Alarm for Cobra 11 Crash Time
Alarm for Cobra 11 is a very popular German Television series, and we have “hands on” on the game!
Check out our exclusive 3D shots and a very interesting Q&A with Andreas Leicht, product manager at Synetic!
Q: Hi Andreas, could you describe your position at Synetic and your development carreer?
A: It is my job to keep in touch with the outside world. Whether it is the exchange of information with other developers, answering typical questions from gamers about already released Synetic titles, or enquiries about current projects: communication is my thing! But as we are a small team also other aspects of development affect my daily business like QA, Product Management, Producing. I have started my career as a tester for a soccer management game during my study and become the director of QA after finishing study. With some other people from this company we founded our own company, Synetic and we are still all here to do some more racing games.
Q: We know Synetic from World Racing, a great sim racing done with Mercedes license.How did you get into the idea of a movie license?
A: That is simple: We just gota phone call by RTL, the publisher of Alarm for Cobra 11, asking us to do a racing game with this license. We did have time and after having beensuccessful with “Alarm for Cobra 11 – Nitro” we are doing it a second time with “Crash Time”.
Q: Did you haveadvices or inputs for the gameplay by the screen writers of the Cobra 11 tv series?
A: We have had a “look behind the scenes” and it was great to see how many things are equalin making TV series and making games. We talked a lot with the guys from Action Concept about stunts, camera positions, computer animated effects and story telling. And even Hermann Joha, producer of the TV format Alarm for Cobra 11, is giving his voice for some mission briefings in the game. A big thanks from here J.
Q: You have built a quite big sim racing community with World Racing and World Racing 2. The modding scene was even interesting. Do you think those people will move to Cobra 11 Crash Time? Will be CT moddable?
A: The community and the ability to mod a game is very important for us. For people moving to Crash Time we can say that it is moddable in the same way and with the same tools they use for World Racing series or Cobra 11 – Nitro.
Q: How many people are employed at Synetic?
A: We are 10 people working here plus external teams for some outsource productions.
Q: About the engine, is it an evolution of the old one, or is it done from scratch?
A: It is an evolution of the engine we used for World Racing series, but we improved or redesigned many parts of the engine, like we have to do it for all of our productions.
Q: We think, that you have spent many time on creating the damage model of the game. Is this right?Could you describe us how it works?
A: Uhm, I will try to make it simple. The damage model works on a vertex basis. On the basis of physical impulses during a collision vertex basis is deformed.In addition, the animated model, clattering and sloping pieces, is triggered if the deformation exceeds a specified limit. This means that the cars are not only deforming but even parts can break and fall off. Last but not least we use a special texture to show scratches on the car where it was hit.
Q: The 3D landscape engine handles a huge polycount scene. Could you tell us how many polygons the landscape scenarios have, and how this part of the engine works?
A: Polycount is around 1.200.000 triangles per scene. To be honest I have no idea how the engine works. I just asked our 3D-programmers, but they kicked me out after the 3rd try to explain it with the sentence: “The triangles are there and then they will be drawn”.
Q: Are you using middleware to control physics?
A: No, the complete physic system is self-developed and enhanced with the 3D-engine.
Q: We were impressed about the A.I. inside the game. Are you using third parties solutions for A.I.?
A: The A.I. was nearly completely redesigned and we added a “Pathfinding”, which means that the A.I. is not track based and not limited to the streets. During an observation or police chase, the A.I. will find different ways to escape and if you have to repeat a mission, be sure that the A.I. will not choose the same way.
Q: The cities inside the game are real cities like Monaco. How many references did you took to get the textures of a city like Monaco?Did you had a collaboration with the authorities of the city? Did you need authorisations to reproduce it?
A: The cities in the game do refer to real architecture like industrial buildings, inner city districts, train stations and so on but we did not actually reproduce a complete real city.Several thousands of photos, texture DVD’s, research in books and videos was needed to get a real look of the cities and we are still collecting relevant data for our future productions. There is no need for any authorization on the textures we use, as if we are reworking the pictures and modify critical aspects like removing people in windows at a house front or advertisings.
Q: Which was the most difficult task in the development of Cobra 11 Crash Time?
A: No question, it was the new pathfinding system. After a quick success at the beginning of the development phase we underestimated the rest of this process totally. But at the end and with a lot of overhours it rocks J.
Q: Could you tell us the development time of Cobra 11 CT?
A: Too long. We worked over 8 month on it.