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Tuesday, August 8, 2000

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Elite Force Images, Interview
10:50 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Sci-fi Gaming has presented a spectacular gallery of 15 screen shots from Raven Software's upcoming shooter Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force; these shots appear to have been taken with with 4x Full Scene Anti-Aliasing enabled. The images, from a beta version of this game, feature both solo and multiplayer action, and levels from many areas of the game, including Borg and Klingon ships. With a mix of action and adventure designed to appeal to fans of first-person shooters as well as Trekkers, this game certainly makes full use of the Quake 3 Arena engine -- and no more rust-brown levels with skull lighting fixtures, thank goodness.

In related news for fans of this title, PlayNow recently posted an interview with Raven Software's Kenn Hoekstra, which covers many details about this title. Although Raven had id Software's Q3A engine as a base, they have had to develop many technologies for this title, as Elite Force is primarily a solo game -- an element Q3A did not have. Along with a new skeletal animation system, the ability to save your game in progress, and many other core elements, Raven also had to develop 'artificial intelligence' routines for your allies in the game as well as your enemies. Here is Kenn on the AI:

PN!: Can we expect different AI behaviour from different species of aliens? Beyond that, what improvements have Raven made to the AI of enemies in comparison to, say, Soldier of Fortune?

KH: Each enemy has unique behaviour patterns, yes. This is mostly due to the inherent special abilities present in each enemy race. Our AI system is completely new to the Quake III technology as their codebase didn't have any allocations for single player enemy AI. You can't really compare the AI in Elite Force to that of Soldier of Fortune because of the real-world, humanoid nature of 95% of Soldier's enemies. When you move into the sci-fi realm of unique aliens and special powers, you can be a lot more creative with the AI than you can in a real-world military game.

The Elite Force web site mentions that there will be "over 14" types of aliens in the game; many will be familiar to fans of the television show, but several are totally new additions to the Star Trek universe.

Elite Force is due for the PC in several weeks. We have recently learned that a Mac publisher has indeed been contracted to port this game to the Mac OS, which should be a rapid process, as Raven reported they had a Mac build up and running back in June. While we can't reveal the name of this publisher, we are very excited to know for certain that this game will be coming to the Mac OS.

Elite Force Image Gallery at Sci-fi Gaming
PlayNow! Talks to Kenn Hoekstra
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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