Fantasy Kommander: Eukarion Wars Wargamer.com interview07 Oct 2013 0
Firstly, many thanks for giving us the opportunity to ask you these questions, and taking the time to answer them.
Thank you very much for this really interesting interview. It's a pleasure to talk with you about our main project.
First question may be a bit obvious, but why make a fantasy wargame as opposed to an historical one? What are the attractions of a fantasy setting for you?
I understand that it may seem a strange answer, and it is even more considering that I have a degree in history with a specialization in economy and war. Do not get me wrong, I love historical wargames and my ?personal history? as a gamer began with hardcore WW2 wargames like World in Flames, Panzerkrieg, Third Reich or Panzer General for PC (less hardcore ;), just to mention a few famous examples. But when I was young I was almost at the same time, conquered by the Arthurian cycle of Chrétien de Troyes, and my passions for history, wargames, fantasy myths (and then RPGs) began to bond in an inseparable way. However, this does not explain clearly my initial statement. The study of history has been the focus of my life for a long time, for me it has meant trying to understand the world and try to be a decent researcher of "truth" (not in the religious sense of course). The curious thing that happened to me deepening my studies was to perceive the historical truth more and more elusive, complex and sometimes "incomprehensible." Not to mention the bad ?historians? who falsify history for interest. Anyway, I mention all this to point out that there are many limitations to develop a good historical game which should be as close as possible to the historical truth. This time I wanted to navigate in an infinite universe where everything is possible and where I have absolute control of the History (I created it!). The funny thing is that I tried to create a world as complex and realistic as possible with the idea that players can freely imagine much of it ? a principle that is the basis of a decent novel and destroys my aforementioned desire for "total control".
From a practical point of view of game design I believe that a Fantasy Wargame has a great advantage for storytelling and a great variety of armies, races and unconventional weapons such as spells. You also have more flexibility to develop the upgrade system of the units and you can more easily utilize interesting elements of RPGs.
The pre-release information mentions that the game setting is inspired by European fantasy and medieval traditions; are there any specific traditions that inspired the game more than others?
Back to the question, the answer is yes, even if we mixed the original classical traditions with those romantic and post-romantic of the modern age. At the base is the aforementioned Arthurian cycle in addition to the Nordic myths and the Germanic tradition (the Nibelungs, the ring and the dragon, which in turn derives from the biblical apocalypse), and the Carolingian cycle up to the birth of the great contemporary fantasy with the Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and on to the mature development of A Game of Thrones. We also wanted to preserve the taste of nineteenth-century romantic Pre-Raphaelites, and we were also inspired by the great myths of the ancients (Romans and Greeks). The Middle Ages, after all, is the encounter between Latin and Germanism, and in the great fantasy sagas the archetype of the lost empire is the ancient Roman Empire. Overall, however, our ambitious project uses different myths and cultural traditions depending on the location, and the time in which we will carry out the battles and adventures.
OK, so whilst this is a fantasy game did you feel in anyway bound by real history when developing how combat played out? For instance relative effectiveness of weapons and armour.
Yes, absolutely. This is a wargame, not a casual strategy or a RTS game. Consistent with the requirements of gameplay (and fun) we have developed a rigorous battle system that we could use in a historical game (and maybe we'll do). We have built a simulation system that is very detailed and is based on several Combat Tables, which take into account, real factors like the strength ratio between the Attacker and Defender, the state of health and morale of the units, the terrain and many others. Every unit is like a RPG character with its own characteristics and special abilities that you can increase as soon as they level up. For example each unit has a different Armour Value that represents the real armour equipped by the men (or elves, or orcs...) of that unit. The human archers do not wear armour while the feudal knights are covered with steel, and this has a big influence in a melee fight and the related combat tables.
The races in the game are good fantasy favourites. Were you at all tempted to invent your own races for the game? What led you to go with the races you have?
As I said before, we tried to use the great historical and cultural traditions of Europe. Honestly archetypes fascinate me more of pure inventions. Rather than creating new races I tried to give them a personal characterization. For example, the orcs of Eukarion have an empire with complex administrative structures, and have fought wars with humans against other humans.
Tech levels in fantasy games tend to be roughly Dark Ages/Medieval, is this true of Fantasy Kommander? Were you tempted by other periods?
From a historical and political point of view Eukarion is like Medieval Europe inhabited by fantasy creatures and races like dragons, orcs, elves etc. On the historical level the background is overflowing with anachronisms. I mean the fact that the map represents the continent in the 800 A.D. doesn't mean it's similar to the European political situation in that year. There's feudalism and a hierarchical society of nobility for sure, but the individual ?states? on the map are designed with an anachronistic method. For example the biggest empire, Adamantia, is inspired by the Carolingian Empire (9th Century, Dark Ages), while the smaller Grand Duchy of the Seven Towns is inspired to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany during the Renaissance (15th - 16th centuries). So we have different ages, from the same period that we call Middle Ages, which live together in the same background. For this reason you'll see characters with equipments from the Dark Ages (Viking axes for example) and early Renaissance (heavy plate armour).
How does magic work in the game? What are the really cool spells?
Two words to answer: Harry Potter. OK, I'm kidding, even if our dear Harry is now, with merit, part of the European fantasy traditions. We have several units with magical powers and spells. So we can say that magic is mainly related to the units, even if not infrequently you'll see magical events on the battlefield that are connected to narrative development. Clerics, with their magical healing powers are very useful but not really cool. Heroes like Eladen, the elfish enchantress, have great destructive spells like the lighting storms that may hit a large area of the battlefield and so injure or destroy multiple units. My favourite spells, however, are those of evocation. Depending on the type and level of evocation, the magician may evoke, from the astral or infernal dimensions, powerful allies like griffins, magical knights or demons. Altogether in the game there are 19 Astral Spells and 19 Abyssal Spells, plus magcial abilities of some creatures like the Dragons and the Beholder.
How big is the world map?
It?s a bit larger than Europe, but not all the area is playable in this ?episode?. Comparing Eukarion World map to Europe you will notice many geographical similarities. In the centre of the map you can see a peninsula similar to Italy delineated to the north by a chain of mountains akin to the Alps. To the east you can see a large mountain range that is similar to the Ural Mountains. On the west you can see the ?Iberian peninsula? with its Pyrenees. Going north you'll see territories similar to France, Germany, the Scandinavian Peninsula and Great Britain. In the south you can recognize the Strait of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean Sea and two islands that are similar to North Africa. The geographical elements that are most different from our real world are the island of the supreme elves and the south-east. The first is completely invented (it's like the myth of Atlantis), the second (the south east) is a fusion of the Balkans, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. Most rivers are modelled on the great rivers of Europe.
How do side quests fit in with a tactical wargame? Sounds a little odd to me but I?m sure I?m missing something obvious here.
You can only accept a side quest in the strategic phases of the game, from the regional map. This is another great advantage of fantasy settings: adventure and exploration can be often added by the narrator. Here's an example: in the dwarven campaign, before a decisive battle, the scouts have discovered a pathway leading to an ancient town on the mountains. According to the descriptions they gave you it looks like a wealthy town of the first empire fallen into ruin following a mysterious spell. Maybe you can go with Yumak and some units in that area to check whether there is a hidden treasure, but maybe venturing along that ancient pathway could threaten your main mission... The choice is up to you kommader!
What would you say the ?wow factor? of the game is? The thing that will persuade people who might not otherwise part with their hard earned cash.
Inspiration, or at least that's what I tried to give to anyone who wanted to know and play our project. The perception of being there on the battlefield, in armour, ready to unleash hell for a good cause.
As far as I can see you play the ?good guys? in Fantasy Kommander. Any chance that you?ll be able to play the ?baddies? at some point? I know a lot of gamers like to pander to their ?dark side?.
Game development inevitably involves compromise, are there any features that you wanted to include in the game, but that didn?t make it to the release version?
There are a lot of things that we would add in this first release, so many that we?d rather not say. Technologically we wanted to use Unity and have a better full 3D graphic rendering. We would have liked to have larger maps and units with interchangeable equipment. Hopefully we'll add a lot of great things in the sequels.
Many of our readers are interested in modding, are there modding possibilities in the game, and if so what are they?
Unfortunately no in this first release, but we plan to make a complete editor in the next future!
How does Fantasy Kommander differ from other games you have developed? What challenges did this present?
It is the biggest project that we have developed to date. It's very big, with a lot of units, maps and rules to manage and playtest. Honestly we have made a lot of errors, mainly at the start with the engine, so the biggest challenge was to solve errors. But in the end, given the available resources, we are really pleased with what we have created.
Although the game is not yet released players are always wondering what the future for a game might hold ? are there any ideas for the future, any planned additions you can tell us about?
Multiplayer is very near completion and we hope to release it soon. Multiplayer battles will have different objectives and game modes. In these multiplayer challenges, the player can decide to take part in quick battles using ready-to-fight armies, or battles preceded by management phase where they have to strategically plan their army taking into account varying financial resources. The universe behind this project is immense and future developments are really unlimited, everything will depend on the growth of the community.
Finally, this would be a good opportunity to give the development team a name check; so who has been involved and what did they do?
LEAD DESIGNER - Fabio Belsanti
LEAD PROGRAMMER - Giacomo Zanghi
PROGRAMMERS - Fabio Casale, Matteo Sosso, Elisa Di Lorenzo, Cristiano Convertino and Daniele Pastorino
ARTWORK - Mauro Fanelli
ARTISTS - Mauro Fanelli, Fabiano Di Liso, Valeria Schino, Daniele Bernardini, Giordano Cossu, Riccardo Scalone and Francesco Mazzocchi
INTERFACE DESIGNER - Cristiano Convertino
MUSICS AND SOUNDS FX - Cristiano Convertino
VOICE ACTOR CASTING AND DIRECTION - Tim Simmons
VOICE ACTORS - Tim Simmons, Robert Beaucheane, Lauren Synger, Mark Dodson, Gray Gleason and Alana Baxter