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Heart of Eternity Interview
with Vladyslav Artyukhov from UDC-Game

Parcival, 2004-08-02

After we watched the impressive trailer for Heart of Eternity we definitly wanted to know more about this promising title. We talked to Vladyslav Artyukhov from the Ukranian Development Company.

RPGDot: Could you tell us something about the team and the development process?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: The creation of the game took a little more than two years. All who participated in the process are skilled experts who trained with such companies as: Boston Animation, GSC, Electronic Paradise. They have many released games to their credit.
For UDC, this is the first game in the history of our company. However, the potential and experience of the project participants, promises well for our future propects.
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RPGDot: HoE has been described as an rpg. Could you describe the game experience more precisely? What are the game's main ingredients?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: It is possible to play and complete the game using both combat as well as diplomacy. The variety of answers from an NPC depends on his attitude to the hero and his intelligence. Though the combat is accented, experience can be accumulated through finding peaceful solutions as well. Some quests can be solved through puzzles. Combat is in Real Time and there is the opportunity to combine fighting skills with magic. Fighting with horses, is an original concept too.

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RPGDot: Could tell us something about the world HoE features?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: The main feature of the game, is a combination of dynamic action and a detailed RPG system. The basic races occupying the game world are people, gnomes, elfs, orks, dead, and a lot of other heroes. Our vision of these differs from classical fantasy, but the basic characteristics are certainly kept. The hero can initially cooperate with representatives of all races, but during the course of the game, sooner or later he will have to make a choice- to head an Orks horde; to become the friend of elfs; or to find another way.

The rich choice of weapons, variety of magic arsenal, and a number of special items for thieves, allow the player to create the hero in one or more orientations during the game. Therefore, the solution to game tasks
can differ depending on orientation.

As to architecture, from the bottom of our hearts we hope to give pleasure to the player by using a maximum of various and interesting landscapes.

RPGDot: What amount of freedom will the players will experience? Are there multiple solutions to a task or problem?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: The player is free to choose a line of conduct in each case. The NPC's attitude and line of conduct towards the hero depends on the player's actions. Thus, co-operating for a long time with the Orks will make it difficult to converse with the elfs, and vice versa.

Levels are not present in game. This is a world in which the Player can move in any direction at any time. The subject was intended to be maximum non-linear from the very beginning. Free moving and an initially neutral attitude from NPC's allows the player to choose how he plays the game; how the hero develops and how he relates with the NPC's.

The missions in the game are presented to the player as situations where
he can decide what part to take and accordingly, what benefit to derive.
Besides, the type of actions is defined by the skills received by the Player in the process of development. So there are always several variants plus an opportunity not to engage at all,which is not always unequivocally unprofitable.

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RPGDot: Is there any other game on the market that can be compared with it? (Gothic / Ultima IX / Conan / KoToR)

Vladyslav Artyukhov: Now is too early to compare a still uncompleted project with well known and successful titles. But the game is positioned for a similar market to those mentioned above.

RPGDot: Could you describe the RPG system? What skills and stats are there? To what extent does it compare to other rule sets (ad&d, special) or games.

Vladyslav Artyukhov: The system is not based on either AD&D, or SPECIAL. The parameters and equipment of the heroes were made in detail. There are five basic and about twenty other parameters which are influenced by different factors (equipment, influence of magic and ability of the character and etc).

RPGDot: Is it Single Player - One character, or will there be multiplayer options as well?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: Certainly! And Deathmath, and cooperative, and all all all!

RPGDot: As for game play and interface: Is there an Automap, a journal and a quest book? Are there (multiple choice) dialogues?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: All integral attributes of classical RPG will be kept. Besides we are planning to include some additional elements which in our opinion will facilitate the management and playing of the game. Look, and you'll see.

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RPGDot: Can you describe typical situations regarding combat? How do you handle it?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: Handling - is keyboard and mouse. One cannot do without different kinds of weapons, definitely. So, it is much easier to break skeletons with club, than to cut with a sword or to shoot from a bow.

RPGDot: Will you incorporate Magic in the game?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: Certainly yes! The magic is divided into four elements: fire, water, air, earth. Fire is aggressive attacking and crippling magic. Water is flexible deceiving magic. It is used, for example to transform a part of a place into ice. Or, if it's applied on a slope with a precipice, the enemies have scores of chances to fall down having slipped on the changed surface. Air is fast exact spells. The Earth is the strongest of the elements.

Each of the elements has its own direction. It is possible to use one direction as well as another at once. It is also possible to combine spells with fighting skills. There is no strict line between the magician and the warrior. One element spell can be more effective in a combination with other spells of other elements or with specials of the warrior.

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RPGDot: Is there a character creation process?

Vladyslav Artyukhov:  Certainly. At the beginning the Player receives the certain sum of points and distributes them between the basic characteristics of the hero by himself. Further at achievement of a new level the Player receives a quantity of the same points and develops the hero in the chosen direction. The system of development also includes spells, combat and different levels of special skills for thieves.

RPGDot: What kind of engine do you use? Could you tell something about it? I noticed the beautiful day and night cycle in the trailer. What other features are you working on right now or have you planned for the near future?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: We are using our own engine. We are trying to apply the latest technologies from the game industry, such as Occlusion Culling, Portal System, Skeleton Animation, Pixel - Vertex Shaders, a system of landscaping which allows us to make a large area visible; realistic physics, dynamic shadows, group intelligence, a division of enemies and subjects, a network, change of day and night, change of weather and so on.

The majority of these features are already completed or close to completion. The primary idea of the engine is to make the game as beautiful as possible and to approach reality, while giving maximum freedom to the player.

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RPGDot: How far in development are you? Any ideas on when HoE will be released?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: The main game will be finished in autumn. We are planning release for the end of 2004. It is possible that in some countries, the game will appear later. This is connected with localization. It is difficult to answer in what countries this will be, but, certainly, we shall try to cover the greatest possible game market.

RPGDot: What other projects are you working on, or are you planning for the near future?

Vladyslav Artyukhov: This is the only game in development. Closer to its end, we will decide which new project will be started. There are no concrete ideas what it will be.

RPGDot: Is there anything else you would like to add for our readers?

We hope to interest admirers of the genre and hope we do not disappoint their expectations.

RPGDot: Thank you very much for this interview!

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