Reset developer: "We really set your machine on fire"
In the next couple of days the crowfunding campaign for the first person puzzle game Reset from indie developer Theory Interactive will kick off at Indiegogo. PC Games Hardware had the chance to talk to Alpo Oksaharju, former member of Futuremark Studios.
Originally, the campaign was planned for the end of October but now the guys at Theory Interactive will start the next few days on Indiegogo. The unusual game project is developed by Alpo Oksaharju und Mikko Kallinen, former members at Futuremark where the two developers worked on Shattered Horizon. Right before the actual campaign PC Games Hardware had the chance to chat with Alpo Oksaharju about technical topics like the Praxis engine and why Reset is trying to sneak into the brains of the players.
PCGH: Reset will come exclusively to PC, that's right? Why do you skip consoles?
Theory Interactive: Exclusively to PC at the first stage anyway. As we are such a small team, we decided to concentrate on our main platform fully and add other platforms possibly later after the release.
PCGH: You obviously developped your own engine. What were the reasons for that? And why do you call it "Praxis"?
Theory Interactive: There are three main reasons for our own tech. In no particular order, first, from the beginning we have had a clear vision from of the atmosphere we wanted to create, and we didn't see it being possible to create on other engines. Second, we needed to come up with new ways to increase efficiency in asset creation, standard pipelines were not going to work for us if we wanted to fill the game world with just a micro team. And third, tech is our strength, so combining all three made perfect sense.
The Praxis name comes from the line of thinking that if we are the theory behind it all, the way we can materialize our thoughts is by putting our theories into practice (Praxis, Greek but also German).
PCGH: How long did you work on Reset until now (full time? How many persons)?
Theory Interactive: We've worked on this for about two years by just the two of us, but now if our campaign is successful enough, we can add talent to the project.
PCGH: It seems that a detailed visual presentation is very important for Reset. What are the most important modern rendering techniques that are utilized in your game? What DX level do you use? Can you please give us some practical examples (you're welcome to use very technical terms)?
Theory Interactive: Yes, high quality and details are very important to us. The most noticeable techniques are probably volumetric lighting and very high quality physical based multilayered shading models. Reset requires Windows Vista or newer as well as graphics hardware compliant with DirectX 10. We take advantage of some features that are optional in DirectX 10, so not all hardware of that level may be able to run the game. All hardware compliant with DirectX 10.1 or newer will be able to run the game.
PCGH: What system specs (minimum and recommend) are you targeting for Reset?
Theory Interactive: System specs are not defined yet but since we are on the PC platform, we will embrace it to the fullest and release Reset with abundance of settings to tweak. High visual quality is very important to us so there will be that very high end point to really set your machine on fire, but we are not all about just that. We want the game to be enjoyed by PC gamers of all levels. That was one of the decisions to keep the base level DX10 and not DX11, although statistics show that people have transitioned to DX11 fairly well.
PCGH: What are your plans for multithreading (CPU cores/threads) and multi-GPU?
Theory Interactive: Multihreading will be added if and where it is needed, but we already use PhysX which is multithreading. Subject of multi-GPU will have to be attacked at the end of the development since it has to be implemented to different vendors manually.
PCGH: Your crowdfunding campaign is imminent. Why crowdfunding? Did you talk to traditional publishers as well?
Theory Interactive: Yeah, pretty exited about that! When we started we decided that we need to be able to pull off Reset by just the two of us, since independence is of great value to us. We didn't want outside money (money that is only used to create more money) to interfere with our vision. We didn't want to water it down to make it more pleasing to mass markets. We have been contacted by all the major players, but we have politely said no. Crowdfunding is something that has really become a feasible option since we started and from our perspective it is the way to go. From players to players, no middle men needed. We are responsible directly to our players, not to a publisher or a venture capitalist
PCGH: Reset is a "sci-fi noir, a mystery, a first person puzzle game". This sounds like a very special genre. Can you describe the actual gameplay a little bit more, especially with the time travel feature?
Theory Interactive: Reset is a single player adventure. The unique game mechanic in Reset is the ability to travel back in time to solve puzzles co-operatively with yourself. You multiply yourself by first marking a place/time of re-entry in the game world and then proceed to completing one part of a puzzle. You then reset (jump back in time) to the re-entry mark creating two separate co-existing timelines.
The second-to-second gameplay is similar to games like Portal but the mechanic is kin to games like The Misadventures of P.B.Winterbottom, Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Prometheus UDK.
PCGH: Reset is a pure single player game. What are the reasons for that and can you give us an estimate on the game's length in hours?
Theory Interactive: We wanted to keep the game tight and compact and we didn't feel that this game is something that needed a forcefully inserted multiplayer that would distract us from the main course. Wondering around and exploring the mysterious gameworld is something that players will enjoy at their own pace so that is something that will affect the length possibly greatly, but we are looking at around 6 hours of meaningful gameplay. This game is meant to be played on a couple of sittings and leave you thinking about it hopefully for some time after that. Reset is not meant to be played forever. It's meant to be played, enjoyed and leave your brain tingling afterwards.
PCGH: You both have worked for Futuremark in the past which is well known for stunning graphics. Does this mean that your focus is more on the technical part of the game?
Theory Interactive: Technical knowledge and enthusiasm is only a starting point for us. It is the brush that we use to pour our hearts and minds onto the screen.
PCGH: Thanks a lot for the interview and good luck for the Indiegogo campaign!