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Highland Warriors Interview|
(hx) 10:23 AM EDT - Jul,11 2002
GGMania got a chance to chat with Data Becker's product manager Andy Manson to find out more about their plans for Highland Warriors, a new 3D real-time strategy game scheduled for release in the fall of 2002.
: Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a
little bit about what you do on Highland Warriors? What games have you made previously,
and are you currently working on other projects in addition to Highland Warriors?
Andy Manson: My name is Andy Manson and I am a
product manager at DATA BECKER Corp. I have been working on
Highland Warriors for a little over a year now and I am also working on other titles, such
as America II.
: Can you give us a little background on the development team
working on Highland Warriors?
Andy Manson: A
German Company, Soft Enterprises, is developing the game. They have been in the game
development business for over10 years and actually developed the first ever first person
shooter game for the German market. The Highland Warriors development team consists of
about 30 people.
: Why was the decision made to have the game set during "the
great feuds between the Scottish clans and England from the beginning of Scotland in 843
A.D. to the battlefields of William Wallace in the 14th century"?
Andy Manson: If you
have studied British history or have seen the Braveheart movie, you have a sense of the
battles and the intensity of this time period. We felt that in the gaming world this had
not been properly portrayed, and we hope to give gamers the chance to play out what they
have only read about or seen on screen.
: What can you tell us about the actual plotline of Highland
Andy Manson: The
game takes you through the four main periods of early Scottish history. You begin as the
MacKay clan, attempting to unite a divided, clan ruled Scotland under one flag. During the
next campaign the player becomes English and is fighting to enslave Scotland for England.
Following the English Campaign, William Wallace leads the Cameron Clans Campaigns,
sparking the Scottish revolution. Finally, gamers take command of the MacDonald Clan and
with Robert the Bruce, finally unite Scotland under one crown. Today, you can read much
more about medieval Scottish history at www.highlandwarriors.com.
: Will the story be the driving force behind the game or will it
be a somewhat secondary feature?
Andy Manson: Well
thats up to the gamer. You can play Highland Warriors in the Single player mode, and
Skirmish and Multiplayer modes through the Gamespy Arcade. The story certainly adds depth
to a gamers experience, but if a gamer prefers he/she can jump right into Single or
: Needless to say that it's quite hard to develop any good game
for current market, what makes Highland Warriors unique among today's real-time strategy
Andy Manson: Quite
a few things, but what I am most excited is the new level of detail Highland Warriors is
bringing to the genre. The games that I find most amazing for detail are the FPSs, but my
favorite type of game is an RTS. The thinking behind what we have done with Highland
Warriors is to bring the FPS level of detail to the RTS genre. The Highland Warriors
texture engine allows the video card to dynamically render the land/water textures used,
so the end result is that you will have no tiling of textures making your surroundings
Added to the level of detail, Highland Warriors has a complex system of experience so
it pays to know what soldiers are stronger than others, and when to back out of battle to
save a battle worn group. This experience system applies to the Craftsmen and other
characters as well. It allows the gamer to increase the skill level of different
characters through repetition of tasks over time. For example, a Wood Cutter can, if
cutting wood for long enough, become a Master Wood Cutter, and then he can cut wood more
efficiently, but at the same time, he becomes less proficient at all other duties you ask
him to perform.
The game also has a completely customizable interface. Buttons that you dont use
can be removed or repositioned on the screen.
: What is the primary target market for Highland Warriors? Do you
feel it will attract both hardcore RTS players and casual players?
Absolutely both. The game will come with a full tutorial for beginners. For the hardcore
gamer, we expect them to be delighted with the initial 30 single player missions, online
play and a full map editor. The game will have unlimited replay ability.
: Which engine is used in Highland Warriors?
Andy Manson: The ATLAS engine, developed by Soft
Enterprises for Highland Warriors, continues to amaze us with its high poly counts. It has
been developed specifically for Highland Warriors.
: I have read in the press release that the game's AI will allow
characters to move and act naturally. Is it really true? Can you more specify this
Andy Manson: One of
the most frustrating things about the new generations of games is poor AI. Frustration
grows whenever a gamer has to stop and ask why a game has slowed. For the RTS genre the
biggest issue in speed has been path finding. In Highland Warriors we have dedicated a
large degree of work to get the game to move naturally. For example, when a unit moves it
will take the correct path to get to its final destination, without putting itself in
harms way. So, lets say a unit is standing in front of a hill, and the player
wants him to move to the other side. The unit will know if it is faster to walk over the
hill or go around it. What I like most about this feature is that if there are any enemy
troops on top or around the hill the unit will avoid them as long as he is not set as aggressive
or told to attack.
: Was there anything you wanted to do but couldnt, either
because of design issues or otherwise?
Andy Manson: We are
almost at a solid beta, so Ill have to get back to you on that. Of course we have
the world planned as of now, but we will see when we get closer to the mastering date. One
thing that is very important to me is getting the game out on time. Though I will not
release an incomplete game, I believe that since we have told the gaming public a date
(Q4, 2002) it is our duty to live up to it. So I am careful when promising features, and I
need to know for sure if they will be in the final game before I promise them.
: What sort of missions will be a part of the single player game?
How many levels in total will we have to play?
Andy Manson: For
the single player game we will have 30 missions divided up between the Clans. These will
consist of several different types of goals, so in some you will have to keep your
township intact for a designated amount of time, while for others you will have to destroy
all enemy units and buildings, and so on.
: What multiplayer options will be a part of Highland Warriors?
Will Gamespy support be implemented?
Andy Manson: You
will be able to either play over a LAN or on the Gamespy Arcade. Up to 8 players are
allowed on one map.
: The interface is always the most important thing, especially in
3D RTS genre. How will the interface handle all of the game's complexity?
Highland Warriors has two solid advantages in the interface category. First, it has a
fully customizable interface. Buttons can be moved around and/or removed from the game so
the gamer can set the screen up any way he/she chooses. Another advantage Highland
Warriors has is a unit locator. With a mouse click you can get an overview of all units
under your control and what they are doing. This works for the Civilian Units, Military
Units, and even buildings. So, if you need a Master Builder to quickly to erect a
defensive tower, with a couple clicks, you can have him on the job.
: Now some Tech-stuff. What the current system requirements are
for Highland Warriors? How will the game utilize the latest Geforce 3/4 cards?
Andy Manson: Well,
without a feature complete beta in hand, I dont want to go shooting off at the
Here are some PRELIMINARY system requirements.
Windows 98,98SE,ME Pentium 500Mhz and 128 MB RAM
Windows NT(SP6),2000, XP Pentium 700Mhz and 128 MB RAM
Graphic Card: 32 MB 3D Video Card (OpenGL support) High Color 16-bit with 800x600
Resolution 32 MB
Direct X 8.0
800MB of free Hard drive space
FOR INTERNET PLAY:
GameSpy Arcade 1.1 or higher
: How do you feel about community? What kinds of things are you
planning for out-of-game community support?
Andy Manson: On our
forum at www.highlandwarriors.com
you can read postings between myself, the developers, and other interested gamers. And as
I mentioned earlier, the game will have a full map editor that can easily be shared over
: Currently what is the status of the current progress of the game
and when can we expect to see it in stores?
Andy Manson: We are
hoping to have the full version on store shelves in late 2002.
: Do you plan to release a playable demo?
Andy Manson: We
should have our public demo ready in August. Other then that, we should have some more
goodies coming out between now and the release of the game, such as teasers and trailers.
: Do you have any plans to bring Highland Warriors to the Xbox,
GameCube or the PS2?
Andy Manson: Not at
this time. Consoles and RTS games never really mix too well. As you point out, the game
interface is extremely important, and you cannot have that point and click feel on a
: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Is
there anything you want to add that we didn't cover?
Andy Manson: The
realism of the game is what I am totally jazzed about. I walked all over E3 and Im a
player myself, and I just havent seen anything like it (yet). I believe Highland
Warriors will push the RTS genre up more than one notch, which is great news to all gamers.
|Freak||posted - Jul, 26 2002 - 13:20|
|Nah, this game looks sucky-sucky... I'll wait for BackYard-Warriors....|