Ufo: Aftermath - interview with Altar Interactive  0

RPGPlayer: Let’s start from the beginning, UFO: Aftermath’s origins. If I’m not wrong, this game came from a previous project developed by the original X-Com team; how the development team shift has occurred and how much Aftermath came from previous developers?
Jiri Rydl: "Project Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge developed by Mythos Games was cancelled by Virgin Interactive in 2001. After success of our realtime strategy Original War we were offered by Virgin to continue development of this cancelled project and we agreed. After short time we found out that we had to start from the scratch, thus we started development of completely new game and changed the name to UFO: Aftermath.
It means there is no single line of code or graphic artwork from Dreamland Chronicles used in UFO: Aftermath."


RPGPlayer: Although yours is a completely new title, I think it’s normal that hardcore gamers will think that Aftermath is the ideal X- Com’s heir. How does your team react to these heavy heritage and expectation? Don’t you think that this thing has been affected some development choices?
Jiri Rydl: "We believe we are developing a great strategy for both newcomers to the genre and hardcore strategy players. It’s true some people would like to see another title from X-COM world, but we say from the beginning UFO: Aftermath is our own world with it’s own rules. We stress tactical warfare and RPG elements and we designed new turn based system with simultaneous turns for instance."

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RPGPlayer: Every tactic section’s combat team is composed by seven units, are they only humans or could be there some humans- alien creatures’ alliances?
Jiri Rydl: "No comment on this question."

RPGPlayer: Our soldiers will improve their skill thanks to experience acquired on the field, is this improvement established by the player (manually increase skills, as an rpg) or by action (using always the same weapon will increase its accuracy, for example)?
Jiri Rydl: "Soldiers earn experience points by successful fulfilling tactical missions and by killing enemies. After acquiring enough experience for next level, soldiers earn some skill points. Player can distribute these points to any attribute he or she wants."

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RPGPlayer: What about the weapons available during the game? Into X-Com series there was a clean difference between human and alien weapons, in UFO: Aftermath there will be possible create hybrid weapons?
Jiri Rydl: "There is almost seventy different weapons in UFO: Aftermath, both alien and human. After capturing some alien technology, player can research them, and then, armed with this knowledge, develop the hybrid weapons, i.e. the human weapons built around an alien technology. The alien weapons themselves cannot be reproduced, but at least some of them can be used directly by the soldiers, provided they can find them on the battlefield."

RPGPlayer: I pray you, tell me there will be psi powers yet!!!
Jiri Rydl: "Yes, psi power will be in UFO: Aftermath."

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RPGPlayer: During a previous Jiri Rydl interview, speaking about simultaneous assault system (SAS) you’ve said that strategic decisions on planetary level will affect squad vs. aliens combat and vice versa. What does this mean on a practical level?
Jiri Rydl: "For instance, there are flying saucers flying around one of your bases. You don’t pay them enough attention and after short while aliens attack your base. This will create tactical mission, in which your goal is to secure the base again. If you loose, the base is destroyed forever."

RPGPlayer: Will there be only open air combat settings, or can we expect alien assault on our bases or into some other close structures? Are battles settled only on earth?
Jiri Rydl: "I believe I already answered your question about attack on bases. The latter question should remain unanswered."

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RPGPlayer: One of the greatest changes between UFO: Aftermath and previous X-Com games is the use of a mixed turn based/real time combat system. Don’t you think that this choice can disappoint the original series fans? In you opinion what are the positive and also negative gameplay effects of this choice?
Jiri Rydl: "Our combat system features, in our opinion, the best elements of both turn based and real time combat systems. It works like this: You give orders while the game is paused, to avoid the frantic rush of a real time system. While paused, you can give your troops very detailed orders, taking as much time as you like. Once you are finished, you simply tell the game to start. Once the game is underway, you can pause the game at any point to update or change your orders, and the game will automatically pause when important events occur, so that you may modify your plans accordingly. Be sure to note that all of the combat happens at once, combining the finely grained tactics of a turn based game with the realism of a real time system.
The main difference from realtime system with pause is that soldier has no voiliton on their own they don’t shoot, move or do anything without your command exatly as in turn-based strategies."


RPGPlayer: During E3 2003, people seem very interested on physics engines and scenes realism. Have you implemented something like this into your game? And what are the effects of this technology on the game?
Jiri Rydl: "UFO: Aftermath is a square-based game and as such it is necessarily more, shall we say, abstract, than an FPS game. There is no general physics engine in the game. All interaction between the player and the environment must be prepared in advance."

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RPGPlayer: Looking many of UFO’s screenshots and movies available on the net, seems that graphically it’s very promising, have you used recently video card effects? What configuration will be necessary to play your game?
Jiri Rydl: "We use some main graphic cards features, but we want to see everyone playing our game, so the minimum requirements are very reasonable: Pentium III 500MHz, 128MB RAM and GeForce 2 graphic card with minimum 32MB onboard RAM. The recommended configuration is Pentium III 1GHz, 256MB RAM and GeForce 3 with 64MB onboard RAM."

RPGPlayer: Do you think to release a demo? When?
Jiri Rydl: "We plan to release a demo around month before the full game in third quarter of this year."

RPGPlayer: At the end a little E3 gossip; someone have seen some American soldiers around your stand. Is it true that US Army is interested at your game, especially thinking about their next strategic game?
Jiri Rydl: "If they are, they didn't tell us, unfortunately. Try asking them :-)"

Thank you very much for the availability, let's hope to see the final version of UFO: Aftermath as soon as possible :-)

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Official site: UFO: Aftermath
Developer: Altar Interactive
Publisher: Cenega
Fansite: UFOAftermath.co.uk
Italian distributor: Leader
Genre: Tattico a turni/RPG
Release date: Settembre 2003
Intervista versione ITA

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