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Old 02-11-2007, 02:03 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Australia
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Jade Empire port info

Heres the good bits of stuff they've changed or altered.

Shack: A lot of console-to-PC ports suffer from "console visuals." How has Jade Empire fared in the process of being ported?

Diarmid Clarke: Jade Empire: Special Edition is certainly not just a straight port: we've completely upgraded the entire game to look absolutely spectacular on the PC. This means high-resolution graphics (which look terrific in widescreen, by the way), hand crafted textures, and enhanced effects. We've also made the graphics scalable so they also look fantastic on lower-end machines as well. We've also spent a lot of time crafting a very intuitive control system for the keyboard and mouse, and players can also map their keys however they want, and we are really happy that players actually prefer playing through the keyboard/mouse option. We're also providing support for gamepads as well.

Shack: Will the deeper pool of hardware resources allow for any significant changes in the game?

Diarmid Clarke: Having that extra power has allowed us to re-visit the fights in Jade and change things up a bit. For example we have been able to add more monster types to fights and with the greater variety of enemies on screen that means more emphasis on learning, and using, your different fighting styles.

Shack: Switching between my combos on the Xbox controller tended to be trying at times, since there are, of course, only so many ways you can map control schemes on a peripheral with 8-10 buttons. How does game play control via the PC work? Tell us about the controls, what does what (i.e., what is the default method to switch between combos, etc), and the like.

Diarmid Clarke: Right from the beginning of development we set the goal that the Mouse/Keyboard controls had to be not only an acceptable alternative to controllers but actually better. We really think we surpassed that goal, and you hit the nail on the head when you mention a controller's flexibility: the keyboard and mouse allow a much more fluid experience. For example, I just map all my fighting styles to the number keys, and that way I can easily switch styles on the fly, as opposed to only the 4 that were possible using the original Xbox directional pad.

Shack: While playing through my preview copy, I noticed that the Xbox 360 gamepad seemed to automatically calibrate to the proper control scheme. Does every game pad do that, or is that only for the 360 controller?

Diarmid Clarke: We have the code read the controller type and use a default control scheme. It was optimized for the 360-type controller and for similar 10-button controllers.

Shack: I also liked the fact that while playing, I could switch between the keyboard/mouse and the gamepad. Now, that's nothing new, but what I really liked was that the changes on screen would reflect my control change (e.g., keypad numbers for fighting styles when using keyboard/mouse, then d-pad graphic when I picked up my gamepad). How is this accomplished? Do all gamepads do this?

Diarmid Clarke: The game reads the last input made by the user, and displays the interface appropriately. We created two interface elements, one for keyboard, and one for game pad. So if it detects a key press it will show a keyboard, and if it detects button input then the compass style interface will appear. [This] will happen for all game pads.

Shack: As with many RPGs, the combat in Jade Empire (Xbox) became rather easy after I'd gotten my character strong enough. Has the difficulty been upped for the PC version?

Diarmid Clarke: The enhanced combat and improved enemy AI are some of my favorite new features. We've upgraded the enemy AI so enemies will fight smarter, meaning that the same tactics that worked in the original game won't work here.

And for those looking for an even greater challenge, we've added a new super hard difficulty level called "Jade Master," which becomes available to you after you've beaten the game. You get to take your same character and play through the game again on Jade Master setting, which is so hard that you'll really have to master Harmonic Combos to survive. However your character will retain all their abilities from the previous play-through so you can really look at maxing out some of those stats!

Shack: Any new fighting styles? Please explain them in some detail.

Diarmid Clarke: Two of the new fighting styles we're introducing is Viper and Iron Palm. Iron Palm is the slowest style in the whole game, but it's also the most powerful. It's inspired by Sumo, so you'll get the big palm strikes and bull rush attacks which are really fun. Viper style is a much faster style but does very little damage. It works by poison and bleeding damage which slowly drains the health of your opponents. Tactically, Viper is good when you're fighting groups of people; maybe you use it on a group of minions so you can concentrate on the boss. All the fighting styles offer very different tactical advantages and disadvantages, so you'll have to experiment to see what works best in different scenarios.

Shack: Do you still plan to implement a first-person view exclusively for the PC version of Jade Empire?

Diarmid Clarke: Well... the first person view is something we played around with and ultimately removed from the game. We felt that what we really needed to do was get the 3rd person camera working so well you won't need a first person perspective. Having said that there may just be a sneaky way of unlocking it somewhere....

Shack: Have any new areas been created especially for the PC version?

Diarmid Clarke: We wanted to remain true to the original story of Jade Empire so there aren't any new areas that will further the story, but what we have done is taken all the original environments and given them a complete overhaul: higher resolution graphics, upgraded textures, more dynamic visual effects.... Everything has been optimized for the PC, and we think players will be blown away by how amazing the environments look.

Shack: What about new creatures? Items?

Diarmid Clarke: I don't want to give away too many surprises about what you'll find, but one of the new creatures we've added is the Rhino Demon. He's this huge, brutish guy that will not only mow you down with his horn rush, but he has devastating close attacks, which will be tricky for you because he's fairly resistant to magic, so you'll have to get in close... And did I mention he has a pretty deadly reach, too?

Shack: Why wait so long to bring the Xbox classic to the PC?

Diarmid Clarke: Hey, when you're taking the time to upgrade every single texture by hand, right down to the blades of grass (no, seriously), that takes time. And it wasn't just the graphics either. We certainly wanted to inject as many improvements as we possibly could into Jade Empire: Special Edition while still preserving the original epic story, so we listened to feedback from the fans and took the time to make sure we delivered the best PC experience for Jade that we could. We would never release a game until we were absolutely sure it was up to the standards that our fans deserve.

Shack: Seeing as how this is a special addition, are there any cool in-box extras that gamers can anticipate?

Diarmid Clarke: Jade Empire: Special Edition includes a full sized poster and a Jade Empire art book that's filled with some absolutely stunning artwork.
Thats actually kinda cool that they put in effort.
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