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Gravity Kills: Rick Raymo of Saber Interactive Talks Inversion

By Arti Gupta

Arti Gupta sat down with Saber Interactive’s director of game content, Rick Raymo, to talk about the new gravity manipulation engine in Inversion.

DIG: Tell us about your role at Saber Interactive.

Rick Raymo: I’ve been at Saber now for four years. My background was originally as a games critic. Somehow, I got lucky enough to be able to say to somebody, “Something feels off about this. Can we fix it?”

DIG: So Inversion has something new and cool: a gravity manipulation engine. Can you tell us about that?

R.R.: We are interested in the main gameplay experience being something that’s understandable to the audience … but we want to have one hook that says “This is the unusual aspect.” Inversion started out, with code name Zero G, in a sandbox with us lobbing characters and innumerable objects through space with real physics in zero-G, and then switching the gravity vectors … on the fly.

What happens with Inversion is that there are both gravity anomalies and controllable gravity -- controllable by you and the enemies -- so you have the opportunity to manipulate where those gravity vectors are going to be and travel through zero-G areas in a way that feels like you’re not swimming -- it feels like you’re actually making good forward momentum and you’re controlling your character well.

We are able to do all kinds of different things, including unlimited debris, unlimited particles, unlimited things that are all physics-based and follow the gravity changes.

DIG: That leads me to Havok. Have you used Havok extensively?

R.R.: Havok is deeply integrated into our engine. We are lucky enough to have a relationship with them where we work with their alphas and their betas and we have a full feedback system with them.

We can have unlimited particles and light them and have them physics-based. They have the opportunity, through Havok, to be controlled as they would be in life.

Havok, since then, has added something called destruction. We have worked deeply with Inversion and Battle: L.A. with their destruction system. We have a lot of fun breaking things.

DIG: I have heard a rumor that you have a big-name, popular game that you are working on next. Anything you can share with us?

R.R.: I’ve seen those rumors too!

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