Revolt is the latest developer to spring up in Russia, founded only last year by Sergey Mironov and Alexey Medvedev, formerly of New Media Generation. The company is currently hard at work on an innovative space combat sim called Homeplanet, which is expected to be released through Russian publisher Russobit-M later in the year. We caught up with Alexey to find out more...
The Russian Front
Russia has gained something of a bad reputation recently, and "there is a prevailing view in the west that life is very hard in Russia and that you can meet gangsters on the capital's streets". According to Alexey this is just a stereotype though. "The cap with ear-flaps is not our single head-dress and vodka is not a permanent part of all our meals. Life in Russia is very interesting, and Moscow is one of the most beautiful and ancient capitals in Europe." "As for game developers, there are many new clever and creative teams in our country now. For the time being, most of them develop products which are directed at the Russian home market only, but some of the teams make great projects such as IL-2 Sturmovik (1C-Maddox Games) and Etherlords (Nival). I'm sure, that in the near future Russia will make an impact on the gaming industry; our developers are already able to press their western colleagues and bring new original ideas to the world. It's unfortunately a real problem that some western publishers are prejudiced against Russian developers, but we all hope that the situation will change for the better." The flow of games is also two way, and not every game sold in Russia is pirated, as some people would have you believe. Indeed, Revolt got their first break localizing games into Russian, which is how they came to work with Russobit. "We've got a long and trusting partnership with Russobit-M", Alexey explained. "We have localized several games into Russian for this company, like Battle Realms, Rally Trophy, Gorasul, World War III : Black Gold, Excalibug and others. That's why it is no wonder that we offer this publisher our own project."
That project is Homeplanet, based on an idea that came from Revolt's own love of the space combat genre, which has seen relatively few new releases recently. "We see the calm in our favorite genre and we don't want fans to clear away their joysticks", Alexey told us. "The player will participate in different operations like an assault on a large object, defense or escort, recon or intercept. We try to diversify the game and avoid the standard building of missions. We understand that the goals and objectives of missions are often looks similar, but we try to change the environment and atmosphere of the game actions." These missions are linked together by a non-linear campaign, in which the behaviour of third party forces towards the player varies depending on his actions in the game. "The boundary worlds of the Confederation have very difficult mutual relations among themselves and Earthmen. If you become an ally of one race, other sides of the conflict will become your enemies. To preserve the balance is extremely difficult, but it is possible. So players have to decide who will be his allies in the game. Confederators are very strong, but aren't always operative. Pirates are illegal, but easily go on adventures and are more mobile. You must decide during the game who will be useful for you."
It's the game's Newtonian physics model which should really make it stand out from the crowd though, owing more to the likes of Independence War and Babylon 5 than Wing Commander and Freespace. "The cruise mode is the standard mode, where the ship holds the necessary speed in the necessary direction automatically. In this mode the engines compensate for all excess accelerations and the ship flies in the direction it's pointing in. In the inertial mode there is none of this automatic compensation, so here you can gather speed and also revolve around the ship's axes [without changing the direction you're flying in]. It may even be too realistic at the moment. For example, you are able to gather speed up to the velocity of light, but it'll take a long time." "Most traditional simulators look like First or Second World War flight simulators; the battle takes place over short distances, but it is very maneuvering", Alexey pointed out. "We want to accentuate the tactics of the game and to draw attention on radio electronics, the correct use of weapons, coordination and interplay of elements. But don't be sure that you'll have enough rockets for every enemy - we haven't forgetten about close combat."
Vorsprung Durch Technik
Part of this focus on technology and tactics is the addition of electronic warfare. "The ships of the future are filled with equipment which helps the pilot, but there will be really great problems if the equipment is turned off. They will become deaf and blind. So it's logical to include special ships in the game - radioelectronic fighters. They will be the strongest ships, defending their fleet and defeating enemy assaults, like in modern wars." Players will also have more sophisticated control over their wingmen, with both an RTS-style battle map and the standard menu-driven radio orders found in most space combat sims. "When the player controls small subdivisions, it will be more comfortable for him to use standard key controls like 'follow me' and 'attack my target', but when the player manages big missions he will use the RTS-style map." All of which should make space a much more interesting place than in your typical Wing Commander clone, particularly when it comes to multiplayer. Although Revolt "are mainly interested in offering strong single player" at the moment, there are plans for an online-ready version of the game to be published later on. And if everything goes to plan this won't be the end of the franchise, as Alexey revealed. "During the creation of our gaming universe [for Homeplanet] we decided that it could be interesting to continue the story in several following games, and so there is the beginning of a story about Troiden's clan in Homeplanet". For starters Revolt "are going to announce one more project in the near future, but the kind of the game and the genre of the project is secret now", and Alexey also mentioned the possibility of a sequel, which may include atmospheric battles as well as the orbital and deep space combat which the first game will feature. In the meantime though Revolt are focusing on finishing work on Homeplanet and preparing for the multiplayer version. "We are deciding now what kind of multiplayer modes will be included in the game, but it would be really interesting to know the players' opinions", Alexey added. So if you have any bright ideas about what you would like to see in a multiplayer space combat sim, post away!