Available: 2003
By:Zuxxez Entertainment

Interviewed by by Safwat "Helium02"

The folks over at ZUXXEX entertainment have a new game in works called “RABID DOGS¬¬≤”. The game is a turn based tactical game with a slice of adventure in there as well.
Read on to find out more about the game and other things.

Hello, please tell the readers who you are & what part you play in development of the game.

ZUXXEZ Entertainment AG is a games producing company. We acquired the games division of the former TopWare Interactive AG some time ago,¬¬† as well as its award-winning development team Reality Pump - known worldwide for products like Earth 2150, Heli Heroes¬¬†or World War III.¬¬†
My name is Alexandra Constandache, or simply Alex and I work as Development Director at ZUXXEZ. My main task in the Rabid Dogs¬¬≤ project is to make the game- and mission design. Together with the programmers we are developing the combat and the dialog system. The graphics artists take care of the character design and I have to think about character relationships and development. Additionally there are lots of other small things which have to be done throughout¬¬†the project so believe me - it never gets boring ;).

“Turn-based”; can you explain further what this will mean for a Rabid Dogs¬¬≤ player?

The character movements and actions (except fighting) are in real-time. The game switches into turn-based mode in that moment the player and the enemy have visual contact or in that moment the bullets start flying – similar as in games like Jagged Alliance or Fallout Tactics.
In turn-based games the player and his opponent (the AI) take turns (similar as in Chess). During a turn, each character has a certain amount of action points (AP), and each action costs some APs (e.g. a shot).
Turn-based games have their advantages: 1. the player has the possibility to think about potential strategies and 2. this mode allows him to take total control over his characters.

On your website you state that the game includes “elements of CRPG”. Can you explain to some of our readers what “CRPG” means and how will it affect gameplay in Rabid Dogs¬¬≤?

The basic elements of a CRPG game are
* the need of a central character created by the player [creation starts off by distributing points to the basic stats: body (combining strength and stamina), intelligence, dexterity and so forth]
* with the ability to develop him in terms of his attributes and skills [in RD¬¬≤ the character will be modelled as the player acts. He can be evil, chaotic or neutral, cooperative or a lone wolf. The player also has the possibility to find others to join his team, to teach them and help them improve their skills]
* in a great story including quests and in a fascinating environment

How is the storyline going to evolve? I.E. does it evolve around your character or are you a part of a grander scheme of things?

Rabid Dogs2 is a turn-based strategy game with a twisted story about corruption, crime, sex and money. The storyline and the mission-lines are allusions to international contemporary policy, current events, to the most famous – as well as infamous – people and situations in real life and fictional work like movies and literature. There are references to front-page politicians and celebrities, characters from well known films, games and books. The game reflects today’s reality in a mirror of black,¬¬† gallows humor where "Good is Bad and Bad is even Worse."
The story develops in dependence how the player react. The player makes the story with his behaviour – he forms the character and he has a direct influence on the game progress.

Units in the game; can we choose them or do you start as a set character, and what type of vehicles and weapons can we expect to see or/and interact with?

As already said: at the beginning the player can select between two main characters, but he can model them as he wants: the character creation starts off by distributing points to the basic stats: body (combining strength and stamina), intelligence, dexterity and so forth. At the beginning the character will only be equipped with one weapon. Of course, as the game progresses, the player will be able to buy (find or negotiate) new weapons or armour.
Additionally, vehicles play an important role in RD¬¬≤. The use of vehicles in Rabid Dogs¬¬≤ is, of course, first of all, as transportation, but cars are also an essential element during combat, – not only from the strategic point of view but are also used as communication centres during a bank robbery, for example.
Of course there are lots of other individual objects the player can interact with, but it is impossible to list them here now.

AI: What type of technology do you use to make the AI act the way you want it to, and how smart is it at this stage?

Most parts of the AI are nearly finished. We are actually working on the mission and map designs and balancing, on the in-game graphics, the character relationships and the dialog system.
It is impossible to tell you all A.I. improvements, but I can give you some examples of the outstanding behaviour of NPC’s: playable characters as well as NPC’s make use not only of their sight, but also of their hearing. Under consideration of this option the player can develop various strategies.
Enemies also use group strategies – e.g. sometimes they will send someone ahead waiting behind a corner. They will take into account properties of their weapon - some will try to attack you from close range, but depending on the weapon used and on their AP’s they also shoot you from longer distances.

Graphics: What engine do you use to create the graphics and textures in the game, and what view will we get of the game, 2D OR 3D?

The graphics engine is based on the newest DirectX 9.0 technology. The game uses an isometric view with 2D pre-rendered backgrounds, because the detail level is much higher and the graphics quality much better, together with 3D characters and in-game objects.¬¬†

What modes of play will be available to the, and what mode to will the gamers lean towards the most?

We have included Singleplayer and Multiplayer modes. I cannot tell you which mode will be the player’s favourite. Why?
* In the Singleplayer mode we use a non-linear gameplay system: if the player starts the game again the NPC’s can change their strategies or use other weapons and armor. Also, the NPC can vary its location throughout the game This aspect makes the game, each time you play it, exciting and interesting depending on the selected level of difficulty, of course
* In fact there are two Multiplayer modes included: Gangwarfare and Cooperative. Both are very different, but actually I cannot give you more details - still a secret ;)

What gave you the idea for the game and how did you get it off the ground? Will you be using fact or fiction around the storyline or even both?

The inspiration for Rabid Dogs¬¬≤ is the real life, situations and events combined fictional elements from famous movies and renowned books. Rabid Dogs2 introduces wicked and black humour – similar to that found in today’s crime and road movies, also inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s work and thoughts.
The storyline and the mission-lines are allusions to international contemporary policy, current events and remarkable movies like Air Force One or Ocean’s Eleven.

Where would you like this game to be in the next couple of years and do you plan sequels to the game in the future?

RD¬¬≤ will be on top – I really want to see it there, because we have invested lot of energy, effort and ideas in this game for nearly two years. No really, we actually want to make a great title out of Rabid Dogs¬¬≤ with a high addiction factor - we know that this game has a lot of potential and a huge community. But first we have to finish it before we start thinking about sequels or add-ons. The making of the sequel depends finally on the players – not only on us.

Give us 5 keywords that would explain your game, and when can we expect to see a demo released?

It is not necessary to describe the game in 5 keywords, just look at the title: Rabid Dogs¬¬≤ - it means a twisted story with black humour, sharp dialogs, and wicked characters in a non-linear game system, in a parallel reality...
We will soon release a trailer for Rabid Dogs¬¬≤. The release of a playable demo will still take some month, but I'll keep you informed ;)

Finally, can you tell the folks out there why they should spend their precious dough on Rabid Dogs¬¬≤?

The game takes place in a parallel reality in which good is bad, and bad is even worse. The game world reflects the seamy side of reality and the darker side of life.

Rabid Dogs¬¬≤ means a twisted story with black humour, a filed gameplay with wicked characters in a non-linear game system. Form you own opinion and judge for yourself!