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Inhabited Island: Battlefield Q&A
(hx) 02:29 PM EST - Nov,26 2006

Gameguru Mania got a chance to talk with Nick Katselapo of Wargaming.net, as he talks about Inhabited Island: Battlefield, the upcoming turn-based strategy game that involves players into the battles for planet of Saraksh. The game features an immersive storyline based on Inhabited Island (aka Prisoners of Power) by the Strugatsky brothers. Inhabited Island: Battlefield is slated for release in February 2007.

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

Nick Katselapov:
My name is Nick Katselapov and I am the producer of Inhabited Island: Battlefield at Wargaming.net, Inc.

GGMania: Can you give us a little background on the development team working on Inhabited Island?

Nick Katselapov:
The team working on Inhabited Island: Battlefield consists of the seasoned developers and artists, each with heaps of experience and professionalism in TBS genre. All Wargaming.net's employees have degrees in computer science, physics, math or arts. Nearly all of them used to be fanatics gamers, so the game design department always has the source of fresh ideas and inspiration. Mostly the same people used to work on Massive Assault (www.massiveassault.com) and Domination (www.domination-game.com). Our developers expect to bring even more fun to players with this new title.

GGMania: Can you give us an overview of Inhabited Island, telling us what the game is all about?

Nick Katselapov:
The Saraksh planet is a part of the so-called Noon Universe and presents a world that survived an atomic war. This planet is inhabited primarily by a humanoid race that is virtually identical to humans from the Earth. The surface of Saraksh is mostly covered by debris, junks and patrolled by war machines. This is a great problem for the survivors since many of the old war machines still endanger those inhabitants living in the regions. This game is about the perpetual withstanding between different races. Players will repel enemy forces in the North, resist barbarian invasion from the South and overcome superior fleet of the Island Empire.


GGMania: What is the primary target market for Inhabited Island? Do you feel it will attract both hardcore turn-based strategy players and casual players?

Nick Katselapov:
Our primary aim is to deliver much pleasure with Inhabited Island: Battlefield to both fans of turn-based strategy games and casual players. And on this stage of the game development we can guarantee for sure, that it seeks to offer intuitive turn-based gameplay and deliberate pace that all players going to love and get used to. Indubitably Inhabited Island will be easily understood by casual players and at the same time hardcore gamers will certainly benefit from all the extensive features (including morale, dicing, return fire, weather conditions, etc.) by exploiting them to their own advantage in order to gain the victory on the higher difficulty level.

GGMania: What can you tell us about the storyline of the game? How is it relatied with the book's plot?

Nick Katselapov:
Inhabited Island is a futuristic turn-based strategy title based on a famous sci-fi novel known as Prisoners of Power written by Russian science fiction authors Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The storyline evolves around the adventures of Maxim Kammerer. All events unfold after Maxim destroyed the Central broadcast Station and the army of the Land of the Fathers was defeated in the North. Having lost effect of mind control transmissions, the most part of inhabitants faced collective hangover and fell into state, similar to coma. The Khonties seized the opportunity and attacked the country from the north. In this situation violence is the only way to settle the conflict down and stop the war…

GGMania: Which characters/races from the book appear in the game?

Nick Katselapov:
In singleplayer campaign, players will get through all the missions as Maxim Kammerer (the main character from the novel), while the other personage - Wanderer - will be instructing Maxim revealing the campaign's story to player.

Besides, four featured races from the book will be presented: the Land of the Fathers, the Khonties, the Barbarians and the Island Empire.

The Land of the Fathers is a country ruled by an oligarchy of "Unknown Fathers", a group of wealthy politicians and military generals. Powerful land offensive units (infantry and tanks) and middling artillery are the typical features of the Land of the Fathers. The other distinguishable peculiarity of this race is the detachment of its forces in conformity with the level of martial art - penalty troops, regular army forces, and elite divisions of guards.


The Khonties is a government in the mist of a barely restrained cold war between two ruling factions: Khonti Union of Justice and Khonti Patriotic League. The Khonties has been considered a dangerous threat to the Land of the Fathers. Strong artillery and air units in conjunction with weak armored and infantry troops are the main features of Khonti side.
As regards the Island Empire, the principle features of this race are its powerful submersible naval fleet and the other combat arms, related to it (sea-based aviation, marines, amphibians, etc.) The naval advantage in the state of White Submarines was so much strong, that no one could dare to engage their fleet in the vast radioactive expanses of the Saraksh Ocean.
The Barbarians is the least innovative fraction. Of course, they possess the slight warlike equipment, but it is of the inferior quality and it yields to the best models of the other fractions. Combat experience and troop size are the strongest superiority of the Barbarians.


GGMania: What kinds of weapons and items units will players be able to use in the game?

Nick Katselapov:
Each race will possess and develop easily distinguishable technologies. Therefore, heavy armored, transport, and aviation units, each of absolutely different construction will be present on the battlefield. A haze of exhausted gases poise over steel battle machines; the ground gets blasted by tracks of tanks and other heavy vehicles; artillery fire scratches, burns and breaches heavily armored units.

GGMania: Could you describe the technology tree and unit upgrade system?

Nick Katselapov:
The technology tree resembles those met in other strategy games: there're some locations on map where players can install their bases. Then they can build depots around base to produce units of various types (like aviation, tanks, artillery, fleet, etc.) All upgrades are perpetrated in the special depots for a certain amount of money. Upgrade activity takes effect instantly, in other words all existent units of the type will be improved on the same turn.

GGMania: The press release claims that the game will feature "Realistic battle system". Can you explain further?

Nick Katselapov:
We're aiming to achieve the nearest approach to the real battle situation. Therefore, not only units experience and moral, but such factors as landscape, weather conditions and day-night change shall be taken in consideration during the battle. Naturally, players will be able to restore their damaged units in depots, mask them with camouflage, entrench land units to hold position and perform distant air recon operations to plan their strategy in few turns advance. Also, buildings and forests serve as natural fortresses for infantry troops.

GGMania: Tell us about the AI. Could you get us some details of its "silicon-mind"?

Nick Katselapov:
From the strategic standpoint, the AI is able to identify and estimate the importance of the targets on a map. As the situation requires, the AI can form the plans of particular types. The AI knows very well how to complete these plans by the appropriate set of units taking into consideration the needs of all available plans. The increased efficiency of unit set for plan realization is defined from rational and logical considerations. Besides, from the same considerations, the AI schedules its purchases on various bases.

From the tactical standpoint, the AI is able to move forces efficiently and use transport units for these purposes. In order to increase the efficiency of operations, the AI uses the same capabilities, which are available to every player: emanation, entrenching, camouflage, bridge construction, etc.

It's worthy to mention that the AI is not cheating with fog of war and carries own recon operations before performing strategic calculations. So it preserves "fair play" principle in Inhabited Island: Battlefield.


GGMania: What sort of missions will be a part of the single player game? Can you give us an example?

Nick Katselapov:
The campaign, just like the novel, will consist of 4 parts, and each part will be devoted to the certain chapter of trouble shooting on Saraksh. Each part will feature various numbers of missions. For instance, since it is hard to struggle with the Khonties, then the part about the fight against this race will be more dimensioned, complicated and with a greater amount of missions. The total number of missions will definitely provide a few days of gameplay.

In one mission players will need to escort their secret agent through the region guarded by enemy. In other they will have to make a breach in enemy defensive positions and force their way to destroy nuclear bomber behind the frontier. Missions are quite original and offering some extra tasks which players may try to accomplish if they like so.

GGMania: Could you describe the game interface?

Nick Katselapov:
The interface of the game will be streamlined and intuitive, like it was in Massive Assault. All the indispensable data will be presented in context, such as by mousing over on different units or terrain.



GGMania: What can you tell us about the engine that is being used for the game?

Nick Katselapov:
The game engine represents the upgraded version of the engine, which was used in Massive Assault series and known for its stunning graphics revolutionizing the TBS genre.

Nevertheless, the engine has been improved fundamentally to meet the latest industry standards. The system of day/night change has just appeared and added gorgeous sunsets and sightly daybreaks. You will be able to appreciate the dynamic light of terrains and objects embellishing the night and gloaming time of the day. Besides, the technology of landscape was completely changed, and it could bring the higher refinement of surface and the possibility to display the vertical textures correctly. Our modified engine pretends to be the top-notch one for turn-based strategy games. Just give a look at our screenshots and see it yourself.

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

Nick Katselapov:
In spite of the fact that Inhabited Island will be released next year, it will not be extremely demanding to player's hardware. Here are the system recommendations for smooth performance of the game:

Operating System: Windows XP with SP2
Processor: Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, AMD Athlon 2500 or better
RAM: 1 GB
Video Card: GeForce 6600 with 128 Mb VRAM or better
Sound: DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
Modem: 28.8k + Internet connection or better

GGMania: What type of music will be played during the missions?

Nick Katselapov: As for the music, it will be really immersive and atmospheric one, as we absolutely understand that the game can excite the real emotions and transfer the player into in-game events just only with the help of sensitive music.

GGMania: Will the game have a multiplayer mode? If so, what will it include?

Nick Katselapov:
We are currently designing a number of multiplayer features in Inhabited Island: Battlefield. The game will offer LAN play, Internet battles and traditional Hot-seat mode. The mission objectives will be extremely diverse: starting with complete kill of opponent and finishing by the capturing of weapon emplacement. It is obvious now, that only 2 players will be able to play the game simultaneously, but each of them will be able to access units of two various races at once.

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

Nick Katselapov:
Right now the game is in the preliminary stages of a beta test. All components of Inhabited Island: Battlefield requires being balanced and polished. It is going to be released in February, 2007. As for the second part of the question, we have several proposals from US publishers by now, but we are not ready to make the announcement yet.

GGMania: Do you plan to release a playable demo?

Nick Katselapov:
This issue remains to be open at this moment. A great deal depends on our publisher. That is why I'd prefer not to hurry with the reply on this question.
We're likely to do it so players will be able to make their mind and check the game before paying money. But it shall be done after we announce publisher and within its own marketing campaign.

GGMania: What do you see as the best feature in this game? Finally, what do you think gamers will enjoy in Inhabited Island over other games like it?

Nick Katselapov:
It's hard enough to define the feature of gameplay that will be enjoyed by players most of all. Graphics is certainly the one which will keep them up, while various gameplay styles yet to be adopted. All the different land, sea, and air units plus base defenses and other structures should give those, who enjoy turn-based strategy games plenty to dig into. Inhabited Island: Battlefield seems to be the game, which shall be engraved upon the players' hearts because of its enthralling gameplay.

GGMania: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Is there anything else you'll like to tell our readers about?

Nick Katselapov:
Thanks for your interest in our upcoming strategy game. Wargaming.net, Inc. will be exerting its every effort to deliver much fun and pleasure to each player through Inhabited Island: Battlefield.


genre: turn-based strategy
release: February 2007
developer: Wargaming.net
publisher: Akella

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