System Rush N-Gage Interview
By: Kurt Knudsen
Today we sit down with Will Shen and discuss a new N-Gage title, System Rush. It’s a mix of Tron style graphics and some very heated racing. System Rush offers 50 races in 5 virtual worlds on 15 different 3D tracks. It also has 4 player ‘shadow play’, for those that enjoy competition online.
1. Before we begin can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do?
I’m Will Shen and I’m the Producer of System Rush for Games Publishing at Nokia. As a Producer, I am responsible for the game from conception to final release, managing all aspects of development.
2. How has the N-Gage handled the 3D graphics during development?
As you can see from the game, it runs in full 3D at a furiously fast pace. We were very fortunate to work with Ideaworks 3D, one of our most experienced N-Gage developers. They already had a very robust 3D engine called Segundo3D, and we basically pushed the engine and the hardware until the game started to show slowdown. We then optimized the game, added more effects and repeated the process until we had something that we’re very happy with – a great looking game that runs fast and plays well.
3. How many players are there in a single race?
In the single player experience, you will race against 7 computer opponents simultaneously. Using Bluetooth for multiplayer, you can race against 1 other human opponent (the reasoning for this is that we didn’t want to sacrifice game speed and race quality, which would’ve been compromised with more players.) On N-Gage Arena, we enable players to race against 3 shadows simultaneously, which is a first for an N-Gage game.
4. Can you go into more detail about the story line and Kiyomeru?
The player starts the game as either Vert or Ikko, both of whom are white hat hackers (the good guys). They’ve developed Kiyomeru, which in the wrong hands, could be used as a logic bomb to destroy networks. Unfortunately, Kiyomeru was stolen by black hat hackers and sold to an evil conglomerate, which has segmented the code and spread it over 5 different networks. Your ultimate goal is to hack and penetrate these networks (by winning races) and retrieve all parts of Kiyomeru. There’s also a little surprise at the end that I think the players will find quite interesting.
5. Do you have a choice of vehicles to choose from?
There are 15 total vehicles in the game – 10 in the single player experience and 5 on Arena which are unlocked through achieving certain goals in Story Mode. Within each network, you’re able to choose from 2 different vehicles, which have different characteristics that you’re able to upgrade.
6. Can you tell us about any other features the game has?
In addition to the features we’ve mentioned, there is also a HackTV Mode, which enables you to watch your replays or the replays of other players on Arena. You can also vote on the best replay on Arena. We also offer GP Mode, which is unlocked by hacking networks in the single player experience. The GP Mode offers 5 additional races featuring an additional 5 unique tracks.
7. What are the races like? Is it standard street racing or a mix of stunt driving and insane speeds?
The races are not your typical run of the mill type racing. As you said, the game runs at insane speeds and we’ve also incorporated some interesting touches to differentiate this game from other racing games. For example, the fact that the Co-Vecs (Code Vehicles) are hover type vehicles greatly affected how we planned out the physics. We allow more of a “drifty” feeling to get this point across, which is greatly noticeable until you get used it. We also incorporated a jump and glide mode, which allows players to better manage obstacles and turns in the tracks. Finally, players can enter “drift mode” by letting up on the acceleration button. You will notice that your Co-Vec will rise up on the track over a circular light, which makes your left to right movement more sensitive. This will be an important feature to utilize in the later races as you navigate more challenging tracks.
8. Can you tell us about the characters in the game?
The characters in the game are all hackers – either white hat or black hat. In the earlier races, you will race against AI bots that are trying to stop you from hacking the networks. In the sub-boss and boss races, you will be racing against various black hat hackers that have individual personalities and styles, depending on the network they represent.
9. When is the game due to come out?
The game is already on the store shelves! It was released on September 22, 2005 and we’re happy to say that we’ve been receiving great feedback on the game from the players!
10. Is there anything else you would like to say?
Since the game is based on a hacking theme, we’ve registered all the network names on the internet and have created websites for the “fake” corporations. As you will notice throughout the lifecycle of the game, these sites will start to appear hacked as players go on Arena and upload their hacks (races). We wanted to not only create a game, but an experience to support the game. Please check out www.systemrush.com for details.
In addition to this, we’ve also created a playable demo that you can download from the website (as well as on www.N-Gage.com). It’s also important to note that the demo is virally distributable, which means you can Bluetooth the demo over to any of your friends with an N-Gage.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me about System Rush!
Thank you for your time, we look forward to seeing more of the game.