Interview: Telladar Chronicles
Game Factory Interactive recently gave The Wargamer a heads-up on a new real-time tactical fantasy game in the works by Ukrainian developer Mindlink Studio. Jeff Vitous interviews the developers of this real-time tactical game.
WG: The description of the heroes in the game sounds like it is part RPG. How does a hero’s “love and hatred, friendship and betrayal, bitter defeats and glorious victories” fit into the framework of a real-time strategy game?
AB: The game’s atmosphere and especially each hero’s emotional conditions – their hope or despair, love or hatred – are delivered to the player almost entirely through the storyline. Some portions of the plot delivered in the form of a hero’s diary, other times as video cut scenes and inter-mission dialogues with NPCs.
Again, the game has non-linear plot and the player is the person responsible for hero’s choices in the game. Consider too that heroes are divided between two warring parties and none considers themselves on the “wrong” side.
Moreover, it turned to be very effective to build a framework of the game over complex and detailed storyline. I’m sure that we’ll get excellent results.
WG: Are there separate strategic and tactical elements in the game or is it played entirely from the same interface?
AB: Telladar Chronicles: Decline is a tactical war game and there is no strategic mode in it, so yes, it is played from the same interface all the time, except briefings and army management, of course.
WG: Can you describe some of the more colorful creatures in the game?
AB: Let’s start with Centaurs. Their prides roam the Endless Plains or Elu Nimene, as it called by elves. They are huge (up to 10 feet high and weighting over two thousand pounds) creatures with obvious feline traits that live by hunting and herding. They are surprisingly calm and friendly most of the time, until season-based frenzy called Aruth comes. In this state Centaurs become bloodthirsty monsters, capable to attack nearly any living creature except their own pride without any reason. Centaurs actively use this ability in combat artificially invoking its lesser variety right before the attack. Due to their size, speed and sheer ferocity Centaurs’ war packs are rightfully feared by all nations of Miere.
Other creatures I want to tell you about (and my favorite, by the way) are large breed of orcs, called Urrgs. They live west of Ghurduk Range and Urrg-Khatr mountains in numerous strongholds of wood and stone. Despite their rugged look, they are widely known as skilled craftsmen and smiths. Their strength and toughness made them natural-born warriors, more then capable to withstand the assaults of nearly every opponent. When four hundred pounds of muscle, protected by finest steel and with a yataghan or axe raised above his head roars and charges, it is an impressive sight to say the least!
WG: I see the game will feature more than 100 spells. Can you describe some of them?
AB: Actually we will try not to reveal spells’ details for now, so let’s speak about magic in Miere in general.
The primary source of magical energy is called The Eye. It’s a place where three basic forces of the universe – Spirits of Destruction, Creation and Balance – have met in unending battle at the beginning of the Time. The Eye emits waves of pure energy which fuels everything in the Universe. This energy can be channeled and transformed by anyone who has enough skill, talent and courage to do so.
Energy can be transformed using two various techniques. The first one, called The Arc, deals with spells - quick incantations with relatively limited power, area of effect and duration. The second, known as The Ritae, studies rituals - very complex methods of casting, where the combined might of many magicians is used. Rituals have much greater effects, but use enormous time to prepare and cast; especially powerful rituals may take up to several days and require dozens of participants.
The player can use his mages to cast spells or activate rituals, which are prepared between missions. Spell casters can channel a limited amount of energy through their minds, depending on their experience and mental attributes. However, they also gain fatigue with each spell that is cast. The player can choose spells available before the mission starts (or this can be delegated to the AI) to achieve specific goals or to support the rest of his forces with additional firepower.
Spells in the game are ranged from simple direct damage-dealing spells (such as Fireball, Rain of Fire, Lighting Storm and so on) to much more complex and tricky (for example, Projectile Shield, Hallucinations, or Control Mind). There is only one spell that is always known even to neophyte magic users – Energy Tap. This spell is used to break structure of ongoing spells, transforming them into harmless multicolored flushes. But to function properly it requires precise calculation and understanding of targeted spell, so it’s difficult to destroy something cast by a more experienced enemy.
WG: Wargamers are always interested in weapons. According to the website, armies will be able to be custom equipped with arms and armor. What are some of the more effective combinations players will want to use?
AB: The general rule for making a good combination is using weapons that complement each other, and supply your troops with best available armor. For example, a long-reach polearm can be combined with a weapon more suited for close combat (sword, mace, etc) and the heaviest available armor. That will be a good all-around infantry unit, able to beat enemy cavalry. Or one might supply a marksman with bucklers, some kind of melee weapons and armor. Another option might be a legionnaire-like build – medium armor, sword, tower shield and javelins. There are tons of such combinations, taking into account that weapons have different armor-piercing capabilities, attack speed and many other factors. This is also true for all armors and shields. There are literally hundreds of thousands of combinations that can be created using the available arsenal – good or bad, completely useless or excellent but none are invincible supermen.
Usually, however, it is better to create units for a specific purpose. Lightly-armored pikemen might be supported on their flanks by heavily armored infantry, who in turn are protected by speedy cavalry. A combined arms approach will get better results for less cost.