In between the hectic appointments at last week's E3, I was able to drop by the Westin Bonaventure hotel and meet with lead developer and founder of 3000AD, Derek Smart. During the half an hour meeting, I was able to learn about the premise and primary gameplay concepts behind the upcoming and free-to-play massively multiplayer online game, Line of Defense. Derek began by discussing some of his earlier game projects, which he described as often quite complex for players. His most recent release of All Aspect Warfare focused on providing gameplay that was accessible, in addition to combining past concepts of flight and first-person shooter combat. With Line of Defense, Derek's development cycle has come full circle with a game that encompasses aspects of planet and space combat.
In Line of Defense, players select from two sides in a battle for resources and territories on the planet of Lyrius and in various space-based locations. Lyrius features four bases that vary in landscape from snow-covered mountains to blazing deserts. Each base contains an assortment of important structures that are either used to gather resources or produce in-game assets, such as weapons and vehicles. These key areas of interest act as both gathering and combat areas for players that enter the game world. The four bases function as separate instances, each allowing for 256 players. The game's other nine areas range from spans of space to orbital bases and an abandoned carrier.
I was most impressed by the quick travel offered between each of the game's 13 areas. Dynamic jump pads and jumpgates provide near instantaneous travel between locations for quickly finding other players or urgent battles. With around 50 vehicles that include both ground and air travel, players shouldn't have a problem with traversing the game's expansive environments. The use of vehicles require certifications that ensure newcomers to the world must learn the basics. Travel through jumpgates with space ships allow for docking with orbital stations and carriers. Once docked, players can continue the battle from the planet surface to interiors of space structures.
Characters classes in Line of Defense provide players with four base setups that can be customized and even changed completely with equipment kits. At anytime during gameplay, players simply have to equip class kits that alters their role. With the ability to change classes and equipment at will, players will no longer have to create multiple characters to experience other gameplay styles.
During the meeting with Derek, he often mentioned his focus on accessibility for Line of Defense's gameplay. The game will be released as a free-to-play model, but also offer microtransactions for players that have limited time. All of the weapon attachments, ammo types, and vehicle certifications offered through microtransactions can be earned through normal gameplay progression. With the focus on accessibility, gameplay is designed for providing players with quicker access to combat and acquiring items. Derek stated that players shouldn't have to invest a month's time with the game to earn equipment and weapons. The free-to-play and microtransaction business models ensure the game will cater to fans of past 3000AD games, as well as curious newcomers.
The game's current model will allow for easy expansion in the future with the addition of more bases and other areas for combat. At launch, Line of Defense will run on cloud servers that will be expanded when the need arises with influxes of new players. As well, cloud servers ensure that additional game worlds are created when only necessary; which avoids the problem of underpopulation on an excess amount of servers.
Line of Defense's massive world is built upon the Havok Vision Engine that provides a high level of quality and detail in the game's presentation. Atmospheric lighting, dynamic lighting and weather, vast viewing distances, and support for hundreds of players are only a few of the game's impressive features discussed during our meeting. Camera views available to the player include first and third person, along with an over-the-shoulder perspective. In addition, the game supports the use of a Xbox 360 controller and joystick.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to view Line of Defense in a live environment with other players. I was still enthralled with the game's massive scope and focus on providing an accessible experience for gamers. I'll have to wait for some actual gameplay when the closed beta launches between the end of June to mid-July for Windows PC. Be sure to visit the official Line of Defense website for further information on the beta and the game's various features.