Well, my friends, there’s so much going on around here these days that I don’t even know where to start. Please forgive me for my rambling in advance.
Galactic Civilizations III
As a developer, having a 64-bit only game engine is amazing. As I type this, old man Kael is testing to see what a GalCiv game with a hundred or so AI players will play like.
Can you guys imagine that? A game where the galaxy is alive with hundreds of empires (not counting minor races)? That’s one of the benefits of GalCiv III.
The new crazy sized galaxies are really in contrast to the new super-tiny Arena sized maps that we’re working on for multiplayer and quick games. I’ve always wanted to be able to balance a game for both tiny and insane but in the days before Steam Early Access, that wasn’t really doable.
One of the new things we’re doing for GalCiv III to make the universe more interesting is we are developing an XML based diplomacy schema. This is important because we’ll want modders to be able to share their own diplomacy extensions of the game so that these amazing maps really do feel alive.
Making the galaxy alive
You can’t just make a really big map and call it a day. To make it believeable you need a really sophisticated AI combined with a helluva lot of content. “We laugh at your pitiful civilization, give us gold or we will destroy you!” would get pretty old after the 97th time. That’s why we need the diplomacy development language. We have to be able to hand it off to writers and modders to create a ton of interesting and unique potential scenarios that have specific and relevant results.
A lot of the AI design has to do with the idea that you’re building a relationship with a particular race. As some people recall, GalCiv is NOT that game where everyone gangs up on the most powerful player automatically. The smart player builds long lasting friendships with other players.
The difference with GalCiv III is that instead of me hard coding this, this is being made extensible via XML. So players will be able to extend whatever I come up with.
Now, mind you, I don’t even start writing code on GalCiv III until October. That’s when the party will really start. Hehe.
The marketing people hate when I refer to something involving Elemental. That’s because every press article seems focus on the original Elemental:War of Magic (which did suck unfortunately). Elemental remains the most enjoyable programming experience I ever had. It’s a good reminder that you can’t mix up fun working on and fun playing.
Anyway, we just released an update to Legendary Heroes last month and we’re working on the next game in that fantasy universe. It’s going to be incredibly sweet. We’ve decided to embrace its single player style and really focus the game about you. So we have some real RPG-ish stuff coming.
Soren Johnson, designer of Civilization IV, has a new game in development called Offworld Trading Company. It won’t be out for awhile (Early Access next year). But it’s crazy addictive already. Multiplayer works too well. Think of it is MULE but designed for today and with a lot of bastard features. I won’t say who let the air our of Soren’s tires. I’m just saying that maybe he should let others win more often. That’s all I’m saying.
Yes. We are working on this. But don’t expect to hear much for a long time. We are aggressively hiring developers/artists for working on it in Maryland. Right now, we’re working on the prototype which is, not surprisingly, based on Star Control 2. The biggest areas open to changing are the land based parts (exploring a planet), some of the camera work for Melee and letting making the customization of your main ship be something much more open ended.
Our biggest, most ambitious project ever is not announced yet. It’ll likely be announced as CES 2015. This team is a combo of people who worked on Sins of a Solar Empire, Galactic Civilizations, Civilization V and LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth. It’ll require 64-bit and need Mantle/DirectX 12 to really shine. We haven’t even hinted about this game yet in any form so don’t bother to try to guess. It’s something completely new.