Q&A: Zima Software

GameSpot talks to the Czech developer about its upcoming horror game, Bloodline.

We had a chance to interview Radek Smisek, the manager of production for Czech developer Zima Software, and the rest of the Bloodline development team. The team shared some information about its upcoming horror game, the history of the company, and its plans for the future. The company also sent us a group of new screenshots and concept images from the game that can be viewed in the gallery above. For more information about Bloodline, take a look at our previous coverage and visit the official Zima Software Web site. The full interview can be seen below.

GameSpot: First, let me ask you about Zima. When was the company founded, and where did the name come from?

Zima Software: The company Zima Software was founded in the year 1995. The name Zima is the family name of the main partner/founder, whose name is Martin Zima.

GS: How many employees does Zima have?

ZS: Zima Software has about 25 employees.

GS: What other games has Zima developed?

ZS: So far we have been developing games for the local Czech market only. We've developed Mutarium, a real-time strategy game; Signus, a turn-based strategy game; The Cop 1, 2, and 3, a trilogy of humorous adventure games and the best-selling games ever in the Czech market (including foreign competition); and HyperCore, a shooter.

GS: Your upcoming game Bloodline is a horror game that takes place in a sanatorium. How did the development team get the idea? Was the game inspired by any outside sources, such as other games, books, or movies?

ZS: After thinking about the story for Bloodline, we determined our goal: The story would be set in various environments evoking negative emotions in people, such as fear, anxiety, and desperation. This is one of the presumptions we've made about how to get the proper atmosphere in a horror game. The sanatorium is just the right place! Of course, we have been looking for inspiration in various sources--Italian gore horrors, the Hellraiser series, and the P. Jackson's movie Brain Dead. However, we do everything possible to create the game with our specific style, story, processing, and unique atmosphere!

GS: Can you tell us more about the story of Jim Card and Dr. Brown?

ZS: Young lawyer Jim Card fights the dark force of evil incarnated as monsters in human skin. It begins with Dr. Brown. He unleashed the hell in his sanatorium, and he is the original source of problems for our main hero. In other parts of the game there are the guilty ones--Dr. Brown's ancestors. Their impassability and inhumanity is no less than Dr. Brown's. To defeat each of them means to defeat the curse coming from the past and leaving behind the bloody havoc. We are running from death, only to understand that the only way leads toward it. Blood and the bodies of innocent line the way. The important thing is that we overcome the time limits, the limits of life and death, and our own limits.

GS: What kinds of environments will the game include?

ZS: The story leads the players into very dark environments, including the already mentioned sanatorium with its cells, catacombs, and large cemetery. Going against time, the players will live through horrible moments in a Nazi concentration camp, in a top-secret experimental laboratory deep underground, or on the rainy and foggy docks in London at the beginning of the last century...

GS: The game will feature more than 40 types of enemies--can you tell us more about any specific enemies?

ZS: The players will face different enemies in every single chapter of Bloodline! Undead, perverted maniacs, or many mutated monsters. Each enemy will have specific fighting tactics, and each one will have different weak points! The combat system is so developed that fighting with the enemy is more realistic than usual--fighting with one zombie in Bloodline face-to-face delivers more adrenaline than simple shooters! There will be enough devices to eliminate the enemies, from the common scalpel and ax to the flamethrower and other fire weapons!

GS: What kind of engine does the game use?

ZS: The game uses new technology that connects the advantages of portal and PVS BSP engines. This technology goes further than both of the previously mentioned ones. This technology allows for more-advanced visibility settings for single scene elements. It leaves traditional linear spaces, and all necessary calculations run in higher-level spaces, including the hypercomplex ones.

We built a new script language built into the engine that was developed especially for optimal and easy description of interactive elements of the scene. The engine supports body animations based on motion-capture data systems that use nonlinear interpolations in hypercomplex space. This enables fluid continuation of a random number of animations. Other features include particle systems and dynamic lights. Other details are of course our development secret.

GS: Are there any plans for multiplayer support?

ZS: Of course we are working on complete support of TCP/IP protocol for both local networks (LAN) and Internet connections. For the future, we're thinking about the support of Microsoft DirectPlay.

GS: How far along is the game? Do you have any rough idea of when it will be complete?

ZS: The game is currently in alpha testing stage. Bloodline should be finished near the end of 2001.

GS: What are Zima's plans for the future? Does the company have any other projects in development?

ZS: Besides the Bloodline project, we are working on an adventure game for both local and international markets. It should be published in the end of this year, but for now I can't say anything else about it. For the future, we are preparing to develop a sci-fi role-playing game.

GS: Thank you for your time.

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