Paul Wedgwood on Brink

Paul Wedgwood on Brink

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Brink was one of our favorite games during GamesCom. We spoke to Paul Wedgwood to get more background information about the interesting features of this upcoming shooter.

Hooked Gamers: The S.M.A.R.T. system looks to be a godsend to anyone who has ever been frustrated during a game by silly two feet high fences that could not be negotiated in any way. Brink uses 'context' sensitive actions that will let your character jump over a fence just by running towards it. Another great example during the demonstration was the ability to slide under or climb over a security gate based on whether the player is looking up, or down. Do you have any other cool examples of S.M.A.R.T. in action?

Paul Wedgwood on Brink
Paul Wedgwood: Absolutely – let’s start with advanced players. As a skilled player, I can use combos that take into account my velocity, whether or not I’m using the SMART button, and a real-time dynamic trace of the geometry surrounding me. Based on this, the game is able to interpret what I’m trying to get done, so if I approach a table and I’m sprinting and look above it, I’ll vault and slide over the top. If I sprint towards it, look down and hit crouch, I’ll slide underneath. If I jog towards it and hit jump, I’ll step-up in a fluid single motion, while if I walk towards it and hit jump, I can jump up. Equally, if I sprint towards a wall and look up, I can mantle up and over. As I’m climbing up, if I hit jump, I’ll wall-jump away. As my first hand comes free, I can start shooting, and as my second comes free, I can reload. The system does not put you into a set animation, but instead uses a blended animation so you can interrupt it at any time. You’re in control of the direction too, so in that sense it’s a little like an advanced jump button – we’re just taking the pain out of the fact that you can’t see your feet, but adding in far greater control about what you can and can’t do.

Now from the newbie angle, it’s subtly different. In all our past shooters, if we wanted to allow you to jump a table, we had to make it a certain height. If we wanted to allow you to climb, a Level Designer needed to put an entity there. If something wasn’t done right, you couldn’t jump high enough, or climb, or go prone, and it was just frustrating – it was completely artificial. This solution often relied on simply stripping all the detail from a map because it got in the way of combat.

With SMART, the new player coming in to the game can now negotiate much more complex objects in the map, meaning that our Level Designers can place far more detail too, and this means that advanced players also get to make much better use of cover. In play-tests it’s win-win for everyone, and perhaps more amazingly, it’s actually frustrating to go back to our old shooters and play that way. SMART movement is smart.

Hooked Gamers: Brink's story is certainly intriguing, somewhat reminiscent of the movie "Waterworld" but with a sci-fi touch. We know how The Ark came to be inhabited by its populace but little is known about how the resistance and police came to be at odds with one another. Can you tell is a bit more about this aspect of the storyline?

Paul Wedgwood: I’ll let Ed ‘BongoBoy’ Stern, our Senior Gamer Designer and Writer answer that one… Here’s his answer:

The Ark was originally intended to be a proof-of-concept demonstration of sustainable development, zero-carbon living, powered by renewable resources. The plan was to build a poster-child for sustainable development. Much like the similarly visionary Arcosanti project, the Ark ran out of money and remained embarrassingly unfinished. Control of the Ark project was then wrested by venture capitalists who rebranded it as a Ten Star luxury eco-resort catering to celebrity/billionaire guests.

Paul Wedgwood on Brink
As the worst fears about global warming were confirmed, the Ark was found by ships crammed with refugees fleeing the chaos caused by the rising sea levels. So the Ark, which was only ever designed to support 5 – 6,000 inhabitants suddenly had to house ten times that number. The term “Guest” which had once referred to the handful of celebrities who flew in for eco-photo-ops was now used euphemistically to describe the Ark’s new refugee inhabitants. All contact with the outside world was lost.

The Ark was never designed to support so many people, or for so long. After years of living in cramped, unsafe surroundings, on minimal water rations, many Guests simply don’t believe that all contact has been lost with the outside world, or that life doesn’t continue elsewhere, on safe dry land with plenty of room for everyone. In some ways it’s a disagreement over resource allocation. The Security are responsible for maintaining things as they are and preventing the Guests achieving by force what they’re unable to achieve peacefully. By 2045, when Brink is set, Ark’s Security force are taking an increasingly hard line with Guest dissent, while both political and military wings of the Guest Resistance are escalating their demands for better conditions and to see for themselves what’s over the horizon.