Hungarian developer Invictus Games has gone old school with its new mobile action game, Dustoff Heli Rescue. NVIDIA Shield gamers will experience a graphically enhanced version of the Vietnam War-set chopper game with all the technical bells and whistles of a high-end PC title.
In the game, players take control of a number of combat choppers and fly through the jungles,caves, and villages of Vietnam to rescue soldiers. Weather effects and armed enemy soldiers add to the challenge. Peter Gazso, project manager at Invictus Games, explains what’s in store for Shield gamers in this exclusive interview.
What were your goals heading into this game?
Most of my colleagues are veteran gamers and developers so most of us have sweet memories of playing games on Commodore 64, Amiga, NES, etc... When you have to design game mechanics you can get inspired by the old classics. Basically, the enthusiasm of older games led to the development of Dustoff Heli Rescue. The majority of the gamer community is not familiar with the old school games, but now they have the chance to see what kind of games we played.
Why did you decide to go for the Minecraft graphical look?
It was way too popular to leave out of account. On the other hand, we used to create realistic graphics and the team wanted to do something different.
How will the game's look improve on Shield?
Thanks to the powerful hardware, we're allowed to turn on the PC version's lighting and dynamic shadow effects.
How do you feel you're pushing things forward beyond classics like Choplifter in this game?
Many people mentioned Choplifter after the release. It clearly shows that not only we were affected by nostalgic feelings. Choplifter is a real classic, but we wanted to update the whole thing so we added a popular control method. According to the game community it works, and proves that the original game mechanics is time-proven.
Can you talk about the depth in this game when it comes to weather conditions and enemies?
The basics are pretty simple and we offer a very easy control for the players. However, the mission tasks and weather conditions make the pilot's job tricky. Maneuvering the chopper in caves or performing landings in a storm can be quite challenging. Nevertheless, it's fun and rewarding when you finally complete a level. The shooting part is less stressful. I always found it very entertaining.
How do different choppers play into the game experience?
Bigger choppers have more hit points, but they can also carry more men and better for transporting cargo.
How have you worked with NVIDIA on your game?
We agreed on the extra graphical effects and they supported us with some useful advice.
What have they provided in terms of tech that has helped with development?
Developing for the Shield was quite self explanatory. It's an Android-based device and we have plenty of experience working on the mobile platform.
What are your thoughts on the evolution of Android as a platform?
We're happy that a console like the Shield can be successful. This piece of hardware is a bit different than the other devices because many non-Android games are available and that makes it more appealing to the gamer community.
What impact do you think NVIDIA Shield (Android TV) could have within the gaming ecosystem?
That's a good question. Everybody is talking about how devices like Shield will revolutionize the industry. Of course, there are other ways to enjoy gaming on a TV so Shield must prove that their system is not just copying the others solutions but offers something that draw the players’ attention.
What do you see NVIDIA Shield Android TV opening up for game developers moving forward?
Mobile games have become less and less complex. It's not a bad thing because casual games have a incredible huge base, but some of the developers have a desire for creating games that are closer to the PC or console users taste.
How was it adding controller support to your game?
It was interesting. Using a controller with analog sticks is a must if you want to play FPS games for example. But Dustoff Heli Rescue's control is so simple that we don't need to use most of the buttons. In my opinion, a physical controller is much better than tapping and swiping on a screenso I was glad to have this feature.
What impact has Tegra X1 technology had on the gameplay experience Shield Android TV users will have?
As more and more people compare mobile games to console or PC games, it becomes clear that developers need very strong hardware to captivate players. It has little effect on the actual gameplay, but we want to sell a product and the first impression is very important. What you first see is a few screenshots and a video and if you can't promote the game that way you're in trouble.