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Y-Project ECTS 2002 Report

A hot spot of the ECTS show floor was the developer’s pavilion sponsored by AMD. Nestling in the middle of a various stand positions were Westka Interactive who some of you may know from our previous interview we conducted on Loadedinc. We met up with Westka’s Christoph Kebelitz to find out what the Westka team were up to and to glean more on their much talked about Unreal-powered shooter The Y-Project.Just briefly, in case you didn’t read our interview, The Y-Project is set 200 years in the future where genetic experiments on insects has got slightly out of hand. With the insects now running rampant the humans take refuge inside a glass domed city. The security of the dome is then breached by the insects and humanity is being slowly killed off. It’s up to you to save the human race from the insects. After the city starts to break down two leaders emerge, a scientific leader and a military leader and you’ll choose your allegiance at the start of the game. Fear not though, you will be able to switch sides but more on that later.Christoph kicked off a demo to take us through the game’s game play. The intro sequence took place outside an old mine from the fourth chapter of the final game and looked fantastic with rolling hills and a red foboding sky looming over the industrial complex. There were some serious polys being shifted around and the game engine was having no trouble handling the character and the scenery. In this section of the game, which was near the end of the game, was the key to the genetic mutations. It was time to head inside and take a look around.As we entered the first section Christophe explained they have just recently added the new HUD, more weapons and tools but the AI was still needing tweaking. The HUD was very well laid out, sectioned into different parts for health, energy, power-ups and weapons. There was a surprising amount of information on the screen and it didn’t seem to clutter up the actual play area one bit.In the depths of the mine were numerous creatures. The first we encountered was a fire bug, a sort of huge crawling insect that shot fire and also had a nasty melee attack. The bug was highly detailed and the fire effect from its attack looked very realistic. Once you have dispensed of any opponent in the game you can of course keep firing at it until it’s blown apart for maximum satisfaction.Once we had disposed of the Bug Christophe introduced us to one of the unique features of the Y-Project, ‘Creates’. These items can be picked up from places including the enemy. Every Create has its own special DNA chain and these can be collected and used later on at what’s called a ‘nano centre’ where you can create new weapons, tools or power-ups. Each item or weapon you wish to create with the ‘Creates’ has its own special combination so gamers are going to have to figure out the combinations to get access to the real beefy toys. I really liked this concept, it means you’ll have to use a bit of brain power to figure things out to help you progress. The nano-centres are also communication points with your leader, these communication points will not only help you find out more information on your situation but also help drive the story.Weapons are not the only thing that will aid you in your quest, the Y-Project features a variety of tools that can be added to your inventory, tools such as the radar or hyper-jump will prove very useful. Once you equip a tool you can’t remove it. The game will feature 16 tools overall and you’ll be able to carry a maximum of 10 on your character. This is where the character development comes into play. As mentioned above, the game features two types of characters, a military character or scientist each more adept at some things than others.Choosing your side will also determine which tools are available but players will have to bear in mind that throughout the game you can actually switch sides, so getting the right balance of tools will be a key factor to the game play. Each character type will enable you to solve puzzles in different ways, if you’re aligned to the military you’ll have more heavy weapons and action oriented tools. While the scientific side will offer more puzzle solving and strategic tools. Throughout the game the leaders will try to convince you to switch allegiances and transfer to the other side, so your fate will be very much in your own hands. The NPCs in the game world will also react differently depending on which side you’re on. For example, if you’re on the military side other soldiers will help you and fight along side you and likewise, the comrades of those who choose the scientific side.Westka have also included a weapon upgrade tree so switching sides often will make you more flexible but you’ll have less experience when using certain weapons, getting the balance right will be the game’s challenge. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin. The game features 5 chapters and you can change sides at the start of a chapter and also at various points throughout each chapter.The levels we were being shown were fairly complex with pipes, walkways and ledges. There will be ample room for exploration, which is just as well as there will be different ways and solutions to get out of tricky situations. At one section of the level there was a lake which we had to navigate by finding a way to raise the water and the floating boat it was carrying, of course you’ll have to figure out the puzzle and find the best route to make it to the other side but there was more than one way to make it. The levels will also be dynamically loaded in the background as you move to new sections of the game so no long load times thankfully.The characters and models were highly impressive and Westka have made use of a special bump mapping technique to make all the characters as lifelike as possible with 7 bones in the face alone allowing realistic facial movements by the mouth and eyes of each character.We managed to take a look at a couple of the weapons including the Medusa weapon which turns monsters into stone and the laser rifle which we created at one of the nano-centres using Creates. The Rocket Launcher features a very cool camera which shows the rocket view in the bottom left of the HUD as it rotates towards the target. One impressive gadget was the ‘spying eye’. This little hovering camera can be controlled by the player and flown around a level with the camera view showing in the bottom left of the HUD. The camera runs on your energy so it’s not permanent but will prove useful in a*essing the lay of the land before venturing further.No doubt about it, Y-Project looks like one very involving game. The AI was still a little dodgy in the demo but that’s still to be worked on over the next 6 months. This was definitely one of my top games of this year’s ECTS and looks one of the most interesting action titles still to be released.

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