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This section will feature interviews with people that worked on the games.

  • Debbie Bestwick -Commercial Director
    What was it like to be the first European developer to show an online game running on Dreamcast? How difficult was it to achieve?

    It's always nice to be the first at anything and was a nice surprise when we found out, but the most important thing was how well we managed to get it to play online. That was a much bigger achievement. Getting it to work in the way we wanted was the biggest challenge and actually took up a good chunk of time. Which probably explains why there are so few online games for Dreamcast. Not easy, that's for sure.
     
    What do the online features add to Worms? To what extent would you say that Worms World Party is merely an extension of the Dreamcast version of Worms Armageddon?
    It opens up a whole new dimension for console gaming. Being able to play a game against three other people from anywhere in the world and kick arse is what we all bought our Dreamcast for, isn't it? The online gaming aspects of WWP add a totally new gaming experience to what Dreamcast owners had with Armageddon. In addition, we've catered for single players with 45 new missions including real-time play, added over 20 new training missions, completely re-designed the front-end and controller support, added new in-game graphics, new audio and movies, a Wormopeadia so you can 'earn tips from the top' and the all important Time Attack modes, which are currently the team's second favourite feature after online.
     
    Can you explain the game in basic terms for those not familiar with the series?
    Worms is a turn-based action strategy game, where teams battle across bizarre, randomly generated landscapes or finely crafted custom designed levels. Each team takes it in turn to pick off the opposing team, using crazy weapons, tools and other utilities they may have discovered to inflict whatever foul strategies can conjure. Worms die when they loose all of their energy or drown in the murky depths. The winning team is the one with the last worm standing and the laughs never stop.
     
    What do you think is the over-riding feature that made Worms so popular in the first place? How have you taken this element forward into the current generation of titles?
    Tricky there's quite a few that collectively make Worms the success that it is. The most important has to be the totally immersive gameplay and we've carried that forward into every version of Worms since and will continue to do so or we simply won't do it. Too many games these days lose the plot when it comes to why people are buying them. No-matter how pretty something looks or how great the technology behind it is, you just canít beat gameplay, and that's what will make games buyers come back again and again.
     
    How close are you to completion of the game? When will we see it in stores in Europe?
    We are incredibly close, but a decision was made awhile ago to release after Christmas so we are utilising the extra time polishing and just doing minor tweaking to the game and servers. I'd expect it to be released in Europe early next year.
     
    Weapons: Worms fans can't get enough. What surprises do you have in store for Worms World Party?
    The game is extremely delicately balanced and adding new weapons (when there are already approaching 60) is something we felt would be counter-productive to the title. We didn't want to dilute the variety any further and it's already quite complicated for newcomers. Any weapons we could add we felt would merely be novelty weapons and to be honest the most popular weapons are one's that have been in from the start, such as bazookas, grenades, shotguns and Ninja Ropes.
     
    Is this the end for Worms in 2D? There was strong talk of 3D designs for the next generation of Worms titles being submitted earlier this year Ė what's the story?
    It is the end! In-terms of boxed gaming products WWP looks like it will be the last title, but that seems so final to say. What I can say is that Worms as we know it in 2D has no plans going forward in-terms of boxed gaming products on existing platforms.
    We will however be taking the 2D game we all know forward onto new media platforms such as Wireless and iDTV. We also have plans to grow our online gaming side of Worms in the future.
    Worms in 3D: designs have been going on for years internally and it's something we firmly believed wasn't possible on the platforms at the time, as we needed to ensure the gameplay took a leap forward as well as the technology. The conclusion was that we just didn't see the point of developing a game in 3D that was substandard to the 2D version in-terms of gameplay. We'd be cheating our fans and ourselves.
    With the technology that's now available on next gen platforms we are confident that the game we want to do can be done. Worms 3D is in development but at this stage it's too soon to discuss the release, content and platforms.
     
    What's next for Team17 after WWP? Are you planning to support Xbox and Gamecube in the future [you've already confirmed as releasing Stunt GP on PS2]?
    What's next... We are actually looking forward to a Christmas break, time with our families, some sleep, decent food and the odd beer or two. I guess youíre talking games though! Besides WWP we've been busy finishing Stunt GP on PC and Dreamcast - which is now complete - and we are very busy doing the PlayStation2 version. We also have a very exciting unannounced game for next Christmas which will be on various platforms, but that's to be announced early next year). The new media and online areas we talked about in the last question will also start to come about during 2001. Team17's strategy as a company as always been to develop for all commercially viable platforms either internally or licensing out our IP's to other publishers/developers that will continue for all Next-Gen platforms. We may do certain exclusives for various platforms in the future but we do plan to support all in one way or the other.

     

  • Paul Kilburn -Producer
    Worms World Party is the second Worms game to hit the Dreamcast. What are the major differences between this new game and Worms Armageddon?
    Multi-player simultaneous play, from ANYWHERE in the world! The game has hardly any discernible 'lag' and promotes a social feel with players chatting. Playing online has never been so much fun, play against other wormers from anywhere on the planet. Special areas divide game types up such as Beginner, Anything Goes etc. Participate in, group battles with teams allied or not. Chat with other wormers not only prior to a game but after as well.
     
    This new game does focus on the multi-player aspect of the game. Will the game be playable online through the Dreamcast network?
    ABSOLUTELY it will be 4 players and is playing superbly :) At one point we were a little concerned about the performance but the development team have done an absolutely fantastic job and should be commended for how well it actually plays.
     
    Obviously with Worms being a turn based game you have a lot more leeway with the slow modem speed and lag times compared to a First Person Shooter. How has the development team found the Dreamcast's 33.6k modem?
    I'm not sure the development team will agree with the phase 'a lot more leeway' :) The 33.6K modem isn't the problem, it's the fact that it's a software modem and not a hardware modem. That's the crux really. Processing power has to be taken away from doing the game to power the modem. 33.6k and 56k would have the same performance really. If it had been a hardware modem it would have been a lot better, put it that way. The fact that it's a software modem has been 'the' major development headache of this game.
     
    Have Sega been very helpful with the online gameplay aspect of the game?
    A: The actual on-line gameplay content is all down to the actual development team here at Team17. It's the actual hosting the servers for the game where Sega come in and it's here were we are working very closely together to make sure that everything is ready for the actual release.
     
    The PC version of Worms World Party includes a level editor. Are there any plans to include this editor on the Dreamcast version and if not, why not?
    Unfortunately no, the image files (landscapes) that are used in missions are over 1 meg in size. There's nowhere to store this on the DC (PC is easy, downloading a 1 meg zipped mission file to your hard drive is no big deal). We did look at doing a simpler dumped down version, but it wouldn't have been as good or really fitting with a console game - the PC mission editor is a windows application, there's that many options and variables in them it wouldn't really work on a console.
     
    One of the biggest complaints about Worms Armageddon was the lengthy wait for the Dreamcast CPU to take its turn. Has the development team reduced the wait for the CPU?
    The CPU logic has been tweaked but the Worms are still a law unto themselves when making certain shots. I suppose it gives them a bit of character. We didn't want to spend too much time in this area when the emphasis of WWP has always been multiplayer. That's not to say the single player game has been neglected - there's going on for 80 new missions, training events and what we call 'Time Attacks' where the player has several against the clock tasks in which to clock up personal best times etc. The new missions are all fantastic - we've added loads of new features to our mission scripting system meaning the missions are a lot better, varied and unlike any in Worms Armageddon.
     
    Are there any plans to utilise the VMU for mini-games or trading worms at all?
    This is something that was discussed a very long time ago and we decided against it. It would have been a nice feature but we felt there was so many other more important features that we wanted to put in that were very time consuming such as the on-line side etc.
     
    Worms Armageddon was among the best multiplayer games ever, and Worms World Party looks set to follow. Is this something that you focused the development on?
    Absolutely! Worms has always been commended for it's multi-player side and in Armageddon we expanded upon that. With Worms World Party it all actually came about after a discussion with Sega a long time ago when we were discussing the on-line potential and the result was that we would do a new game that was totally focused on Multi-player and on-line gaming.
     

  • Mark Robinson -Lead Programmer
    How difficult was it to get WWP running online with four players on a Dreamcast?
    Getting it working online was a huge task as far as Worms World Party was concerned. We were breaking new ground here, what with the Dreamcast being the first console to have online capabilities, so it was all new territory. We were very worried when development started due to the fact that Sega's Dreamcast modem is a software modem, not hardware, so it takes quite a bit of CPU time to actually process the data transfer. I've had the game running between a couple of development kits for a while playing two players. The big test was four players - this was the big unknown. We knew we'd get two players somehow but the performance was the big question mark. Finally we hit the stage were the GD's could be cut and tried them on real Dreamcasts. I have to admit to a smile on my face when we made four discs, set up four Dreamcasts, loaded the game and it just worked and played great!
     
    How does it feel to be the first European developer to actually make online gaming on Dreamcast work?
    It feels great, and it's a huge sigh of relief to know that we've broken down the barriers we have faced throughout development and produced a great online multiplayer game. After all, the expectations for online play with Worms World Party are pretty high for Dreamcast due to the huge success of previous online PC Worms games. Worms World Party has been designed totally for multiplayer and especially online gaming: Dreamcast players are in for a huge treat. As for being the first in Europe well that just brings a bigger smile and is an added bonus. Getting the game working has been the biggest achievement and most rewarding.

  • Martin Randall -Programmer
    What was your role on wwp?
    I was responsible for writing the online section of the front end - the part of game that allows players from around the world to meet up and arrange a game on-line. This involved a lot of tweaking and testing to make sure that the whole process was quick and easy to do and worked flawlessly every time.
     
    I'm sure the project ran smooth as silk...?
    We did encounter a number of problems and difficulties. The DC is one of the first games consoles to support an Internet connection, and there are bound to be some teething troubles. Half of the challenge of doing a system like this is to overcome some of the disadvantages and short-comings of a console base. A PC is a much more stable and accessible platform for developing web applications on - where as testing on the DC meant cutting disks and then trying to resolve where difficulties lay.
     
    Do you see a future in on-line console gaming?
    Absolutely! Playing against the computer is one thing, but no matter how sophisticated the programmed artificial intelligence is, nothing will quite match the resourcefulness and adaptability of another human. Apart from that, there is nothing quite as satisfying as knowing that you have beaten another person and not just the machine. We have just uncovered the very tip of a huge iceberg in on-line gaming - there's a huge potential for it. Expect to see lots more of it over the next few years.

 

 

 

 

 

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