John Tobias Tao Feng Interview

Patrick McCarron - March 19, 2003

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How many characters are in the game, and approximately how many moves are there per character? What about unplayable characters?

Tobias: There are 12 selectable characters from the offset. Moves really vary between character, but I'd say about a hundred, maybe a little bit more or a little bit less, per guy, depends on how you do counting. There are a couple of unplayable characters and an un-lockable character.

A wireframe meld of Divinity.

Tao Feng is the first game to implement a limb damage system, how is Limb Damage inflicted upon a character? And how does it effect that character's abilities?

Tobias: Limb damage is caused by two different ways. One is through excessive blocking, like if your opponent blocks too much it will advance his limb damage state. And there are two different limb damage states, there is Alert and there is Danger. And when you get in Danger, the next hit that lands successfully will inflict limb damage. If it is a high attack it will cause upper body limb damage and if it's an attack to the legs it will cause lower body limb damage. Obviously lower body limb damage will affect the opponent's ability to use any attacks that use kicks effectively and upper body affects punches. And it affects it by they will cause 50% less damage. Speed does not change other than if you are suffering leg limb damage walking, but not side stepping and things like that, but walking will be affected, like your guy kind of limps.

Could you explain the naming convention of the characters among the two Sects?

Tobias: The influence in terms of the names that we used are a little bit based on the concept that preceding a name of a person or animal with a descriptive element will give that person luck or helps enhance their internal abilities. We do this with the good guys, so there's Fiery Phoenix, Fierce Tiger and Iron Monk. The good guys practice what is called Nei Yeh which is their inner chi or inner power. And you have to build that through meditation and practice and it takes a long time to do it and requires a lot of skill. The bad guys practice what we called Wei Dan which is outer alchemy. They cheat, they have to take potions or elixirs because they don't have the patience to practice and learn. That's kind of why the Black Mantis are all named very shallow, you know Vapor, Exile. Not any real meaning other than bravado. But that is sort of what influenced the naming convention. We tried to inject a reason behind their names. When you hear the names at first they come across as a little bit strange, but when you read a lot of Chinese mythology a lot of the characters that exist within it are named real similar if not it gets even weirder. If you understand the roots behind it, it makes a lot of sense. On the American tongue, a character named Vapor is a lot more accepting than a character named Fiery Phoenix. I think that when you look at what we are trying to do in terms of mythological elements to the game, it makes sense. It's funny that if you watch a lot of Hong Kong cinema and you look at the names of some of the characters as they are translated, you will see a lot of similar names. Actually in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon there were a lot of characters that had a very similar name style.

A wireframe meld of Wulong Goth.

What level of body scarring and clothing tearing does the fighting engine in Tao Feng support?

Tobias: Obviously the entire bodies of the characters, every area of the body will show form of damage. It is dependant on how much damage is inflicted upon the opponent. One thing we wanted to do was if clearly you are winning a match, and clearly your opponent is losing, we wanted you to know who was winning or losing just by looking at the two characters visually instead of looking at the health bars. That was the original reason for doing character damage was for you to feel that you inflicted damage. I think one of the cool elements about Tao Feng is after you play it for awhile and then you play another game; you do miss not having it. It is just eye candy, it doesn't effect game play really at all, Limb Damage does, but the character damage like the cloth ripping and the bruising does not. But it's fun to see and I think it adds to the experience.

Page 3: Tao Feng Unleashed
Page 5: Tao Feng Continued 2
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