Stranger Interview (PC)
Strategy Informer: Firstly, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Max Dolmar: Questions answered by the collective reason of Fireglow, as usually. The strongest voices are of key developers, responsible for one or other aspect of the project.
Strategy Informer: We've heard about some of the features of Stranger, is there any we don't currently know about that you'd like to share?
Max Dolmar: Actually, there is sufficient information about our game in the net. Lately we have released certain quantity of subject articles. Our official site constantly renews, and there are not only screenshots and video.
This time we are going to speak about the world of Stranger, about its inhabitants and about their life. In contrast to many other games, missions in Stranger are not static, even in the single player campaign. All inhabitants of the location, along which as a result of the confluence of circumstances, passes the campaign, live their life. We assign only initial conditions. Then everything is developed according to many possible scenarios. For example, monsters go hunting for other monsters or for the more civilized inhabitants; primitive tribes repulse monsters' attacks and accomplish some their tasks - training or fighting with their neighbors for example. Larger tribes gather resources, arm themselves, divide into forces, which fulfill more complex functions like patrolling territory, protection, etc. When the player interferes with their life a conflict appears. Each tribe has its own priorities, but also they know how to be adapted to the situation. Sometimes they hire soldiers from adjacent tribes, if it is necessary.
Strategy Informer: What can you tell us about the graphical and physics features?
Max Dolmar: We consider that the graphic representation is one of the most important components of a contemporary game. Each character, special effect or simple boulder must help sinking into the game play. The contemporary graphic abilities of computers are completely ready to display adequate image of the world of any complexity, instead of demanding for advanced player's imagination as it was in old games. We tried to employ all means for achievement of the necessary level of picture. First of all, of course, this is the work of our artists. As we've already spoken, the own engine, which is in no way intersected with the Sudden Strike 3 engine was written for Stranger. These are very different games and requirements for graphics are also very different. System requirements for graphics are at the level of contemporary games. Minimum is GeForce 4400 or Radeon 8500, the owners of powerful cards, however, will feel the difference. These are the more complex lighting model, reflections, and more details. Recommended video card is GeForce 6800 or Radeon X800. As far as physics is concerned, we used only the simplest effects, like systems of particles or ripples on water surface. Furthermore, we utilized the simplified algorithms of inverse kinematics for the animation of characters in the real time.
Strategy Informer: What kind of support to you plan to give once the game is released?
Max Dolmar: As developers, we are responsible for release of patches. Immediately after release, we plan to give out a set of instruments for the creation of user maps and modifications. The game engine was made very flexible. We can easily represent many variations of the Stranger's theme in a range from Action RPG to turn-based strategy. We hope that it will be possible to create online communities, similar to those that the first games from Sudden Strike series collected.
Strategy Informer: Can you tell us about the single-player aspect of the game?
Max Dolmar: Single-player mode is a classical campaign with missions. There is a main epic quest and many optional ones. The player will have the entire arsenal of the means, the main thing of which is heroes, the characters which remain with the player during the continuance of the campaign. Certain freedom is given to player in the missions. We hope this will be something fresh in the already habitual genre of RTS-RPG.
Strategy Informer: Could you tell us about the Multi-player aspect of the game?
Max Dolmar: Multiplayer is also going to be completely classical, up to eight players on the local network or through the Internet. Generally, we consider multiplayer in Stranger as a prototype for a future game Stranger Online. Take a look at the next question for details.
Strategy Informer: Can you give us an assessment of the health and long-term viability?
Max Dolmar: Stranger is just a first game in the line. We are already developing an online version. This is going to be, as we hope, one of the first commercial MMORTS of such detailing and interactivity. Look to our announcements after the Stranger's release.
Strategy Informer: Could you tell us about the charactors and monsters that will be featured in Stranger?
Max Dolmar: First, these are three main heroes, which will be under the complete and constant control of the player. Each of the heroes has different stats and skills; furthermore, it will be possible to select one of the several ways of their development. In the second place, these are neutral tribes - source of mercenaries, however, for the enemy also. Thirdly, these are monsters, ranged from almost inoffensive to very strong, with solid magic abilities. One additional side is magic sects, we have already written about them on our site. Enemy can be different in each mission. Enemy can even be different even in the same mission depending on the actions of the player.
Strategy Informer: As a gamer, what's your favourite part of Stranger, what makes you proud to have helped create it and why is it any better then the current RPG games out there?
Max Dolmar: The magic system is our pride. Its basis is the classical D&D magic, which is widely used almost in all games with RPG elements. Therefore player will find it familiar. From the other side, we've changed a very mechanism of appearance of incantations. With large quantity of troops usual methods do not work fine. Other games use an approach, when characters select incantations from their arsenal automatically and use them on the purposes most suitable from the computer's point of view. This converts a game into routine actions, furthermore, frequently the computer cannot estimate situation in the manner that player would make. In Stranger an approach consists in reducing of straight control over each character (however, without removing completely) to a minimum. This gives the player a possibility to influence the common picture of the battle. Magic fields thus appeared. The resources, usual for strategies were entered here very organically. We obtained the sufficiently well-shaped system, where all game essences were tied between themselves. You can read about the magic system in details on our site. Also welcome to our official forum when we are ready to answer any questions!
Strategy Informer: Do you think it's likely we'll see some changes to the current release date?
Max Dolmar: The current release date is defined illegibly as Q3-Q4 2006. This is connected with the fact that we are working with different publishers in the different territories; it is sufficiently difficult to agree on precise date. It will be declared soon. We are going to intend to release the game simultaneously on largest possible number of markets.
Strategy Informer: What percentage of completion would you say the game is at and what is currently left to do?
Max Dolmar: At the given moment we've made 99% of work. Now we are fixing bugs, working on balance and optimization.
Strategy Informer: Is there anything you'd like to say to the Stranger community before we wrap this up?
Max Dolmar: Just believe, the true community around Stranger game will appear in the very near future. We plan a constant and long-run life of the game. We know how to draw players and we have reserved several trumps.