Available: 10 September 2002

Summer is slowly coming to an end. The sun isn’t out as long as it used to, and a lot of us are left only with memories of summer parties. A great way to keep those memories is by giving Virtual Resort: Spring Break (Beach Life for european market) a go. Even though we’ve seen quite a few tycoon games lately; this one lets you build the resort of your dreams, and throw wild parties to your hearts content. The great thing is that your wallet won’t suffer nearly as much as in real life, and hangovers aren’t very likely either. We recently had an opportunity to ask Clayton Palma at Deep Red some questions, so we hope you find the game even more interesting by reading the outcome. The game should be out late this August, published by Eidos.

Hi there. Please introduce yourself and tell me your role in the development of Virtual Resort: Spring Break?

Hello, I’m Clayton Palma, US Producer for Virtual Resort: Spring Break.

Virtual Resort looks to be categorized as another tycoon game. Many tycoon games, as numerous as they are today, aren’t usually praised due to their lack of originality and depth. What will make Virtual Resort: Spring Break different from the regular pack?

The words “Spring Break” immediately bring to mind images of wild partying, drunken revelry and crazy all out fun. We capture the energy and excitement of Spring Break in our game while maintaining the strategy and game play that veterans of the tycoon genre have come to expect. It is a good balance of resource management and people watching

Will there be any story line to the game or at least will there be some important characters?

No underlying storyline in the conventional sense, but the player can strongly influence the adventures and antics of his guests. The most important people in the game will be the player’s personal staff: the construction workers, the lifeguards, the cleaners, the security guards, the mechanics – these are the guys who help the player maintain order to the resort.

How the will single-player design be? Will it be mission-based campaign, freeform, and/or something totally different?

We have two single player modes: Scenario and Sandbox. Each of the twelve Scenario levels will focus on a number of different objectives for the player to accomplish. Upon completion, Sandbox mode is unlocked for that island, which basically gives the player the freedom to manage and maintain the island in any way they like without having to fulfill the set objectives.

The interactivity and artificial intelligence of guests is always important in tycoon-type games. What will be guests’ reactions to certain actions that the player does, such as if the beach becomes very dirty?

The player is rated by the happiness of his guests. Happy vacationers are more likely to spend money, which means more income for the player. An island that has too much litter will lower the overall happiness rating of the guests. The player can choose to hire more cleaners to clean up the litter around the resort, but additional employees aren’t cheap. It is the ability to respond to the changing needs of the masses while maintaining profitability that makes a great Virtual Resort manager.

Please briefly delve on some of the structures that you are able to build and what their function is?

Besides the required structures like Power Generators and Water Cleaning Plants, player will be able to create a tropical paradise pretty much to their liking. Some of the cool structures include beach discos, party cruises, and casinos. The Event Stage is probably the most popular structure that you’ll have. This allows the fun stuff like Wet T-Shirt and singing contests. Any establishment that sells alcohol will always be a good investment. Waterslides are pretty popular, though a bit expensive to build and maintain.

Organization of guests, structures, money, and other facts for the beach resort so that one can see it easily and figure out if there any problems is always important. How will Virtual Resort make that easy for the player to see?

We have a scrolling message window that notifies the player of what the guests want or are unhappy with. Visual cues will also be quite obvious, i.e.: guests suffering from bad water will turn green, or buildings that need maintenance will start flashing and smoking.

Also important is the interface. Will it be like most tycoon-like games or different?

We’ve tried to make the interface as intuitive as possible. It will have a pleasing Windows XP look, with support for keyboard shortcuts.

Graphics aren’t usually the “big thing” in tycoon-like games, but will the graphics have any 3D-features or detailed textures?

Though the game isn’t truly 3D, the textures and animations will be very detailed. Deep Red has gone all out to capture the drunken stupor of the guests, the dirty dancing, and even the love connections on the beach...

How will the beach resort seem like a living environment as opposed to just a beach with buildings and some guests just roaming around?

The player has the full power to visually change many aspects of the resort to his or her own liking. Any existing structure can be destroyed and replaced. We feature three distinct environments: the lush-tropical climate of the Caribbean, the sweltering heat of the Mediterranean, and the terracotta, arid rocky areas of South America.

Comment on how important money and general business management is in the game.

As I mentioned earlier, we wanted to strike a perfect balance between the management and voyeuristic aspects of the game. Making money is just one of the requirements of successfully managing the resort. A good steady income allows the player to acquire bigger and better structures, but the key to winning is maximizing the opportunities that present themselves.

How close is the game to release, and what will the likely system requirements be?

The game is pretty close to release as a matter of fact. Specs should be in the neighborhood of PII 450 with 128MB of ram.

Overall, how was the development of the game? Was it fairly straightforward process or were there bumps in the road?

A few bumps here and there, but Deep Red is an experienced and dedicated developer. The biggest challenge was making sure we had a deep game that appeals to veterans of tycoon/sim games, yet still captures the essence and fun of Spring Break.

Please comment on anything else you would like to add.

Party On!

Related Links:

Virtual Resort Details at Eidos
Virtual Resort Homepage
Eidos Interactive