We chat with Glory Days II director Olivier DENIS about the game.1: With the DS, what would you say is was the trickiest part of developing for this portable console?
A very important point is to move many objects in real time. Use the editor part and create your own battle, and within few seconds up to 250 units are moving on the ground, twelve AI pilots are engaging aerial dogfight, without speaking about all the visual effect (weapons, explosion, weather, etc). The concept of real time in such a big environment is a real challenge on such a small console with two render screens, and this on several levels (graphics must be drawn, CPU must run perfectly) because it shouldn't be possible to play well with a framerate under 60 frame per second.2: The Dual Screen control method is going to be an interesting feature, what do you think it adds to the game as a whole?
In the first Glory Days, the lack of information on the battlefields was sometimes very marked. The second screen on the DS was a clear answer to this problem. This screen enables you to deploy your army, to follow the progress of your troops and your allied pilots; to notify of an important event like a bomber presence, to follow your heat missile trajectory etc. The synergy between the two screens really is a defining factor!!!!
If you look more precisely at the screenshots, you can see a difference between the two radars drawn on each screen. Basically the upper screen is the action screen. So upper radar indicates the most advanced units of each side. You will know very quickly where the danger is and how near from the enemy command centre your tanks are. The lower screen is used more for the tactical aspect, so when you have some time, you could evaluate precisely what is on the battlefield.
The touch screen is also used to control your aircraft. ! Actually in less than a few minutes you will be able to control your helicopter. These controls are very new and instinctive - the cursor acts like a magnet! It's not a question of going up or to going down to attain a position. It is a question of indicating a position and the helicopter follows it with the constraint of physics and the weather. For those who prefer it, the pad is 100% operational. For example, I always start by playing with the pad and when the level of play increases, I take the pen. 3: I hear tell that the game is going to have some pretty advanced AI, can you comment at all about the kind of AI that the game will deliver?
My experiment of Conflict Zone, my first RTS game, clarifies some AI aspects:
• A too powerful AI destroys the gameplay.
• A weak AI destroys the gameplay.
• A good AI destroys Framerate.
• The AI guys are very sympathetic but also poor quake gamers ;)
At the end of this, we should find a good balance between the different vectors. First of all, there are several levels of AI, two behaviorist for the ground units and the pilot, and one cognitive for the general.
AI Generals have the hardest part. With time notion, they have to construct units, give pilots order, use special weapons. They must anticipate the enemy action to create the best possible situation.
AI pilots answer general orders and take into account what they see. For example, an AI pilot who receives a general order to destroy an enemy bunker, could get soldiers and heliport them on a empty bunker found on the path. Obviously they could response to other enemy pilot. At the end of their local mission, they can go back to their base and rescue some civilians founded on the battlefield.
But to not discourage beginners, all these functions are progressively unlocked in the campaign to let players always feel that they could end their mission.
Ground units also answer a whole set of rules on the condition/actions type. Here again, some development strategies were set up to share the time process required by 250 units which must answers to their environment in real time.4: What kind of story does the game have?
The story evolves through the life of three pilots, plunged in three different wars. Each conflict, each time has its words. John the first pilot gives a true meaning to the words duty and pride. Twenty years later, we meet Bill. My favorite pilot. At the beginning, he's a very sympathetic guy, pretty funny, but quicky his good humor is carried off by the war flow. Twenty years still passes. Ben is the last pilot. He is John's grandson. reserved, he keeps his distances with his conflict. He's a pro. But when the war threatens his family, it 's the redemption hour. The time for him to face reality. The time when he will became a man, brother of other men. 5: I hear it's going to have Multiplayer, can you elaborate some on the style and the game modes of the MP component?
The game is multiplayer wireless. Up to eight players can play together. At the beginning, players choose gameplay type - action, tactic or strategic. In action mode, the AI general builds all units, whereas players can only deploy soldiers. In strategic mode, the player should deploy all the units of his army. Several options like the friendly fire, maximum time play, are also presented. On the second screen, the player then chooses from the eight environments.
The size of the battlefield and the strategic elements (bunker, fixed dca, civil DCA) are specific to each environment. Then they select weather - by example snowstorms influence directly aircraft controls. After that players select their technologies and side. To support co-operative mode, players can add up to twelve AI pilots and as the game can carry up to 250 units in real time, things could become pretty intense! The multiplayer really works well and adds real immersion. Nothing can give you more fun than to search and destroy your best friend’s aircraft and seeing him yell in frustration because he has no chance. 6: Back to Single player, can you elaborate some on the game's gameplay style, is it turn based or RTS or something else?
In a nutshell Glory Days is an action strategy design where players pilot aircraft in a side-scrolling perspective - players must form an army and ‘charge’ it forward to take over the enemy's base on the other side of the map. The enemy's also continues to build up its army and will try to take out your advancing team, so players will have to fend off enemy craft in aerial dogfights above the battlefield.
The fun is in the multiple things to do – control airspace, rescue civilians, create and deploy units, cover them, control the bunkers, gain accuracy points and use special weapons, etc - and ultimately, you cannot do everything in the same time. So it’s necessary to make choices and throughout all of this an opponent will be looking for you to make a bad decision and pounce. 7. What are you most happy about in the game?
Definitively the multiplayer aspect! It is truly a game which I like to play with some friends. The great advantage of this game is its portability. It's easy to transport, and you can declare the war everywhere : in the subway, pub, school. And as it's so easy to play with ( at least with the helicopter), five minutes are enough to give players fun !8: What are you the least happy about?
Definitively to have to lose with my own game and my own friends! And as soon as they can win, believe me, they laugh at me this fantastic “friends”. 9: What's your favorite vehicle in the game and why?
In fact I like to play with plane and helicopter. They are too complementary to choose one. Helicopter is useful to heliport soldiers and quickly capture bunkers. The plane is a great tool to control airspace. But I have some control preferences. When conflict becomes intense, I use the touch screen to control my helicopter and the pad for the plane. If the touch screen is very intuitive, the pad remains very incisive.10:What's your favorite weapon in the game and why?
With plane, heat missiles are useful with some enemy helicopters. When they are in flight, the player can follow their move on the lower screen. As regards the special weapons, the drone is a funny destruction tools. After V2 rocket give satisfaction and if not, bombers send on enemy troops can reverse a bad situation.
In short you could always find a good way to make crying your best friend when he sees that its formidable troops disappeared from the battlefields.