Train2Game interview with Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars – Part 1

End of Nations is an upcoming MMORTS from Petroglyph Games and Trion Worlds. The game was on display at the Eurogamer Expo, and the Train2Game blog caught up with Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars to find out more about the game, QA Testing and how to get into the industry.

In the first part of an in-depth three part interview, Karl Tars tells the Train2Game blog about End of Nations and the reasons behind key game design features. Read it below, here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game Scribd page.

So, what is End of Nations?

End of Nations is an MMORTS. The basic idea is we looked at Starcraft and said ‘8 players in the game? That’s not enough.’ What we’re showing off here is 16 players and we have a couple of maps that are going up to 50 players and we’re hoping that we can push it further than that and just have massive real time strategy combat.

The back story for the world is that there’s been an economic collapse, and so a group called The Order of Nations has come in and started to establish order.  They’ve gone through and destroyed some of the other nations that were still OK, then the people after they realise ‘Order’s restored, that’s great, but I’d like to be able to go outside and do my own thing’ – and that’s not being allowed, they’re very anti-freedom, very totalitarian – and so a couple splinter groups have shown up.

There’s a Liberation Front which are very pro-freedom, patriotic, and they’re going to be our brute force faction with big armour, big weapons and not a lot of subtly. The Shadow Revolution is the other faction, they are a lot more about stealth, tactics, hit and run strikes…they’re going to have a lot of little tricks where they can leave that’ll weaken the enemy and then they’ll strike. Or they’ll come out of stealth and they’ll have an invisibility cloak that allows them to hide, wait for the right time to strike and then launch their attack when they’re ready.

The basic idea is that these two groups are trying to take down The Order of Nations in their own ways and for their own reasons, and since they don’t see eye to eye you’ll also have a lot of times where they’re going to be fighting each other.

How does the gameplay work?

All the units you’re going to see today are from the Liberation Front because they’re the most balanced and the most ready to go and so the most fun to play with at the moment.  What we have here is am Infiltration loadout, its infantry, a couple of artillery units and flame tanks.

Your basic gameplay is your standard top down Real Time Strategy; you get to move your units forward. What you’re going to want to do, for example, here we have a resource point. You have resources on the corner [of the screen] and they trickle in very slowly at the start, and it’ll allow you to respawn your units if they get destroyed. But if you take a resource point they start coming in faster so the majority of each map is going around capturing strategic points that are needed.

There are also Landing Zones. If you capture a Landing Zone you can bring your units into the front line when they get destroyed. We have a Bombing Run and when this happens when it’s captured, the enemy area will start coming under attack.

So if I’ve captured this resource point and we’re trying to gain resources a little bit faster – every time it ticks we’ll get a little bit more than we did previously. That’s going to allow me for example put down a turret [to defend against enemy forces]

And so rather than doing the normal base building, instead we have these structures you can place temporarily. They’re good for small temporary bases but not a standard build up your infantry, build up your main defences and turtle on your side while you wait for the enemy.

From a game design perspective, what were the main reasons for including these mini-bases?

What they allow you to do is to make a temporary base; it’s a way of getting that little extra push to get in. So, for example, that’s going to take their attention off my units so they can come in and attack more freely. Or if they’ve captured my units in it’s going to help me fire off at them. It’s possible to get a depot that’ll allow your units to have more armour so they can take more damage.

There’s a repair depot so your units can get repaired in a forward location. But there are specific structures, and a lot of easy ways to take out other structures so they’re not going to last forever…you can have up to six of them, but the idea is you have to think about where you want to put them. I remember when I used to play Starcraft, you used to do a Proton turret tree where I’d keep adding turrets in front of my other turrets and I wouldn’t even attack with units, just push turrets more.

You can’t really do that here, you’ve got to think ‘I want this point’ right now so you set up your turrets offensively to take that point, capture it and then move on and then you remove your last set of turrets to assault the next sector.

So the game design makes the gameplay a bit more challenging and more interesting to play?

Yeah, it’s less defensive and less turtling; it’s more about constant movement and you’ll want to be always looking at your next objective or looking at the next point to defend, but you never have a time where you just sit, turtle up and wait for the enemy to attack you. You’re always going to want to keep moving, because there’s also, like I said the Liberation Front has got a nuke, they will launch it at you and they’ll wipe out all your little turrets and you’re not going to have anything left.

Or the Shadow Revolution, they can deploy a system virus which will degrade all of your units over time but if you’re not ready for it, it’ll wipe out your units pretty quickly.

End of Nations is scheduled for release next year. Click here for Part 2 of our huge interview with Trion Worlds.

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum. Part 2 of the Train2Game interview with End of Nations Senior QA Tester Karl Tars is here.

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