GameSpy Chat

Overview:

This is a edited transcript of the chat held at GameSpy on January 16th. The chat includes ChrisL-WS(Chris Longpre, Producer), Delphi-WS(Chris Rubyor, WW Online Manager), and Cobby(Gamespy Admin). Questions were sent to Cobby and he passed them onto Chris to answer. If you dont have the time to read the entire transcript check out an overview:

  • More info on system requirements, estimated at PII-400, 64MB RAM, and 16MB video card.
  • Veterency has just been added for the SubHouse's and they are currently balancing them.
  • They expect the game to be out "by this summer"
  • Emperor will support voice communications of some sort for multiplayer like Microsoft Voice Commander.
  • Still only 4 players on Westwood Online and 8 via LAN.
  • No new units given but they did mention that the Atreides Sniper with 3rd level veterency gains the ability to stealth.
  • Chris says Emperor will be better then current RTS games because it offers, "Stunning visuals, epic universe... but more importantly, some great unit diversity, allowing many combos and cool tactics! Also, the campaign game introduces a level of strategy back into RTS, that has been missing for a while."
  • There will be maps released weekly after the game is released, similiar to Red Alert 2.
  • They have introduced some new enhancements for users with slower connections but say that large games are still sluggish with 56K.
  • Emperor has only a few core units in common with each side.
  • Currently they are going through final QA on the game. All features are complete & in the game. Mostly bug fixing, polish, & tuning is left now.
  • On camera angles, "In Emperor, you have the default camera position which is traditional 2 1/2D in angle. Its still all 3D, with the cool visuals therin. From there, you can rotate the camera, pan, zoom & tilt. We do restrict the movement to a certain range, to ensure the game is always playable, and you'll never be stuck in an unplayable angle."
  • Only key structures remain in territories you come back too.
  • Air units will play a more important role this time around.
  • Currently they only have multiplayer maps of Dune but they are working on some ways to have resource collection on other planets for multiplayer. This could include spice on other planets, or a dial that regulates how fast money would arrive.
  • There will be night and day during longer missions as well as sand storms.
  • Sidebar will be similiar to RA2 but with some new enhancements.
  • Fremen Fedaykin have a thumper that may attract a sandworm which they can ride. After "eating" a certain number of infantry the worm will go back under the sand killing the Fedaykin.

Chat Log:

Cobby -> Hi and welcome
Cobby -> I'm going to let Delphi-WS introduce himself
Delphi-WS -> My name is Chris Rubyor (aka Delphi) I'm the Online Community Manager for Westwood's C&C and Dune games.
ChrisL-WS -> Greetings everybody! I'm Chris Longpre, Producer on Emperor. I'm looking forward to chatting with you all and answering some questions!
Cobby -> If you'd like to ask Westwood a question regarding Emperor: Battle for Dune, type /msg Cobby question and it will be posted on your behalf.
Cobby -> How many players will be allowed in a multiplayer game?
ChrisL-WS -> We support 8 players on LAN games, and 4 players on Internet games via Westwood Online
Cobby -> what will be harvested on the other planets besides arakkis?
Cobby -> System Requirements?
ChrisL-WS -> On the homeworld planets, you will have regular money 'shipments' given to you as you play
ChrisL-WS -> since there is no spice on those homeworlds.. It changes some of the strategies..definitely
ChrisL-WS -> System specs are P2-400, 64MB ram, 3D video card (16MB vram)
Cobby -> If you could be any one units in the entire game...which one would you be?
ChrisL-WS -> We're working hard to support Voodoo2 as well, but they have smaller VRAM footprints
ChrisL-WS -> Currently, my favorite is the Atreides Sniper! They have excellent range.. can shoot of ridge lines for more distance
ChrisL-WS -> and gain stealth at the 3rd level of veterancy!
Cobby -> Will this game have anything to do with the House Atredies and House Harkonnen books?
ChrisL-WS -> Our story was developed independently from any of the current books, or TV miniseries. So, they do not tie in to those.
Cobby -> will it have a feel from C&C or something totally different ie mixture of dune2 C&C starcraft and warcraft
ChrisL-WS -> Its going to be a different *feel* from C&C and other RTS .. due to a few key differences
ChrisL-WS -> Mostly, the campaign (solo) game is a lot of strategic choices you get ..about which order to do the missions
ChrisL-WS -> This is differnet, than playing through a dozen set missions.. until you win each one successively
ChrisL-WS -> With some fun things like strategic retreats, reserve forces.. it can be played with a different mentality.
ChrisL-WS -> Or you could just play straight-line to the homeworlds, reloading save games if you like the traditional approach
Cobby -> what will players harvest on the planets otherthen Arrakis ? how will they collect resources ?
ChrisL-WS -> Caladan, Geidi Prime & Draconis IV all get money dripped into your coffers as you play the mission
ChrisL-WS -> It forces you to use tactics crucially, and negates the over-producion tactic .. so it will be tough
ChrisL-WS -> but enjoyable!
Cobby -> Are you planning on implementing the "Risk" element into multiplayer, allowing players to choose which territories to attack and then fighting out the battles?
ChrisL-WS -> We are very excited about co-operative campaign games! You and a friend will be able to fight together accross the campaign maps.
Cobby -> What does dune offer that other new 3d rts games have not already done before?
ChrisL-WS -> Stunning visuals, epic universe.. but more importantly, some great unit diversity, allowing many combos and cool tactics! Also, the campaign game introduces a level of strategy back into RTS, that has been missing for a while
Cobby -> Will this game have downloadable units and maps, like Total Annihilation?
ChrisL-WS -> Multiplayer maps will be released over the the first few weeks of release! Several will ship with the game, and we plan on adding more as we go
ChrisL-WS -> As for downloadable units, it presents a huge design & balance issue. We have created a wide range of units to suit everyone's style.
Cobby -> Are we going able to have the subclan technology in the multi-player?
ChrisL-WS -> When you choose your side for multiplayer games, Yes! you'll be able to choose up to 2 different subhouses to join you!
ChrisL-WS -> The combinations of House & 2 subhouses, make for some great arguments amongst the dev team!
Cobby -> what will the one player side of the game be like
ChrisL-WS -> You'll start your battle on Dune, Arrakkis. You'll be presented with a territory map with Atreides, Harkonnen & Ordos with equal positions
ChrisL-WS -> You'll choose your battles on the frontline, realize benefits of surrounding a tough territory (reinforcements) and play defensive missions agains the AI
ChrisL-WS -> who seeks to take back some of your holdings!
ChrisL-WS -> You're goal is to fight towards the base camps of your enemy and defeat them on Arrakkis, and then chase them to their howeworld
ChrisL-WS -> for a overwhelming victory!
ChrisL-WS -> But that is not to say, that there are no surprises along the way! ;)
Cobby -> back on the question of multiplayer, will people with a 56k modem be able to play a game like this smoothly online?
ChrisL-WS -> 56k modem play is very important to us and the players! It's tough to get large games going smoothly, when everyone is on 56k modems, but we have
ChrisL-WS -> developed some new traffic mangement technology which should give as smooth a game as possible!
Cobby -> How will Emperor go beyond Dune 2000 in terms of story and gameplay?
ChrisL-WS -> The gameplay is hugely different! Dune2k had a large percentage of similar unit types, wheras Emperor has only a few core units in common with each side
ChrisL-WS -> You will really enjoy tailoring your side choice & subhouses to your play style: Agressive, fast, sneaky, precise,etc..
ChrisL-WS -> The storyline is really engrossing as well, with a common story arc, told from 3 differnet (House) points-of-view.
ChrisL-WS -> This also means some special missions which are unique to each house.
Cobby -> does the way you complete one mission affect the rest of the missions?
ChrisL-WS -> Yes. Conquering a territory is alwasy the primary goal.
ChrisL-WS -> But there are other objectives in terms of securing one of the subhouses (in campaign game..you must earn the alliance)
ChrisL-WS -> Often times, finishing these other goals will create a special task force under your control on the next mission too..
Cobby -> Are you currently in the beta testing stage of the game?
ChrisL-WS -> Yes, we are currently going through final QA on the game. All features are complete & in the game.
ChrisL-WS -> Mostly at this point, its bug fixing, polish & tuning.
Cobby -> Are you going to give us a plug in so to create some mods?
ChrisL-WS -> Nothing is in the works to support mods, but we will wait and see
Cobby -> Will Dune have an option to switch the view from 3D to normal 2D (like Dark Reign 2 had)?
Cobby -> What about the game movies? Are there going to be real actors, like in others Westwood titles (give some actors names, please)? Will the houses keep the same look used on Dune 2K?
ChrisL-WS -> In Emperor, you have the default camera position which is traditional 2 1/2D in angle. Its still all 3D, with the cool visuals therin.
ChrisL-WS -> From there, you can rotate the camera, pan, zoom & tilt.
ChrisL-WS -> We do restrict the movement to a certain range, to ensure the game is always playbale, and you'll never be stuck in an unplayable angle.
Cobby -> What about the game movies? Are there going to be real actors, like in others Westwood titles (give some actors names, please)? Will the houses keep the same look used on Dune 2K?
ChrisL-WS -> The movies are like Dune2k, with actors like Michael Dorn (Worf on Star Trek), Vincent Schiavelli, Nicolas Worth.
ChrisL-WS -> The houses will have very similar look & style as in Dune2k, but we have updated some costumes & makeup effects. Check out our Tleixu agent, Cilix!
Cobby -> How many players will be able to play in Multiplayer (online)
ChrisL-WS -> 4 player over internet, where latency & pings are slower. 8 players over LAN.
Cobby -> When can we expect a demo?
ChrisL-WS -> With the game so close to completion, we are not planning on releaseing a demo.
Cobby -> this year sacrfice made the biggest change in the rts genre, will this be as ground breaking
ChrisL-WS -> Yes, I think so. There are many ways to be ground-breaking, and I think we provide great visuals, excellent unit/side diversity & tactics, and a fun campaign mode.
Cobby -> You've mentioned cooperative mode - what other multiplayer game modes be included in the game?
ChrisL-WS -> We have head-to-head single game combats, as well as the Cooperative campaign game.
Cobby -> what sort of game engine is used to zoom and rotate?
ChrisL-WS -> Its a custom 3D engine that we have developed, and supports many unique features & techniques that you've not seen before.
Cobby -> it is said that you can ride the sand worm, what does that do in single player and multiplayer
ChrisL-WS -> If you ally with the Fremen, you can train a Fremen Feydekin warrior in the Fremen camp.
ChrisL-WS -> He is equpped with a deployable thumper. If a sandworm comes, he will ride the worm and go on a unit gobbling spree!
ChrisL-WS -> After a couple of units, the worm becomes full, and decends under the dunes once again..
ChrisL-WS -> the Fremen dies a glorious death .
Cobby -> Will skirmish have the same game options as Multiplay on WOL?
ChrisL-WS -> Yes, the same options are available on skirmish (solo-non-campaign) and multiplay games. You can turn worms off, use pre-built bases, turn on Fog-Of-War, turn crates on, etc.
Cobby -> Many developers often tell fans "It'll be out when it's done." Do you have any sort of tenative release date in mind, or any goal you're shooting towards?
ChrisL-WS -> It'll be out when its ready.
ChrisL-WS -> Seriously, it will be out by this summer.
ChrisL-WS -> We are finishing up test & polish, and always looking for more optimiations to make the gampely smoother!
Cobby -> Are we going to have naval and air power???(Unit's that we can control)
ChrisL-WS -> No navel, as Arrakis is dry, and the homeworlds represent a small set of maps.
ChrisL-WS -> But air units have been taken up a notch over our past games.
ChrisL-WS -> You have an Air Defense platform, Ornithopters & ADVANCED CARRYALLS.
ChrisL-WS -> Did I say Advance Carryalls??? Yeah! you'll love these
Cobby -> What API's will it support (D3D/OGL/Glide>?
ChrisL-WS -> We developed exclusively for DirectX 7.0
Cobby -> Will bases remain. In the sense that, if i attacked a terrirory and conquered it, ans was called back to fight in that same territory again, would the base i build the first time still be there?
ChrisL-WS -> Not exactly. If you must defend your secured territory, the key structures will still be there, but the remaining structures will have been broken down to conserver resources for your war effort :)
Cobby -> Do you feel confident Emperor's graphics will suceed those of Warcraft III?
ChrisL-WS -> I do not know where Warcraft3 is at currently, but our graphics are better than anything out there today!
Cobby -> Will Emperor feature cut scenes?
ChrisL-WS -> Yes, all story sequences are delivered through some beautifull cinematics
ChrisL-WS -> Another small departure from our past RTS, is that there are too many missions to have all cutscenes be mission briefings. So you'll play a few missions, and get a cutscene.. play some more..etc.
Cobby -> You mentioned that on Caladan , Geidi Prime & Draconis IV money is injected to play....will the same hold true for multiplayer games set on maps on those planets ??
ChrisL-WS -> Currently, we have not produced any multiplay maps on those worlds, for that reason. We do have some ideas in the wings, which may allow for some other form of resource collection.
ChrisL-WS -> If the fans want spice on MP maps, we could do that, even though it doesn't match the fiction. We may just offer a dial on how fast the money flows.
Cobby -> Are we going to see any Weather effect or day/night change through the mission we play?
ChrisL-WS -> During the battle, there are flesh-rending sand-storms that roam some of the maps. They can be deadly against infantry! Night & day changes from mission to mission, but not during the relatively short battles.
Cobby -> How well balanced are the units in the game?
ChrisL-WS -> Excellent! Its always a delicate process, and new tactics always seem to pop up to make us rethink one unit or anther.
ChrisL-WS -> Currently though, its extremely balanced. We had just added Veterancy to the subhouse units a few weeks ago, so a little more work to do there.
Cobby -> Any cool innovations in the Westwood INTERFACE?
ChrisL-WS -> Yes, quite a few. Some of them, you've already seen on RA2! While we were under development at the same time, we cross-polinated on several interface areas.
ChrisL-WS -> The side bar is greatly improved! Its transparent, so you can see the game through it.
ChrisL-WS -> It uses 3 tabs: Buildings, Vehicl
ChrisL-WS -> All units in the game fit on the tabs, without any scrolling, and always appear in the same slot.
ChrisL-WS -> So you'll never be at a loss for where to click.
Cobby -> Will there be some type of online service - like Battle.net or Boneyards ?
ChrisL-WS -> Yes, Westwood Online will be matchmaking as we have done in the past.
ChrisL-WS -> We have some new features for Emperor, like QuickMatch .. which instantly finds you a good opponent for your skill level & ping times.
ChrisL-WS -> Also, we have easy access to laders & clan pages through the game, rather than through your web browser.
Cobby -> Can we use microphone in multi-player so we can chat?
ChrisL-WS -> Yes, we plan to support the off-the-shelf voice stuff like Microsoft Voice Commander, and other similar systems.
Cobby -> Can we capture technology from our enemy?
ChrisL-WS -> Yes. The engineer is alive & well! Since the unit list is completely different from house to house, it has some nice advantages..
ChrisL-WS -> if you can hold onto the building long enough ;)
Cobby -> when selecting units of the same kind can you do that, ie double click on the unit of choice and then you got a group of the same units, plus will there be a limit in selecting the number of units this time
ChrisL-WS -> There are no limits to how many units in a group.
ChrisL-WS -> Further, just like in RA2, you can use 'T' to select all units of that type on the screen and/or the map.
Cobby -> Any chance of this game (or any of your others) being ported to the next-gen consoles?
ChrisL-WS -> Always a fun prospect, but currently we will wait and see.
Cobby -> and our final question for this evening
Cobby -> what is the official website?
ChrisL-WS -> http://www.westwood.com
ChrisL-WS -> There is always news & a correct link to the Emperor site from that front page.
Cobby -> I'd like to thanks Chris & Delphi for their time (and excellent answers!)
Cobby -> logs will be posted to our sites shortly
Delphi-WS -> Thanks for coming by guys!!!! I hope this info puts a new light on Dune...
Cobby -> any last minute words?
ChrisL-WS -> Thank you to everybody for some excellent questions! I look forward to chatting with you all more in the future!
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