Worlds of Magic Wargamer.com interview03 Oct 2013 0
How about we start by having an overview of the team involved in the development of Worlds of Magic? So who does what?
The team behind Worlds of Magic is now more than 10 people.
So let?s start with those guys who are responsible for creating the heart of the game. Darek is a lead programmer for the game and with the help of Sebastian he is breathing life into Worlds of Magic. Kacper is currently supporting them with creating external tools.
The visual magic of the game is created by Wojtek, who is a concept artist here; he is designing and sketching units on his own or in a cooperation with some backers. I?m pretty sure that he is setting the bar for this game very high, and he found a lot of praise among backers who are participating in the life of our forum. Another guy working on the design is George (Purdy) who is responsible for designing the unique look of the Sorcerers in the game and hinting to us about the feel of the Master of Magic.
The 3D team is lead by Marcin who is working on the changing Wojtek?s arts into the 3D models. Sometimes it is very hard. Another person which changes the Worlds of Magic into 3D is Paweł, when both of them are done then there is time for Radek to put some animations into them.
Mateusz is our local D20 OGL expert and is taking a supportive designer role. The lead developer of Worlds of Magic is Aaron, who is designing the gameplay mechanics, features and the lore behind the game.
I, Leszek, took the role of the producer for Worlds of Magic, so my most important task is to make sure that the progress is going accordingly with our schedule and we are going to make this game happen. I?m also helping with some AI design issues.
Some of the parts of the game (like music and icons) are outsourced, most probably in the near future we will have to increase the number of artists or outsource part of the 3D works.
Of course we have to remember about our backers, who are taking huge part in designing the final look, feel and play of the game.
Can you give our readers an overview of what the game is about, the inspirations you are drawing on when creating it and what style of game play we can expect.
Well, our guiding light as far as inspiration is concerned is, of course, Master of Magic. Those readers who know what that is really don't need any more explanation, but for those who don't I'll give you a quick breakdown of the game. Worlds of Magic is a classic 4X strategy game. At the start of each new game the universe is procedurally generated. The player is given a starting city and a single two unit army. From such humble beginnings they have to explore the world, found and conquer additional cities, discover and take advantage of different resources, and finally overthrow the entire universe. Really that's the foundation of 4X game play: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. That's the foundation on which Worlds of Magic is built.
What do you think the key, unique or just downright cool features of the game are; the ones that will grab players? attention and make them buy the game?
That's a big question, lol. First off, one of the most unique features of Worlds of Magic is that it really is meant to be a spiritual successor to Master of Magic. We're trying to make the game that MoM fans (like us) have been waiting close to 20 years for. We've got a fairly in depth magic system and at the game's release we plan to have 300 or so (maybe a few more) spells to research and use. Players will be able to make powerful magical artifacts and use them to equip heroes and champions (which are special types of units). All the units in the game gain experience and even the lowliest unit can become fairly powerful given time. Our combats are played out on a tactical battle board (which has the feel of a miniatures combat game). The combat statistics are inspired by the D20 OGL rule set. This means the system is going to be immediately familiar to a large number of fans. It also gives us a starting point to balance units. It allows us to add a number of interesting tactical elements without throwing balance out of the window. We have eight different races all with their own unique units and combat strategies to deal with. So having a reference point for balance can be a pretty big time saver. There's a lot more than that, but I know you only have so much room in this interview. [Editor?s note: I?m sure we can find some space for additional information from you in the future.]
As well as desktop OS versions of the game, I understand that you are planning to produce iOS and Android versions. How easy do you think conversion will be? What challenges and obstacles do you anticipate you will face? Additionally, will any mobile versions be for phones, or will it just be tablets?
We have decided to use Unity engine mostly because it supports many platforms, including iOS and Android. Of course this is much more than just pressing the button with the label of the system. So first thing we are thinking about is the ease of use of interface. We are designing every aspect of it to be comfortably used by both computer and mobile device users. So the less clicks the better. We are trying to make the accessibility of every aspect of the game and every information part of the game as simple as possible. However we are not going to sacrifice features and mechanics. It indeed takes more time to design some parts of the game in that way, but we found it will blossom in the future.
The major issue we are finding is the performance. Of course we are not making AAA title, but we are doing our best to make Worlds of Magic visually attractive. This of course requires CPU and GPU output. Mobile devices have made big advances during the last few years, but they are still behind the notebooks. As we would like the game to be run on as many machines as possible we will cut the graphics, so most probably tablets will get one figure per unit and there will be less effects like fog, sparkles, etc.
It?s hard to say about the mobile phones, some of the top models are really powerful machines and should be able to run the game; however, I would like the game to be used comfortably, so it might end that 4 or 5 inches of screen is not enough even if there is a power able to run the game.
Your Kickstarter was successful and a number of stretch goals were funded, but one wasn?t. Obviously that must be disappointing, but may it be instated at a later stage anyway?
We are planning to come back to Kickstarter very soon with Worlds of Magic. We are hoping to reach many of those who have missed the previous campaign, increase more interest, present much better looking game and gather funds for many more features.
What would be even more important for our backers is a playable version of the Battleboard (Arena), where you will be able to choose some among many of the units and fight a battle against the AI. This will let people know how one of the most important aspects in the game will look like. So we would like to make Worlds of Magic really epic game.
After using Kickstarter successfully yourselves, do you think this is the way forward for many new game developers? Is there a risk of funder ?burnout?? Would you take this approach again?
Kickstarter is great and awesome and the most fantastic thing in the world for a developer. It doesn?t matter if you are just a beginner working in a garage or famous developer with many released titles in your bio.
First thing is that you have to make a business plan, you have to think about your project as a complete product, you have to wonder what things are need to be done to complete the game.
Second, you have to describe it for a people who don?t know what your ideas are, you have to encourage them to follow you and trust you.
Third is that the Kickstarter is a great place to create community. You gather people of some sort of interest together and you are working with them.?
Finally Kickstarter is a very safe place to check your ideas. If your project succeeds, then it means the idea was fine and you were able to convince some people to trust you (now you have to fulfil the promises). If your project doesn?t succeed, you can see why. It also much better to have Kickstarter project failed than a year or two and lifetime money savings spent on creating your idea and then have nothing out of it. That would be a huge failure. Kickstarter allows you to come back with an improved idea.
Game development inevitably involves compromise, are there any features that you wanted to include in Worlds of Magic, but that are unlikely to make it to the release version?
The most important thing that comes to my mind is the number of races and factions we would like to implement. We have discussed many things within the team such as beliefs, multirace cities, technological progress, cultures or possibility to switch the city view to FPP and talk with citizens. All of those, and many more ideas thrown up by the community, are around us, fortunately in those days it is extremely easy to deliver expansions and addons to the players. In the digital world you can enhance the game until your audience decides it is completely what they wanted to have.
Modding is a big thing for a number of players, will there be any modding friendly features in World of Magic?
Since the very beginning of Wastelands Interactive, modding was very important part of our games. I?m doing my best to make every game developed by us easy to mod as much as possible. This time because of the use Unity instead of in-house technology we will have to rely on some editors, and we are hoping that 4X fans will help us to create them on the release date by participating in the Kickstarter Campaign.
I really believe in the power of community and I?m sure that giving those people who are playing our games, some powerful tools will flourish with a great number of wonderful modifications.
So three cheers for modders!
As the developer, what are your favourite units in the game, and which do you think the players will enjoy using the most?
We are doing our best to make each army diverse. We don?t want the same units with different skins. Aaron ? the lead designer ? says that the Undead faction is going to be the coolest one. I?m still waiting for the start of designing and development of Insectoids race. I think (and I?m really hoping) this will be most scary and alien thing we have seen in this kind of games. Insects were always scarring me a little bit because of two reasons, the look and the awesome organization.
I?m also really hoping that every player will find a set that will fit his/hers strategy best. We are also hoping to release new races and factions after the game will be released, so no problem to really grab what you like.
Is a January 2014 release date for the Windows PC version still a realistic target? Ditto for the other platform dates.
We are still aiming to have the game released in January; however, this might be postponed due to the balance betatest results. We and our backers do agree that it is better to release the game later but properly shaped. Mac and Linux versions should be released at the same moment as the Windows version, as this is that huge awesome advantage that Unity engine brings to us.
We are planning that adjusting the game to mobile devices should take no more than 6 months, so iOS and Android should be released within that time.
I know Worlds of Magic is not yet released, but looking forward what are your future plans both for Worlds of Magic (once all platforms are released) and any possible new games?
So we are planning to keep improving Worlds of Magic and create more and more additional content. This will strongly depends on the feedback we will receive from our community after the initial release.
Of course we are not going to abandon wargames. We have just released new title called Fall Weiss ? a campaign size game, about German invasion at Poland. Also at this moment we are working on porting the engine to Unity which will allow us to release our games on mobile devices. This includes games such as Time of Fury or Storm over the Pacific. Of course such change allows us to completely redesign user interface and make our games friendlier.
Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
Thank you for your time. It was a pleasure to answer all those questions.
More images - http://myworldsofmagic.com/media.php