Take a mad dash through the zombie laden streets of Dead Nation with Housemarque tester Tuukka Meklin.
Tuukka Meklin took some time out from fending off the zombies of Dead Nation to tell PlayStation.com what it's like to work as a tester on Housemarque's PlayStation 3 exclusive blaster.
What does working as a tester on Dead Nation involve?
My time and focus, apart from endless testing, has been mostly spent with gameplay issues, going through design ideas, difficulty levels and the gameplay balance.
How did you come to work for Housemarque?
It all started when the Housemarque team contacted me because I had done so well on the Super Stardust HD leaderboards. They asked if I was interested in testing their upcoming SSHD add-ons. I had no previous experience in game development, but played my fair share of videogames. After several visits to the team's office, one thing led to another and now I'm working here full-time.
How did you manage to achieve your high scores on Super Stardust HD?
In short, practice makes perfect. But I also exchanged many ideas and tactics with fellow Stardusters like Somini82, ER777 and Bridy. And no, the Housemarque team did not tell me any secrets or anything that would've helped me to achieve those scores back then or now.
What skills and experience from playing Super Stardust HD did you bring over to Dead Nation?
Well, I guess my way of thinking and analysing SSHD to its limit has been somewhat helpful at least. Also, the fact that both games are dual-stick shooters has made it easy for me to compare the overall gameplay. I'd say I'm pretty experienced in that area.
What Super Stardust HD survival techniques are useful in Dead Nation?
Well, shooting and destroying everything before they can reach you is always helpful. SSHD and DN both have a quick escape option in the form of a boost or rush, and both are unlimited but can only be used when fully charged. After that it gets a bit different, as where SSHD had bombs, DN offers items, distracting car alarms and more.
How have you helped balance the difficulty level for new and veteran gamers alike?
In Dead Nation there are appropriate difficulty levels for all kinds of players. My focus has mainly been around the Undead difficulty, which is the hardest of the five difficulty levels, but I've also helped to find the most difficult parts of the easier modes and made them more enjoyable to casual players. I've also taken part in tutorials and information sections that are given to the players to make DN more accessible.
How do you feel the two player mode helps alter the dynamic of Dead Nation?
When playing DN with a partner you can really do more planning and figure out effective strategies. The enemies have two targets and players can take advantage of that. There are lots of fun combinations of weapons and items you can try out with a friend.
What's impressed you most about the game?
The amount of enemies on-screen at once. Explosions with zombie body parts flying across the screen. Awesome lighting and shadows. The atmosphere created by the music and sound effects. I'm also looking forward to see how the global status of each nation will shape up.
Do you think you will be able to get the best high score on Dead Nation?
We'll see. But it would be unfair if I posted a score on day one. I've had a few months to play it now, so at first I think I'll just be checking out the competition and getting in on the action when the time seems right. I hope there will be even more competition than there is in SSHD. Also let's not forget that every single play session helps your country to clear the zombie virus!