What would you say has been the biggest challenge to overcome with Mark of Chaos, and how has it been resolved?
Chris Wren: The pacing of battle has been difficult to tune. We are trying to balance the single-player levels so that there are moments of respite that lead up to all engaging chaos. This has been very time consuming, but ultimately a hand-tuned approach has yielded the best results. The Black Hole guys are really trying to make each mission in the single-player campaign unique and engrossing. With each level we see that is tuned up, we are starting to see how the whole campaign is going to feel and it's getting cool.
I don't think we were sure when we started how each of these single-player missions would end up, but as we get new features into the game more possibilities have opened up and the team has done a great job putting these to good use to add depth to each level as well as the proper tension levels to keep you on the edge of your seat.
For example we had a Chaos siege that was feeling kind of vanilla and weak and I told the guys we needed something to speed it up and break up the repetition - so when the flying units were added to the game, they didn't tell me and had me play the same mission. I went about my usual strategy and about halfway through the battle I was assaulted by Chaos Furies from the sky, swooping down and picking up my units and generally destroying my unprepared army.
This kind of thing has happened a lot over the course of development and with so many enemy strategies at work, it really adds a lot of options to how you approach each mission and forces you to think about how to keep your guys alive no matter what they throw at you.
What are you cooking up for Mark of Chaos multiplayer, what would you say are the highlights of that part of the game?
Chris Wren: We've made multiplayer as open-ended as we could, allowing for many different hosting options and a wide variety of game types and players involved. Hosting a game means that you get to choose the battlefield, the kinds of units you want to fight there, the rules of engagement, the different resources available on a map, as well as the option to allow observers to jump in and watch the mayhem in addition to the up-to-six players playing the game.
We are shipping the game with about 30 multiplayer maps, these include several siege maps, many open field battle maps, some city maps, and various scales to allow for two, three, four, five or six players to take part in the experience.
We have two main regular game modes: Normal and reinforcement battles. A normal battle means that you build an army and that is the only army you will ever get. There might be first aid stations to heal up ravaged units, but you will never get the option to 'buy' new troops in this type of skirmish.
A reinforcement battle will contain reinforcement camps which, when captured, will generate resources and will allow you to eventually call for reinforcements from off the battle map. Reinforcement camps need to be held or else you will lose your reinforcing capability and your resource gathering ability. A camp can be captured easily when it is a neutral building to begin with, but captured buildings will begin to generate defensive units which will protect the camp at all costs. So the longer a building is held, the harder it is to re-capture.
All enemy units must be eliminated from a camp before you can begin capturing it - it becomes a great tug of war in a multiplayer setting.
For siege maps we've got a couple different modes: destroy and capture. Destroy is pretty self evident, kill everything, however for capture we have set objectives
which must be met under a capture and hold mechanic that is more about securing regions of a castle in order to win.