Time for an Intervention
Minh Gooseman Le co-created a pretty famous mod. You mightve heard of it; its called Counter-Strike. After collaborating with a little company called Valve, Le went on to start work on his next project: Tactical Intervention. The angle is similar, with a team of counter-terrorists working to neutralize insurgents by defusing bombs, rescuing hostages, or simply wiping out all the opposition. Its also got a similar obsession with realistic ballistics, including a suite of guns modeled after actual firearms. But Tactical Intervention has a glorious addition to the tactical FPS formula: car chases.
Some missions involve taking the wheel while your buddies ride shotgun--literally, because theyre firing shots with an automatic 12-gauge from the passengers seat. Tactical Intervention also has an enticing price point going for it: free. To learn a little bit more about the game, we asked Le about the creation of it, as well as his outlook on the FPS genre in general.
GamesRadar: What's your preferred mode of play in Tactical Intervention?
Minh Le: I really enjoy playing Mission mode (Hostage rescue, Bombing, VIP escort) over TDM, because it gives me an opportunity to work with my teammates more. Of the missions, I like VIP Car Escort, because it's very dynamic, unpredictable, and involves a lot of teamwork.
GR: What made you go with the free-to-play model? What kind of microtransactions can players expect?
ML: The decision wasn't entirely up to me. The company I work for felt it was the best method of attracting a larger following, as the industry seems to be dominated by AAA titles such as Call of Duty and Battlefield series.
We work closely with our publisher, OGPlanet, to stay away from the "Pay2Win mentality, and try to strike a balance between making the game enjoyable for all players, while giving players an incentive to purchase some of the rarer items. [Around] 95% of the guns in our game are available by accumulating game points. The game points are accrued at a fairly brisk rate, as we want to avoid any tedious grinding. There are 5% of our guns that are available through money transactions, but weve made sure not to make their abilities and stats godlike.
GR: Which developer do you currently admire most? Why?
ML: In terms of FPS, I admire Tripwire Interactive, the guys that make Red Orchestra 2. They came from indie roots, and they managed to make some really smart business decisions to get to where they are today. They know what their target demographic is, and they focus heavily on appealing to that market.
I also love Unknown Worlds, the guys that did Natural Selection 2. I admire them for their incredible sense of humility and community involvement. The fact that they were able to craft a game from scratch with such a small team and to deliver the product that they did is an absolutely incredible feat!
GR: Where do you think the FPS genre is headed?
ML: Thats a really difficult question to answer. The industry changes so organically, and sometimes I wonder if it's the developers that initiate that change, or if it's the players that tell the developers what they should be making.
All I can say is, as a developer, I like to develop games that I personally enjoy playing, and I hope that there's a market for the games that I work on. I think if you look at some of the more pivotal games in our industry, they were born out of truly original ideas. Games such as DotA, Portal, Left 4 Dead.
GR: Would you ever work on a game that isn't concerned with realism?
ML: It's an interesting question, and one that I ask myself occasionally. There are times when I feel that realism inhibits the amount of creativity you can do in your game. When designing the gameplay for Tactical Intervention, I had to do things that were illogicalfor the sake of making the game exciting and fun. For example, the amount of damage the player takes is slightly exaggerated, because I feel that prolonging the firefights is more exciting than having people dropping like flies at first contact with an enemy.
I feel drawn to realistic games because I find they're more tangible to the player. I don't have to explain a set of fantasy rules for players to understand how to play the game. Most players are able to relate to the environment, mechanics of player movement, and weapon handling in a fairly autonomous manner. Going off on a tangent, I prefer watching movies that are somewhat based on reality more so than ones that aren't, because I can relate to the environment and theme of the movie, and that allows me to fully appreciate the actions of the characters more.
GR: What's your favorite video game of all time?
ML: I probably sound a bit biased, but Counter-Strike was. I played it at a time when I was able to play with my friends from high school, and it provided some really enjoyable moments that we were all able to share with one another. Thats the core of what makes a multiplayer game so much fun for me: if I can share my experience with friends, it's immensely more memorable.
GR: It seems like the VIP Escort missions are something that hasn't been tried often in multiplayer shooters. How do you go about balancing a car chase map?
ML: I started off with a basic idea of how I wanted it to play out. There were a few guidelines that helped me shape that mission mode:
1) I wanted the majority of players to be close to the objective. (ie. I didnt want half the players in one area of the map, and the other half in completely different area)
2) I wanted it to be fairly quick and not last more than 2 or 3 minutes. I think players are turned off by round-based games because of the lengthy wait times.
3) I wanted it to involve action that took place on foot. As fun as it is to drive and shoot from a car, I think having the action transition to a foot-based firefight made the mission more exciting
4) I wanted players who weren't driving the car to have a meaningful impact on the gameplay, so I gave passengers a lot of mobility in movement. They can lean out of windows with 360 degree of fire, then duck back into the car, heal their teammates, [and so on.]
With that set of guidelines in place, it was just a matter of trial and error to get the balance right. It became pretty obvious where things needed to change after play testing it with for a while.
GR: How'd you get a call sign like "Gooseman"?
ML: It's taken after an old cartoon series called Galaxy Rangers. There was this really cool Clint Eastwood-type character called "Gooseman." He had some sweet mutant skills that allowed him to adapt to his environment. It's kinda weird how I enjoyed sci-fi/fantasy themes as a kid, but as I get older, I'm more drawn to realistic themes.
Go! Go! Go!
So, think you'll be giving Tactical Intervention a shot? Eager at the prospect of blasting terrorists in a moving vehicle with a rocket launcher? Let us know in the comments if you play the game, and how you think it compares to Counter-Strike! To get a better taste of the game's firefights, we've included some extra screens; give 'em a look if you're curious about this free-to-play FPS.