Article: Shade: Wrath of Angels (PC)
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  Shade: Wrath of Angels (PC)
 
The 3D action adventure Shade: Wrath of Angels has cought plenty of attention across the game community. Judging from screenshots and information already available, this horror genre game really seems to deliver. We got the chance to chat with Black Element Software about the upcoming game. The result should be quite interesting, both for newcomers and for those of you that’s been following the process closely.  
   Posted 9/--002
 


Please introduce your team to our readers and tell us a bit about your work at Cenega. We at BES are developing this game for Cenega and there is a watchful eye and input by Bohemia Interactive Studio (BIS - the Operation Flashpoint team). We all work in the same building - BES - BIS and Cenega Black Element Software co-operates with Cenega from the middle of the last year. Cenega takes care of finance, marketing and final distribution of the game. First of all, we need some general information about the concept and storyline of your upcoming game, so that any newcomers to Shade: Wrath of Angels can get up to date. First of all a question to the newcomers amongst you: “Why are you late?”. Seriously though, we haven’t given away too much of the storyline as yet for the same reason film studios don’t: we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. Without going into too much detail and boring everyone, Shade is a story of four Mystics from an earlier age, two of whom have managed to make their way to the current time (the other two are around but doing other things). All of these Mystics are trying to gain three keys to open a Gate to let ‘others’ through in an attempt to control our present. You assume the role of a currently un-named employee of the Vatican sent by the Church to investigate reported ‘miracles’. Of course, you soon discover that there is a much more evil side to these ‘miracles’. You make it your job to find out who, what, why, when and how? The actual concept to Shade is that it’s a third person 3D action/adventure with a horror atmosphere. Because of the mythical undertones, it allows us to set the game in unusual environments and situations but, at the same time, take you to real locations with enemies you can relate to like soldiers and terrorists. What about the different environments gamers will experience throughout the 70 levels of Shade: Wrath of Angels. I'm thinking of map size, graphic realism, sound effects, music score and so on. Feed us with information, cause we're desperately hungry ! A lot of questions all in one but I’ll try and answer them. Its 50 levels. Hmm graphics realism is a hard one to quantify. If you mean when you kill an enemy they will fall in the correct manner, then yes we have realism. Of course the cast do not have zillions of hit spots but certainly enough to offer plenty of realism. Look there are obviously no such thing as zombies and the myriad of enemies we have on view but within Shade we will ensure they move right and react in a number of ways. The task for any developer is creating the right ambience to transform the player into their world and so you have to blend realism with fantasy. In turn you have to add the right sound effects and music to heighten tension and have the player on the edge of their seat. I’d also like to point out that there is realism in the weapons we are using and a number are based on the real thing and so their effect and execution will mirror this! Map size? We’d rather not say but needless to say the settings are large and there will be plenty of game play and action to please even the most discerning of players! Usually at this time we ask about the engine that carries the game. And this is no exception. Tell us what you're only whispering about back at Cenega! What system will be required to run the impressive graphics shown in the screenshots ? The technology issue is always an important one nowadays when it comes to a PC game. The engine as well as the game concept must by distinguished. There are many games out there that are good but that is not enough. You must innovate and get people talking about your title. ‘Word of mouth’ is important plus when you get people looking at your game and saying ‘wow’ you know you are doing things right. The feedback from the world press has been fantastic as was our first proper presentation/viewing at the recent ECTS. Here are some PC engine specs that will interest those in the know:

  • DirectX 8.1 based BSP and portal-based technology (hidden-surface-removal technique for indoor scenes)
  • BSP-based collision detection
  • Powerful scripting in objective language
  • MMX / SIMD / 3DNow! instruction usage
  • Automatic level-of-detail generation
  • Hardware T&L
  • Anti-aliased lightmaps
  • DirectX effect, vertex shader, pixelshader scripting
  • Powerful lightmap management
  • Real-time shadows
  • Procedural and animated textures
  • Compressed textures
  • Environment mapping and bump-mapping
  • Bezier patches
  • Distance & environment fog
  • Billboards and flares
  • Advanced particle system
  • Point, directional, ambient lights (vertex lights, lightmap lights, shadow-casting lights)
  • Dynamic-vertex and dynamic-lightmap lights
  • Vertex buffer management
  • Skeletonal characters
  • Morphed and dynamic geometry
  • Rigid body physics
You've mentioned in earlier interviews that the AI of the enemies will be quite impressive as well. Would you care to enlighten us by giving some examples ? Our senior programmer Filip Dosansky is working hard on the AI. I may only disclose that the AI implemented in the game combines advantages of script with an independent decision. The result is a real behavior of enemies in a level. However most of the enemies are bound by a certain "workplace" in the level; a disadvantage is e.g. an enemy's disability to follow you, but the advantage is a true behavior within a predefined space. There is no AI of the bot type in our game. Will the hero interact in conversations with NPC and even acquire their help for brief periods like we have seen in some FPS like the Halflife series, or will he be doing all the slaughtering himself ? There will be Non Playing Characters in the game – if you can find any still breathing - who may be of some assistance to you, but not in the way that they will be beside you in a fight. But, and it’s a big but, your character can have some help from another character during the action sequences. Because this is an integral part of the game, the only thing I’ll say about this is that your character isn’t what one would imagine a ‘man of the cloth’ to be. Not only is he good with a gun, a knife, a sword, etc. there is something about him that could come as a bit of a surprise. Is it a pure single player game, or are you considering any multiplayer possibilities ? Its single player only! Shade: Wrath of Angels is currently only announced on PC and the X-Box. Are you considering the game for other platforms as well in the near future ? There interest to have this on other formats is high and we are currently talking with a number of people about this matter. Although it was announced on the XBOX that was not official. We will clarify things in a few months. Check out our site www.Shade-game.com for the latest info. Will there be any openings for fans wanting to participate in beta-tests ? We do all our testing in-house. It's been said that the work done on Shade has been inspired by previous titles like Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil and Max Payne. But, what in your view makes it stand out from the rest of the competition ? The titles mentioned have inspired us for many reasons; it could be the mix of action or puzzles, or the ambience and pace of the game. There is a difference between inspirations and copying though, something which some people think is similar. Shade, though, takes the ‘horror’ genre to another level because of the way it depicts this. It’s a game that makes you think and isn’t simply a ‘kill, kill, kill’ title. There will be surprises in there, which will show you how different it is from Resident Evil, etc. Can we still expect to get or hands on this package of good and evil in the first quarter of next year, or can we please get it for Christmas :) I wouldn’t bother putting it on your list to Santa otherwise you’ll be disappointed. The plan is to release Shade: Wrath of Angels in Q2 2003 (that’s April-June for those unfamiliar with such terms) but, as everyone knows, games can slip for a variety of reasons. Thanks for an informative interview, we're looking forward to the release. Einar Lende, ToTheGame - Click here for more info on Shade: Wrath of Angels for PC - Click her for some Shade: Wrath of Angels screenshots

 

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