Towers IIMini-interview with JV Games' Vince Valentiby Clay Halliwell

Q. What other CRPGs would you most closely relate your game (Towers II) to?
A. I would say Ultima Underworld.

Q. How big was Jag Towers II originally planned to be, and did you have to leave anything out?
A. Actually, when we designed Towers II for the Falcon, we designed it around the Jag's specs, as we knew them at the time. Like 2 Megs of RAM, 16 bit color, stereo sound, etc... So if we decided -- or could -- port it to the Jag, we would minimize problems. It worked! When we converted it to the Jag, we added stuff because we had more room available than we thought.

Q. Is the game set in one huge world (like AvP) or split up into levels?
A. The world has 12 floors, but each interconnect. You can use stairs between each, teleports, fall down pits, or levitate up holes in the ceiling to traverse between levels.

Q. Are there adjustable difficulty levels?
A. Yes, by the character you select. Garand and Andros are easier, then Tasler, then Merton. Merton is the wizard, who can't physically hit well, and has no spells at the beginning of the game. He is the hardest to keep alive. However, toward the end of the game, he is pretty powerful.

Q. How would you rate the replay value?
A. We feel the replay value is really high. For example, if you play the fighter, you will be able to equip yourself with all the best weapons in the dungeon, your fighting style will most likely be hand to hand or close range. However, when you play the wizard, he can not pick up half of the armor, and can't hit well. But he will be able to use all the spells you can find. So chances are you will not be fighting closely. Also, certain areas of the game are easier or harder for the different heros.

Q. Are there any hidden player stats, like reputation or alignment?
A. No, there is no reputation or alignment. All the stats are shown. Depending on what character you choose will determine the max of your stats, and how much you increase per level.

Q. Are there awesome magical weapons of mass destruction? :)
A. Sphere of Annihilation, and Hammer of Titans. I like the Fire and Ice storm. If you have a few creatures following you in a row, these spells continue through and damage each of them (and you too, if you're in the path). Also several weapons/spells only affect/do extra damage to certain creatures.

Q. Is there any environmental interaction?
A. Secret doors, falling through cracked marble floors, creating a temporary wall with the spell create wall, freeing the Sword from the Boulder...

Q. Are there environmental hazards?
A. Yes, teleports, triggers, pits, etc...

Q. How many different wall textures are there?
A. There are three groups of wall textures. There are approximately 30 different bitmap images for the walls and doors. Approximately 7 more bitmaps for the floor and ceilings.

Q. Are the torch textures on the walls animated?
A. Yes they are.

Q. Are there environmental sound effects or in-game music?
A. There is music playing thoughout the game. And loads of sound effects. Doors opening and closing, your footsteps, other monster's footsteps, etc...

Q. How many graphically unique creatures are in the game?
A. There are 20 unique character graphics in the game.

Q. How many frames of "walking" animation do most creatures have?
A. They have 3, moving in 8 directions, and an attack graphic. The graphics vary in size, but human types are approximately 45x60. We increased the size of the bitmaps to allow more detail within each monster than the normal 32x48 type character found in most RPGs that smooth scroll.

Q. How were the creature graphics created?
A. The characters were drawn by an artist. Then I took the drawings and modeled a character in a 3D rendering package. I created several rotation animations where in between frames the character would rotate 45 degrees, giving you 8 directions.

Q. What's the color depth of the creature and wall texture bitmaps?
A. Everything is stored and rendered in 16 bit color depths.

Q. Does each creature have its own unique sound effect?
A. No not each of them, but many of them do. Some have heavy footsteps, some light, some are silent, some fly...

Q. Does each creature have its own unique behavior?
A. All behavior is set by a group of conditions. Speed, moral, mood, etc.. Example, if you hit someone enough, they might run based on their moral, some won't run at all.

Q. Are creatures activated by seeing the player, or just proximity?
A. They have to see you to become aggressive, which means you can sneak up behind them.

Q. Do non-activated creatures sit still or roam?
A. It depends on the character. Some stand guard at their post until disturbed, some wander around, and some are friendly.

Q. Does the player character (and/or creatures) have any projectile attacks?
A. Yes, several of them do, and they stay arms reach away from you and pelt you with magic attacks. You have to move up to them to hit them.

Q. Can creatures hurt each other with stray shots?
A. Yes, they can; just like you can hurt yourself with yours.

Q. Can creature corpses be moved or affected in any way?
A. No they cannot be moved. But you can search them for stuff.

Q. Is the graphics engine strictly Wolfenstein 3D-ish (but with textured floors and ceilings)?
A. There are also textured pits in the floor and ceiling, reaching to the next levels.

Q. How far out does the graphics engine render walls/creatures?
A. We could have rendered as far as we wanted, however to keep the speed up we limited the view in the distance, somewhat like Dungeon Master does, although not as short. Right before the graphic appears it begins a fade in, or depth cue, so no, nothing seems to pop-up like Cybermorph or the like.

Q. Are there any dynamic lighting effects (flickering lights, etc...)?
A. There are flickering candles, and depth cueing. However, no dynamic lighting like phong or something.

Q. What's the best/worst/average frame rate?
A. Approximately 12FPS. In between the speed of AvP and Doom for the Jaguar. There are a couple of slow downs but, they are very minor, and only in a couple of areas.

Q. Is there a "run" button?
A. No "run" button per se. But you do move pretty quickly through the tower. Unless you are hungry or something.

Q. How big is the save-game EEPROM?
A. The EEPROM is 128 bytes. As long as the Jaguar is on, you get two full saves to RAM. Once you turn off the Jaguar and turn it back on again, then the cartridge save will reconstruct the save game from EEPROM. All inventory and stats, locked and unlocked doors, full and empty wands and quivers, groups of dead monsters, and automap reconstruction, fit into the EEPROM. Don't ask me how I fit it all, I still don't know.

Q. Are there any cool cheats?
A. Of course. We had to hide something. :)

Q. How long are you going to wait before releasing the cheat codes?
A. We have not decided yet.

Q. Does the ending suck? :)
A. The ending is short, but not cheezy. Our music writer even wrote a unique song for the end of the game (sounds like the song to the end of a movie).

Q. Are there multiple possible endings?
A. No, there is only one ending.

Q. Must you complete every puzzle to win the game?
A. No, There are several blockades that have two solutions or more, so you only have to solve/find one of them.

Q. If Towers II does well, and Telegames is still interested, do you see yourself porting any more games to the Jaguar?
A. I would not mind porting another game to the Jaguar if Telegames is still interested.

Vince Valenti
JV Games
PO Box 97455
Las Vegas, NV 89193
(702) 734-9689
(702) 433-3973 Fax
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