SuperPower 2 interview

Article

posted 10/8/2004 by The GN Staff
other articles by The GN Staff
We recently had the opportunity to fire a few questions off to Jean-René Couture, the lead designer of Superpower and Superpower 2

What was the inspiration behind the game? How did the idea for the game come about?
SuperPower and SuperPower 2 were inspired by the movie WarGames. I saw the movie and to the question “Shall we play a game,” I thought “Yes! I’m going to make that game!”

How long has the game been in development?
We started working on it in July 2002, so SP2 has been in development for a little more than two years now. Happily for us (and our spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends), we are now gold!

Do you have to build your nations from scratch or do you start at a pre-determined level?
The game starts in January 2001, so you’ll find the world exactly as it was at that date. If you choose to play as the USA, you’ll start with many resources, alliances, etc. But if you choose to play as Ethiopia, you’ll start with close to nothing and you’ll have to build the country from the ground up.

Can you tweak the strengths of a nation before the game starts or is everything fixed?
When you start the game, we give you the world as it was in 2001. But if you want to play in another context or if you just want to make the country of your choice stronger, you can tweak the game to your liking. SuperPower 2 is entirely moddable; it comes with a tool kit and you can change almost everything you want, with more or less effort depending on the nature of the change you wish to make.

How is resource gathering handled in the game?
Like with all other data in the game, countries start with realistic figures taken from international economic publications. There are 27 resources in the game, and they all have an impact on the economy and on other resources since it’s not just primary resources. We have all the sectors of activity of a country, from iron mining to engineering. We can then develop a sector, trade, tax, nationalize, etc. to modify your values, or affect your allies/foes.

What kind of units will be available for players to build?
We created a Modular Unit Building system based on more than 100 real units (tanks, planes, helicopters, AVP, etc.). Using each part of those units separately and mixing and matching, the player is able to create more than 500 different 3D models and thousands of designs.

Is there one set of units for all nations or will there be different sets for each nation?
There are as many units as exist today. And depending on the country, some have a lot, some have nothing. Some countries buy units from producing countries, so even if Canada starts with some F18 aircraft, it doesn’t mean it can build them. You can trade these units, research and design them.

Is there a tech tree in the game?
Not like in other typical strategy games. For example, you don’t need “tech x” to research “tech y.” What we have is different pieces of design that can be built at certain levels. Research advances these levels. Like for instance, if you design a tank, you’ll need to put in some form of recon. That value is based on the tech level for land-based units you have.

Can you win the game by non-military methods or is that the only way to win a game?
Sure! Politics and economy are as important as military in the game. SP2 is not just a war game. Obviously, you can choose the goal “Conquer the World” and nuke everybody around you if you wish. But you can also choose to play “Balance your resources,” “Make Turkey join the EU,” etc. There are numerous ways to play SP2 and war is only one of those.

The game gets it’s data from the US Military’s databases, did they participate in the creation of the game at all of was their role just to provide data?
Officially, they provided data. But we also went to different Military Gatherings and made contact with different Military staff. Those people helped us make the game more realistic not only by offering advice and information, but they also tested the game.

Can you describe the multiplayer modes available?
We give a lot of freedom to the players. They set the countries played, rules and goals, so the number of possibilities in MP are infinite. We'd like to introduce soon new MP elements to Superpower 2, like pre-set gameplay modes. We're waiting for the game to be released and we'll evaluate the reception of the players. We'll support the more popular options, and continue to expand the game where possible.

How will multiplayer games be setup? Is it peer to peer or will the game ship with a dedicated server?
We’re working with Gamespy who provides the matchmaking server. One player then becomes the admin, and the other players are clients of that machine.

I’d like to thank Jean-René Couture for taking the time out of his schedule to talk to us about the game and to Tara at DreamCatcher for helping to coordinate the interview.