By Al Giovetti
Interview with Bob Chase, SouthPeak Interactive's Media Relations Specialist
Alfred C. Giovetti (AG): Thanks for being with us and sharing with us this great information on a brand new game
Bob Chase (BC): Thanks for having me with you on the show, we at SouthPeak appreciate the opportunity to talk with your gaming audience.
AG: Bob, please tell us about the history of the SouthPeak and its employees involved with the product, for example what other products they have been involved with?
BC: SouthPeak was formed in 1996 as a multimedia entertainment company to develops, publishes and markets CD-ROM products. SouthPeak has offices in Cary, North Carolina where it employs 80 employees within its research and development, production and marketing staffs. SouthPeak Interactive has exclusive use of one of the largest studios on the East Coast for its research and development on audio, video and film formats. This $16-million facility includes two 4,500-square-foot sound stages.
AG: Tell us something about the products that we can expect from SouthPeak.
BC: We are working on three products now, Al: Temujin: The Capricorn Collection, Drachen Zor, Virtual Jigsaw, and an internet msytery on the web called the Light Files (http://www.lightfiles.com).
AG: What is Temujin like?
BC: Temujin: The Capricorn Collection is a CD-ROM psychological-thriller adventure game utilizing SouthPeak's proprietary Video Reality technology. Gamers will attempt to recapture their lost identity while uncovering a sinister plan surrounding an exhibition of treasures once belonging to Temujin, the ruthless 13th-century conqueror better known as Genghis Khan. We expect it to be available September 1997.
AG: Tell us about Drachen Zor.
BC: Drachen Zor is a fantasy action CD-ROM game developed by 8th Wonder Games set in the mystical world of Drakkor. Players can choose to be one of eight different characters in an epic-style tournament for control of the Dragon Gate. Drachen Zor's proprietary V-Engine supports multi-player gaming via the Internet, LAN and modem. We expect Drachen Zor to be available October 1997.
AG: What is virtual jigsaw like?
BC: Virtual Jigsaw is available right now. It's an award-winning CD-ROM game allows players to solve one- and two-sided jigsaw puzzles. With more than 6,000 puzzle possibilities and a variety of skill levels, Virtual Jigsaw is suitable for all ages. The game also allows players to use the images as the wallpaper for the computer screen's background. Currently available in five editions: the Photo Gallery, MasterPieces, Wildlife, Purrr-fect Puzzles, and the North Carolina Museum of Art Curator's Collection.
AG: The last one is quite a mouthfull. What can you tell us about the Lght Fies?
BC: The Light Files is an entertainment site on the web that offers a generous cash reward of $5,000 for solving a make-believe crime. You can reache the light files at http://www.lightfiles.com.
AG: Please describe how Temuji the game plays, the views available and the puzzles and their relation to the plot?
BC: This is a first-person adventure title. As for the puzzles, well, we don't want to give anything away just yet!
AG: What does the interface look and work like?
BC: The interface looks like a marble fireplace, with the viewport being the hearth. However, the size of the active window can be toggled so that gamers can play full screen! The game can be played in a smaller window with the GUI or at full-screen without it.
AG: Please describe Temujin's plot.
BC: Temujin takes place in the fictional Stevenson Museum, where it's immediately apparent that something crooked is afoot. Played from a first-person perspective, gamers initially have no knowledge of their own identity, let alone who is on their side or what kind of ominous plan has been set into motion.
By solving numerous puzzles throughout the museum, players will recapture their lost memories and uncover a sinister plot surrounding an exhibition of treasures that once belonged to Temüjin, the ruthless warrior known as Genghis Khan. Once the truth is known, it's a race against time to stop the forces at work from allowing an ancient evil to enslave the human race all over again.
AG: What is all the hype about Temujin?
BC: "I wouldn't recommend playing Temujin just before turning in for the night," said Armistead Sapp, president of SouthPeak Interactive. "This game combines challenging puzzles with a compelling story line that will make for a lot of sleepless nights among discriminating gamers and devoted mystery fans alike."
AG: What about the graphics? How were they done, what about colors, resolution, light sourcing, transparencies, 3D, 2D, polygons, bitmaps, examples, hand rendered, computer rendered, what is special about it?
BC: Temujin uses our Video Reality technology, a revolutionary process that seamlessly integrates characters and sets filmed with standard Hollywood production techniques into the computer gaming environment. The result is an atmosphere that combines the richness of a feature film with the interactivity of games rendered on the fly.
"The best way to describe Video Reality is to say that it grabs gamers by the ears and pulls them inside the games," said Armistead Sapp, president of SouthPeak Interactive. "When you play a game with Video Reality, you feel like you're immersed in the real thing - as if you could reach right into your monitor and touch absolutely anything you see."
In SouthPeak's Video Reality games, players enjoy continuous freedom of movement with a 360-degree field of vision throughout the game environment. Some non-Video Reality games limit players to multi-directional vision only at pre-defined spots, and then move them from one of these spots to another without giving them the immediate opportunity to change their minds, back-track, or even choose what they are looking at while they go. But Video Reality completely immerses the players in the game, letting them control where they want to go, when they want to go, and what they want to look at on the way there.
One of the most impressive elements of the Video Reality experience happens when players navigate through the game and encounter characters in scenes that blur the line between game play and dramatic sequences.
AG: Tell us something about the animation. How fast is it and how was it done?
BC: Temujin was shot entirely on 35mm film and not animated, although more than 100 interactive, three-dimensional objects - chalices, cameras, pocket watches, helmets, newspapers and the like - created on Silicon Graphics(R) workstations are scattered throughout the gaming environment for players to pick up and use. All post-production work has been performed at SouthPeak's $16-million video production facility.
AG: What about the use of human speech in the game? Are there any name actors who play roles, what have they done in the past?
BC: We utilized quite a bit of local talent for Temujin. The final script is about 275 pages.
AG: What about the music, music composer, music pieces, and are they interactive?
BC: Jim Crew composed the music. The music changes depending on which of the rooms in the museum you're in. There are approximately 12 heavily-scored dramatics, some 35 or so lightly-scored, and half a dozen ambient MIDI loops.
Movement in and out of rooms will call corresponding MIDI passages for those rooms. Dramatic scoring is tied to the dramatics, which are triggered by player movement around the environment and called by our game engine "flow language". There are about two-hundred events that trigger different events that have MIDI involved.
AG: How much free hard disk space is required to run Temujin?
BC: Temujin runs entirely off the CD-ROM and requires negligible hard disk space. If you decided to save games, up to 24 save game slots are available, you wouldn't use any more than 500K.
AG: The disk space usage will be welcome news to many players with stuffed hard drives. Does Temujin have any multiplayer features, with phone modem, null modem, internet, and network play?
BC: Temujin is single player only
AG: It is a shame that two friends cannot explore this game together as a team, like Watson, and Holmes. What future plans, sequels, add on disks, scenarios, etc. can we look forward to?
BC: We will be announcing the names of two more Video Reality titles at E3 in June.
AG: Did anything funny hapen during production, something that makes the product different than all others, additional details.
BC: We built 22 very real, very detailed sets for Temujin, which created some unique problems for the crew handling the camera. The doorways in the museum all had to be large enough so that a camera, dolly and a couple of folks could squeeze through the doorways. And with the way we filmed certain segments, sometimes the camera operators got backed so far into a corner that they had to exit the set through an opening in the fireplace in the "Great Hall."
AG: Where can people learn more about SouthPeak Interactive? BC: They can call the main phone line at (919) 677-4499, or visit our website at http://www.southpeak.com
AG: Thanks for being here with us Bob, and please do come back.
BC: This has been fun, Al, I will be glad to come back, just ask me.
AG: Well after these kind words, we will return to see. . .
Please send us your comments and suggestions.