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Celtic Kings: The Punic Wars Q&A
(hx) 08:48 AM EST - Jan,08 2004

GGMania got a chance to talk with Gabriel Dobrev of Haemimont Games as he talks about Celtic Kings: The Punic Wars, their next historical real-time strategy game with RPG elements. The title is already finished and they are waiting for the localization teams to complete their work

GGMania: Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little bit about what you do on The Punic Wars?

Gabriel Dobrev: My name is Gabriel Dobrev and I'm the lead designer and producer of The Punic Wars, a follow-up to our Celtic Kings.

GGMania: Can you give us an overview of The Punic Wars, telling us what the game is all about?

Gabriel Dobrev: It's a strategy game about the wars between Rome and Carthage fought more than 2000 years ago. It includes the conquest of Hispania, Hannibal's campaign in Italy as well as the destruction of Carthage. We tell the story of two great generals who fought against each other in one of the greatest conflicts in ancient history - Hannibal and Scipio Africanus.

GGMania: Were you pleased with the reactions that the original Celtic Kings game received?

Gabriel Dobrev: Celtic Kings has received some very nice feedback during the development stage and the reviews that the game had were also very-very positive. So, we might say that press liked our game after reading those articles. From another hand, we have been also tracking the sales of the original CK game and we must admit that the success of it was quite promising for the follow-up to happen. So, yes, quite good reaction - we were and are happy, as you can see :)

GGMania: From where did you get the inspiration to make The Punic Wars?

Gabriel Dobrev: Historical events are always a great source of inspiration - for books, movies or computer games. The thing with TPW is not an exception - two great nations fighting for dominance in the Mediterranean - two great generals who are still remembered after more than 2000 years. It was a great pleasure for us to imagine and recreate that huge ancient conflict and it would be a mistake to miss covering that historical period, which is sublime for our game concept.

GGMania: What sort of missions will be a part of the single player game? How many levels in total will we have to play?

Gabriel Dobrev: The single player part of the game consists of two major campaigns - one for Rome and another one for Carthage. These two campaigns provide different view to the same events and show how each side struggled to overcome the other having different strategies in battles, having different units etc. Some battles, seen in the campaigns, are also available as separate maps where the players can play the side they fought against in the campaigns.

GGMania: How many different kinds of units are there and how will they differ if we compare different races? May be you're having some favorite units - which are those?

Gabriel Dobrev: As you can understand, the number of units in the original game was pretty big as we had two nations already, which had very different troops. We've doubled the number of units in The Punic Wars if compared to the original game. The new races are vastly different from the old and provide new ways to excel on the battlefield offering something new from the standpoint of gameplay.

GGMania: As far as we know, this follow-up will have less RPG elements than the original game. Why did you decide to focus on RTS part of the game more this time?

Gabriel Dobrev: We didn't want to simply repeat the gameplay of the original game as we try to look for something fresh and new while working on our next game. So, we've decided to build our single player missions around the idea of strategic situations, which the player has to explore.

GGMania: After shipping the original Celtic Kings games, you must be hearing some feedback from gamers in the field of AI. What kind of AI improvements shall we see in The Punic Wars?

Gabriel Dobrev: We've made the AI more aggressive while keeping it as strong - one must take in mind that AI must be strong enough to satisfy those gamers that are looking for a competitive opponent in single player knowing new tactical moves and be able trick the players from time to time. But at the same time we must not forget about 'casual' gamers who want to win battles while playing with the artificial intelligence. All in all, our new AI will probably fit into this idea and it can be said that is much more fun to play against it. Well, as we see it now but it is the players, who will decide if we have taught the computer to behave humanlike or not.

GGMania: What can you tell us about the engine that is being used for the game? You're still using 2D graphics - can you explain why?

Gabriel Dobrev: We felt that The Punic Wars really needs the scale of Celtic Kings, so we decided to use the same approach as in the original game. The graphics engine features some performance improves over the original game. Essentially it is a 2D isometric engine with 3D terrain.

GGMania: What kind of hardware should players have in order to experience good game performance?

Gabriel Dobrev: The minimum requirements are 400MHz Pentium III CPU with 128MB RAM. To get the best performance we recommend 600MHz CPU with 256MB RAM.

GGMania: What's the current status of the project, and what remains to be done? When will it be released?

Gabriel Dobrev: We have completed the Gold Master version and we're waiting for the localization teams to complete their work. The game is already on the market in some territories. So, don't forget to check for it in stores near you! :)

genre: RTS
release: 2004/Q1 (already available in some territories)
publisher: homepage

last 10 comments:

posted - Jan, 11 2004 - 12:53
The thing about RTS games is that its hard to cordinate large amounts of units to fight toghther. So all the tactic's become irrelevant when a large amount of units are doing battle because the user(human) can't move fast enough to adapt all his units. the user should be able to have his own units engage in a predetermined adaptive technique when they see the enemy doing event x. where event x is sometype of attack/defensive pattern. The computer AI should record and remember user attack/defensive patterns and adapt to them. This way the user can't expect to win buy using the same attack stragety everytime. and the AI will improve asd the user plays more.

Bill Gatesposted - Jan, 12 2004 - 03:36
valid comments, except tactics require the user to think... and how many user's actually think? :rolleyes:

woutjeposted - Feb, 09 2004 - 13:42
its ezyer when you yuse pause a lot so you kan do everiting calm wen the game is paused and then when you did everyting you wanted to do you unpause so you can do a lot of tings in the same moment

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