Answers were given to us by Iliya Chudakov, leading game designer of the project "The Island: The Earthling"
01 May 2006 | By Import
Strategy Informer: Could you tell us the storyline for The Island: The Earthling?
Iliya Chudakov: The plot of “The Habited Island”, a novel written by famous Russian authors Strugatskie brothers, lies in the basics of the game storyline. According to original source it is twenty second century on the Earth. Mankind is experiencing the Golden age. The level of the technology allows investigators to discover space alone. Our hero, Maxim Kammerer, belongs to this group of people. He is a member of GFS (The Group of Free Search).
Once he landed on an unknown planet. He just wanted to measure planet’s physical and biological parameters but his ship was mysteriously destroyed after he had left it for a while. Thus he became trapped on the planet.
Maxim started from looking for any intelligent form of life and soon he found a humanoid type civilization. The level of the development of human society and civilization in general was comparable with the middle of twentieth century on the Earth. These people had already invented a nuclear weapon and had several was with using it. That ruined the planet ecology and leaded to poverty and a lot of social problems of its inhabitance.
Maxim is a person of future with burning heart and fair mindset; he can’t stand away from these problems and in order to help these people he started from plunging into the details of the situation. Very quickly he discover that except all evident apparitions there is something hidden going on. Someone or something controls or at least affects people’s minds.
This is how our story begins. To know all of the intrigues you should read the book by Strugatskie and if you want to participate in hero’s adventures then you should play the game.
Are there any features we don't currently know about that you'd like
Iliya Chudakov: Actually we are making a classical quest and we don’t plan any features beyond this genre. That is why our main features are sensible quest tasks and harmonic storyline.
What can you tell us about the graphical and physics features?
Iliya Chudakov: The game technology is based on discrete steps between separated locations. At each location camera is fixed but can rotate doing full circle and moving up or down. The game engine will maintain two control modes with fixed and free mouse pointer.
The technology in general is comparable with “Myst IV“, for example.
What are the current system requirements for The Island: The Earthling?
Iliya Chudakov: At the moment to build and test the game we are using the following configuration: processor 2GHz, video card GeForce 5 and 512mb of operative memory.
But minimal requirements, we are aiming at, are approximately two times less than the current configuration.
Will there be any modding support or tools released for the game?
Iliya Chudakov: No. It doesn’t assume by the genre itself. Even the question of the continuation is also ambiguous at the moment. Actually the original story does have the continuation but it’s seriously differs from the beginning. The main character of “The Habited Island” is just occasionally mentioned in the posterior novels.
What kind of support is the game going to have after it's released?
Iliya Chudakov: Of course, there will be an official site of the game, where all players can read news about the game and also they can communicate on a board between themselves and with the developers’ team as well. We are going to accept from players all the questions about the game including bug reports if any.
Probably we’ll organize interesting competitions for the game community with fair prizes and all decent attention to the competitors.
Can you give us an assessment of the health and long-term viability?
Iliya Chudakov: I suspect that you meant what replay-ability the game is going to have. It might be compared with the “replay-ability” of a good book. Once you’ve read it up to the end it’s doubtfully that you’ll start reading it from the very beginning that very minute. It is very likely that you put it on the shelf to reread once later.
The same is applicable to the game of such kind as “The Island: The Earthling”.
How well is the game progressing at the moment?
Iliya Chudakov: It goes with full speed. At the moment we have stable and professional team working upon the project. All of the game designers’ and concept artists’ work has been finished, so the main forces developing the game are programmers and 3D modelers.
Could you tell us a little bit about the episodes and locations that will be featured in Island: The Earthling?
Iliya Chudakov: Sure. It’s one of my favorite themes concerning the game. So in “The Island: The Earthling” we are going to have 9 chapters (episodes). Some of them will took place in the area of a unique setting like a settlement in the desert or a forest stuffed with automatic weapon and the other episodes will share the same areas. For example, we have several episodes happening in one town.
In general the episodes-ordering is very close to the original plot of the book.
Will there be any secret bonus features built in the game?
Iliya Chudakov: Special bonuses aren’t needed in a classical quest, but still we have some interesting materials scattered all over the game from which player could obtain an additional information about the world. For example, it might be a secrete journal of one the hero’s enemies.
What has been the hardest part of development so far?
Iliya Chudakov: Without any doubt it has been the game engine, for the company’s programmers work upon a new technology of their own. They are trying to adopt the engine of our previous project to the new one by adding to it a feature of the panoramic view.
Do you think it's likely we'll see some changes to the current release date?
Iliya Chudakov: Frankly says, yes. Though we are not eager for doing it, everything could happen. You know, the probability of any unforeseen occurrences is higher while the time for the release date is longer. And now we have not a great but still a pretty amount of time before the release.
Is there anything you'd like to say to the Island: The Earthling community before we wrap this up?
Iliya Chudakov: I would like to say that we are very carefully dealing with the original source and try to conduct it maximally truly in the game. Though sometimes it’s just impossible not to disfigure some small facts mentioned in the book we’ll never blemish its atmosphere and idea.
I hope that all people who are fond of novels by Strugatskie found our game to be worth of its origin.