October 16, 2000

ILLUSION SOFTWORKS INTERVIEW

Tomas Pluharik Talks Hidden and Dangerous 1 & 2


Click To Enlarge Image Illusion Softworks are fairly new development team to the gaming community. The company was founded in August 1997 from the Vochozka Trading firm in 1993. Their first game was Hidden & Dangerous, which received rave reviews from the press and sold by the truckload. Illusion Softworks is currently working on a sequel which is set for release on the Dreamcast and Playstation 2 in mid 2001. What makes this company so remarkable is their location. Illusion Softworks are the only game developers in the Czech and Slovak Republic, and even had to wait for clearance to import Playstation 2 development kits which they just received. Even from such a remote location Illusion Softworks, with the publishing giant Take 2 an their side, have made their presence felt in the gaming world. Future Gamez brings you this exclusive interview.

Tomas Pluharik has been with Illusion Softworks for several years now and is currently working on Hidden & Dangerous 2 after just completing the Dreamcast port of the original game. Future Gamez managed to grab him for an interview regarding these titles. Note: Some of Tomas' responses have been modified slightly to make a bit more sense due to his limited English.


THE COMPANY

Tomas can you tell us what your role is at Illusion Softworks and how long you have been with the company?
I am now working as a game designer and team leader in the Hidden and Dangerous 2 team.

How many people now work at Illusion Softworks?
Now, the number is closing in on 90.

Are most of those people in the development teams?
Yes. We are a relatively fresh company, and don't have too many bureaucrats in the company.

HIDDEN & DANGEROUS

Click To Enlarge ImageThe first game that you worked on was H&D for the PC which received rave reviews. Was there a long development process for that game?
It depends on the point of view. If we look at it from time of release of Hidden and Dangerous than the delopment time seemed normal. Now I can say that it was quite short.

Is there anything in hindsight that you would have like to have fixed or modified before release?
I think vehicles.

Recently Illusion Softworks did a port of H&D to the Dreamcast. Are there any differences between the PC and DC versions?
Not too much, but due the controller on DC we must make some changes in GUI (controls) and aiming (auto-aiming added). I think the most challenging part was the changes made in controls.

Click To Enlarge ImageWhat frame rate does the DC version run at?
The frame rate is moving from 17 - 30 fps.

Did you have to make any modifications to the game to get it to fit into the limited RAM on the DC?
We made quite brutal changes to graphic and level design. But we concentrated on "deep inside" thinkies so player won't realize too many changes.

What was the Dreamcast like to work on?
For me, hard. Because I don't have any experience with console gaming.

The Dreamcast version is just hitting the shelves in Australia now. Was it hard to develop while H&D2 was also in the works?
Yes. I think that DC version took us at least 4-5 months of work off H&D2.

Would you consider doing other titles on the DC in the future?
No.

HIDDEN & DANGEROUS 2

Click To Enlarge ImageHidden & Dangerous 2 is currently in development for the PC and PS2. How is the development of that title progressing?
Sorry but this info is under Take2 competence.

The Playstation 2 is obviously a powerful piece of hardware. What is your impression of it so far? Will there be many obstacles to overcome?
I am really interested in PS2 so far. Unfortunately we still don't have development kits because the Czech Republic is not member of EU (European Union) so there are some restrictions. It now looks like the development kits are on way.

Click To Enlarge ImageWill there be any multi-player aspect to the game on PC or PS2?
I hope that most of them.

Is there an expected release date yet?
2001

What extra/new features can we expect in this sequel?
We made great changes in many things from interface, vehicles, weapons to main character and soldier development. Also the multiplayer has changed.

Obviously technology has improved over the years how will this increased power be utilised? What new graphical effects or AI can we expect?
We made big steps forward in graphics / technology. We are counting with many effects like volumetric lighting etc. AI has also changed, because now our soldiers think in groups and not as individuals. They are a lot more co-operative.

Click To Enlarge ImageWill the game to have bigger and/or more missions then the first game?
The scale of the missions has not changed too much. Of course there are large missions (Africa etc.) but we are concentrating more in complexity of the levels.

Is there any chance of the title being ported to the Dreamcast?
I think no.

ABOUT YOU

What are your thoughts on violence on video games? Do you object to games such as GTA2, Soldier Of Fortune or Kingpin?
No I don't. Of course there must be age limits but I think that if the violence is not extremely sadistic then it is not problem.

What game systems do you own and what are some of your favourite games?
:) I am naturally born PC gamer so my favourite games are games like UFO, Monkey Island, CaC, Planescape, Homeworld or Half life (and many others). But what I like on consoles are games like Metal Gear Solid, Soul Calibur etc.

What is your favourite food?
I am the grass eater :) (ie vegetarian) so I think some unidentified mixture of vegetable, rice, cheese and spice (chilli) is fine. :)

Thank you very much for you time....
David Warner ~ Future Gamez


Illusion Softworks can be found at : http://www.illusionsoftworks.com

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did in conducting it. If you have any comments or questions E-mail me at : phantom@winshop.com.au