Chris Porter
Game Designer
Age: 27
Born in: San Francisco
Favourite Manga/Anime: Ninja Scrolls, Fist of the North Star
Music: Jungle, Drum n' Bass

Harry: How will Konoko interact with her environment?

Chris: Well the environments are fairly realistic, it's all on a "correct scale" architecture. In most games you'll notice you're walking under doorways which are 12 feet wide etc. We should expect that she'll interact with the environment pretty much. If you see a chair you'll be able to kick it.

Harry: From screenshots I've seen that the environment is mainly office buildings. What other environments can we see?

Chris: It's kinda based on Japanese Anime, and if you've noticed that instead of a Neo-Tokyo you get more of a Neo-Chicago in these animes. So it's supposed to be futuristic, but we definitley have more than an office building.

Harry: What do you think about when designing levels?

Chris: Well usually we start off with a concept, e.g. in this level blah blah is supposed to happen and you have yourself a pile of mechanics which are running, jumping, shooting, climbing etc. So what you want to do is you want to somehow gracefully know what's supposed to happen with the things you want the player to understand. So for example you want the player to jump, do a flip over backwards and shoot someone in the head. So you come up with the key elements to that: you got a swing set or a cliff or whatever and you place them there and say "this is how we're gonna get there and this is how we'll do it."

Harry: So you decide where you put all the characters and where they should come from?

Chris: Yeah, but you don't do that before the areas are built. You say "I want areas like that" and "I want areas like this." My background is that I do all of it, including the architecture, so that makes it easier.

Harry: How will the level change be handled in Oni? Something like Quake 2 where you leave the level by going into an elevator and starting the next level by leaving the elevator?

Chris: See, on a computer, level geometry is loaded into the RAM, and when you think about the average PC which has 32 or 64 MB of RAM and upstairs/downstairs of a level equal 90 MB it has to be split up. Probably we'll end up doing something like that too. But such loads will happen when it makes sense, like when you're going inside from outside.

Harry: Will you be able to wander around freely?

Chris: Well the problem is you're wasting processor power, we concentrate on doing something which is called "Primary Path". So if you go down this street something will happen. Maybe if we have the time we may add areas for wandering around.

Harry: Will you be able to run along the rooftops?

Chris: Probably. We want to stick to the Anime influence, so it should be possible.

Harry: What kind of goals can we expect in the levels?

Chris: Well she's a cop; so for the most part it will be based on cop duty, for example she has to find this guy and interrogate him. But there are twists and turns so there will be a change.

Harry: Griffin, the chief, does he brief you about missions?

Chris: There will be a variety of ways to introduce the mission. There will be some briefing, there will be some audio etc.

Harry: Will there be voices within the game?

Chris: There will be a lot of narrative, a lot of talking to people to find out what's going on and stuff like that.

Harry: And subtitles?

Chris: Yes of course, it has to be there for slower computers.

Harry: Cutscenes. They are a way of ending a level. They won't happen as often but they will allow space for story to develop, right?

Chris: Yeah there's a couple of different ways to develop plot. We're taking a real opportunity with dialogue and interaction with what you call NPC's. The story's very important to the game.

Harry: Will Konoko's fighting skills develop, i.e. the more she fights the better she gets, or does it just happen?

Chris: The answer to that is "yes." (laughs)

Harry: How about weapons? Let's say she gets a weapon she is not trained in, but the more she uses it the more skilled she becomes.

Chris: Well the focus is on hand-to-hand. We're not sure if we are able to implement weapon skill, but in this games weapons won't be lying around, they will make sense when you get them.

Harry: Will Konoko be able to holster her gun?

Chris: I don't know, more than likely she will. All that stuff is really polish, what we're doing now is trying to get everything as totally solid as we can.

Harry: Concerning controls: you have one punch and one kick button. Now, when you repeatedly punch an enemy for example, will she punch, punch then uppercut?

Chris: The combo system will work in a varying degree.

Harry: Is there a sort of auto-aiming feature?

Chris: There could be.

Harry: Will you be able to attack from the distance, because let's say 50 people are guarding the door and you need to get past them. Wouldn't it be easier to get a few of them from afar first?

Chris: Sometimes she needs to whack guys without attacking from a distance. We have this sounds system where 2 bullets hitting flesh make less noise than 2 bullets from a silencer which hits a box. So if you are unable to hit someone in the back of the head and hit a box instead, 2 enemies wil come at you in alert.

Harry: Will Konoko be able to climb?

Chris: We don't have a whole lot of that in there, but that would really depend on if it's needed. We want to keep the game at a fast pace.

Harry: Will you be able to perform mindless destruction (random vandalism)?

Chris: Yeah, we should be putting that in. There are gonna be levels where you need to do such a thing.

Harry: How would an Oni demo look like? An exerpt from the game or a new independant level?

Chris: The problem with [the independant level is] that it affects the story. Probably it would be something early in the game.

Harry: Will music play all the time or at key moments?

Chris: I don't know, I'd like to have music running all the time.