With the announcement of DualShock 3 at this year's Tokyo Game Show, PSU wanted to get an inside scoop from developers and find out how they are implementing it.
Here in our interview with Sheldon Carter, Producer at Digital Extremes we get exclusive details on the new Dualshock 3 rumble and how it is utilized in Dark Sector.
PSU: The motion sensing feature of the SIXAXIS controller surprised most developers when it was announced because most did not know about it. Was it with the same with vibration (DualShock 3) support, or have you known about it for some time?
Carter: One of the nice things about developing our own engine (Dark Sector is running on our Evolution Engine) is that we can easily plug-in new cool features like DualShock 3. We did get a heads up from Sony prior to the announcement, so I wouldn't say it was a surprise.
PSU: Will Dark Sector be utilizing the SIXAXIS tilt functions and if so, have you experienced the vibration interfering with the tilt sensing?
Carter: SIXAXIS tilt is definitely one of those features that you want to be very careful with the way you implement. For Dark Sector we're so focused on player immersion that we don't want the tilt to distract from that in any way. Focus tests are revealing that our decision on this is justified, but we haven't officially decided yet.
In terms of the vibration function interfering with the way we use tilt - so far, so good!
PSU: Are there any differences with the vibration functionality compared to DualShock 2?
Carter: Not especially.
PSU: How do you guys feel about rumble in general? Do you feel it can make a game experience, or does it merely add to it?
Carter: For a long time I felt it was kind of a gimmick, but then I had a few experiences that changed my mind (Psycho Mantis for example). I think it's a tool in our box that has to be balanced just like we balance other aspects of the game. In Dark Sector, Hayden has the ability to use fire sources to power his glaive and light enemies on fire. If we had fire sources everywhere, so the player could keep the glaive constantly on fire, it just wouldn't be fun. So the same goes for vibration - use it sparingly and make it special.
PSU: Will the rumble feature in Dark Sector follow the soundtrack or specific actions in the game? Or will it simply just vibrate?
Carter: Again - it's all about moderation with vibration. If every shot, grenade, step, explosion, etc... has vibration attached - the feature loses its impact. We have some incredibly terrifying and explosive moments in Dark Sector, and these are the events that we really want to punctuate with the right dose of vibration.
PSU: What is the release date for the demo on Xbox live and PSN?
Carter: It's coming out end of December, just in time to let everyone try it out over the holidays.
PSU: Is there a solid release date for Dark Sector?
Carter: January 22, 2008
We'd like to thank Digital Extremes and Sheldon again for partaking in or interview. Be sure to check back in with PSU for more Dark Sector updates.