Developer Feature: Supreme Ruler 2020
Leading strategy publisher Paradox Interactive is pleased to release the first part in the Developer Diary of BattleGoat Studios, the Canadian developer behind much anticipated strategy title, Supreme Ruler 2020.
- turn-based, real-time, strategic, online or multi-player, single-player, empire building, present day / near future
Supreme Ruler 2020 Developer Diary #1: Where we’ve come from…
1983 – Supreme Ruler (TRS-80)
1985 – Supreme Ruler Plus (TRS-80)
1992 – Supreme Ruler (Atari ST – Designed Only)
2000 – Began Work on Supreme Ruler 2010 (Windows PC)
2005 – Released Supreme Ruler 2010 (Windows PC)
2006 – Began Work on Supreme Ruler 2020 (Windows PC)
2008 – To Be Released –> Supreme Ruler 2020
Many games have multiple versions that span years of development time—whether people know it or not, Supreme Ruler is one such game. Originally conceived in 1983, Supreme Ruler began life as a text-only simulation for the TRS-80 Model One microcomputer. BattleGoat Studios Co-Founder and Lead Programmer, George Geczy, was inspired by some of the early text-based strategy games that allowed the player to take the role of leading an ancient nation or city-state, though he wanted to bring in more modern concepts of taxation and economic simulation.
Supreme Ruler garnered some good reviews and was much enjoyed on the TRS-80 leading to the release of a Supreme Ruler Plus version a couple of years later that took the concept as far as it could go on a system with a 48KB memory limit!
Fast forward to 2000—we (David and George) sold our retail business, and BattleGoat Studios was founded. Much of that first year in development was spent shooting basketballs and hammering out the details of what to do with this new Supreme Ruler conceptualization. Graphics capabilities had continued to improve and now it was possible to consider using satellite imagery as the background map within the game. Instead of creating a fictional world, real countries could be involved. NASA made this option even easier to achieve for a small studio by releasing full satellite imagery of the world on a royalty free basis through their “Blue Marble” project.
With Real World imagery, we now had to write a story line that would be plausible… With the economic problems that accompanied George W. Bush’s first year in office, the storyline almost wrote itself. What if these economic problems continue to worsen over the next few years? What would happen if OPEC decided to change their currency standard from Dollars to Euros? What if the aging power distribution network had an even greater failure than what happened in 2003? What if the countries that have been propping up the US Dollar for the last several years decided it was time to get out? What about Global Warming? Avian Flu? These may sound like the plots of a Tom Clancy novel, but they generally came from the headlines and economic opinions that were circulating during the development of Supreme Ruler 2010. If we were taking the story from the headlines, we had to make sure that each region in the game would accurately reflect the resources, technology and military structure of its real world counterpart. So the majority of development time spent on Supreme Ruler 2010 over the next four years was spent profiling each region in our 2010 world, creating an economic model that realistically portrayed each country.
Now we had our story for SR2010 and our general design document. As we began to build the User Interface though we realized that some of our ideas might not make the final feature cut, especially if we ever wanted to finish the game and actually release it.
In May 2005, Supreme Ruler 2010 was finally released.
And that’s where we found ourselves at the start of 2006. After adding some additional features and missions for 2010 in subsequent free updates, it was time to concentrate on our next project—Supreme Ruler 2020. We were very pleased to sign with Paradox Interactive for the worldwide release, the combination of Paradox’s expertise and reputation are bringing an entirely new audience to our game.
When BattleGoat Studios releases Supreme Ruler 2020 this year it will mark the Silver Anniversary (25 years) of the franchise. What’s new in 2020 and some of the development challenges that have been faced during the last two years will be detailed in upcoming Developer Diaries.