New strategy game RPG Symphony of war Shadow on PC as part of IGN’s Summer of Gaming Expo. We talked to game creator, Phil Hamilton of Dancing Dragon Games, about when to expect development, balance, and the switch.
Graham Russell, Siliconara: Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and the game?
Phil Hamilton, Founder and Lead Developer, Dancing Dragon Games: We are now in our fifth match. We are making JRPG. We’ve always created some new systems for our new games. Liked Skybourne We had the biggest release before and it was a straight-up JRPG. Then next Echoes of Atheria, Was a new system of creation, but it was still a JRPG, so there was a party but there were 15 slots in which you could put your composition. Again, we’re working on a new system for this, and hopefully we’ll keep this one for a while and make some sequels to it. But it took six years to build this engine, so we are very excited to be able to reach the finish line here.
Will be the main inspiration Monster battle And Fire sign. My two favorite series so far. We knew in that look that we were going to be judged unfairly. Fire sign Clones because we’re expanding the scope, up to nine units in one squad and 20 squads, a lot more participants! But we’ve both dramatically reduced the amount of room per unit – for example, in Fire signYou have a complete list of items that a person can have and a whole bunch of features that a person can have – there is a lot of customization that you can do per person, but I would say that most customizations work on a team-based level.
Has a lot of customization Symphony of war. How much flexibility is there in optimal build?
Hamilton: Every effort is made to make any kind of military work, then you become a super-mixed army or be an expert. Like the Mongolian-hoard-style game, I have personally played in the game with a whole army of light archery cavalry. Which, of course, made the video an overnight sensation. So you just go in, pick it up and run away and you are just like the Mongols. Or you can go to the maj-heavy run using the left [Academy of War] Take care of the tech tree immediately, and no armor. But we are doing the balance work. We’re going to have a very hard time babysitting this game once it launches.
There seems to be an incentive to commit Something?
Hamilton: I think early games, yes. You can unlock the entire tech tree and in 20 to 22 cases out of 30 you can reach the tier-four final upgrade for the general army you are raising. Early and mid-game, you have to make it a sacrifice but late-game, you can do everything.
Should generic characters mean as much as the characters in the story or are you really using the characters in the story and others are complementary?
Hamilton: We think a lot about balance and one of our design columns is that imbalance can be fun. Lysander, for example, is obviously one of the best units in the game, so everyone will use Lysander as the team leader. But we can build around the fact that we know everyone is going to use Lysander’s squad. We don’t think it’s mandatory to make generics similar to the characters in the story, although in reality, you can make generic ways completely beyond the characters in the story.
But we have some story characters who are literally gods. [laughs] So you may not push the gods back, but you will get closer.
I’m going to ask a question that might be annoying.
Hamilton: Bring it! [laughs]
You’re still doing menus and that kind of letterboxing. Was it a struggle? What was the alternative?
Hamilton: Well, we started this in RPG Maker, which is hard-coded to get stuck in 640-by-480. What is a small resolution, which I do not find terrible? You may have games that are half the resolution of 1920-by-1080 and should look absolutely good. The problem with the RPG maker is that it was stuck in 3-by-2 [aspect ratio] Instead of 16-by-9. We actually worked with a developer who developed something called MKXP, a set of DLL and EXE that you just slap on RPG Maker. This increases the resolution to 16-by-9, and it frees the distance and the RPG maker from a lot of local stuff.
Letterboxing, I hate that we have it. We’re stuck with that, because we can redesign the entire UI, but I’m sure you know how long it takes. This is going to be a really big technical challenge in the area of what we want to do in this game. Deciding that we wouldn’t be able to fix this for this game was a difficult choice. But nothing happens in war, on a strategic map, or anything like that.
It’s not a place of pain, it’s just a reality of indie development.
How long will it take for a simple campaign map? How much time do you have to devote to get yourself through one?
Hamilton: I would say about 30 minutes. We have Mid-Map Save, you can save-quick and quick-load whenever you want. (Except for Ironman mode, an optional difficulty.) You’ll always be thinking about your movements, as long as you’re one of those crazy Spiderman kids and you remember everything. [laughs]
This is a difficult one, because for whatever reason people don’t automatically connect which you can save when you want and then come back. It’s kind of hard to sell, I don’t know why.
For me personally, saving in the middle of a battle is a contingency. I’m glad it’s there! But when you think of your strategy, you analyze what is coming and where it is coming from… “I’ll forget everything and then try to pick it up again!” [laughs] That’s not ideal.
Hamilton: That’s right. Yes yes.
But of course, it will be useful if you are looking for a portable system later. This begs the question I need to ask every time: Do you have plans for other platforms?
Hamilton: Yes! I think it would be a terrible crime if it didn’t end on the switch at some point. With a history of switch games and GBA games, this seems like a natural home for games like this. So suddenly.
Brian Herren, Marketing Director, Freedom Games: We are not launching simultaneously on any platform other than PC. We hope we have a lot of success, a lot of enthusiasm and people want this game and it will give us the confidence to start the process of change. We, as a publisher, have ported many switches so far and have a very good relationship with Nintendo, so we have full confidence in our ability to turn them around very quickly.
In terms of timing, you said you’d be babysitting the game for a while after launch. So before you start the porting process, you will get the game wherever you want.
Hamilton: Yes, there will be a long period of post-launch patches on the PC version, and then I can tell you that the development time for port to switch is not very short. You know, maybe sooner rather than later Next Summer
… It is conservative, it may be earlier.
Thanks to Phil (and Brian) for talking to us! This interview has been edited for clarity. Symphony of war Is now on Steam. For more information on the game, check out our review.