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Golden Land Interview
Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Thu 30 January 2003, 18:02:01Tags: Burut Creative Team; Golden Land
1.) Can you tell us a little about the Golden Land team? What experience they've had in the past? Why they decided to make a CRPG?
Sergey Buravtsov: Team which works at Golden Land project at the moment consists of both experienced members and those who is making the game first time. All we are keen gamers and most part of the team likes CRPGs. During our work on Heath project a huge number of ideas appeared which we were not able to realize due to a number of reasons, but wanted to use them. CRPG's development gives this opportunity. Greater part of those ideas, in one or another way, is realized in Golden Land.
2.) Can you tell us a little about the setting of Goldenland? What inspirations went in to this setting? What sets it apart from other CRPG settings? What do you think stands out about it?
Evgeny Bratkov: We fully gave up role system used in Heath. New system allowed us to realize many things that were inaccessible before.
Specially developed for Golden Land, role system allows creating a unique character. The next way of gameplay, attitude of others to main characters and many other things will depend on large number of parameters.
There is no exact separation on occupations; the player can choose character's characteristics by his own taste when creating him. The Game World gives player an opportunity to develop both peace and battle skills, because they all shall be useful in different situations. The flexibility of role system gives a chance to build the world to the character, what helps to hold him in effort all through the game.
The role system will be covered more widely in the next questions.
3.) There are various locations in the game, with different environments. Can you tell us what impact this has on gameplay? How will the different locations be handled in terms of attitudes of NPCs? Interaction with the player? Types of towns?
Dmitry Glasnev: Depending on where and in what environment the present city is situated, the character has to complete tasks connected with the features of this environment. Thus, outer surroundings affects the nature of the received tasks, and, besides, on the characters' personality. Personalities depend on where they live, in the town or in the village, in the mountains or in the desert, and so on. The main character can affect the appearance of the cities, taking part in global events. As for example, if the character will not prevent the explosion in the street of one of the cities, later he would see the ruins of the buildings and fragments of them scattered everywhere.
4.) Will the different locations have different creatures native to those types of environments?
Dmitry Glasnev: Yes, every monster or animal lives in definite climate, so the character will meet them in locations which suit them best. For example, the giant hydra prefers humid, not so hot places, so she probably could be met in the marshland and never in the desert. So, every region's nature - The Land of Golden Mountains, Marvia and Turbern - has its own, unique features.
5.) Is the player free to go to the locations whenever he wants to go there, like in Fallout or Morrowind? Or do you have to complete one location before you move to the next, like Planescape Torment? Is there a world map?
Evgeny Bratkov: The greater part of the world, including towns, villages and other well-known territories will be always accessible to the player. Only locations assigned to certain events connected with the storyline or non-linear quests will appear as required. The character will move between distant objects with the help of global map. At the same time he will meet both enemies and peaceful characters, whom he will be able to talk to, to trade or to gain a new quest.
6.) One of the features of the game is interacting with game objects. Can you give us an example of what types of object interaction we can expect? What role this interaction has in terms of gameplay?
Sergey Buravtsov: Those objects are many boxes, chests, etc. containing different things, locks, different levers, excluding interactivity of descriptive nature. From the point of view of gameplay, main character's interaction with any objects could be useful both for completing quests and for enriching his inventory and purse.
7.) Can you tell us a little bit about the character system? What attributes are there, like Strength, and what these attributes can be used to accomplish in the game?
Evgeny Bratkov: The development of the character takes place from level to level. Obtaining experience points and then assigning them to some characteristics, which, for their turn, affect secondary characteristics, which contain the greatest part of parameters; the player can choose the way of development - warrior, magician, pathfinder or something which he gives preference to.
The primary characteristics are seven, following:
Power - this parameter affects strikes and everything what is connected with the physical abilities of the character.
Dexterity - affects sharpness, robbery skills and action points.
Constitution - life of the character, physical protection, carrying weight depends on this parameter.
Perception - affects action points, reaction.
Intelligence - affects character's skills of communicating and power of the magic skills.
Wisdom - ability of using magic.
Luck - an universal parameter which affects all calculations connected with character's luck check-ups.
There are a lot of secondary characteristics, so we only give a part of them here:
Health - shows current level of the vital energy.
Energy - indicates character's magic energy level.
Immunity to Magic - complete immunity to magic spells, divided into six schools.
Resistance to Magic - partial immunity to magic spells, divided into six schools as the Immunity.
Fame - a parameter that is responsible for the character's type of behaviour.
Resistance to poisons - if its level is high, the character has better immunity to poisons.
Resistance to fire - decreases impact of injures caused by fire.
Resistance to cold - decreases cold's influence on the speed of movement.
Action Points - a parameter that determines character's speed in the battle.
8.) How do these attributes affect skills? Can skills overcome a low attribute, like a low strength melee person with a high skill be effective?
Evgeny Bratkov: There are much more skills than the primary characteristics. The summary number of them is 27 independent characteristics and differs from them by a particular specialization. For example, the Power affects all damage from all types of weapons, and skills are improving usage of the certain ones. Skills have such a feature as perks, appearing in the process of learning. Perks are giving an opportunity to access new capabilities, inaccessible before, and also a qualitative change of available ones. Every skill has four perks, each one of them is obtained at the certain level. At the same time, every further increase of the skill needs 1 more point than before, and this is somewhat limits the fact development of the skill.
9.) You can only master one skill in Golden Land. Can you tell us a little more about that? What benefits are there with mastering a skill? How well can you use other skills that aren't mastered?
Evgeny Bratkov: The skills' mastering limits only to number of points needed to upgrade their level. This is not limiting the maximum increase of the character' skills - there are simply not enough parameters to reach the maximum skills development.
To develop more than one skill is a way easier than to develop only one, but the character could not achieve all extra advantages which skill gives. As far as the skills grow, their importance grows. If the skill is low, the abilities are quite low; the highest skill will make the character an expert in the studied sphere, which will greatly simplify the matters.
10.) Golden Land has firearms. Can you tell us how these are balanced with melee weapons and other ranged weapons? How about versus armor? What impact does the different type of ammo have on the game?
Evgeny Bratkov: The firearms in the game are presented with guns and rifles in a minute amount, to the extent that the most part of it will be an unique weapon. It does not give a great advantage in the battle, though, because in Golden Land world firearms are in its infancy; but it's quite better than usual shooting weapons. Firearms, unlike other shooting weapons, will make damage with a random type.
The damage made by arbalests and bows are divided into three types - chopping, pricking and crushing and depend on type of arrows or arbalests' bolts, which the character uses for shooting.
11.) Combat in Golden Land is turn-based. Can you tell us the benefit of turn-based combat in this game? Why you decided on it versus real time or phase based?
Evgeny Bratkov: Turn-based combat was chosen by us because it allows to put more attention to the tactic side of battle, helping to scrutinize the situations in detail, unlike in real time battle, where the main criteria is quickness and there's no time to analyze the situation or to plan next actions.
12.) Can you describe the role of skills an attributes in this combat system? What determined the number of action points? Is there a sequence order based on abilities?
Evgeny Bratkov: The battle skills are divided into developing some categories of weapon and strengthening other parameters of the character, which are useful in the battles. For example, Athletism affects the defensive abilities of the character. Both primary characteristics and Tactic skill, one of functions of which is fastening the speed of character, affect the number of AP. The order of actions, or Initiative, is defined by primary characteristics and the Martial Art skill, too.
13.) Can you tell us a bit about the non-combat skills in the game? Are there any? If so, what is some example of them? What they do?
Evgeny Bratkov: Besides martial skills there are magic and non-combat skills. Non-combat skills include:
Path finding - helps when moving over the global map, also gives opportunity to find the secret locations.
Eloquence - affects dialogues with other characters, helping to get new quests, solve the received tasks much easier and obtain extra information.
Trade - enables to make better deals and to buy new, rare kinds of weapon.
Robbery - this skill affects character's abilities to obtain others' property, spending nothing. (except, maybe, health ;))
Breaking in - this skill will enable you to unlock doors and containers easily.
Healing - affects character's abilities to heal the wounds.
Forgery and Alchemy help to make new ammunition and potions from reagents and materials, and so to fix the broken one.
Thanks to Sergey Buravtsov(project director, lead programmer), Dmitry Glasnev(scriptwriter), and Evgeny Bratkov(scriptwriter) of Burut and Irina of Russobit-M for this interview!