Can you give us a quick overview of the story?
Answer In the year 2007, the US government successfully deploys a probe designed to prove the existence of a parallel universe. Minutes into the mission, an intelligent life form damages the probe. On Earth, an unforeseen backlash of energy is created by this action and the result is a black hole, which threatens the very existence of our planet. You are Cutter Slade, US Navy S.E.A.L. Commander, charged with the safety of the three scientists who have been chosen to travel to this new world, Adelpha. Your mission: face the dangers of a mysterious and hostile world in order to recover the probe and close the black hole. The Earth's destiny is in your hands.
Q: What's the one most important thing you want gamers to know about Outcast?
Answer: Outcast does not ride in the crowd. Outcast is different from what you have seen before. If you want something fresh and innovative, play Outcast.
Q: To which game would you compare Outcast, if you had to? Can it be compared?
Answer: Very difficult to compare it with another game. It mainly belongs to the Action-Adventure genre, but that's it. We designed Outcast with the only willingness to create a "dramatically interesting virtual world". This means you are part of a story (dramatically) taking place in a world, which evolves constantly. You are taken by the story, have short and long term goals given to you at every moment. We tried to make it a "as real as possible world" which means it needs to be and remain coherent during the whole gaming experience.
Q: Does the name of the game reflect your hopes for the game's impact in the gaming world?
Answer: This is true, the game is 'Outcast' because it is so very different from the others. Plus we moved away from all trends, easy fashions and hypes of the industry. We do take responsibility for this.
Q: How long do you expect the average gamer will take to finish the game?
Answer: A long, long time. Over 50 hours for sure. Plus there is a huge difference between reaching the end of the game and completing all quests.
Q: How scripted or linear is the story? If you played the game through again after just completing it, will you have the exact same experience?
Answer: First of all the story is really non linear. You have the 'main quests' you need to complete in the order you want, and many sub-quests you are not forced to complete to finish the game. Now, if you play again, the experience will differ from the attitude you adopt in the game (people will react differently if you have been a 'Good Ulukaï' or a bad one...), But nothing is random, and every NPC in this game follows his life cycle.
Q: Are there any extra incentives (difficulty levels, Easter eggs) to entice gamers to play finish it more than once?
Answer: Rewards in Outcast are not based on difficulty. We do have Easter eggs. Now in terms of replay value the size of the game, the number of sub quests and the different strategies you can come with to solve a problem make the game a true rewarding experience.
Q: Are there enough NPC models to make it not feel as if you have seen the same guy over and over?
Answer: How about 1050? Will that be enough?
Q: How would you explain how your Game Artificial Intelligence with Actors (GAIA) works?
Answer: GAIA is a multi-agent based AI system that controls all NPCs behavior. For each character there are several agents, working at a single task level that can interact to determine the behavior of the character. The more primitive agents you create, the more complex the emergent behavior can be, and it is exponential. It is like giving the chance to a character of doing something complex that will only happen in a favorable context by describing that "something" via single primitives and conditions. These primitives can be "I am hungry when I have not eaten for a long time" or "I am curious of new things," or "I want to protect my life" or "Loud sounds may mean danger". Then depending on the in game context as well as its previous experiences, each character will adapt its behavior to any changes and will take decisions accordingly.
Q: Outcast definitely has a unique "look" to it. Was it something that was focused upon in development?
Answer: We wanted to escape the typical dark and gloomy corridors featured in most games. We needed something brighter bigger, an exotic universe looking alive.
Q: Outcast seems to focus more upon outdoor environments, was this decided upon from the beginning? Are there any disadvantages working outdoors?
Answer: Definitely. Outcast was designed because we wanted to make it play outdoors. It gives the player a lot more freedom, the drawback is that it is a lot more difficult to canalize the structure of events since in Outcast the player can go everywhere he wants.
Q: The screenshots of Outcast show some stunning panoramas and unique external views. Will it also make significant use of complex interiors? In which ways will the worlds differ from each other?
Answer: In Outcast there are cities with buildings you can enter. Nevertheless most interiors are generally not too complex since we wanted to focus on the outdoors to give the game another feeling from what one gets in the Quake like games...Now, the 'worlds' in Outcast are in fact different regions of the same planet. The inhabitants of each region do not dress the same or have the same activities but they speak the same language. Some cities are 'under siege', some regions are highly civilized, other are wild and dangerous. The architecture is different depending on the region..
Q: You'll be offering both 1st and 3rd person views. People have said that 1st and 3rd person games play significantly differently. In Outcast do you expect that both views will be used in different situations or have you found that people prefer to use one view throughout?
Answer: We have found that most people use 3rd person during the whole game except when they need to use a very specific weapon or when they need to precisely position the character for putting an object in a specific spot. Otherwise it seems that most people enjoy seeing their character on screen and get a more strategic positioning using 3rd person. Of course it is a question of taste too. I'd say that as you play a character with a strong personality who can dialog with other people, you prefer having him on screen.
Q: Are there any type of movies to push the story forward? [Pre-rendered or in game]
Answer: The intro is pre-rendered, then, you'll have 'non-interactive sequences' made with the game engine to push the story. Some of them take place in specific places, some others do happen 'anywhere possible' in the game. But all those are 'blended in' the game so that there is no 'cut' in the action.
Q: Does the game use any type of 3d audio in Outcast?
Answer: Yes, we support Direct X 3D audio sound and EAX (Environmental Audio Extension) for the sound blaster live for example...
Q: Is there a heavy emphasis being placed on character development? Are you perhaps looking to make a franchise out of this?
Answer: We'll see in the future. You cannot really forecast this and the games that tried to do it from scratch with only this in mind did not succeed just because the games got to be good first, and that is precisely what we are working on. Having this character transforming into a valuable franchise would be the icing on the cake.
Q: How well does this game really run on a P200 MMX? I mean your pulling off so many advanced 3d effects with software only.
Answer: Well, do not expect to be able to play with the maximum level of detail with a P200 MMX. Nevertheless we think that the experience is appreciable.
Q: Will Outcast be editable or come with any tools? If not, will I be able to edit it with, i.e. 3D Studio 2?
Answer: No, this is simply not possible. We have in-house tools for editing certain parts of Outcast, but we will not release them. And if we use 3D studio for modeling the terrain altitudes, creating the textures and all the other information needed is made using other in house or commercial software. It's only one tool among other ones in a complex production process. Anyway, the depth of the scenario, interactions, animations, production process makes it impossible to be freely edited by non-programmers. And I don't speak about the AI...you would need to learn an entirely original language to be able to make the characters behave the way you want.
Q: Is it true that there is going to be a Dreamcast version of Outcast? If so, what (if anything) will be different about it? When can we expect it?
Answer: Yes, it's true. You can expect it at the Dreamcast launch in Europe sometimes in quarter 1 2000. It will be different from the PC version for many reasons and in many aspects due to the difference of platform but I think we will manage to keep the quality of the original Outcast.
Q: Are there any plans of supporting 3D hardware, maybe in a later patch?
Answer: Maybe, the Dreamcast development may give birth to such a patch (as Dreamcast uses DirectX for its 3D hardware interface)
installation locks up part way through! What can I do?
launch the game but after loading I get dropped to my desktop! How can
I fix that? Did you choose 3D sound as an option?
Answer: For cards with the Aureal 3D 2 chipset (Diamond Monster sound cards, Turtle Beach Montego/Montego II, Terra tec Xlerate etc) You probably need to backtrack to older drivers (not really recommended, however) Try switching 3D sound off, and see if it works that way. If not, you might use 4.06.2035 Aureal A3D reference drivers from http://www.aureal.com/download/do_driv.htm
Q: My intro video won't play. What's going on?
Answer: Update your Microsoft Media Player to version 6.1 It is available as an option during installation of the game. Re-install the game and choose Yes to install Direct Media.
start the game and hear sounds, but the screen stays black. How can I
Answer: Prior to starting or loading a game, go to the options screen and choose Framed mode. This has mostly been found to be the case on ATI cards, but it has fixed others.
Q: My graphics are all glitchy and different pieces of the screen bounce around. How can I fix that?
Answer: Have you checked to see if you have Framed mode AND Cinemascope checked on? There is no reason to have both checked. Use one or the other, not both.
sounds are missing or looping while playing. How can I fix that?
Answer: Check to make sure your sound drivers are updated. If they are, then disable the 3D sound option prior to starting or loading your game.
|GAME PLAY QUESTIONS|
|Q: Can Cutter
carry as much as he wants or does he have a weight limit or something?
Answer: Yes, Cutter Slade has this fantastic backpack he can virtually put in any object he wants to. This miniaturization backpack allows you to collect and store a great number of assorted objects by shrinking them with the use of nanotechnology as they are placed inside. His high tech military device is given to Cutter as part of the equipment as he is leaving Earth.
Q: Tell us about the weapons. Does Cutter Slade bring them with him or does he get them in Adelpha? I heard they can be upgraded, how so?
Answer: You have a weapon from start and that you will collect (or buy) 5 new ones throughout the game. Concerning the upgrades you can buy some of them, but you also have some people that may help you repair or enhance your weapons with local recipes.
Q: Can you employ NPCs to accompany and help you? Will you actually be able to tell them what to do?
Answer: In certain cases in the game, yes, it does happen. But generally those guys don't like to be taken in your fights and will run away if they feel their life is in danger, so you won't be able to use them as shields... But at certain moments in the game, you can ask the help of some people who come with you to help you for something (repairing some stuff, healing someone, etc...)
Q: How does the economy in Outcast work? How exactly does Cutter Slade obtain money?
Answer: You can gain money by helping people (they will give you money for the service), bring them things they need for their job (certain plants, uncommon objects), or you can steal it in the soldiers camps, and sometimes even find some treasures in wild areas.
Concerning the economy, there is a high level simulation of it; so that for example if you convince the farmers to stop harvesting the fields, or you stop the armed food convoys, the soldiers will be weaker after a while and this will give you an advantage over them.
Q: Shamazaar - Where do I put the essence idols?
Answer: The order is found on the tablet you get from Shamaz Mazum. Do the first three, then the steps will rise at the main temple.
Q: Motazaar - How do I get the 4th jail key?
Answer: These are some of the things that must happen in order to get this key…..
Answer: Three of the booyats are in the Darosham with the flame. Shoot the spinning tablet behind it with your gun in this order: fae -> eluee -> ghanda -> ka. One of the booyats you can buy from Zafar. One of the booyats is with Martigar in the prison Zorkatraz
Q: Okaar - Where are the wooden pipes? How do I use them?
Answer: The circles on the map show where the pipes are to be found:
|HINTS AND TIPS|
can I call for hints and tips for the game?
Answer: You can call our hint line at 1-900-454-HINT and speak to a game counselor between 1pm and 5pm Pacific Standard Time. Calls cost 99¢/minute please ask permission before calling if you are under 18 years old.