Insomniac's Ted Price on Resistance 2 Finished
Insomniac boss Ted Price has just finished fielding your questions about Resistance: Fall of Man 2. He is probably a bit sweaty and shaky.
Below you can find a full blow-by-blow account of what your friends tried to glean about the sequel trying some say is trying to recapture the potential the first slightly missed.
Thank you to everybody that offered us questions to pass on to "Pricey" and sorry if you asked and asked but got no response. It's all Tom's fault.
Lastly, much obliged to Ted Price for taking time out of his alien lab to answer you.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Moderator: Hi guys! We'll get going at 5pm but in the meantime feel free to submit your questions so we can buffer them for Ted, who will be with us shortly.
Moderator: Hi guys! Ted's running a bit late, but should be with us soon. Sony has people running around like headless chickens trying to strap him to a computer. Bear with us.
Moderator: Sorry for the delay - Ted's just joined us. And we're straight in! Remember, Ted is CEO and President of Insomniac Games, which makes Ratchet and Clank and Resistance.
What was your biggest challenge whilst making Resistance: Fall of Man.
Ted Price: The biggest challenge was nailing down the initial idea. We went through several iterations of what the game should be before we settled on the alternate history theme.
The game started out as a space opera of sorts with time travel, lizard-like aliens and a lot of other stuff that just didn't work out.
Is it a bit more liberating not to be a launch title, both in terms of pressure and design? Are there going to be things in this one that you wanted to put into the first one?
Ted Price: It's certainly easier being able to work with an engine and toolset that's stable (meaning our engine and toolset). When we were building our engine and tools for Resistance Fall of Man, the hardware was in flux which made it very difficult for us to nail down our own tech until just before the game shipped.
I really appreciated the Skill Points system in Resistance FoM, so, I'd like to know if you've got anything similar planned for the sequel? Also, will the documents be back, to expand on the lore, this time; or will you have other ways of drawing people into your alternate history scenario?
Ted Price: Skill points - good question. One which I'm sorry I can't answer yet! But I can talk about the docs. Yes, there will be intel docs which will expand on the franchise's lore. Plus we're answering more questions about Hale's background and the general history in the game's in-game story as well as the cinematics. The co-op campaign will also help to flesh out the world with its separate story. Albeit this story will be much 'lighter' than the story in the single-player campaign. In other words, no big movies for the co-op campaign.
What was your initial reaction when the designer who came up with the idea for the 60-player multiplayer mode presented it to you? Did you think you could pull it off or did you need convincing it was a great idea?
Ted Price: We had experimented with more than 40 players online during Resistance Fall of Man and found that we could do it technically. So the question was more, "can we minimize chaos with 60 players or will the experience be too overwhelming?" As a result we put our design efforts into coming up with a mode (tentatively called "skirmish") which would give us more intimate experiences within those massive 60-player battles. And by intimate I'm not implying...well, you know.
Insomniac is known for it's brilliantly eccentric weapons. Are there many new weapons available in Resistance 2?
Ted Price: There are definitely new weapons available in R2. We've had fun coming up with them. But so far, other than the minigun and the marksman, we haven't revealed any.
I'm a 360 gamer, but the Resistance concept sounds great. How could you convince me to play your game instead of Gear of War 2?
Ted Price: [Laughs] First, do you like first-person shooters? That's one big difference between GOW and R2. I think both will have extremely strong gameplay, engaging stories and lots of different modes to try out. Yet one big differentiating factor between R2 and all other games coming out this fall is that R2 has 8-player online co-op mode which should offer a VERY different experience for you and your friends.
What's Ratchet: Quest for Booty? If you can't tell us now, when will it be unveiled?
Ted Price: Sorry man, just talking about Resistance 2 today.
How the heck do you guys manage to consistently stop your games V-Synch tearing when no other PS3 developers seem to manage it?
Ted Price: I think we at Insomniac have an unnaturally strong aversion to screen glitches. Maybe it's because from day one we've always been tech freaks. So it's something we try very, very hard to avoid. Plus our engine team is spectularly talented (in my humble opinion!)
What kind of improvements have been made to the game engine since Resistance FoM? Does the new engine stream higher-resolution textures now for example?
Ted Price: We do have streaming of textures and other assets now. Not only does this improve the overall look but it cuts down on load times. In fact, you shouldn't notice any loading screens in R2. We've also added a lot more tech-wise - detail maps, new lighting system, new effects system, better normal mapping, better specular response, redone shaders and lots of behind-the-scenes stuff that makes the game really stand out aesthetically.
This November, Insomniac will have delivered three major PS3 games, in the time it's taken other studios to get their first out of the door. How do you keep such a high workflow, whilst ensuring quality?
Ted Price: First, we're currently just developing for PS3. With one engine and one toolset it allows us to maintain a high level of efficiency with production. Second, we have overlapping teams. Meaning we always have at least one team in pre-production on a product while another team is in production. This means that we can roll from production to production easily. Third, our team is highly motivated to produce big AAA games. It's our passion.
Is the short 'chapter by chapter' approach to levels still the preferred method for the structure of the game, or are we going to see more expansive, sprawling and longer chunks between loading?
Ted Price: You'll see bigger "levels" or "chapters" this time around. And hopefully you won't see any loading screens. At least that's the plan!
What do you think about Killzone 2's delay, which has been said to give others games some space?
Ted Price: What do I think? Well Killzone 2 is a huge, great-looking (and great playing) title. Having space between two big FPS games like Resistance 2 and Killzone 2 is not only good for the developers, it's good for gamers. PS3 gamers get a continuous FPS fix from fall '08 through the beginning of 2009!
Will R2 require a mandatory install?
Ted Price: Too early to answer that one. We're still finishing up the content for the game. That's a question we'll be able to answer as we get closer to launch.
What is the resolution and the framerate of the game?
Ted Price: 720p, 30fps.
A common problem with co-op games is keeping the players from having too much individual freedom on a level, with 8 player online co-op does this mean that there are more restrictions and you''ll have players teleporting into the middle of a gunfight when they've tried to stray too far?
Ted Price: So far (and again, we haven't finished the game yet) we let players wander off if they want. The rest of the guys can move ahead. But we've found in our playtests that there isn't much incentive to do this. First, because there are multiple interdependent classes the team has trouble surviving if there are a couple of lone wolves. Second, and related, the co-op battles are TOUGH...
You just can't survive on your own. Third, the action is usually where the team is. And you get rewarded for participating. So again, there's little incentive to split off and go somewhere else.
Could we see the Groove-a-tron in Resistance 2? Just for laughs.
Ted Price: Hah. No!
How are games written in terms of storyline? Are they a standard script like films or something else?
Ted Price: When it comes to writing things out we integrate scripts with gameplay descriptions so that anyone reading one of our level design documents can read through it and see what various characters should be saying during gameplay setups. Yet when we go into the studio to record voice actors we just bring the script excerpts. They're formatted the same way TV or films scripts are.
Will R1 and R2 feature trophy and Home support?
Ted Price: That's the plan.
What's your opinion on installs?
Ted Price: Installs in some form or another are pretty standard for PS3 games these days. And I think for consumers it's a good thing because it generally decreases load times. Or at least it should. Personally, I'd rather have a several-minute install the first time I play a game and then enjoy the benefits of faster loads every time I play the game after that.
What consoles do you currently own?
Moderator: And what are you playing at the moment?
Ted Price: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, DS and a bunch of older consoles. Currently I'm waiting to find enough time to play GTA IV. But things have been really busy at Insomniac so I've primarily been playing Resistance 2!
Are we going to see a bit more of a "rip roaring" intro to the game? The most mentioned comment about RFOM, from those who love it, was that past York/Grimsby it starts to hot up. Would be nice to see something that really hooks non-converts in from hitting the play button.
Ted Price: Absolutely. That was one of the first pieces of feedback we addressed when designing R2.
what are your thoughts on the PlayStation Network at the moment. If you could improve or add one aspect to it, what would it be?
Ted Price: Tough one. Ask me in a few months. I know there are a lot of great improvements in the works so I'd rather comment after they've become public.
How long will Resistance 2's campaign be? After the shortness of Haze and Call of Duty 4, I'd like to see a FPS with a more expansive single player mode of 15-20 hours instead of the usual sub-10 hour ones we tend to get.
Ted Price: R2's campaign should be as long or longer than R1. We haven't timed it out yet but it's shaping up to be huge.
By the way, I though COD4 absolutely rocked. I liked the fact that its campaign WASN'T 10-15 hours. It made for a more intense experience.
Did the amount of controversy surrounding the inclusion of Manchester Cathedral surprise you?
Ted Price: It certainly did. It was unfortunate that some people didn't grasp the meaning of "alternate reality".
Does Insomniac plan to expand use of the Sixaxis tilt function in Resistance 2?
Ted Price: Nope. We're keeping it about the same.
What level was your personal favourite from the first Resistance? (Also, thanks for making a level in Cheshire!)
Ted Price: [Smiles] I suppose you're from Cheshire? Anyway, my favorite was Manchester because Manchester became a turning point for us during production. When we got that first battle working all of us on the team knew that the concept behind the big battles in Resistance Fall of Man would be a win. Plus during that level we were able to refine a lot of the technology we used throughout the game. For example, the traffic circle in Manchester was a real test of the efficiency of our AI. With so many enemies in a small area we found that the CPU was getting bogged down. So one of our programmers, Terry Cohen, wrote a great AI 'LOD' (level of detail) system which scaled the AI complexity based on enemies' proximity to the player.
(By the way, when I say 'CPU' I mean the PPU and SPUs...versus the GPU. Some purists may dig into that one if I don't clarify!)
Would you rather have the ability to become invisible or shoot lasers out of your eyes?
Ted Price: The big question - invisibility absolutely. Not sure what I would do with those lasers. Etch my name into random walls? Cook food without a stove? Kill squirrels?
Moderator: And that's it from Ted, I'm afraid! He thanks you all for the "fantastic questions", which gave him the chance to say a bunch of things he doesn't normally get to say in any other context. We're sure he'll be back - and hope you will be too! Thanks for your time and your questions. We're out.