friend wasnt the only one to notice a quality difference between
massively multiplayer games and the single player variety. Iritor
Online, from Wootsoft Entertainment, aims to change how we think the
MMORPG genre should look. With a graphics that have the potential to
rival that of Doom 3, Iritor Online is set to offer an experience unlike
any weve encountered while playing online. With the recent success of
Xbox LIVE on the console, and the continuing popularity of online titles
on the PC, its a pretty safe bet that the world of connectivity is
where our gaming tastes tend to hang out (some of us, anyway). Wootsoft
is preparing to prove that Online doesnt go hand in hand with
reduced quality or any variation thereof.
Roman Kremlicka, Vice President of Wootsoft and Lead Game Designer
for Iritor Online, was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of our
questions about the project.
GamesFirst!: Wootsofts stated mission is to release an online title
that bridges the quality gap between MMORP games and the solo variety
found in console titles, and last summer at E3 you were showing off a
very impressive graphics engine that looked to do just that. What sort
of difficulties have you faced in combining this level of visual quality
and the online environment?
Kremlicka: The biggest problem certainly was the impossibility of doing
the massive pre-calculations usually done for shooters and single player
RPGs. The amounts of data are simply too big to be stored let alone sent
over the Internet.
GF!: GF! was told last summer that Iritor Online ultimately aimed to
compete with Doom III graphically, a very lofty goal for any game, let
alone one built for the online world. Has this aim evolved at all since
the start of the project?
Kremlicka: We have rehauled the graphics engine to use Direct X 9.0
as a base for a fully programmable engine that also supports normal
mapping, which I would say is also the most noticeable feature of Doom
GF!: In terms of gameplay, what style of game is it? FPS? Strategy?
Kremlicka: We try to build an RPG with strong action tendencies in
combat, nonetheless we also offer a rich small units tactic experience
as well as all the classic RPG virtues like character development, loot
gathering, crafting, etc.
GF!: What roles do the players take on in terms of politics? Are
there computerized enemies and NPCs that players fight, or are conflicts
in the game driven by the players themselves (such as between two player
controlled warring races
Kremlicka: The main focus of the game is the fight against the
computer-controlled enemies. Those players who wish to combat their
fellow humans get to do that in a consensual way. We chose to take this
stance on PvP to shield our player base from grief PKing and related
GF!: In your press release you mention Mechs. Are these vehicles that
any character can climb in and out of, like Halo? Or is the Mech a
character choice that you select when you first start the game, as one
might chose between being human or cyborg in other games?
Kremlicka: Mechs will actually be neither. Imagine them as your
personal army which you can command, Everquest has coined the term "pet"
for this kind of player controlled AI ally. An engineer will be able to
command, repair and even build his own mech.
GF!: What roles will the development team play after launch? Are
there plans to help direct the events in the gaming world after release,
to drive the storyline similar to the way a book unfolds, or will there
be more emphasis on the players setting their own paths?
One of the main goals is to create a believable world with a storyline
worth following. To do this the development team will continue to add
landmass, dungeons, enemies and items, but of course also create events
of all kinds. The main focus remains to offer interesting new choices
with each new month.
GF!: From a technical standpoint, whats the games capacity? How
many people will be able to play online simultaneously?
Kremlicka: We aim to have 10000 simultaneous players in the final
version of the server cluster.
GF!: Was there a lot of debate during development about what the
minimum requirements should be?
Kremlicka: Not really--the player base of an MMORPG is classically
more in the hardcore gamer market with a reasonably powerful system.
Nevertheless our graphics engine is highly scalable and will also run on
weaker machines at the sacrifice of image quality.
GF!: In the game, Iritor is a world, a planet which humanity is
trying to colonize. This allows for a tremendous amount of creativity
amongst the design team. How diverse are the different environments that
players will encounter? Are there different continents, bases, outdoor
and indoor environments?
Kremlicka: The terrain will offer all kinds of climate zones; some
may seem familiar while others look as alien as they truly are. There
will also be indoor scenes such as the bases of humans and aliens as
well as natural caves and tunnels. The transition between inside and
outside environments is completely seamless to allow for a greater
degree of immersion.
GF!: How much control will players have over their characters
appearance and style? What aspects of their avatar will they be able to
Kremlicka: The player will be able to select different facial
features, as well as hairstyle, beard, and height. In addition to that
the build of the character will change depending on his physical
GF!: You mention medics. Are there other player classes? If so, what
would you say is the most unique character class available?
Kremlicka: Iritor Online is not really a class-based game, being a
medic is merely like a profession. You can choose any possible
combination of skills, attributes and bioware to make your own
customized character template. The most unique class therefore is one we
dont even know yet but which will potentially be created by a player in
GF!: The gaming industry has a very extensive history. What games
have come in the past that you would say most heavily influenced Iritor
Onlines style, look, and gameplay?
Kremlicka: The look is more influenced by movies and comics than
computer games since the graphics quality we can achieve on modern
hardware cannot be compared to what was possible in the past. Game play
wise the influences come most notably from Asherons Call, Diablo 2 and
various action games.
GF!: If you had to choose a single feature that you thought was just
the coolest thing about Iritor Online, what would be your personal
Kremlicka: I would probably choose the sequencing feature of the
modulation system. It allows the modulator to combine up to 6 spells
into a sequence that is then cast as one. This does not only offer some
game system bonuses to the modulator, but also allows you to customize
your fighting style, thus making you distinguishable. Some sequences
might even become popular and popularly referred to by the name of the
inventor. My hope is that this is one of the features that allow the
players themselves to shape the game through instruments that are
actually reflected in game play.
Iritor Online is due for release in the first quarter of this year
(2003). For additional information, be sure to check out the website at