Gareth von Kallenbach of SKNR.NET recently spoke with Game Director and Creative Director Yongliang Cui (CT for Short) and Frank Mingbo Li, Founder CEO and Technical Director at Surgical Scalpels Studio about their new Space Shooter Boundary.
Q: What is the background and setting for the game please?
A: Boundary is a near-future sci-fi FPS game. Our background is based on technologies which you can see in modern day space exploration and along with some added fictional sci-fi elements such as the evolution of space travel like the space elevator tech we have in the game which is a transport system from planet earth to the orbiting space stations, different organizations are fighting against each other for space territories. Like Space Military Contractors and Space Pirates. The story is set in the not too distant future, we wanted this to be near future so that our weapon structure and technology in the game were familiar to players but with an added sci-fi twist.
Q: How many players will be on a team?
A: Boundary is being set up as a small team based structure for multiplayer. Most of the time, the player will need to eliminate opponents with four other teammates, so this will be a five man team set up per side. Our class-based system adds a tactical layer to that so teams can mix and match between light, heavy and medium options across a variety of classes such as medics, snipers, assaulters, et cetera, with a vast array of customization options.
Q: What are some of the weapons players will have and which is your favorite?
A: Players will use an original gun family called ‘GSW’ series that are designed from scratch, these are based on modern military weapon designs and are combined with interpreted modern space tech. GSWs are a bullpup design all of which shoot caseless ammunition. With time there will be a wider variety of weapons in the game, such as space converted ‘Kalashnikovs’ for other characters. My particular favorite is a harpoon.
Q: How are new weapons and customization handled in the game?
A: Every weapon has its own advantages and disadvantages. There will be no ‘all-mighty weapon’ in the game since we want a balanced game where gunplay is concerned, every weapon will play a unique role depending on how the player utilizes it in combat and how they customize it. And it’s the same way on customization, scopes,grips,stocks,sights can all be customized and our modular system means that players can pretty much design a very personalized looking weapon.
Q: Will the game offer cross play?
A: Our team is very interested in this feature since we like the prospect of bringing a broader community together for multiplayer. We will consider it at the right time but right now our focus is delivering the core game for specific platforms.
Q: What can you tell us about the music in the game?
A: As we all know, there is no sound in space except the sound made by yourself. The lack of sound due to the vacuum of space is something that we’ve had to balance and look at quite closely. You will not hear obvious BGM most of the time, but the music in places where it is necessary is very atmospheric – loneliness is also one of charming points of a space theme so that ambience is also important to a certain degree.
Q: Working in Zero-G is going to have some interesting physics; can you tell us how this works and how gun recoil will be handled?
A: First, the player movement is fully driven by EVA(Jetpack). It is more like piloting a vehicle rather than the traditional FPS walking on the ground. Every player has their own physics simulation like its volume and acceleration. Recoil will push players backward when they fire your weapon, however, this effect will be offset by the equipped EVA (jetpack). Also, bullets will obviously defy gravity and won’t fall based on their trajectory. We simulated each of bullets by its velocity, mass, etc. Because the moving speed is much faster than in traditional fps, you have to consider timing in advance to hit enemy. We also borrowed the cannon funnel idea from modern jet fighters to increase player shooting accuracy.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far with the game and your greatest successes?
A: Dreaming big is always the right way for an indie developer, whereas making it happen is one hell of a challenge! With our very talented team of 17 people, each person has to take multiple development roles. We have to simplify the AAA workflow to fit us. We’ve had to balance resources and budget with the project goals we initially started with. Funding is one of the biggest areas where I think small developers face the biggest challenges because the games industry is such a competitive business.
The greatest success so far is the game has been exhibited and played in several big game events, including ChinaJoy, PlayStation Experience. This year we will also be at Gamescom where European and global press will get a chance to play it.
Q: Do you plan to have DLC?
A: We have DLCs planned for the 12 months post launch, we’re still working on that roadmap to lock down the content but we have lots of ideas going into that. We might even update some kind of solo-player mode in the DLCs if everything goes well.
Additional content planning is something the team feels very passionate about, it’s important that we can introduce content to the game that the community wants but obviously is tied in to the popularity and success of the game as well.
Q: What differences do you expect between the PC and console version of the game?
A: Gyro aiming is, of course, a PS4 exclusive feature. I can’t really say much about the other features at the moment.
Q: Will the game support in-game voice chat?
A: Absolutely yes, since the success of any multiplayer based match is how well its team communicates during the fight.
Gareth is the mastermind behind the popular pop media site Skewed and Reviewed. He lives in Arizona with his wife Em McBride.