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Trash interview
[ N/A -> Interview ]
Interview posted by Ausir Thu 29 Jul 2004, 8:47 PM
Saint_Proverbius: What is Inhuman? Is Trash the first game you guys have done together? A little background about you guys, please.

Mark Currie: Trash is Inhuman Games' inaugural title. Before forming the company the two principal developers worked on projects for both Microsoft and Sierra, including Microsoft's MMRTS Allegiance. They met originally while working on sports titles at Sierra.

Saint_Proverbius: Why Trash? What made Inhuman want to make it? Why the choice of Post Apocalyptic?

Mark Currie: We decided to make Trash for all the typical reasons. We are huge RTS fans. As such we thought it was our duty to make one. We wanted to work on a game that we would play. It is a little known fact that most the people in the game industry are not working on their favorite type of game or even a game that they would normally play.

The choice of a post apocalyptic setting was automatic for us. We are big fans of post apocalyptic movies and games. There needs to be more. Besides, with the apocalypse approaching, everyone needs to be prepared.

Saint_Proverbius: Trash is a Post Apocalyptic RTS. Can you tell us what makes it Post Apocalyptic? What features add to the feeling of it being such? Are resources for humans of the "basic needs" variety, such as food? Water? Shelter?

Mark Currie: Resources are scarce after the apocalypse. The remaining species have to survive with what's left: trash, wind, natural gas, and human beings (in the case of the mutants and machines). Three dominant species are humans living and building off refuse, a race of mutants produced by radioactive fallout, and robots programmed to destroy organics.

Saint_Proverbius: What exactly is the concept of piping in Trash? How does it affect gameplay? Do all sides have something similar?

Mark Currie: In most RTS games, resources are magically teleported from where you drop it off to where you use it. You can harvest something on one side of the map and use it on the other. In Trash, you must connect all your structures with pipe in order to share resources. It is important to control the land between your expansions. If you pipe gets severed the separated bases have to go it alone as far resources are concerned, until the pipe is reconnected.

Technology created at research buildings also need to be transported through the pipe network. Research buildings are worthless unless they are connected to the factories that produce units. The machine race has the additional restriction that their units must also stay in contact with the pipe. So before attacking an enemy base they need to build pipe to it.

Saint_Proverbius: What are the strong points and weaknesses of the three sides? How are you working on balancing them with one another?

Mark Currie: We are striving to give each race a unique gameplay experience. The Machine race is dependent on pipe for movement and as a result they cannot easily flee from battle. The Mutants can be extremely agile if they develop their powers of teleportation.

Like rock paper scissors, Trash has units that are very effective against others but not vice versa. The game encourages players to specialize in different areas and then work together with teammates in destroying the enemy.

Game balancing will be done with feedback from our beta testers. To help us balance the races we are thinking about having our match making server keep track of how much each race is played and how often each race is victorious.

Saint_Proverbius: I noticed on your page that you mention Total Annihilation as an influence in part. Do you plan on releasing new units like Cavedog did with TA? Or how Pumpkin Studios did with Warzone 2100, another post apocalyptic RTS?

Mark Currie: Total Annihilation influenced us in many ways. First off, the resource trash is generated when you destroy units and structures. We also have the resource oil, which is continuously streamed into your reserves without a "harvester".

We have realistic line-of-sight and we are working on line-of-fire for ranged weapons. Our game world is 3D. We have a super gun that shoots half way across the game world. Trash indeed has many things in common with TA.

We don't have plans for having downloadable unit modules like as done with TA. We hope to continue to support the game after its release, but that will depend on both our publisher and how well the game is received.

Saint_Proverbius: How does the resource system in Trash work? Where do humans get what they need to make and/or resurrect vehicles? Is unit type production based on what types of vehicles a player can find and salvage?

Mark Currie: Trash that is harvestable is considered homogeneous--you take the wreckage from an armor car and make a flame bike. However some trash is special. Toxic waste dumps and junk yards are at special areas on the map. You can only place your most powerful structures at these key sites.

Oil-rich land works this same way. For example, you can only construct flame weapon upgrade structures on an oil-rich area of the map.

The resource of electricity is generated at a your power plants. Like all resources, electricity is carried to each of your buildings via pipe. Excess power can be shared with teammates.

There are neutral people who live in huts scattered across the game world. The Mutants harvest these people from these huts so that they can mutant them into their own kind. The Machines use these people to power their generators. A Human player can arm these huts with weapons so that they act as a defensive tower.

Saint_Proverbius: How will the modular weapons/vehicles thing work? How many choices of design are there for a player? Are modular vehicles limited to just machines and humans? Are there differences in the unit chassis for humans and machines? Can humans and machines take over or reclaim destroyed chassis from each other's side?

Mark Currie: Modular unit design is limited to the Machine Race. You can choose size of chassis. Large chassis are stronger and permit larger weapons and more component add-ons. The smaller the chassis, the cheaper and faster the unit. The component add-ons include armor, invisibility, detection, and antimissile among others. You could for example design an invisible resource gatherer. Any designs you create are automatically saved with your player profile for reuse in future games.

Saint_Proverbius: Will there be a campaign for single player? Will there be a sandbox/instant action mode for single player?

Mark Currie: Players will be able to learn and practice the game by themselves in scrimmages with computer opponents. We have been focusing our efforts on the multiplayer portion of the game. We haven't decided yet whether or not to have a single player campaign.

Saint_Proverbius: One of the multiplayer features is that people can join a game in progress at any time. Is there a way to make sure those new players don't get thumped by the players who've established themselves?

Mark Currie: This is something we will need to work out during the beta. The current plan is to give joiners some initial workers, but no structures. The workers will come out of a teammate's factory. It will be up to the teammates to donate resources to the joiner. Join in progress is particularly useful for players who drop and want to resume playing.

Saint_Proverbius: In multiplayer, is it possible to ally with other players or even AI controlled units? If so, can allies give resources and units to one another?

Mark Currie: You must choose your team before entering the game. You can give resources to teammates if there is pipe connecting your bases. All resources must travel over pipe.

Saint_Proverbius: How will Trash be sold? Will it be over the internet, or do you have a publisher?

Mark Currie: That is still up in the air. We can't really comment on it yet.

We'd like to thank Mr. Currie and the rest of Inhuman for taking the time to answer these questions.
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