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Mercenary's menu Interview


[Christofer] - Christofer Sundberg (Paradox Entertainment)
[Yurg] - Yuri Bushin (Freelancer)

[Yurg]: Christopher, could you tell how Paradox happened to be engaged in Warzone, and what is more, Online version? How it all began?

[Christofer]: We are an old subsidiary to what used to be Target Games, who created the minitiature game Mutant Chronicles: Warzone. We are now an independent company, but we are also the license owners to the Target Games portfolio.

We decided that we wanted to bring the Mutant Chronicles universe to another level and take it from the minitiature game and let it become a computer and console game.

[Yurg]: Tell us please about the game engine. What are its capacities, is it true it is able to provide high quality graphics on inefficient PC?

[Christofer]: The Valpurgius Scalable Landscape System is a graphics-rendering engine designed for large outdoor environments with high detail. The Valpurgius engine is build around a scalable architecture that balances visual quality and frame rate, based on the client system's performance. This means that the game will remain playable on low-end machines while taking full advantage of increasing processing power in future systems, continuously enhancing the visual experience.

Traditionally, engines rendering outdoor environments are height-map based, meaning they are actually displaying two-dimensional topographic data. The Valpurgius engine, however, is a true three-dimensional system... This allows realistic landscapes in high detail with complex structures such as caves and deep canyons.

Because of the unique nature of the Valpurgius engine, the memory requirements are kept at a minimum. This makes it possible to have worlds as large as eight cube-kilometres with infinite level of detail.

The system includes functions to locally hook in other rendering systems, such as portal or bsp based engines that are more suitable for indoor environments, to, for example, represent large buildings.

[Yurg]: Christopher, how much people involved in WZO development, and who are these people? Could you introduce your team?

[Christofer]: We are 17 people in the Warzone Online, which is led by myself as producer and game designer. Our lead programmer's name is Linus Blomberg and our lead artist Daniel Nygren.

We are a mix between people with a background from industry and some "new meat", but we always strive to gather very creative people, experienced or not.

[Yurg]: Please describe the world of WZO. Is it similar to Ultima Online? I mean the scale. I.e. is it single big map? Or the maps are different each time? If yes, how are these maps generated? Are them random, or ready scenarios?

[Christofer]: The world of Warzone Online consists of a huge number of Warzones on different planets. The warzones are very different in terms of environment, surroundings and missions. So all in all - the warzones are ready scenarios but as the player is getting more successful, he will have access to different warzones. There will be huge variation to these warzones and no mission will be the same, since the actual outcome of the battles drives the storyline forward.

[Yurg]: Are you planned to create own game service, something like, or going to use third party services? Anyway, will the game be free or paid?

[Christofer]: The game is a multiplayer game only and our publisher, who will be announced very soon, is able to provide us with a huge network. We distribute the game client for free, which includes everything you need to get started with the game. After you start playing and getting into the game, you can start collecting your models and start building units. These models can be purchased through the WZO lobby system. These models are paid through different payment systems with micro payments (small costs).

[Yurg]: The issue of new models purchased by players is under consideration now. Any news on this issue? If it will be implemented, what it practically means for players?

[Christofer]: This is what the whole game is all about except for actually playing it. When you want to advance in the game he can buy more models, to access more warzones. Every model has a point and all warzones has a point limit, so your skill in composing your units will be just as essential as your skills in the warzone. The point-per-unit system also prevents player from buying their way to success.

[Yurg]: How far Warzone Online rules coincide with paper Warzone rules?

[Christofer]: There are many differences between the interactive product and the minitiature game, but in general we have followed the classic rules.

[Yurg]: Can you say what are the approximate minimal system requirements?

[Christofer]: At this point: PII, 64Mb RAM and 3D accelerator with multipass rendering.

[Yurg]: Our readers are eager to know about WZO tactics component. How well developed this component in the game, and what is its form?

[Christofer]: Compared to other RTS games the resource management in Warzone Online is very different, since the resource management you are confronted with is the management of your models. Tactics in the battlefield will therefore essential and we are very inspired by both old and new military tactics. For example you will have to use artillery, snipers, scouts and reinforcements to be successful. You will not be disappointed!

[Yurg]: Will WZO become a game with locked resources, or players are to be able to put some changes in the game? E.g. custom scenarios. Or it is incompatible with Online game concept?

[Christofer]: At this point no, but this is something we are looking into and will perhaps do.

[Yurg]: On which development stage is WZO now?

[Christofer]: The game is ready next summer, so I must say we are quite early in development.

[Yurg]: Can you tell about technologies used by designers of maps and unit models?

[Christofer]: The game is build around our in-house designed kick-ass-engine, which we call the Valpurgius Scalable Landscape System. I can't tell you much more about the technology at this point, but we will release more information later on this fall.

[Yurg]: Let me wish a success to whole development team. Looking forward to hear WZO news.

[Christofer]: Thanks!


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