More on Technology
FS: How interactive is the environment? Can you shoot bottles off
of tables, etc? Is furniture movable? Is there a lot of NPC
TR: Breaking glass is fun. We fill the world with windows and
bottles so the player can shoot them up. Most of the interaction with
the environment comes in the form of puzzles, but we also include other
interactive terrain pieces (chairs that can be pushed, cloth tapestries,
etc.) just to keep the player on his/her toes. "Is that chair supposed
to be moved somewhere? Is that a puzzle or am I just wasting my time
pushing it around the dining room?
FS: How much time have you spent with the sound in Nocturne? Are
you supporting A3D, EAX, etc?
TR: Too much time. We support EAX and hardware mixing of sound.
There is no frame rate hit for sound in Nocturne. We are designed to run
at 22KHz, 16 bit, 4 channel.
FS: The camera in Nocturne is static to help keep framerates up,
right? Do you think that video cards with transform and lighting
(next-generation accelerators) will allow for a Nocturne sequel with a moveable camera?
TR: Hardware transform and lighting would make Nocturne slower and
look worse. People really don't understand what the bottlenecks are in
3D right now. Since our game does skeletal animation of characters, we
can easily append on transform operations with no time hit. Because of
that, we know which polys are visible, and which aren't, so we only have
to upload the visible polys, instead of all the polys, which makes
rendering much faster. Half the number of polygons uploaded to the card
every frame doubles your frame rate. It's that simple. Also, using
hardware transforms, we'd have to upload twice the geometry that's
necessary to render each frame. If we left all the geometry on the card
to combat that, then that wouldn't leave any room for texture maps. And
for hardware lighting, we could use it, but you'd loose the real-time
shadows. Would you mind loosing the real-time shadows? We would.
FS: Nocturne looks like a very cinematic game, one that sounds
tailored for use with 3dfx's T-buffer and it's soft shadows/lighting +
motion blur/depth of field features.
Have you investigated this technology yet and are you
considering its use in future games?
TR: Most of these effects will just work with Nocturne without any
modification on our end.
FS: Obviously the steep system requirements for the game (32 bit
rendering only, at least a Celeron class processor, 128MB RAM) push the
envelope. Sounds to me like the ideal system to run the game is going
to be a P3 or Athlon with a G400 Max or TNT2U and 192MB of RAM! When
you started production on Nocturne did you foresee how fast 3D cards and
CPUs would get? Why did you choose not to allow the game to be rendered
in 16 bit? Are you worried that all the Voodoo 3 owners are going to
have to run in software?
TR: Well, no. The minimum system is 64MB of RAM for software
rendering. We now support legacy Voodoo3 and Voodoo Banshee in hardware
rendering. I recommend at least 96MB of RAM for hardware rendering,
128MB is an ideal system for Nocturne.