Qvadriga Developer Interview30 Dec 2013 0
Qvadriga ? Wargamer.com interview
Firstly thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions; I?m sure our readers will appreciate it.
Thank you very much for giving exposure to this game.
An obvious question first I?m afraid ? what inspired you to make a chariot racing game? I?m guessing that Ben Hur may be part of it.
Certainly! The scenes from the chariot race have impacted me a lot since I was a child. But the first time I had an idea to make this game came when I attended a boardgame convention some time ago. There was a demonstration event of a game called Circus Maximus (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/244/circus-maximus). The board was gorgeously handcrafted and chariot miniatures were used for the competition. This game was published in the early eighties by Avalon Games, who obviously also took inspiration from the Ben Hur movie. The game mechanics were somewhat outdated, with players taking turns sequentially, moving into squares and spending endurance points to evade potential dangers, but it was really fun.
Can you give us an overview of how the game will play?
The game puts you in control of a chariot racing team: a chariot, its driver, and its four horse team. Every element has unique characteristics, initially defined by your faction that affects their style of play, like the sturdy teams of the commoners or the swift and light teams sponsored by the priests. You could select some upgrades to specialise your team afterwards.
The control system is turn based: every ten seconds you choose a single instruction from a contextual palette of up to fifteen orders. There are aggressive orders, like whipping, crashing or lacerate, and more conservative ones like control or brake. You could change lanes, avoid incoming attacks or simply shake the reins. The chosen order totally defines your team behaviour during this turn, so based on the current situation you must chose wisely to prevent dangerous situations, and to secure a winning position. To achieve that you will have to deal with your opponents, adapt to the kind of track, negotiate curves, dodge incoming obstacles and prevent your own team from falling apart!
Also, how will the campaign system work? What elements will be carried forward after each race and what changes/upgrades are available.
The players begin the campaign in a modest circus of their choice located in one of the seven Empire regions, with three basic faction teams. From that point, they should start building their wealth, fame and experience through racing to gain access to higher category circuses. That allows them to gain more fame and money, compete against better opponents and buy upgraded team components. Horses, chariots and drivers could be purchased, whose level will varies depending from the city category. They could also pay for veterinarian, technical or medical assistance to help recovering your teams, or even hire them permanently.
Every city has a unique bonus that influences some aspects of competition. Some of them offer price discounts for team components, healing and repair, and travel. Others give better prizes, or upgrades, or provide more experience or fame.
The races are influenced by special events that affect game play in a variety of ways, from unusual weather conditions to changes in the rules. Most events are random but sometimes their nature depends on your past performance. For example, if you have poorly conditioned teams or have had a bad run, your faction may try to help you, or, if you are getting too far ahead, your opponents may conspire against you.
Eventually, you could travel to other regions, and by slowly building your fame you will be able to reach a legendary status and be known all over the Empire, then you will be invited to participate at the Circus Maximus and boast the favour of the gods!
Ben Hur fans will no doubt want to know what dirty tricks you can pull on the other competitors during a race. Could you tell us about them, and which is your favourite.
There are two kinds of attack: the lacerations could damage horses and other charioteers and the crashing affects chariots and horses too. Skilled charioteers using whips to lacerate are a presence to fear, and being alongside to a heavy chariot armed with scythed wheels is an invitation to disaster. The most depraved players will enjoy reaching over dragged charioteers, or running over fleeing ones. But my favourite dirty action is to brake when my team is positioned at the front of a row of opponents.
I understand that this is going to be a 1 player game. Are there any thoughts as to adding a multi-player option to the game? Indeed, would this be possible?
Multiplayer has been a possibility since the development began. However, when the single player racing system was done the most important additional feature was a campaign, which later grew until it actually became the core of the game. Multiplayer is still a desired feature, but it would need a huge effort to make it possible because this kind of game requires some special features: dedicated servers, simultaneous turn playing, variable number of opponents, fast turn pacing. But if people connect with the racing system, this is a future task I would like to try.
The game includes a large number of circuses to race round, are these all modelled on historical examples? How much time did the research take?
The research has been closely linked to the development during the last year, for a history lover like me it has been very rewarding. I have to be deeply grateful to a book: ?Roman Circuses: Arenas for Chariot Racing? written by archaeologist Ph.D. John H. Humphrey. The book collects all the existing archaeological data, depicting circus descriptions all over the Roman world based on evidence. The satellite and aerial images have proven invaluable too, also I been able to visit some great circuses close to the place I live, like Emerita Augusta, Mirobriga or Toletum.
I have tried to be faithful to the historical data, especially for the best preserved and documented circuses, like Leptis Magna or the Roma city circuses. My imagination has run more freely in other less known circuses, like the ones located in Egypt or in Gaul. In any case, the game tracks have been built using the real shapes, sizes and materials as models: there are oval Greek hippodromes and long roman starting gates (carceres), there are tracks where just four teams fit alongside to huge eight-team-wide circuses, there are modest places where public sit on slopes or wood benches and fine crafted marble or stone circuses ... the Roman circuses spread from Hispania to Syria, so all kind of ambience could be found.
It could be interesting for players to compare the game tracks with the real ones after playing, you could find all the 43 game circuses (and some more) described and located here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circus(building) .
Many of our readers are interested in modding games, will there be any options for this in Qvadriga?
Because Qvadriga uses many large size textures to draw the circuses, they come hardcoded for graphic efficiency, but if people are interested in it I could easily release some texture packages.
I believe the game is going to be released on PC only. Is there any chance of a mobile version? It certainly looks to me as though Qvadriga would suit the mobile format, tablets at least. I can imagine sitting on the train and running a race.
Indeed! I have compiled an early Android version for testing and racing goes really smooth in it. After the PC version gets released I will start working on the Android and iOS builds. As you said, current gameplay system works really fine with tablets, so the main task will be to provide a good touch interface.
So how close to completion do you think the game is? Any hint of a release date for our readers?
The Beta test started almost two months ago and the results have been very rewarding. The game mechanics and interface have been polished and a lot of new functionality has been created, like betting or the leader system. The game is practically completed and bug free, so release date is getting close. Anyway, you never know with game developing, so I have to stick with the official release date at this moment, which is Q1 2014.
Finally, could you tell us who is involved with the development of the game and what they do? A chance to give them a name check.
This game has been a long time personal project (and obsession) for the most part, but I have to mention two essential contributors:
Pedro Alcaide has composed the game tracks, getting a very evocative atmosphere of the era.
Eduardo Barragán has modelled the different graphic elements for each circus, from the stands to the unique pieces that give them life. I found him after watching some of their wonderful 3d virtual reconstructions of the Roman world. You could visit his YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/gabaedu .
Product page at Slitherine - http://www.slitherine.com/games/Qvadriga_pc