Questions are in bold and answers are in red.
<@QT_TheVirus> I'd like to thank our guests for joining us and taking the time out of their busy schedule to have this developer chat. Before we begin I'd like the 5 of them to introduce themselves.
<+Reflections_Gareth> Hi. Gareth Edmondson - Studio Manager and Exec Producer ofr Driver PL. Welcome...
<+Reflections_Robin> Hello all, I'm Robin Wardle, Production Manager, Project manager on DPL
<+Reflections_Craig> Hi, Craig Lawson and I'm the design manager at Reflections
<+Reflections_Jack> I'm Jack. I'm the art manager. I've been at Reflections for... i think 8 years now. I've worked a little bit on all 4 Driver games as well as Stuntman.
<+Reflections_Gary> Hi, I'm Gary Ushaw, Technical Lead on Parallel Lines and I manage the game programmers
<@QT_TheVirus> Ok, now that that's out of the way let's begin the show. The first question up, which was asked by quite a few of you, is: Will there be anyone online play? Remeber, anyone with a QT_ in front of their nick is a question taker, only ask them your questions.
<+Reflections_Gareth> We had to cut the online section of the game unfortunately. Whilst we had it up and running, it simply wasnt going to be good enough. We didnt want any aspect of the game to be below par, so we decided to focus on the single player aspect
<@QT_TheVirus> If you want to ask a follow up question to any of the responses, feel free to do so.
<@TAP_Myan> QUESTION - Jon: hey, I got a question: Is there going to be blood in the game?
<+Reflections_Craig> Yes there is blood this time around.
<@QT_TheVirus> theman asked :How big is the city compared to the cities in Driver 3?
<+Reflections_Jack> I think that the city is about as big as all three Driver3 cities, and then there's the 2 eras. It's about 560 miles or road in each i think.
<+Reflections_Robin> Jack, all 3 cities at once? Or all 3 together?
<+Reflections_Robin> I mean, as big as one D3 city or all 3 put together
<+Reflections_Jack> I think New York is as big as all 3 D3 cities put together
<+Reflections_Robin> It's big anyway, bigger than we were expecting it to turn out
<@QT_TheVirus> driver_madness asked, "Why don't Reflections spend a lot of time on the Atari forums?"
<+Reflections_Robin> I read Neoseeker, Atari community, IGN and Gamespot forums every day. I don't post however.
<+Reflections_Jack> Yep, we're on the ATARI forums quite a lot, but we mostly just lurk. But we do read all the wish list threads and so on.
<+Reflections_Robin> So yes, we know who you are
<+Reflections_Robin> We don't post because it's very easy for people to misconstrue what you say, and to drag you into flame wars
<@QT_TheVirus> Lungbutter asks, "Will they allow the users to upload/input custom paint jobs to vehicles? If not for the console versions, what about the PC version?"
<+Reflections_Gareth> Firstly - there is no PC version. Driver is really a console game, and plays much better as a console game. Custom paint jobs - the player can take any car off the street and then apply custom paintjobs in the mod garages. There are lots to chose from, including body kits, wings etc. You can also add nitro, engine performance upgrades, etc etc
<+Reflections_Robin>There's no online support at all, so downloading / uploading paint jobs isn't in the game
<+Reflections_Robin>Though it's a good idea
<@QT_TheVirus> honey asked, "Has the damage model been modified and become more detailed?"
<+Reflections_Jack> The vehicle damage system was one aspect of D3 that we were very pleased with, so that's one area that's broadly the same as Driver3
<+Reflections_Robin> Yes, it's pretty much the same as D3
<+Reflections_Robin> The cars explode a lot better now though
<+Reflections_Gary> And as the focus is much more on driving, you'll see a lot more of it!
<@QT_TheVirus> D_River asks, "Will there be boats?"
<+Reflections_Robin> No boats
<+Reflections_Robin> No swimming either
<+Reflections_Robin> But you don't die if you fall in water
<+Reflections_Craig> Yup the game is much more focused on its strenghts 'driving' we pulled out anything that was just fluff (like boats).
<@QT_TheVirus> DowJones asked, "Will Driver 4 or possible future installments will feature a dashboard cam view?"
<@Reflections_Robin> About the dash-cam - It's not something we consider really
<@QT_TheVirus> honey asked, "Can you say something about the increased interaction with the game environment - what makes the city interesting to drive around and try out?"
<+Reflections_Jack> The city is much more interactive this time because all the mini games races, survival games and so on are hidden ariund every corner. D4 has no front end like D3 - everything is triggered within the game itself.
<@QT_TheVirus> Also, just to reiterate, we are receiving your questions but not all of them can be answered. Our QTs are trying to pick the best questions to get the best responses and the best information from Reflections.
<@QT_TheVirus> i_am_the_wheelman asked, "Are you gonna have a story mode and free mode? Or is it gonna be going through the city to find missions?"
<+Reflections_Gareth> Story mode / minigames (side missions) and free roam are all integrated into the world. The game loads up when you boot up, and then you are free to do whatever you like in the world - progress the story, play side missions for cash, or just free roam
<@QT_TheVirus> honey asked, "Have you banned the unfair mission design - in D3 it wasn't possible to push Calita's car away from the precalculated route or to overtake... - there weren't any different possibilites to finish a driving mission?"
<+Reflections_Craig> We've made some major overhauls to our AI so it is alot more responsive to the players actions, it finds its own route and is different everytime.
<@Reflections_Robin> Yes, the AI is much improved over D3, much more fair
<+Reflections_Gary> As well as chases, the new vehicle Ai can handle streetraces, circuit races and demolition derbys
<+Reflections_Gareth> and it doesnt fail you when the car you are chasing is just out of sight
<@Reflections_Robin> The cops are also a lot more interesting too
<@QT_TheVirus> honey asked, "Has the topspeed of cars been increased? - in D3 even the sport cars have been very slow."
<@Reflections_Robin> Cars can travel up to 145mph now. You'll need to mod them to reach that speed.
<@QT_TheVirus> Brok asked, "Are there any small touches like steaming sewer covers, flying hubcaps, lighting effects that you are particularly proud of?"
<+Reflections_Jack> We have a completely new system for creating particle effects for the game which gives much more control to the artists... this has let us create far more and much better looking effects compared to D3.
<+Reflections_Gareth> Generally, graphically, the game is a big improvement over D3. We have far more cars, more effects, more detail in the nevironments. Much more going on
<@Reflections_Robin> Yep, steam vents, fire hydrants, etc. The city looks much more alive
<@QT_TheVirus> aV09s asked, "How have the motorcycle physics improved from D3 to PL, like, is it actually possible to LAND without falling off this time around?"
<+Reflections_Jack> The bike handling has changed a lot - i played D3 for the first time in ages the other night and was amazed how annoying the bikes were... they're *much* better now, my favourite vehicles in D4!
<+Reflections_Gareth> They are also really fast as well !
<+Reflections_Gareth> WHne you mod them
<@Reflections_Robin> Just on effects again - the morning sun borders on physically blinding, any complaints, Jack's responsible
<+Reflections_Gary> Driving through heavy traffic, in New York, on a bike, at 145mph is fantastic
<@Reflections_Robin> Yeah, bikes are my favourite vehicle
<@QT_TheVirus> D_River asked, "How do you choose between 1978 and 2006?"
<+Reflections_Gareth> You can only 'choose' when you have finished the game. The era that you are playing in is driven by the story. The press has covered this by now, but the first half of the game is about working your way up the criminal hierarchy of 70's NYC. The second is all about revenge, after a length stint in sing sing
<@QT_TheVirus> aV09s asked, "How long is the day/night cycle in Parallel Lines and what improvements have been made to the detail in the sky like clouds, stars, etc.?"
<+Reflections_Jack> We have a real time day night cycle, with the sky and lighting constantly changing colour to suit the time. the clouds drift accross the sky all changing colour too.
<+Reflections_Jack> we've talked a lot about stars... we *could* have them, but in New York you really can't see any stars!
<+Reflections_Craig> The day/night cycle lasts about 24 minutes, one minute per hour
<@Reflections_Robin> There's no weather in the game, think someone asked that in a similar question
<+Reflections_Gary> There's a cheat mode to speed up the cycle
<@Reflections_Robin> We've put a lot of effort into the day / night cycle, the sunsets and sunrises especially look superb
<@Reflections_Robin> And the shadows alter in real-time too
<@QT_TheVirus> driver_madness asked, "Will there be a stats feature which tells you how many people you run over and how long you've played it for? Have you been thinking about adding one?"
<+Reflections_Craig> We don't have stats for knocking over peds, but we do have stats for all the other areas of the game, circuit racers, no of cars, best times etc etc
<@Reflections_Robin> There's a mileometer which keeps track of your total mileage in all vehicles
<+Reflections_Craig> yeah if you clock enough miles it might just unlock something!
<+Reflections_Gary> Perfect times are awarded for the races, and shown on the stats screen if achieved
<@Reflections_Robin> But we don't tell you what they are, you have to get good and find out
<@QT_TheVirus> Brok asked, "About the Film Director- will it appear in any form in the game other than the thrill cam?"
<+Reflections_Gareth> So the Film director has been dropped, but for very good reasons
<+Reflections_Gareth> firstly, whilst it is a cool feature, and loved by many hardcore fans
<+Reflections_Gareth> its infact a huge drain on the resources of the console, and compromises the game in many ways
<+Reflections_Gareth> for Driver PL we decided that gameplay was absolutely paramount, so we dropped in favour of<+Reflections_Gareth> more vehicles in the environment, no pop up / draw in of vehicles / better AI etc etc. It allows us a lot of scope for other improvements.
<@Reflections_Robin> FD also adds a *lot* of development effort
<@Reflections_Robin> We reckoned the stuff we've put in instead will be seen by more people and add much more to the overall game experience
<+Reflections_Craig> Vice city didn't have a replay feature for a good reason
<@Reflections_Robin> The FD can't just be 'bolted on' either, the whole game has to be designed around it being there.
<@QT_TheVirus> Brok asked, "If Bullit and Steve McQueen inspired the original driver- what would you say inspired Parallel Lines?"
<+Reflections_Craig> These films have are still at the heart of D:PL they inspired D1 and we still take inspiration from it now
<@QT_TheVirus> driver_madness asked, "If I create a fansite, what legal issues should I be aware of if I want to host mods, vids, etc?"
<+Reflections_Gareth> ok, so you can have anything that is already public domain. And you can take your own screenshots and vids from the game as you like.
<+Reflections_Gareth> music is only licensed for the game and its platforms though. As its got no online support, hosting mods isnt possible
<@QT_TheVirus> Bring asked, "Can you tell us about the guns, specifically the sniper rifle?"
<+Reflections_Jack> although there's no sniper rifle in the game, there are plenty of weapons, and all of them can be fired in a sniper style, "careful aim" mode. We have the classic D3 grenade launcher, as well as a new rocket launcher... but you have to earn it =]
<@Reflections_Robin> You can fire any weapon out of any vehicle as well
<@QT_TheVirus> Brok asked, "Is the soundtrack for the old driver games available and will there be one for this game as well?"
<+Reflections_Craig> shooting out of your car is a really awesome new feature in D;PL
<+Reflections_Gareth> There are soundtracks available for Drivers 2 and 3. Driver: PL will have a soundtrack available as well.
<+Reflections_Gareth> the music in the game is a very big deal, loads of licensed classic 70s tracks
<+Reflections_Gareth> plus loads of modern stuff in the 06 part of the game too.
<+Reflections_Gareth> also there are a few suprises with some exclusive collaborations and so on.
<+Reflections_Gareth> We can do some interesting things with the music across the eras, and I am sure it will be loved.
<+Reflections_Gareth> Driver 1 sound track - it was written aby Alistair Brimble - I saw
<+Reflections_Gareth> someone noted that on the forum yesterday. I havent spoken to him for a long time though
<@QT_TheVirus> GetawayMan asked, "How many modifications for cars will there be?"
<+Reflections_Jack> there are over 80 standard vehicles in the game just on the streets, and most of these have about 4 modded versions, so there are literally hundreds of cars to collect in total. You have to earn them all tho, which could take a very long time...
<@Reflections_Robin> Mechanically, there are engine upgrades, springs and dampers, ride height, downforce, plus extras like bulletproof tyres and glass.
<@Reflections_Robin> There's a sort of 'GT-lite' part tuning test track with sliders for each part to allow you to tweak the handling.
<@QT_TheVirus> That concludes our question portion. If the others return we would like the Reflections folks to talk about anything they'd like... maybe answer some questions that SHOULD have been asked
<@QT_TheVirus> Reflections_Robin: If you want to talk about anything while you're here, go for it.
<@Reflections_Robin> No-one has mentioned the on-foot stuff, does anyone have any quesitons on that?
<@QT_TheVirus> I do!
<@QT_TheVirus> Actually, I don't
<@QT_TheVirus> Feel free to talk about it Reflections_Robin
<@Reflections_Robin> We completely overhauled the on-foot controls from D3. It's more intuitive (left stick move, right stick camera), and fluid
<@Reflections_Robin> We've spent a lot of time making sure that all the criticisms levelled at D3's on-foot controls and aiming were listened to and put right
<@Reflections_Robin> There's no sprint button
<@Reflections_Robin> And no jump
<+Reflections_Craig> The main focus is driving but the new controls are much quicker and easier to get used too, you alays need to be able to jack a car!
<@Reflections_Robin> but crouch is much more useful
<@Reflections_Robin> There's also a limited melee attack
<+Reflections_Craig> Gareth do you want to answer the questions on ratings?
<+Reflections_Gareth> Ratings - It will be Mature Rated in the US
<+Reflections_Gareth> With lots of descriptors
<+Reflections_Gareth> Partial nudity
<+QT_Alex> ^^ the best
<@QT_TheVirus> Woo hoo
<+Reflections_Gareth> Strong language
<@Reflections_Robin> there is one scene of partial nudity in an FMV.
<@Reflections_Robin> It's not a game full of nudes
<@Reflections_Robin> But the game story necessitated the rating. Anything less and it would have looked weak, like trying to make Pulp Fiction into a teen film.
<@QT_TheVirus> Is there anything else that you would like to add Gareth?
<@QT_TheVirus> About anything in general?
<+Reflections_Gareth> What else to add -
<+Reflections_Gareth> Well, its coming in March,
<+Reflections_Gareth> Its on PS2 and Xbox
<@QT_TheVirus> Is there a difference between the Xbox/PS2 versions?
<+Reflections_Gareth> Visually the Xbox version looks better with higher res tectures
<+Reflections_Gareth> more specular effects
<+Reflections_Gareth> and generally more flash, but they are essentially the same game
<@QT_TheVirus> Is there anything in the rumor mill that you would like to smash here and now?
<@QT_TheVirus> Maybe something that's been floating around that is/is not true?
<@Reflections_Robin> Noted another couple of questions:
<@Reflections_Robin> You will die if you fall about 2 stories
<@Reflections_Robin> And you take damage when you crash heavily, but not a lot
<@QT_TheVirus> A few unanswered questions were, "what is your favorite part of PL", "Have the forums influenced the music at all", "Will Reflections get their own Driver forum", "Can you travel by bus/train"
<@Reflections_Robin> The forums haven't influenced the music choice
<+Reflections_Gareth> Forums influencing music - Unfortunately it takes an awful long time to negotiate the licenses on tracks, so much of it was done before the game was announced.
<@Reflections_Robin> You can steal a bus, but you can't just travel on one.
<+Reflections_Gareth> you can drive buses
<+Reflections_Craig> And shoot from them
<+Reflections_Jack> My favourite part of the game is tearing around on a fully modded sports bike with nitros =)
<@Reflections_Robin> The only interaction you can have with a train is if it smacks you and smashes your vehicle to pieces
<@Reflections_Robin> There is a school bus you can steal. No children though.
<@QT_TheVirus> If there's nothing else the Reflections folk have to say then I'd like to thank everyone for joining us and a big thanks to them for coming here.
<@QT_TheVirus> If you would all look under your chairs right now, you should find a coupon good for a free copy of Driver 4 when it's released.
<+Reflections_Gareth> We gotta get to bed so we can finish the game off. Thanks for joining us.
<+QT_Romodred> It's late O'clock there.
<@QT_Interman> those that have missed out on parts of the chat or just want to read it all again, stop by gamershell.com and check out the log there
<+Reflections_Craig> Thansk everyone and please keep posting on the forums, we do read them. Cheers Craig
<@Reflections_Robin> Thanks all for coming
<@QT_TheVirus> Thanks again fellas.
<+QT_Romodred> Thanks for joining us!
<@TAP_Gregoj> The official forums can be found at here
<@TAP_Gregoj> Keep an eye out for news on the official site and the Fan Site Kit
<+Reflections_Craig> By the way for whoever it was that asked, Gareth is Martins brother.
<+Reflections_Jack> No, that's Garth
<@Reflections_Robin> That's him, Garth Edmontson
<@QT_TheVirus> Where's Wayne?
<@TAP_Gregoj> Also keep your eyes out for another chat like this one, coming soon!