The Team Speak Out Part 1 (1998)
- GameSpot.co.uk -
We go behind the scenes of Tomb Raider III and talk to the programming team: Martin Gibbins, Chris Coupe and Richard Flowers:
Why should gamers be excited by Tomb Raider III?
Because it's so much better than the other two!
When did you begin coding on Tomb Raider III?
We started work on a new game, in October last year. In December last year we were asked if we wanted to do TR3. We said yes.
Most games seem to take 18 months to complete - why has Tomb Raider III taken only half this time?
Because we took the time and effort to forward-plan in order to complete the game in the time allowed. Also we weren't actually allowed to have anymore time so we didn't have much choice really! It took about 11 months to do it.
Does the new game require PC users to have a Voodoo 2 card?
No, it should work on the majority, if not all, the graphics cards.
How do you think the Tomb Raider engine compares to the Unreal engine?
The Tomb Raider engine is four years old now. Taking this into consideration, it's not that bad compared to the Unreal engine. But on the grand scheme of things, the Unreal engine is just a little bit better (sarcastic!).
How have you improved Tomb Raider III's engine?
Triangles. There are some now, in fact the majority of all the levels are triangles. Imagine trying to make a ball out of four sided shapes, trust me - it's pretty impossible, now try it with triangles - easy. Basically the levels look more real now. Also, its pretty difficult to miss the vast number of effects that are going on practically all the time. There's a lot more to look at - fish in the sea, 'real' fire, rain, snow, 'real' splashes, flocks of bats ... the list is large. All the textures used in the levels were originally drawn in true colour (more than the eye can see), these are then converted down to be used on the PlayStation/ PC, so the overall result is better. And not to forget the coloured lighting which adds the most, I think.
The PC engine is basically a better looking conversion of the PlayStation. The game was led on the PlayStation.
How long does it take for you to design a level?
Programming wise, levels aren't done one at a time, it's kind of a global thing. The level designers normally take between 3 and 5 months to design and finish building a level.
What type of machine do you use to design a level?
The levels are designed on a PC and downloaded to a PlayStation to see how it will look.
What been the most difficult part of the Tomb Raider III project?
Incorporating all the new elements of the game into the existing engines.
Are there any differences between the PC and PlayStation versions?
The PC version looks a million times better if you play it with a video card. Other than that there is no difference.
How have you improved the AI?
Tom Scutt worked on the AI for TR3 which included enemies guarding, patrolling, leading the player to hidden goodies, ambushing, ducking behind things to get away from Lara's bullets, and generally looking intelligent. He also introduced a lot more interaction between the non-playing-characters, i.e. humans attacking raptors, raptors attacking raptors, prisoners attacking prison guards, etc., etc.
Will there be a Dreamcast version of Tomb Raider?
That needs to be discussed.…
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