MP: Tell us about the Human Will in First to Fight. How instrumental were the U.S. Marines when designing this aspect of the game?
PT: Marines believe the driving force of all action in war is the human will. Combat operations are all about forcing your will on your enemy. But, in most military shooters you can't do this because the enemy AI doesn't actually have a will. In First to Fight, we've built a psychology model into the friendly and enemy AI. So, if you flank an enemy, he might surrender. When you suppress him effectively, he might flee. This forces you to play the game differently.
MP: This game is very realistic, so much so that the Marine Corps actually plans on using it to train new soldiers. Thus, my question to you is, do you think First to Fight is still accessible to the average gamer?
PT: There are two modes of play in the commercial version: Normal and Simulation. The Marines use the Simulation mode, which is highly authentic (and very hard). But, for those of us who haven't passed the Crucible basic training at Parris Island and earned the right to be called a Marine, we can play the Normal mode.
MP: First to Fight’s engine was created from the ground up. Could you tell us what features this engine has that others don’t? What visual goodies can we expect?
PT: First to Fight features volumetric shadows (which is the most realistic method of lighting characters possible on today's computers), normal maps (which allow us to add in detail and bumpiness to characters and the environment), specularity (which makes light reflect off shiny objects more realistically). We also built our own physics, including Ragdoll.
MP: What will multiplayer First to Fight entail? What game modes can we expect? It is cross-platform, correct?
PT: Yes. Mac users can play against Windows users over either the Internet or a LAN in First to Fight. And, because First to Fight is shipping simultaneously on Mac and Windows, there should be lots of folks to play against.
First to Fight offers both co-operative and competitive multiplayer. In co-op, you and up to three other humans form a fire team and play through the single-player missions together. Our competitive game is called Fire Team Arena, and it lets two fire teams play against each other. Also, the fire team leader can issue orders to his fire team in multiplayer, just like he does in single-player. When he issues an order, an icon shows up in his human team-mate's gameworld telling him what to do, such as "suppressing fire here," or "stack for a room take-down through this door."
MP: Ok, Peter, we’ve come to the Barbara Walters-esque portion of our interview, the point at which you can truly be you. What truly kills: guns, people, or the little tiny bullets?
PT: What truly kills are Cobra gunships, M1 Abrams tanks, and a finely trained Marine fire team.