WWP for Free
Tips and Tricks
This section will
feature interviews with people that worked on the games.
What was it like to be the first European developer to show an
online game running on Dreamcast? How difficult was it to
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
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
This new game does focus on the multi-player aspect of the
game. Will the game be playable online through the Dreamcast
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
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.
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
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.
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