Private Wars Interview

By: Maurice Fitzgerald
Date: June 19th, 1998

In Private Wars, you enter the world of modern small-scale warfare, the world where mercenary is just another respectable profession, and war is just another type of business, and human life costs just as much as you wish to pay. It's our world of 1990s, realistically re-created in your computer.- Sergey Titov CEO TS Group.

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At this years E3 in Atlanta I spent alot of time wandering the rows and rows of games taking a gander at what the industry has to offer. More than once my curiosity was aroused by a games graphics as todays games are becoming increasingly lifelike.

Being a huge fan of the first person shooter genre I was more than happy to check into next generation of first person shooters such as Redstorm Entertainment's Rainbow Six and TS Groups Private Wars. While in Atlanta I had a chance to meet with TS Group founder and CEO Sergey Titov and ask him about Private Wars. Far away from his home in Moscow I was pleased to show Mr. Titov some good old American hospitality and pick his brain about his plans for his company's upcoming release.

Ya wanna make some dough

The game focuses around you the player, as an ex-secret service executive who starts up your own mercenary company. Being a person of questionable morals you seek fortune not ideals as you go to the highest bidder. The catch with these missions is that you won't know which missions will do you harm in your business or can help your companys reputation. With a bad rep it's not only going to be harder to find people who will offer you jobs, but it will also affect whether or not you can get people to hire!

CSim: How many missions will PW have?

Sergey Titov: 15 missions for the Russian version, and between 20 and 30 for the international version.

CSim: What style of gameplay can we expect from PW?

ST: There's actually several different styles of play to this game. You can play it as either arcade, simulation or even turn based. In the arcade mode you will have the same superhuman traits we see in games like Quake, where you can be shot many times and still be up and shooting. Then we will offer the simulation style where all you actions have a direct reaction to the world around you you will die if shot in a killing shot area, so one shot CAN kill in this game.
In the turn based mode you will control the action from a typical isometric view you find in all strategy games.

CSim: What about multiplayer?

ST: Basing the game as a TCP/IP only game players can play over the Internet in up to 16 player co-op play. The game will come with a mini-server routine in the box that is very memory friendly only taking up 100-200 k of memory.

CSim: What about voice comms during the game? I'm a big fan of real-time voice communication?

ST: We're looking into adding voice comms through the use of a walkie-talkie mode. Where a player can send a voice message much the same way in which a walkie-talkie works.

CSim: What about the mercenaries you can hire?

ST: You will have a pool of about 50 mercenaries from which to choose up to 8 mercenaries if you have the cash to pay for them. Your reputation will precede you here... if you leave a mercenary stranded on a previous mission you may find other mercenaries reluctant to work for you. So it's strongly advised you treat these people with "professional courtesy" and not leave them behind. :)

CSim: What about weapons? How many will be available and what other items can we expect to see in the game?

ST: We're planning on having 70 weapons including pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers and explosives from all over the world. Being that you are mercenaries you will be picking from the best buys on the market to save money. We'll also be including items such as night vision and flak vests.

CSim: After seeing the demo I was very impressed with the environment. It's nice to have a real forest to travel through and not those "forest walls" we see too often in games. It reminds me of EA's old game Seal Team on steroids. :)

ST: Thank you, we've been trying to create a dynamic and realistic world in which you have true to life trees and vegetation not just 2d sprites. We're very excited about the physics modeling we have in this game where you affect everything around you. Pushing a barrel in the water makes it bob and float along in the water as you saw with the boat at the dock in the demo. Shoot it full of holes and it will sink, the same with the boat. We want to make the environment you play in as real to life as possible.

CSim: From what I've seen in the demo the lighting effects, the physics of the objects in water and all that, it looks really lifelike. I'm getting as excited as you. :) What about the enemies? What can we expect from their AI?

ST: We're excited about this also as we are using what we call"Situation Awareness AI" where again everything you do affects your enemies as well. By this we mean the soldier is completely realistic in that he can see and hear what is going on around him. If you are moving towards your objective and find your path blocked by an enemy guard, you can throw a rock into the water and the guard will go investigate giving you an open path ahead. He might also hear you if you make noise. Once he detects you he may call for help, run away or just stand and fight depending on his personality.

CSim: Sounds good to me. What about bonuses for extra objectives met in each mission. Will they be available for the player as well?

ST: Yes, of course. If a player wants to do a little extra for his contractor he can pick up an extra bonus or two along the way as well.

CSim: What methods of insertion/extraction will we see in the game?

ST: Parachuting, helicopters as well as helicasting.

CSim: Sounds like a real sweet package, now what about the machine requirements and release date?

ST: We'll be supporting all 3D accelerators and we're confident the players will enjoy the looks we're creating with Studio Max and SoftImage. We're releasing it for P166 MMX with hardware acceleration and 32 megs of RAM, 200 MMX for software rendering but the best is to run this under a PII 233 with Voodoo 2. We expect to release this one for Christmas.

CSim: Thanks for your time Sergey, best of luck to you in finding a publisher for this title.

ST: Thank you and enjoy the demo.

After seeing the demo and speaking with Sergey Titov I am anxiously awaiting this game to see if it can live up to the tall order of its creators vision.

I must note that the demo I saw ran very quickly on a PII but once I ran it on my home machine (a P200 MMX) the frame rate was very slow. This was a early technology demo so I'm sure that will change but this game looks to be in need of serious hardware.

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