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Interview with Jay Panek, Producer (Angel Studios): Microsoft Midtown Madness 2 

ActiveWin: How long was the development time for Microsoft Project 2000? Did you set any milestones, or overcome any setbacks? How many people worked were on the team?

Jay Panek: Midtown 2 was in development for about a year involving more than 20 people at various stages. Every project has issues to overcome. The success of a project largely depends on how the team handles these hurdles. We had a very qualified team both on Angel Studios side and on Microsoft's side. We were able to handle the road blocks quite effectively.

ActiveWin: Why do you think Midtown Madness was a runaway success when it was first
released?

Jay Panek: A great concept that was nicely executed. I also think that most people can relate to driving in traffic, which gave them a familiar point of reference. Ultimately, the bottom line is that it's fun as hell.

ActiveWin:  What are some of the new objects that can be hit or run over in this
version? How about the people?

Jay Panek: My favorite is that you can now plow through the trees. When you hit a tree, leaves go flying everywhere!

The pedestrians will dance around trying to anticipate where you're going to
go before diving out of the way.

ActiveWin: Why did you choose London and San Francisco for the new cities in this
release?

Jay Panek: We wanted two cities that were world renown and that would lend themselves to a fun gameplay experience. We also wanted two cities that would require different driving techniques to be successful. With San Francisco, we get the total adrenaline rush of flying over the hills. In London, you need to be more technical in order to navigate the narrow roads and the weblike road network. The two cities compliment each other nicely and both are fun in their own right.

ActiveWin: How well does Midtown Madness 2 work with Microsoft's line of
Sidewinder joysticks, gamepads and steering wheels? Did MS Hardware aid in
the development or testing of this game?

Jay Panek: Having a great working relationship with Microsoft allowed us to ensure that the user would have a great game experience with the Microsoft peripherals.

ActiveWin: Are there any Easter Eggs or hidden places included in Midtown Madness 2?

Jay Panek: Plenty! There are roof tops to explore, courtyards, barges, parking garages and more. You can get on the roof of the Hyatt in San Francisco for a great view of the city.

ActiveWin: How accurately is each city mapped?

Jay Panek: When creating the maps for the cities, we use artistic license to create an environment that is both recognizable and fun to play. We intentionally don't attempt to recreate the city exactly, but create a very detailed caricature that is tuned for gameplay. In Midtown 2, the cities are even more detailed than Chicago was in Midtown 1. You'll definitely know where you are in Midtown 2.

ActiveWin: What were the weather improvements in this version of the previous? Is
there more realism to their effects on the road?

Jay Panek: Since we were racing in San Francisco and London, we wanted the fog to be more of a factor. All the weather conditions affect the road conditions differently.

ActiveWin: How detailed is the damage modeling compared to the first game?

Jay Panek: The damage model was enhanced to include breakable parts and damage specific to the area you get hit.

ActiveWin: What is your favorite part of this game?

Jay Panek: We've enhanced and added so much to Midtown 2, it's hard to isolate one thing. For me, it's all about the racing, so the enhancements to the
vehicle physics are at the top of my long list. The player has an
incredible amount of control of the vehicle. You can sustain long power
slides around 180 degree turns, perform reverse 180's for quick getaways and
180's for a quick change of direction.




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