre vendor, Xur, has arrived at the Tower. Xur is your man if you’re looking for Exotic armour or weapons. Not only that, but he will also let you exchange your old Exotic gear for new, upgraded versions. […]

  • Warcraft movie delayed yet again

    The Warcraft movie will no longer hit theatres in March 2016. The release date of the Warcraft movie has been pushed back by three months. The movie was expected in March 2016, but Legendary Pictures announced yesterday that it is now due on June 10, 2016. No reason was given for the delay. This is […]

  • Destiny: Iron Banner returns on April 28

    Destiny’s Iron Banner PvP event will return this Tuesday. Bungie has announced that the Iron Banner, it’s once-every-few-weeks PvP event, will make a return with next week’s weekly reset. It was initially due this week, but because of the recent Crucible changes that were implemented with patch 1.1.2, Bungie wanted to wait and see. That […]

  • Deus Ex devs take the piss out of Black Ops 3

    Deus Ex developers have been having a bit of a laugh at the expense of Call of Duty’s official Twitter account. You would be forgiven to think that yesterday’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 ‘Ember’ teaser was part of an ad campaign for a Deus Ex game, with all the biohacking, wearable tech, augmentation, […]

  • Bungie weekly update: Commendations begone

    Destiny’s weekly update is here to determine the fate of all those Commendations you’ve been earning in the past few months. Bungie started off this week’s update with a recap of the details revealed during the recent livestream. There wasn’t really anything on this front that they haven’t talked about already. With the exception of […]

  • This GTA 5 trainer lets you play as almost anything and it’s the best thing ever

    Want to play GTA 5 as a monkey, a cat, a fish, a deer or some other non-human thing that we eat or keep as a pet? ScriptHook has you covered. Not only can you play as critters, it change other game values, according to an explanation from PC Gamer. These values include making changes […]

  • EA Sports moves Rory McIlroy PGA TOUR release date to July

    EA Sports has announced Rory McIlroy PGA TOUR will be released in July. Originally announced for June, the golf game will now release the same week as the Open Championship at St. Andrews, on July 14. EA also provided some more color on gameplay features such as the ability to customize the game by borrowing […]

  • Jason Voorhees joins Mortal Kombat X in May, Kombat Pack owners get first dibs

    Jason Voorhees will arrive for Mortal Kombat X players in May, NetherRealm Studios announced today during the latest Kombat Kast. Jason will be shown for the first time on Monday, May 4 during a special Kombat Kast. According to EventHub which watched the livestream, the developer will also show off the character’s move and Variations. […]

  • The Witcher 3: Nvidia heads to Poland for a behind-the-scenes look – video

    A video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been released, taking you behind-the-scenes with CD Projekt RED. Nvidia’s GeForce crew went to the firm’s studio in Poland to talk with the game’s executive producer John Mamais, who provides a look at the PC version of the upcoming RPG. CD Projekt, according to the video […]

  • Microsoft notes decline in Xbox unit sales for Q3 FY15 to 1.6 million

    Microsoft reported its Q3 FY15 earnings today, citing growth in Xbox Live usage as one of the contributing factors to the firm’s reported revenue. However, the firm noted a decline in units sales for its Xbox consoles during the quarter. Microsoft Q3 2014 (yoy comparison) Microsoft Q1 fiscal 2015 Microsoft Q2 fiscal 2015 The firm […]

  • Powerplay is a new feature included in the Elite: Dangerous May update

    The next update for Elite: Dangerous is coming next month and it includes a new feature called Powerplay. According to Frontier Developments, Powerplay allows players to participate in an ongoing battle that “enhances every aspect” of the game. Players can become allies with a number of galactic Powers and guide their strategy, pursue objectives in […]

  • Facebook says it’s “too early” to discuss large-scale shipments of Oculus Rift

    Facebook has said it is “too early” to discuss large-scale shipments of Oculus Rift as the VR headset is still in the development stages. Speaking during a call to investors, Facebook CFO David Wehner said the company had nothing to announce regarding the amount of stock it expected to ship. “We have not announced any […]

  • Battlefield Hardline’s first patch and rental server program hits next week

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch has a release date for both consoles and PC. PC & Console patch and RSP for Consoles coming April 28th. Fixes include TDM spawns and more: http://t.co/BZYJeomPlr pic.twitter.com/27TCiY8hmf — Battlefield (@Battlefield) April 23, 2015 The update will include fixes to Punkbuster, Nvidia DirectX drivers, TDM spawns, contains weapon balance tweaks and […]

  • Modders can now earn money through Steam Workshop starting today with Skyrim

    Valve has introduced a new functionality within Steam Workshop which will allow mod makers to earn money for their creations, starting with Skyrim. The update will allow content such as mods, items, or maps to be sold through Steam Workshop for titles which have the feature enabled. A new “streamlined process for listing” has been […]

  • Play Skyrim for free this weekend on Steam and take 75% off while you’re at it

    Skyrim is free this weekend on Steam providing wanna-be Dragonborns who have procrastinated on wetting their blades with Stormcloak blood the perfect opportunity to give the RPG a try. Head over to Steam and download the game and play for free until April 26 at 1am PDT. The game is also 75% off if you […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 “Ember” teaser video released ahead of full reveal

    Activision has released a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 teaser video titled “Ember” and you can watch it right here. Here’s the video blurb: “In the next 50 years, technological advancements will lead us into a world where only those who risk going too far, will find out how far we can actually go.” […]

  • Dragon Age Keep update includes more customizability and control

    Bioware has updated Dragon Age Keep after listening to community feedback. The update includes more customization and control over heroes, world states, career and more. Players can now customize hero portraits or delete Dragon Age: Inquisition heroes from the Hero section. They can also remove playthrough states from the World State Manager and keep up […]

  • Here’s a look at some Conker community creations in Project Spark

    Conker’s Bug Reunion releases today, and below is a video showing some of the community creations you will be able to download using the creation pack. Project Spark is a free download on Xbox One and Windows 8.1, and you can download the Conker Creation Pack today. It contains 350 assets in order for users […]

  • Rainbow Six: Siege video shines spotlight on the British Counter Terrorist Unit

    Ubisoft has released a Rainbow Six: Siege video which gives you a look at the British Counter Terrorist Unit which features “the best of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.” The firm said that over the next few weeks it will introduce the public to each of the units in the game. Rainbow Six Siege […]

  • Mario Kart 8 DLC and Mewtwo for Super Smash Bros. headline eShop update in North America

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with an update and new DLC for Mario Kart 8 and the Mewtwo DLC for Super Smash Bros. Other highlights include Mario Kart DS on Wii U Virtual Console, the continuation of International StreetPass Week and more. Full update is below. Nintendo eShop Mario Kart […]

  • Square Enix host E3 2015 conference this year on June 16

    With Final Fantasy 15, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the horizon, it should come as no surprise to learn that Square Enix will be hosting a dedicated E3 2015 conference this year. The presentation will take place Tuesday, June 16 at 9am PDT/12pm EDT/5pm UK. It will be broadcast […]

  • Final Fantasy 4: The After Years 3D remake releasing on Steam next month

    Final Fantasy 4: The After Years has been given a makeover and will be released on Steam of PC next month. You can now pre-order it on Steam and take 10% off for the time being. The game will be released on the digital service May 12 and will include trading cards and achievements. Thanks, […]

  • This Project Cars video shows off the racer’s multiplayer

    Project Cars developer Slightly Mad has released a new video giving you a look at the game’s multiplayer. The game is out next month, and if you would like to refresh yourself on the tracks included,  give this a look. While you are clicking links, here’s the minimum and recommended PC specifications which dropped last […]

  • Looks like Logitech is getting out of OEM mouse production business [Clarification]

    Logitech will no longer produce “low-end” mice, citing a decline in PC accessories. This story has been updated to include a clarification. According to a Reuters report, per MCV, the firm will instead focus on video accessories and streaming music, as its wireless Bluetooth speakers are now its best-selling product rage. This will help offset […]

  • Win! We have 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys to give away

    Must have more MOBA? Win one of our 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys and see if you’re more Blizzard than LoL. Can’t wait for June 2? Of course you can’t. We have 1,000 closed beta keys for Heroes of the Storm to give away this week, allowing you access before Blizzard’s MOBA goes […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X Nintendo Direct airs tomorrow, April 24

    A Nintendo Direct devoted entirely to Xenoblade Chronicles X will air this Friday, April 24. The video showcase will start at 11am PDT/2pm EDT/7pm UK. After the showcase, a new Nintendo Treehouse: Live presentation featuring the game will air. This is the second Xenoblace Chronicles X Nintendo Direct, but the first in English. The first […]

  • Blizzard will have 500 game stations set up at gamescom 2015

    Blizzard is heading to gamescom 2015 in August and it will have 500 game stations set up for attendees to get their hands on five of its titles. The developer will be set up in Hall 7 and those who stop by will be able to get hands-on with the latest content for Heroes of […]

  • PS4 price cut to £299 in UK

    Sony has dropped the price of the PS4 in the UK. For a limited time only, you can grab the console for £299.99 from Argos, Game, Tesco and Very. Go to Amazon.co.uk and you’ll get it for £289. You’ve only got until April 28, then it goes back up to £349. Go, go, go. For […]

  • Mad Max: first ever gameplay footage revealed

    Today, we get to finally take our first look at gameplay from Mad Max. Avalanche and Warner Bros. have shown off the first gameplay trailer for Mad Max today. The trailer below offers a look at melee combat, car combat, customisation and much more. Give it a watch below: There are a few new screenshots […]

  • Overlord: Fellowship of Evil has four-player co-op like we figured

    Codemasters has pulled the veil back on the next Overlord game, and its a four-player co-op game called Overlord: Fellowship of Evil. Rhianna Pratchett is back to write the story. The game may be co-op at its core, but it can still be played single-player. Each of the four playable character have strengths and weaknesses, […]

  • Update now available for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X and Y

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire along with Pokemon X and Y are being updated by Nintendo to fix a few bugs and in-game text. There’s also the possibility of a few hacks and exploits being fixed. Per Nintendo Life (via Serebii), both patches are 250-270 blocks in size, and it’s a mandatory update which […]

  • Side-scrolling cover shooter Not a Hero gets a demo

    Not a Hero, the upcoming game from OlliOlli developer Roll7, has received a demo. The demo for Not a Hero was made available today on Steam. In the game, you play as Steve, the campaign manager for BunnyLord. A time-travelling rabbit who’s running for mayor of London. Think this is an absurd premise? This trailer […]