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David Prassel on ORION: Prelude feature

David Prassel on ORION: Prelude

  • David Prassel on ORION: Prelude
  • Spiral Game Studios is working on ORION: Prelude, a fast-paced, first person shooter with a heavy emphasis on team-based, multiplayer play. We sat down with David Prassel, Project Director for Orion, and discuss ORION's progress, challenges and more.
Spiral Game Studios is working on ORION: Prelude, a fast-paced, first person shooter with a heavy emphasis on team-based, multiplayer play. We sat down with David Prassel, Project Director for Orion, and discuss ORION's progress, challenges and more.

Hooked Gamers: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions today David. To get this started, how about you tell us what ORION: Prelude is all about and what genre it falls under.

David Prassel: ORION: Prelude is a fast-paced, retro-inspired First-Person Shooter. It encompasses feature sets that no hard core gamer could resist, including: interactive dinosaurs, multiple levels of vehicular combat, cooperative modes and competitive gameplay.

Hooked Gamers: How exactly did this idea come about?

David Prassel: Back in the late 90’s, I was a HUGE gamer. The PC market ignited with titles such as Quake 2 CTF, Starsiege: Tribes, early renditions of Counter-Strike, StarCraft, the first Unreal Tournament – it was an incredible time for the gaming industry. I also was part of the “grouped” gaming phenomenon, or “clans” which really complimented team work elements and strategy. All of this factored in to when I sat down and started designing the ORION game series – and it will be extremely apparent.

Hooked Gamers: What Novels, movies, or games have influenced the creation of this game?

David Prassel: The games listed above were extremely large influences. There were other smaller ones, and do I dare even say Halo 1? In terms of movies, District 9 became a larger influence later on in development in terms of presentation, cinematic feel and overall grittiness. Another Peter Jackson film also became extremely helpful in regards to the Dinosaur element, which was his King Kong adaptation.

Hooked Gamers: What are the two sides and how different are their game play styles?

David Prassel: The two main sides in the game are the Carriers (the humans) and the Altair (the aliens). In terms of novelty and story lore - they are extremely different. But in terms of multiplayer game play, the changes between the two are minimal due to the retro-nature of the game and the competitive style of balancing the two. Think of them as the Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist from Counter-Strike.

In games with two distinct (and very different) teams and abilities, you often get a handful of players that are put on a team that they don’t enjoy and complain. Our biggest focus is the gameplay experience and the player-to-player combat and experience. The biggest difference you’ll see is simply aesthetic.

Hooked Gamers: So how exactly do you balance dinosaurs and humans? It must be difficult for the dinosaurs to catch up to and kill humans that have guns and jetpacks.

David Prassel: We’ve actually implemented systems that have pros and cons for each item in relation to the Dinosaur system.

For example, the T-Rex has horrible vision and a narrow line of sight. However, his sense of hearing is off the charts. Let’s say that you are the ‘Assault’ class which comes bundled with our infamous Jetpack. You need to be smart about when to activate these around the T-Rex as if you do it at the wrong time it would mean certain death. Upon ignition of the jetpack, the combination of the blue flare and the high-pitch squeal of the jetpack will automatically alert a nearby T-Rex of your exact position and pretty much make you a locked target.

You’ll notice in the EuroGamer Technology demonstration that they didn’t jetpack until the very end. A lot of responses we get are “why didn’t they just jetpack right away?”. The answer is simply you won’t want to if you are near a T-Rex – or unless you have no other option as it was in the trailer.