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Space Empires: Starfury interview with Aaron Hall

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Space Empires: Starfury interview with Aaron Hall

Interview - posted by Deathy on Wed 29 January 2003, 02:32:11

Tags: Aaron Hall; Malfador Machinations; Space Empires: Starfury

Space Empires: Starfury is a recently announced space RPG made by Malfador Machinations, a small, independent company whose credits include the Space Empires Series and Dungeon Odyssey.

1) What made you decide to do an RPG in the Space Empires universe?

It kind of evolved into one. Our first priority was to develop a real-time 3D rendered engine that we could use for Space Empires V. So the idea of making a game where you just control one ship and make your way through the Space Empires universe came about. And if you are only to control just 1 ship, then it really needs RPG elements to keep you involved.

2) Previous Space Empires games (Especially Space Empires IV) have had very tactical turn based combat. How will this translate into Space Empires: Starfury?

It doesn't really. Starfury will be real-time and more like a first-person action game. There will still be plenty of strategy, but it will have a few more action elements to it. SE4 had to be turn-based and structured because of the large number of ships you needed to control.

3) Character development is an integral part of an RPG. How will this be handled in Space Empires: Starfury? Will there be a crew experience system in addition to the ability to customize your ship?

There are actually 3 levels to the RPG experience in Starfury. First off, there is you as a captain of the ship. You will be able to gain experience and increase in rank. Secondly, there is your crew's experience which will increase and allow you to customize their skills in different areas such as Offensive Targeting, Defensive Maneuvers, Ship Repair, etc. Lastly, your ship will be completely customizable through components that you find or purchase. The components themselves have a large variety of characteristics since they can have random modifiers as well.

4) About ship customisation.Will you be able to choose different hulls (ie: different ship sizes), orwill you just choose a ship at the start and modify it as you go along?

There are quite a number of different ship hulls you will be able to purchase as you accumulate money. There are basic Terran hulls, improved versions of Terran hulls, and then alien hulls such as the Abbidon, Xiati, etc. Different hulls have different hard points (locations where you can place components) and different physical characteristics such as Speed, Turn Rate, Acceleration, Armor Capacity, Shield Capacity, etc.

5) According to your features list, there is a set storyline (missions) and the ability to freelance. How linear will the set storyline be?

The storyline will be fairly linear, but you can start it and stop it at any time. There will also be plenty of randomly generated missions available for you to generate wealth. We originally wanted a large branching storyline, but we decided to drop it in favor of keeping the capability of allowing players to completely modify the game, including the storyline.

6) The features list states that you are able to act as a merchant, mercenary, or pirate in addition to following the story. Concerning the ability to act as a merchant, will the players actions (or other events) affect the economy in game?

We're still debating over this one. Certain missions will effect the game universe, but we haven't decided yet if that will also effect the universal economy.

7) As for being a mercenary or pirate, will doing these activities make certain factions or empires to hate you and attack on sight? Will there be a reputation system?

Definitely. As a mercenary you are legally employed by the local government or by independents. So if you are mercenary for the Terrans, then the Terran ships will be friendly towards you. However, if you hire yourself out to the Xiati, the Terrans will fire on you. Same goes for being a pirate. Most races will openly fire on you, but of course, the pirates will consider you a friend. This comes in very handy when you need to get to a pirate base to uncover certain information items.

8) The features list states that the game universe is living and breathing, with eventshappening across the universe. Are these events scripted and static, or random?

The events that happen are a combination of both scripted and random. As you go through the storyline, war will break out between some of the races. You will find yourself witnessing skirmishes and being sucked into major battles. But even when war is not going on, the universe continues on even if you aren't there. As you move through systems you will encounter all kinds of ships going about their daily business.

9) Space Empires: Starfury uses a 3D graphics engine. What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of using such an engine?

The advantages of the engine are pretty obvious in that they lead to a great looking game. You really get to see the size and power of these ships first-hand as your ship interacts with them. Also, we'll be using the 3D engine in SE5 for combat and strategic movement, so its a must for us. The disadvantages of using a 3D engine are the resources involved. Some much time and effort goes into each ship, and each ship takes up so much time and resources on your computer, that you cannot have anywhere near as many as you did in SE4. Fleets can't have hundreds of ships, they can only have a handful.

10) Thanks a lot for letting us do this interview, was there anything else that you wanted to talk about?

Just stay tuned for Starfury's release this summer. And thanks for the interview!

Thanks for your time, Malfador Machinations

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