Resogun is the first Shoot ’em up to land on the PS4 and we got the opportunity to ask Housemarque a few questions about it. The game features an innovative cylindrical perspective and all the assets in the game, including the backgrounds, are made out of Voxels, 3D volumetric pixels that blow up in glorious high definition!
Resogun is all about the gameplay, but it looks phenomenal too. What were some of the aesthetic inspirations for the game?
Of course the aesthetic of Resogun has been crafted around the fact that all worlds and enemies are built from voxels. We wanted to keep the “square” feeling in the look of the game, because somehow it makes it look both retro and new. Regarding color choices there’s been a lot of iterations over time, and we think the final version of the game strikes a balance between “badassness” and readability.
Housemarque is famous for super polished PSN titles on PS3 and PS Vita (Super Stardust series, Dead Nation, Outland), what has been the challenge moving on to PS4?
We are using our own engine and most of the stuff we are doing with Resogun is something no one else has attempted on the platform before. I heard that Mark Cerny himself complimented the team in yesterday’s press conference, unfortunately we haven’t been able to attend because we were busy showing the game. Anyway, something we are happy tell to our excellent tech team.
Did any fan feedback from Super Stardust end up in Resogun?
We always listen to feedback but at the end of the day game development works in ways that do not always allow for external feedback to be incorporated. For the past 6 months we have been iterating on gameplay details (scoring system, multiplier, enemy speed, etc.). The team knows the game inside out, so they need (and deserve) to make the final call. However, Housemarque encourages internal feedback, so even people not working on this project had the possibility to have a say.
How big is your team working on Resogun? Feel free to introduce some of the team members who usually don’t get their names in the press and what their roles in the development are.
Depending on the time-frame the team consisted of about 15-20 people. Regarding their names, we have the credits upfront in the main menu, so if you want to learn who these talented developer are you can just go there and pay your respects ;)
Would you consider a 3D patch down the line, and if so would this affect resolution and frame-rate?
It’s something we are looking into, but to make 3D works you need to draw the game twice, so it’s a big challenge when you also want to maintain a 60fps framerate. We have to see if it’s worth the effort: 3D TVs are common but not THAT common, so nothing is set in stone yet.
Housemarque have certainly made voxels cool again, how many of these volumetric pixels does a typical Resogun level consist of and why did you decide to go this route? Also if you can please tells us a bit about your engine, how you built the levels and how lightning and physics work in the game.
In each level you can blow up between 150.000 and 200.000 voxels. The engine can handle more, but if you cross that threshold then the game becomes hard to read. All the cubes have independent lighting and physics. Levels are generated using traditional modelling and raytracing. After that we used various techniques to colorize surfaces, projecting and painting.
What was one thing you learned from the playtesters that you implemented or changed in the game?
As I said, for the last 6 months we have been working on details. Things such as how many milliseconds before the multiplier breaks or how many bullets enemies need to release at Master difficulty. These details make all the difference, and I can tell you that tuning them right is a painful process: take a wrong decision and the whole game becomes unbalanced. But we like what we have now, and we think players will approve too.
We’re really happy online co-op is in the game at launch. Can you elaborate about how this mode works and are you considering adding new modes as DLC? Anything you can tease at this point in time?
Co-op works only online because of the cylindrical nature of the worlds: you can fight on the same side of the level with a friend, or go and fight on the other side of the cylinder. If that was the case with offline coop, one of the player wouldn’t be able to discern what’s happening since the playfield is 100% visible at all times. However, we are looking into alternative modes to have some sort of local collaboration. Regarding other things coming, there are some fan-favs from previous titles that are high on our priority list.
The meta-game seems to involve keeping the multiplier going. Is it possible to keep it going the entire level including the boss and how long does it take for it to end if you don’t shoot anything?
There’s more than one metagame in Resogun, and sure, you can keep the multiplier going from beginning to end of the whole game – that’s material for the hardcore players though. The time before it breaks changes according to the difficulty level.
What rewards do you receive by rescuing the humans scattered around the levels and are the ships limited to one weapon each? Are they upgradeable?
Weapons are upgradable through specific power ups. Rescuing humans gives extra items such as bombs, shields or allow to upgrade the Overdrive, our own version of the Death Ray. However, what’s really important about humans is how they affect the scoring system. There’s no way you can score high if you ignore humans, and we don’t want to reveal exactly what are the subtleties of the system (when to rescue them, within which timeframe, etc.). There’s plenty to discover but we want to see players doing the math.
As you can imagine we can’t wait to get our hands on Resogun and in a twitch shooter like this, where fast reactions are key, how does the DualShock 4 compare to the DualShock 3?
Simply put, it’s the best Playstation gamepad thus far.
Will the DS4 touchpad or lightbar be used in the game?
Not at launch. The core gameplay requires that you don’t move your fingers from the sticks and shoulder buttons, but we have a few ideas about how to use it in the future.
Resogun is running in 1080P at a lightning speed of 60FPS, how much of the CPU power is left?
PS4 is a powerful machine and this is a launch game. If you see the patterns of the previous generation, it’s easy to see that in 5 years time we will be able to do more with it, but for now Resogun is undoubtedly one of the best PS4 showcase.
Sony indie and all-around great guy Shahid Kamal Ahmad actually threw money at the screen when he saw Resogun, what are some indie titles you yourself are looking forward to playing on the PS4?
This changes according to whom you ask. I’m really looking forward to The Witness personally (yeah, I know, very different genre ;).
For everybody who wants to stay updated with Housemarque and Resogun where can they find you?