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: What level of micromanagement can players expect? Can certain tasks be turned over to the AI?
AB: Tasks ranging from creating, equipping and managing units to controlling the actions of tactical groups during the battle can be handled manually or be delegated to the AI. As I’ mentioned earlier, an army can include up to seven tactical groups, consisting of up to 21 units each. Actual number of units in each of tactical groups depends on leadership skill of the assigned lieutenant or the hero, if the group is under direct control.
Each lieutenant is AI-controlled and has a distinct personality and set of skills and parameters defining his tactical style. The player may control the behavior of lieutenants and issue high-level commands to them, for example ‘attack’, ‘defend’, ‘beware of’ etc. It’s possible to issue multiple simultaneous commands and give them one of three priority ratings (low, medium or high). The lieutenant carrying out the order also evaluates the situation around and acts depending on conditions. He always carries out high-priority orders exactly as commanded. It is possible to regain the direct control over any lieutenant-controlled tactical group or even dismiss one or more lieutenants for the duration of battle as desired.
WG: If heroes and armies gain experience in combat, does that mean combat doesn’t always result in the destruction of all units?
AB: It surely doesn’t. Players are encouraged to minimize casualties, as excessive losses will result in less reward for completing the mission. It will be much more profitable to outthink and outmaneuver the enemy than turn the battle into total carnage.
WG: Does Telladar Chronicles draw any inspiration from other games currently on the market in terms of interface or design?
AB: You mean Total War series, don’t you? There are some similarities between our project and products from Creative Assembly – we both implement mass tactical combat in 3D. But that’s all. In fact, two other famous and honoured games - Master of Magic and Warhammer: Dark Omen has influenced us much more in terms of concept and design.
But the final touches to our vision of what Telladar Chronicles: Decline will become were made after several recent movies. Scale and drama, epic battles with thousands of combatants, magic and mighty heroes…that’s what we are striving for in our game and we want to let the player to become engrossed in it.
WG: Considering the massive battles, the screenshots are pretty impressive in terms of detail. What sort of hardware requirements will be expected?
AB: The current build of the game plays fast enough on
Pentium IV 2.0 GHz
512 MB of RAM
The final version will get lots of optimization and we can guess now that the minimum required graphic card would be a GeForce4 Ti (as you might expect it won’t show off everything our engine is capable of).
WG: Can you describe some of the tactics that would be useful in combat?
AB: I suppose that the absolute majority of our readers do not require another explanation of tactical basics, so let’s talk a bit about magic in combat.
The magic user is a very dangerous opponent, capable of causing tremendous trouble and massive causalities to the enemy. It is nice when friendly forces contain one or more of them and enemy does not. But what if forces are equal or even worse?
One of the keys to success lays in counteracting enemy magic users. It can be done by using a large number of tactics. One of them is overloading enemy’s ability of using Energy Tap spell.
Several weak mages simultaneously attacking one much stronger character could easily put him on the defensive for some time and thus give the rest of the army chance to finish him off. This effect could also be achieved by heavy missile fire. In this situation, the enemy mage is compelled to constantly keep Protection from Missiles active to the exclusion of all other activities just to survive. Over time, this tactic becomes less effective as mages of even intermediate power gain access to more advanced protective spells.
It is also possible to sneak toward the enemy wizard with relatively small but strong melee unit, using spells like Invisibility, Illusionary Twins or simple stealth. Only only a few bodyguards protect each caster by default and they will have no chance to withstand unexpected assault. Of course if the enemy protects his magic user with additional units, such attempt most probably will fail.