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Sparta: Ancient Wars Q&A
(hx) 11:36 AM CEST - May,16 2005

Gameguru Mania got a chance to talk with IMC's Ingo Horn and Torsten Hess as they talk about Sparta: Ancient Wars, their upcoming real-time strategy game based on the historical background of Spartans high culture.

They will demonstrate the game at the E3 2005 in Los Angeles. Producer Torsten Hess (they guy who worked on The Settlers series) will manage the presentation of the game which will last about 30 minutes and will demonstrate a first view on the game mechanic, the ecologic frame, the battles and of course the abilities of the "Ancient Wars engine".

GGMania: Please begin by introducing yourself and giving us an idea of your involvement in Ancient Wars

IH: Hello readers of My name is Ingo Horn and I am the responsible PR Manager for "Sparta - Ancient Wars". I have worked on Sparta now since its early beginnings last year, when we met the development team and got the point about the high potential of the game. Now I've planned the complete worldwide PR announcement and I am responsible for the E3 coverage of Sparta-Ancient Wars. Beside that, I was responsible for the name of the game (idea) and worked out big parts of the story and timeline.

TH: My name is Torsten Hess, I'm the lead producer of Sparta. I have been working with the team since early in 2004 and since this time, workflow and development of the engine have proceeded quite well. Everything regarding the game is going through my hands, so if there is something about Sparta to know - I'm the man who knows it!

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

TH: "Sparta - Ancient Wars" is the first game from a series of hopefully many games with a historical appeal. It takes place at the time, when the Spartans were the leading faction around the Mediterranean Sea, bringing high culture, brilliant tactics and health to its inhabitants. As being a RTS game it will deliver stunning battles with no unit limitation and a flexible 3D engine, supporting all latest Direct X features, self-shadowing, shader 2.0 technology and a brand new physics engine.

IH: Beside that it will give the genre some cool new ideas and elements that will be unveiled at E3! But for now, we already can tell you, that for example the player can vary its transporting units with its load. Based on the units, e.g. placed on a ship, the ship will be capable of ranged attack (archers on board), able to move faster (workers on board) or even be a siege ship (catapult on board). But beside this, you actually can see the units on board - so it is possible to fight against an enemy, while seeing what he has loaded on board. For all kind of tactics this is a very new feature.

GGMania: What playable sides will the player get to use in Ancient Wars?

TH: Of course you will play the mighty warriors from the city of Sparta - the Spartans. Beside them you will have two other yet not unveiled factions, you must defeat - so in total you will have three different races.

GGMania: How many campaigns/ missions will be there, and how varied will they be?

TH: So far we have worked out three campaigns with separate civilisations, and each one will have at least ten missions. But we aim to twelve for each race!

GGMania: How many different kinds of units are there and do they gain experience, abilities or skills over time?

IH: Sorry, but this is still confidential and we will unveil that later.

GGMania: What kinds of upgrades will be available in the game?

TH: We keep some ideas as a secret for now, but what I can tell you is this: We will not have different periods like in so many other RTS games, because we would like to keep the realistic appeal. It will not be a game with an evolution of your civilisation - but we will add something else, what makes much more sense and even more fun! But I am sure; you will see that with your own eyes at this year E3 in L.A.

GGMania: How will resource management be handled in the game?

TH: "Sparta - Ancient Wars" is a modern real time strategy game, where resource management will play a big part. We have developed quite a wide range of improvements to the "normal" procedure to harvest goods and to work on them, but this special feature will also shown at E3 first!

GGMania: How is combat handled in Ancient Wars?

IH: Drag the units you like to control, click on the enemy you like to attack, watch the cool battle! ;) Of course there will be some slight enhancements in battles as well, but I mentioned one of them already above with the example of equipping transportation units. Beside that we will have something more to be unveiled later on, because we are still in development of some cool features that will make it into the game, hopefully.

GGMania: What other game play elements in the game do you consider to be important and/or unique? Will there be anything new that we've never seen before?

TH: Well, with the Havoc engine, the highly anticipated AoE III already announced physics in their game. But Sparta will feature an own physics engine that will affect ALL elements in the game. Beside the effect on units and buildings, where e.g. chariots could crush through enemy lines, we will use physics on wind, weather, buildings and the environment, so even trees can break under heavy fire! So the tactics you can use will differ from each other and the range of possibilities is so much bigger, than in any RTS game before. Imagine some player specialized on harvesting wood, being crushed with catapults breaking down the forest - so he is not able to harvest any more wood! This is only a small example.

GGMania: What can you tell us about the engine that is being used for the game? Can gamers expect a huge improvement in graphics?

TH: I think I don't have to tell much about that. When you have a detailed look on the current screen shots you see the result, which is quite amazing. The "Ancient wars engine" is a total new engine, which has never been used before in any game. So it is in production especially for the Ancient Wars series. It features a high level of detail, enormous effects at still good frame rates are the key features of the engine. But as it is still in development, we can surely await further more things from its power! So far, it features Shader 2.0 effects, latest Direct X 9 features and the already introduced physics.

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

IH: We are still experimenting with several things and modes, so we are not able to actually tell something. Of course a RTS game must be delivered with a multiplayer mode, so surely players will be able to fight cool ancient battles against each other in 2006!

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

TH: We are no friends of saying "It's so and so many percent done!" because there are always many things to be aware of. Technically, the game is very far, but in terms of testing and editing the missions, there is still some way to go with it! But for a game with a historical background it is very important to spent much time for correcting the pre programming stage - otherwise every gamer will laugh about the story of a game, that has nothing to do with history he leant in school!

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

TH&IH: Thanks for your interest in our game, we are happy that even from the first few information about the game, there was such a huge feedback. We are looking forward to releasing a game that will bring many hours of maximum fun to every player, so the first part of a successful brand line is only the beginning of many brilliant games to follow!

genre: real-time strategy
release: 2006/Q1
developer: InteractiveMediaConsulting

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