Update: I forgot to ask what platforms the game would be available on. I got the answer for that question today -- the game will be released on PC, PSP - and "probably another platform". Interesting, huh?
[22:45:05] CrueTrue: Well, yes -- first of all, thanks for taking time to do this interview with PCM.daily and the rest of the community.
[22:45:49] Clément: No problem, I'm happy to give some informations about the upcoming PCM
About track cycling and other rumours
[22:46:53] CrueTrue: Hehe, that's good -- we are also more than interested in getting to know more about the game. So let's get straight to it.There have been a lot of rumours about the game. The first one was about a new mode in the game – a Track Cycling mode. Can you once and for all confirm that track cycling is a part of PCM 08?
[22:47:56] Clément: So as you know, yes there will be a Track mode in PCM'08 :) Track cycling and cyclo-cross are events that we like a lot here in Cyanide. And this year we chose to work on a Track mode with 3 events: keirin, sprint & elimination race
[22:52:59] CrueTrue: That was exactly what the rumours said it would be. So, how will it work? How do you steer the riders? After all, there's quite a lot differences between track racing and road racing.
[22:53:48] Clément: Yes, that's totally different from the road racing you know since the first cycling manager. New mode = New gameplay. You control 1 rider, and go left or right with the arrows with of course the real physic of the velodrome, so if you come from the top of the track and accelerate while you are going to the bottom of the track (the black line) you'll gain a lot of speed
[22:55:45] CrueTrue: How about the speed then?
[22:56:56] Clément: the speed are quite realistic, we tried to reproduce the same time as the olympic champions. we met some french riders which are playing cycling manager (Arnaud Tournant, Grégory Baugé & François Pervis) who gave us feedbacks
[22:57:17] CrueTrue: What I was thinking was how you make your rider go faster / slower?
[22:58:32] Clément: you have a power bar, with up & down arrows you can set a different power. that's really simple to play the first time, because you have only basic controls, but it does not means that it's a boring game to play, because there's a lot of tactic and you'll have to learn how to play well
[23:00:01] CrueTrue: There has been a lot of rumours that the game would be more arcade-inspired this time. I guess that only counts for the track racing then?
[23:00:25] Clément: Yes, that only counts for the track racing. We made an arcade gameplay for track racing because according to us, it's the best way to make Track Cycling interesting. arcade gameplay does not means not realistic.
[23:00:36] CrueTrue: Okay, well, thanks for clearing up those rumours then
About changes in the road race gameplay
[23:01:08] CrueTrue: In one of the e-mails you've sent me you mentioned a "completely revised road race gameplay". What effects will that have?
[23:02:36] Clément: Completely revised road race gameplay is probably not the right term :) it will make confusions. we made important changes in the gameplay, but the spirit says the same : you control your 9 riders with energy and orders
[23:03:31] Clément: so what changes ? :)
[23:03:40] CrueTrue: Exactly -- that would have been my next question ;)
[23:04:12] Clément: we said stop to the 2 actual energy (blue/green). you'll have now 3 energy gauges : the green (for endurance) will be +/- identical. the one for resistance will (the old blue) will be more "long". The third one will be dedicated for attacks and will regenerate quickly. The attacks are now much more "powerfull", but shorter. What is very important to understand: you can make an attack, make a little gap and use all this 3rd energy quickly, but you'll still have 2nd energy available (not all of course, after an attack) so you'll be able to manage your rider after an attack
[23:09:17] CrueTrue: When will the 2nd energy bar go down then?
[23:09:43] Clément: With intermediate efforts
[23:11:01] Clément: 1st energy bar = very long to use
2nd energy bar = about 2x more longer to use than the old blue bar
3rd energy bar = very quick to use
[23:11:18] Clément: what is also new is the design of the effort bar
[23:12:06] Clément: I don't know if I explained well the system of the bar, but it was something that was asked by a lot of players, and i'm nearly sure they'll prefer this one :)
[23:12:38] CrueTrue: Hehe, time will tell -- we need to try it first, I think ;) A new effort bar -- what does that mean?
[23:13:33] Clément: In the old effort bar, you had no possibility to manage between the max (99) and the attack. max of the bar was 99, and attack equal to about 130/140. now with the new effort bar, when you ride 99 it's equal to an attack effort. of course, if you make an attack you have the benefice of the big acceleration. players will have to re-learn the scale of the new effort bar
[23:15:39] CrueTrue: Yeah, that will indeed change a lot.
[23:15:52] Clément: so when you ride 99 it's an incredible effort, and you loose very fast your 3rd energy bar, but you can really avoid attacks during a short period with teammates, and if you don't use it at the ends of the flat races, you may have a bad surprise with "flat puncheurs" (fx cancellara in compiège last year tdf). In the previous cycling manager, there was a little fake to make the attacks less important at the end of flat stages, but now we removed that little fake, and it will be the responsability of the AI and the players to use some teammates in order to avoid those attacks from big guns like Cancellara.
To me the most important point is in mountain. when you launch an attack, you still have management of energy because your energy is not totally empty. That changes a lot
About changes in the career mode
[23:21:53] CrueTrue: Yes, I could imagine. Thanks for the explanation. I think we all got it now :)
Let's move on to the career mode. It sounds like you have hanged a lot in the gameplay, so have you had any time to make improvements to the career mode?
[23:22:35] Clément: of course, career mode is still an important thing and we made some changes. First that comes to my mind is scouting and generation of young talents. There's much much more young riders in each areas, and a lot are just "poor" or "normal" and it's more difficult to find the big guns
[23:24:19] Clément: we also changed the scouting systems. Each week your scout can give you new names he found in the country he is, but your scout will be more and more good after several weeks of scouting, he'll gain experience. some big guns are already very famous and even the worst scout will find it (fx, it was very very easy to predict that Thomas Dekker has a huge talent, because he won a lot of titles in the youngs), but some future stars are not very famous when you start the season, and only experienced scouts will find them (...fx it was hard to predict Frank Schleck when he was an amateur)
[23:28:16] Clément: now the most important for players: there will be a little calendar for U23 races with all those young talents
[23:28:45] CrueTrue: Celeberation time! :D
[23:29:11] Clément: so you have two ways to discover young riders: with the results of those races or with scouting, but be careful - an average potential may be very mature and win big young races and only few riders will be selected to ride those U23 races. For instance, there will be about 250 italians amateur riders...but only 5 will ride Giro delle Fiandre U23, so the AI will take only the best ones at this moment
[23:31:15] Clément: you understand ?
[23:31:28] CrueTrue: Yeah, I understand
[23:31:36] CrueTrue: It sounds really good
[23:31:40] CrueTrue: Many has requested U23-races
[23:31:50] Clément: but won't be playable, only simulated races
[23:31:59] CrueTrue: Oh
[23:32:12] Clément: that's a tool to scout young talents. that's already a lot of works, and honestly having them in 3D would be the same. you don't have 3d in FM, all is fake and players love this game :)
[23:32:57] CrueTrue: That's a shame, but I guess we can't get everything.
How about the other parts of the game? Will there be any changes in the negotiations with the riders? Co-sponsors? Pre-race ractics?
[23:34:40] Clément: we changed the fitness system, will be easier
to play, you'll be able to set curves of fitness. we also changed the riders progression caracs.
[23:35:16] Clément: riders progression won't be always constant now
[23:35:52] Clément: we didn't change anything with co sponsoring or pre race tactics (we'll make little improvments for that part, but no big changes)
[23:36:12] Clément: negociations will be +/- the same system, no big changes
[23:36:17] CrueTrue: Can you elaborate on the riders progression-thing?
[23:36:44] Clément: each rider will have a line of progression, sort of hidden stat. some will have early progressions, other late progressions, other normal, other "strange", etc... we also added an history with the possibility to navigate with back & previous in the interface
[23:38:03] Clément: important for career mode :)
[23:38:44] CrueTrue: An history?
[23:38:48] CrueTrue: Of what? The past winners?
[23:38:53] Clément: no sorry
[23:39:09] Clément: you go to the "training" page
[23:39:15] Clément: throw the interface
[23:39:23] Clément: and you use "back button"
[23:39:33] Clément: so you come back to your old page
[23:40:14] Clément: not very exciting on the paper but for real career gamers, it will be very important
[23:38:14] CrueTrue: Hehe, well, thanks for clearing that up.
About the training - this is a little difficult to explain -- let's take David Zabriskie as an example. He's a great time trialist, but over the past years he's been training more in the mountains, making his time trial worse.Will we see something like that in PCM?
[23:38:36] Clément: no
[23:38:39] CrueTrue: Okay.
[23:40:53] CrueTrue: Stats-wise, will there be any changs in that? It’s been suggested to add a Prologue Stat. Also, will the acceleration stat have any impact in the next game?
[23:41:05] Clément: no big changes. at least 1 change which could be interesting, though. for single modes (tour, classics, stages..so not for career), some riders will have bonus and malus for some month of the year, so they'll get bad or good shapes for some races. For example: Di Luca will have very good bonus for may month and very strong malus for july. so when you'll play a single "Tour de France", you'll have more realistic races with right competitors. So playing Giro or Tour will be different.
About the Pro Tour calendar and the amount of teams - and a little bit about track racing again
[23:43:58] CrueTrue: Yeah, I get it -- interesting :) Speaking of the Tour de France. Will the new (and very weird) Pro Tour calendar have en impact on the game?
[23:44:55] Clément: we do not understand where cycling goes...and we keep the 2007 calendar. this is total weird thing and we do not want to add features that will be less interesting than before. the pro tour calendar is really a joke this year :(
[23:46:17] CrueTrue: Okay. What about the number of teams? How many teams will there be in the game? Also, will there be teams which only compete in track events?
[23:46:47] Clément: Not yet totally defined, let's say +/- the same as last year (maybe a bit more), but there won't be track teams. Track is for this year independant, it's not incorporate in the career. if players like track mode and ask for more events, we'll think about it in the future
[23:48:07] CrueTrue: So track mode will only be for single races?
[23:48:20] Clément: yes, and especially for multiplayer (H). playing elimination race is really fun and exciting in multi. we tried with 10 players in cyanide, that was really nice
About changes to the multiplayer mode
[23:48:51] CrueTrue: Speaking of multiplayer, will there be any changes? Also, will it be possible to play a full career online?
[23:49:10] Clément: no major changes
[23:49:37] Clément: and unfortunately no full career online, but we always have this idea in our mind :) hope later
About the AI
[23:50:09] CrueTrue: So do we :)
Anyway, back to the racing.. Have you done any work to the AI? Can you mention any specific "changes"?
[22:29:47] Clément: We worked on the AI for attacks in order to create more variety in the attacks, but that something we're still working on and that's not totally finished
[22:30:53] Clément: we've also plan for upcoming weeks to work on AI for breakways, because players are not always happy with the AI which work too early in the pursuit of the breakway in the tours
[22:33:18] CrueTrue: Any other changes in the AI?
[22:33:27] CrueTrue: Any changes in the mountain AI, for example?
[22:33:54] Clément: As I said before, yes with the changes of AI-attacks
[22:34:20] Clément: but as it's still in developpement i can't give you more infos for the moment :)
About changes in the database structure
[22:35:29] CrueTrue: Okay, I'll just ask you again in a couple of months ;)
So, what about the editing? Will Cyanide release any database editing tools this year?
[22:36:10] Clément: Unfortunately that's not in our plans
[22:36:37] CrueTrue: Okay. Will there be any changes in the database structure then?
[22:37:02] Clément: Structure will be +/- the same
[22:38:36] CrueTrue: Okay. +/- sounds "dangerous" ;)
[22:39:11] Clément: no, +/- means that it can't be exactly the same database, because each new feature need new tables and new rows, but 99% of the time it's not important for database makers :)
[22:41:04] CrueTrue: The reason why I'm asking is that you usually make changes in the database structure which makes it impossible to convert databases from one game to another.
[22:41:54] Clément: if it was possible to convert from cym6 to cym7 it will be probably possible from cym7 to cym8 - at least all the basic caracs & infos
[22:44:27] CrueTrue: Well, as far as I know, it's not possible. But since I'm not a DB-maker, I don't know much about it ;)
About the dev-team, beta-testing and release date
[22:45:00] CrueTrue: So, let's move on. I've heard that you've restructured the development team. Can we expect a fresh approach to the game as a result?
[22:46:01] Clément: Things are going well atm but the best is to re-ask me in April. Dev is not yet finished and we're still working hard to make a nice cym 8
[22:46:26] CrueTrue: Well, we'll probably see the result once PCM08 is released ;)
[22:47:27] CrueTrue: I suppose the beta-testing phase hasn't started yet? When will that happen? And will you use people from the community to beta-test?
[22:49:28] Clément: Beta test hasn't started yet. Will give more infos later. Of course if players from the community have the time to test & give feed-backs to us, we'll be very happy.
[22:49:59] CrueTrue: Do you have any idea of when that will happen?
[22:51:10] Clément: most probably during March
[22:51:48] CrueTrue: Okay, thanks. Speaking of dates, will the release date this year be the same as the previous years (= late June)?
[22:53:23] Clément: Probably mid-june, but that's very early to talk about it :)
[22:55:30] CrueTrue: It certainly is. I just wanted to be sure. ;)
Also, I'm sorry to ask you this, but a friend of mine has begged me to ask this question for several years :P Will it ever be possible to only control 1 rider in PCM -- like in the "Tour de France"-game released by Konami a few years ago?
[22:55:56] Clément: definitely not, at least not in road races. my dream would be a Cyclo-cross mode with thecontrol of 1 rider... but i'm nearly sure it will not be possible :'(
[22:56:32] CrueTrue: Well, since you added track cyling this year, will you add cyclo cross next year then? :)
[22:58:08] Clément: i've already worked on a little planning to evaluate the cost of a such project, and it's an event which is very difficult to reproduce in a video game...it needs a lot of works, much more than track racing for instance, but i'm really convinced that it would be very fun to play a such event
[22:59:58] CrueTrue: Aha, so you've thought about it?
[23:03:02] Clément: yes we've thought about it...but as I said, the costs are probably too big for us...that's a very difficult event to reproduce :( so much work with the physics (80% of the gameplay reside in a great realistic physic engine in order to reproduce the difficulty & the sensations of this sport), the arts (designing the tracks, making all the animations) and AI won't be easy too.
[23:00:19] CrueTrue: Just out of curiousity, did you try playing with the Cyclocross database, released for PCM 06 and PCM 07?
[23:04:18] Clément: I've read the topics on the forum but didn't play it.
[23:04:44] Clément: would be too much frustrating :D
About the communication with the community
[23:06:00] CrueTrue: It sounds like a DB for you, though ;)
Anyway, let's see what happens. Never say never :P
Let’s change the subject a little. The community and Cyanide’s way of communicating with it has been discussed a lot over the past two years. Will Cyanide try to communicate more (especially with the English community) this year?
[23:08:06] Clément: There're a lot of english spoken communities (pcmdaily for instance :P) and we really focus on the dev of the game for the moment. After the release of the game, yes we'll try to make efforts and communicate more, but not before the release of the game, that's sure. our job is firstly to make a nice game. then if we make a nice version with a good finition, we'll be more available to communicate
[23:09:18] CrueTrue: I think most people will understand that decision
[23:10:32] CrueTrue: Another question about the community. In the English community, we have seen some really great graphic wizards who have been able to make some very beautiful creations for PCM. Have you thought about working with them, for example Miya?
[23:12:50] Clément: Miya retired from the community :( At least for a moment. He was really an unique member with solid knowledges in the 3D
[23:14:14] CrueTrue: That's true, but I'm sure he would help if you contacted him ;)
[23:15:40] CrueTrue: Anyway, seems like I'm out of questions. Did I miss anything?
[23:16:15] Clément: I think it's fine for a first itw :)
[23:16:35] CrueTrue: I hope so :) Is there anything else you wish to say about PCM that you feel might be of interest?
[23:18:35] Clément: not yet, but there will be most probably some nice surprises in the upcoming weeks :P
[23:19:04] CrueTrue: Hey, that's not nice. We have used hours on this interview, and now you're saying you haven't even revealed all the good stuff :P
[23:20:46] Clément: hehe :)
[23:21:10] Clément: it's good to keep some news for later
[23:21:34] CrueTrue: Thanks a lot for your time, Clément
[23:21:46] CrueTrue: Looking forward to hear from you again :)
[23:21:47] Clément: was pleased :)
[23:22:00] Clément: Have a nice night, bye
[23:22:22] CrueTrue: Bye :)