We recently caught up with Alexander Chigorin of Boolat to find out more about their racing title Lagsters which is still in development and due for release some time in the next few months.First of all can you tell us about yourself and Boolat?My name is Alexander Chigorin. I work in Boolat since its foundation. At the moment I am responsible for the “Lagsters” project. As for our company, I can say that in the beginning it was just a team of friends, like-minded persons. We were doing what we like to do – developing computer games. Now, thanks to the Alexeyev Alexey, Boolat Director, and our whole team we are a growing and firmly established company that is involved in computer games business. And we’re doing it in professional way.Some of your level designs look like internal organs. Are there living obstacles in these levels or is this just the ‘style’ of the game?Yes, there are some organic routes in the game and their design produces sense of moving inside something alive. However, not many people involved in a race’s turmoil will be able to notice that some parts move, pulsate producing sense of a live organism.Are there any other racing games that have helped influence the development team when making Lagsters and what’s your favorite racer?To the games, which had an influence on “Lagsters”, we name “Ballistics”, “NFS”, ” Roll Cage” and “Extreme G2”. But this influence isn’t towards the copying of idea, but towards the using experience of other games.How did you choose the name “Lagsters”?Choose a name for the game was not an easy task. From one side it should be a name for the arcade racer; from the other side it should follow the common, fun game style. A great number of names were proposed but they all didn’t suit us. “Lagsters” was convenient for all.The names you have for weapons are humorous. Who thought of the names?Akimushkin Stanislav, a game-designer of “Lagsters”, thought out all variants of English names in the game. All of them are cool and easy to remembe. We hope all these names will be saved in all the game’s localizations.I read the “Inner” page at your website and I was confused. It sounds like you are saying “the graphics engine is good, but it’s not what makes the game good.” Is that correct?Yes, it’s true. The graphic engine is just a way, which helps our artistes and designers to show at a screen everything what is appeared in their imagination, to dip a player into the inner life of the game. The game itself is not just a picture on a screen; first of all it’s fascination of game process, a great number of small points, which makes it so pleasant.Since many RC cars have a gamepad-like controller will people have to use a gamepad to play Lagsters and what device would you advise gamers to play the game with?At the moment, the game supports such input devices as mouse and keyboard. But we intend to implement wheel and joystick support. This will improve both driving and shooting experience for the player.How different are the vehicles and handling? Can you give us an example?In Total there are 8 cars in the game, all with different design, game characteristics and handling. For example, 4b-dden looks like a self-made, rusty four-wheel drive vehicle with a few weapons slots and little carrying capability. Owing to high road clearance it’s well driven on tracks and can easily run over small hills without any problems, in contrast to Torquer, for example.When players obtain the FewRee car will they be able to win every race or will the difficulty increase because they have the fastest car available?Speed is not all you need to win in our game. If you choose FewRee, you won’t have any chance against the firepower of such monster as SLUG. But if you can drive really fast and if you are sure of your driving skills – go ahead, turn on the booster and race past the SLUG, and be sure to slip away from SLUG’s firepower.Do weapons play a large part in winning races and how do players acquire them?It all depends on the way you choose to play the game. If you want to succeed in finishing first, you don’t need to carry too many weapons. But if you are a scrap-lover, well, you need complete armament. In tournament mode, all available weapons can be found in the store; in Quick race mode weapons will be available on Armored pipers.How many players will be able to race together in network mode?Up to 8 players can be added in multiplayer games.Does the network mode include Internet play or just LAN play? If there’s not Internet play do you plan on adding it before release, after release or not at all?Internet multiplayer is also available. But we didn’t focus much on this feature. We can only say that game will work on broadband Internet connections; volume of transmitted data is quite large and that may lead to lags in multiplayer games with big number of players. We’ll definitely improve multiplayer mode in future.The game looks pretty intense in the visuals department, have you worked out system specs for release yet?The game is packed with various objects and with all visual FX enabled (shadows, dynamic lightning) it requires at least GeForce3 video card or higher. Still, you can tune video quality/game speed ratio by disabling some video features and get the playable FPS on GeForce2 MX.Can you tell us about each multiplayer mode, Last Man Driving, Fox and Hounds and Divided Glory.In the Last Man Standing mode the race will continue until only one player without penalties can stay on the track for at least 30 seconds. Penalty is given when the player is killed, and cleared when the player crosses finish line. At the beginning all players are in the equal conditions, with just one penalty. As for the Fox and Hounds mode, this is where the race is on until Fox will not pass all the laps, the number of which is determined in the settings. Hounds should prevent Fox from doing so. Fox is randomly chosen at the beginning of the race. The hound, which makes fatal damages to the Fox, becomes the Fox. In Divided Glory mode players are separated into two teams, the aim for one team is to pass definite number of laps while the other team should collect a necessary number of scraps.The website says “Early 2004” for a release date. Can you be more specific? What regions will the game be released in?The game will be available in Russian stores in spring 2004. As for other countries, we are settling this question at the moment.Will Lagsters be a PC-only game and do you plan on releasing a demo?Only PC version of “Lagsters” is available at the moment, but are working hard to port it to other platforms. Public demo will be available this spring and we hope that you will enjoy it a lot!Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the game? Cool features and what makes this game stand out from the crowd?”Lagsters” differs from other games by the racing process itself. The player is given a choice: either to earn his victory by hunting, or by racing. If you like racing – you’ll get high-speed adrenaline. If you like hunting – you’ll get a huge set of weapons. And, of course, I should notice that the game has a very specific physics for the races – it is more than just “different” from real-world races, and it also gives a s**y game play.