Indiana Jones makes a welcome return in LucasArts' latest opus, Indiana Jones
And The Infernal Machine. The last time we saw Indy in a game was The Fate
Of Atlantis, an exceptional adventure game along the same lines as Monkey
Island. This time around Indy has traded in the point-and-click experience
for non-stop action and problem solving, much like Lara Croft and the Indy-inspired
Tomb Raider. With whip, pistols, grenades, satchel charges and bazookas,
Indy sets forth on a globetrotting adventure centered around the mysterious Tower
of Babel. You won't have any Nazis to kick around in this adventure as they've
been traded in for Cold War Soviets, but you can expect a ton of monsters and
other creatures to impede your progress. Featuring a great-looking 3D engine,
deep story line and atmospheric gameplay, Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine
may very well give Lara Croft a run for her money. In anticipation of the release
we spoke with Hal Barwood, project leader of the game, and pried out of him as
many details as possible.
what the heck is an Infernal Machine?
It's a gateway between worlds, housed in what we've come to know as the Tower
of Babel. Marduk, the god of ancient Babylon, inspired King Nebuchadnezzar II
to build it, hoping to extend his domain across the boundaries of space and
time. But when the King's men fired it up, lightning bolts sprouted, tremors
shook the earth, and the terrified citizens of Babylon tore the place down.
Four disciples escaped with some of the parts and were scattered to the four
corners of the globe ... just waiting for someone like Indy to come along and
dig them up.
Comparisons to Tomb Raider will be inevitable. What do you
feel are the gameplay elements that help Indy advance the genre?
I don't feel comfortable making comparisons with other games. We offer a unique
experience to game players -- a rip-snorting adventure that is built upon an
exciting tale, featuring a character who's smart and tough. There's nothing
else out there quite like it.
Did George Lucas have any input on the game, in story or gameplay?
Well, he certainly inspired it by creating our hero, the savvy treasure hunter
and cool tough guy who knows how to respond when he gets cornered. The story
of The Infernal Machine and the game itself originated here at LucasArts
with me and Team Jones.
Did you create an entirely new graphics engine for Indy or has it
appeared in previous LucasArts games in one form or another?
Well we did, and not entirely by design. Paul LeFevre, our lead programmer,
started out by adapting the Jedi Knight engine to feature a third person
point of view. Having a roadmap to 3D code was very helpful, but eventually
he and his group were forced to rewrite many, many modules. The lighting model,
collision, rendering, the tools, you name it. The changes were so extensive
that the code turned into the Jones engine.
Indy was announced officially way back in May of '98. What's
taken so long to get the game out the door?
Welcome to realtime 3D. 3D level design, 3D programming, 3D animation, texturing,
music and sound, scripting, and system programming all absorb a lot of time.
What are some of the locations players can expect to visit?
Indy's always been a footloose adventurer, and we carry his tendency to extremes
in this game by sending him all the way around the world. The locations are
exotic, ranging from desert dig sites to snow-clad mountain monasteries and
the tropical splendor of volcanic islands.
I'm curious where the game fits into the timeline of Indiana Jones. Does it take place before or after Raiders, and will we see some familiar
We're breaking into new territory with this game, the first instance when our
fictional character ventures past World War II and finds himself in the early
days of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
What are some of the actions that Indiana Jones can perform?
Just about everything. He runs and jumps, climbs and crawls, swims, swings on
his whip, handles a lot of heavy weaponry.
How interactive will the environment be?
The level designers and I don't look upon our environments as mere scenery,
so the interactivity is vivid. In addition to exploring every cranny to discover
the mysteries, Indy can grapple with the world, pushing and shoving things out
of his way, writing on walls, traveling in several vehicles.
What kind of opposition can Indy expect to be faced with?
Hordes of Soviet guards and soldiers and the Speznaz, the Russian version of
our special forces, plus a wide variety of vermin and furred beasts. Eventually,
in the grand tradition of Jones adventures, the world becomes weird, and the
enemies do too. On top of that, each machine part is guarded by a fiendish boss
Will there be any kind of multiplayer support? If so, what will it be? If
We started out with multiplayer in mind, we built multiplayer into the engine,
and we started to develop several multiplayer arenas. But we finally realized
that the multiplayer option added too much complexity to adequately test, and
opted to throw our limited manpower into the single player game. I'm still interested
in multiplayer ... maybe someday on another project.
It's probably a given that we'll be hearing John Williams' original Raiders
score, but have you recorded new music especially for the game?
With the exception of the Raiders theme, all the spellbinding exotic
music, some 130 different pieces, is original ... composed and performed by
Who are some of the voice actors and what have they done in the past?
Doug Lee plays Indy, Tasia Valenza is Sophia Hapgood, Indy's slightly unreliable
ally, Bruce McGill plays the C.I.A. agent Simon Turner, and Victor Raider-Wexler
plays Gennadi Volodnikov, the near-sighted Russian genius who first discovered
the true nature of the Tower of Babel. Doug Lee also played Indy in an earlier
game we did, Fate of Atlantis. Bruce McGill has appeared as a character
actor in many films, including Animal House and My Cousin Vinny.
What kind of historical research was required and how did it fit into the
game, in terms of architecture and such?
We just have books of every description spilling out of our offices and cubicles.
Luckily, LucasFilm Ltd. maintains a world-class movie research library, and
Bill Tiller, our lead artist, was able to take advantage of it. So our fictional
world is grounded in fact whenever possible, but we never felt we should be
limited by anything we could read in a book.
How many total hours of gameplay can players expect?
Not sure. I first played through several months ago when the game was unplayable,
and that feat cost me 72 hours. It's a lot smoother experience now, but the
game is huge and varied. However long it takes, I believe most people will finish
well before they tire of the engrossing world they've stepped into!