Demigod Interview

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posted 9/16/2008 by Randy Kalista
other articles by Randy Kalista
One Page Platforms: PC
There are a few cases in life where the sum is greater than parts. The collaboration of Gas Powered Games and Star Dock looks to be one of those cases as the two PC developers have crafted a game that not only looks great but looks like it’s going to play great as well. Here’s our interview with the lead designer of the game, Mike Marr.

 

Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project?  How long have you been in the gaming industry and what drew you to your current position?
Hi, my name is Mike Marr. I am the Lead Designer for Demigod and arrived at the position after working the industry for six years in a variety of positions. I’ve worked as UI Engineer, 3d Studio Max Tools Developer, Online Technologies Engineer and as a Balance Designer. However, I must admit that all those positions were just stepping stones to becoming a Lead Designer. I’ve wanted to be a designer since I was a little kid playing Super Mario Brothers. I love the creative atmosphere and being in the thick of game development.

What was the inspiration behind the game and how did it evolve from the initial concepts?  What's the key "hook" of the game?
The inspiration of Demigod was the desire to make an action game that was easy to pick up, fast to play and got your blood pumping. From the start we wanted to create a game that captured the essence of games like Team Fortress, Halo, Counter Strike and Defense of the Ancients. When we coupled that with Gas Powered’s expertise in real-time strategy and action role playing games, the design of the game came naturally

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Have you created a new engine for the game or are you leveraging some of the technology from previous games?
Demigod is built off of the Supreme Commander engine, which has given us a huge leg up in development. Our engineers, artists and designers already knew the engine and we were up and prototyping from day one.

How many demigods are there to choose from, who are they, and what are their general dispositions and styles?
Currently, we feature eight Demigods. Four of those Demigods are Assassins, which focus on brutal abilities and self enhancing items. The other four Demigods are Generals, who focus on team synergistic abilities and items which allow them to augment their forces. As for the details of the Demigods, the few that we’ve seen are:

Rook: The spirit of a dead king who now inhabits a living fortress of stone. The Rook is massive, lumbering and powerful melee Demigod. His attacks are devastating and he is the only Demigod who can attack multiple targets at once. The Rook is an Assassin.

Regulus: An angel who had his wings ripped off by a demon, Regulus is out for vengeance. This Assassin focuses on long-range attacks and manipulation of the battlefield. Regulus is an Assassin.

Torchbearer: The Torchbearer was burned at the stake but instead of this killing him it instead turned him into a crazed mage who can utilize the powers of fire and ice. The Torchbearer is an Assassin who can be played either as a control character, a mana-intensive damage character or as a hybrid of the two.

There are a few more including the Queen of Thorns and Sedna, but we’re not revealing their details at this time. That said, both the Queen and Sedna are Generals.

Since a player isn't picking out a race or a faction, but rather an individual demigod, will all fighting units be available to all demigods?
Demigods will feature all of their functionality in single player.

While not in the meat-lumber-gold sense, resource management must be present to one degree or another in an RTS:  How does that aspect play out in Demigod?
In Demigod, resources translate into gold income and experience. There are a number of ways to earn gold, namely: Kill enemy creatures, kill enemy Demigods and finally, control gold mines and objectives that increase gold income. Experience is earned by killing creatures, capturing flags and smiting your foes.


Outside of the Demigods, what other kinds of units will we be controlling in the game?
You only control your Demigod. However, Generals have minions which guard the Generals and the composition and strength of minions can be altered by the player.

The concept of only controlling your Demigod was a tough one for me to embrace, but after prototyping the game in a variety of incarnations, ranging from full RTS control, to limited control, to no control the team and I realized that we were able to deliver the best, most distilled and awesome experience when the game focused on controlling only your Demigod.

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