Exclusive: Grimlands dev talks post-apocalyptic PvP, item decay, and more

Jef Reahard
J. Reahard|07.02.12

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Exclusive: Grimlands dev talks post-apocalyptic PvP, item decay, and more
Grimlands - landscape shot
During last month's E3 and earlier this year at GDC, we got a chance to lay our hands on Grimlands, a new sandbox-shooter hybrid from gamigo. Given the game's post-apocalyptic setting and our fondness for open-world, off-the-rails titles, we were quite excited to take it for a spin.

We also had plenty of questions for the devs, and fortunately product manager Bjoern Cahnbley was able to answer a few of them. Head past the cut to find out about PvP flagging, item decay, vehicles, and a lot more.

Grimlands - angry-looking dude
Massively: Collision detection. Can players walk through enemies or each other?

Bjoern Cahnbley: At the moment, cars can collide with each other. You will not be able to run people over using a car (for various reasons), so cars will basically just drive straight through players. Players will also not block each other. This decision was made because in some dungeons there are rather narrow spaces where player collision would cause all kinds of inconvenience otherwise.

Does PvP involve a flagging system on PvP servers, and are there safe zones where players can't kill each other?

This depends on where you are fighting. When you are involved in the process of attacking and capturing a territorial objective, for example, you are flagged automatically the moment you reach a certain distance from the objective.

When you are doing your normal quests, you need to flag yourself for PvP in order to be able to attack other PvP-flagged players, so in the open-world (questing areas), there will be no non-consensual PvP.

What can happen is that another clan declares war on your clan. This will then lead to the situation that members of both clans are able to attack each other everywhere. Think of it like an EVE Online wardec.

There will be also safe zones, which are mainly the quest hubs in the form of towns and small settlements. In these towns the normal town services can be found: vendors, bankers, the auction house, and so on. In these areas, PvP is generally disabled to minimize the potential of players griefing others.

Is there friendly-fire in the game, or will my friends be protected from my poor aim?

There is no friendly-fire at the moment. This is because we do not want to move too far away from being a MMO and become a shooter. So your friends should be safe.

What actions, if any, will be taken to minimize the macroing of skills?

I guess by macroing you mean the idea of automated leveling. This is prevented by the requirement to do a successful action to increase your skill level. So standing behind a barn and shooting its wall for four hours using a mouseclicker tool or something similar will not yield any skill increase, since the game will not register any successful shooting action against an actual enemy.

Now, in terms of "lets put something on the W button and let the character run for hours": First of all, you will encounter enemies that will take you down. Secondly, there will be something like fatigue in the game, so after running a significant distance, you should get some food and/or water.

Can items, such as guns, break and go away after a certain amount of time?

Yes, all items will have durability. You will be able to repair them, but every time you repair them, they will lose a tiny bit of their initial maximum durability. This means that in time, every item will wear down, which leads to a constant need for new gear and makes the crafting profession a viable option.

Can your vehicles be permanently destroyed, or will you be able to get them back from, say, garages and gas stations?

No, vehicles can not be destroyed permanently. However, using them will consume fuel and also their durability will go down. If you reach a certain threshold, the vehicle will start to spew out flame and smoke and its performance will go down. You then have to go to a gas station or repair facility and repair the vehicle, which will consume time and resources.

On the vehicle panel, there were some squares that were completely blank and others with grey question marks. Were the question marks placeholders for anything? What is the purpose of the empty squares?

What you saw in the presentation was the modification panel for the vehicle. This is where you can add additional parts to your vehicle to further increase its performance. What you saw as question marks were parts that did not yet have their respective icons implemented, so everything with a question mark is indeed an installed modification.

The empty squares are slots that are free to use; there, you can install additional modifications. So the number of modifications is limited to the maximum amount of slots.

The level we saw in the new video, was that a lower "level" area (I know there's no levels, so maybe a "low skill" area?), mid-range, or...? Just trying to get an idea of what the difficulty was supposed to be.

What you saw there was one of the early dungeons set on "single-player" mode. For dungeons, there are three settings: single, group, and raid. So what you saw in the video was a rather pimped-up character shooting his way through an entry level dungeon. You can expect the difficulty to increase later on! The intention behind those scenes was to show the general look and feel of dungeons overall and was not representative

Will NPC enemies be able to use vehicles, or just players?

At the moment we do not have enemies using vehicles, but that is something that we are considering for some events that will randomly occur later on.

Thanks for chatting with us!
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