András Klujber as a Lead Designer from Most Wanted Entertainment answered our questions in this Feature article about the Defenders of Ardania development process, which is a new Tower Defense and RTS hybrid, where strategy elements play a very important role just like tactics and arcane art.
This new title belongs to the Majesty (2000-2009), while mixing various features. You will get access to the units and heroes serving to three different races. Here your main goal is to destroy an opponent’s castle. However, you will need to use all the available advantages, spend some time constructing buildings, use magic, where necessary, and engage in ordering some global upgrades.
Our first in-depth look at Defenders of Ardania is provided in this Preview article. Also we already rewared 5 our registered users with Steam keys to the game following the end of this special Contest, and before you see our Review we will let you know more about the game. Our questions were addressed to the developers at Most Wanted Entertainment based in Hungary, where this strategy title has been created.
With András Klujber, the Lead Designer of the team, we discussed the main creative challenges, intriguing AI surprises, the game’s soundrack, versions for different platforms and even the voice tone of the internal advisor, who does his best to remind about his familiar predecessor known by the games out of the Majesty fantasy series.
- Greetings! Please, introduce yourself.
– Hi there! My name is András Klujber, I’m the Lead Designer of Defenders of Ardania.
- How has your career in the game industry developed?
- I’ve started my career in the game industry 9 years ago, as a game designer. Since, I’ve worked for 3 different companies as designer, scripter and lead designer. At the last 3 years I’ve been working here at Most Wanted Entertainment. We’ve made lots of Nintendo DS (NDS) games, and concepts for different platforms like, Wii, Xbox, PS3 and PC too. Now we’re on a bigger boat, so we’re trying to ride the good waves.
- Give us some background about your development studio and its team.
- Most Wanted Entertainment is a Hungarian game developer studio dedicated to creating games that appeal to a broad audience on all platforms. Founded by industry veterans back in 2005, Most Wanted has completed more than 20 titles since its inception. Apparently, we have two bigger teams on our main projects like the Defenders of Ardania, and a few other people for the smaller titles.
- What was the first Tower Defense game you played? What do you remember it for?
- As far as I can remember, it was the GemCraft (2008), on one of the biggest Flash game sites. I loved the opportunity of the changeable and mixable gems.
- It seems like the Tower Defense game genre has been getting more attention from various developers nowadays. How would you explain that?
- Tower Defense is a quite popular genre between the casual gamer and the hardcore gamers too. I think the developers are trying to bring closer the two groups. Almost everyone likes the pressure of the endless attacker waves, what creates the atmosphere of the Tower Defense games as in Defenders of Ardania. Nowadays, the developers want to integrate this feeling to their games.
- What advantages has the use of the Ardania setting allowed to bring in to Defenders of Ardania?
- We’ve get some graphical content from the Majesty series, for example, units, so in many cases we didn’t have to create those from scratch, we only had to do some fine tunes.
- For me, it was the balance. I’ve never seen this kind of a «Tower Attack» multiplayer game before, so it was very hard to find out, how it will work. However, there were lots of another challenging parts for Defenders of Ardania, from writing the multiplayer code to match the requirements of the platform owner companies, or reach an acceptable game performance on a minimum requirement PC or the consoles. And yes, localization is always sux.
- What could you advise to players new to the genre, who are going to play your Defenders of Ardania game?
- Don’t skip the tutorial! [Laughs].
- Since we plan to do our best, when defending Ardania, it would be great to know, where the danger is coming from. So what are the new threats to this famous Fantasy world?
- We’ve tried to pick up an interesting story from the existing Majesty universe and build our game around it. I don’t want to spoil, so I can’t tell too much about it. In the beginning of the Defenders of Ardania game, as a Majesty you’ll experience a surprise attack with your noble neighborhood, and you have to retrace the clues, which will lead farther than you can imagine. [Smiles].
- Are there any difficulty settings for the Defenders of Ardania campaign mode?
- Nope, you can’t change the difficulty level of the campaign, but we’ve tried to make the early levels easier and the endgame harder. If you find them too easy, well, there will be two more single-player game modes with different rules, and, of course, the Multiplayer.
- What are the unique differences between the in-game races in terms of their visual styles and gameplay features?
- For visuals: every race in Defenders of Ardania has its color and material code. The humans use technological gadgets, stone buildings, and steel weapons. Their colors are the blue and the gold. The nature race has organic towers and animal units, their colors are brown and green. The underworld has the magic and cold obsidian structures. They are wearing evil black and purple skins.
For gameplay features: the nature units are the fastest and the weakest, the underworlds are the opposite, they are slow but strong. Between this two, the humans are the average. In detail, every race has its own basic (swarmer – weak but strong in numbers, soldier – average, with great damage, tank – slow, but hard to kill, runner – fast but fragile) and special units and towers.
- Can you provide some examples of how the use of magic is able to influence the walkthrough in Defenders of Ardania?
- There are many opportunities in the magic usage for Defenders of Ardania. You can destroy the enemy towers to create shortest routes to the enemy base, you can protect your units with defensive spells, or heal them when they are under heavy fire. You are also capable to distract the enemy with spells. For example, the Nature’s fog spell, summons a magical fog, which halves the range of the enemy towers. So if you place it to the right place, your units can walk next to the towers without getting hurt.
- We have to keep in mind that every level in the campaign is also playable in the multiplayer modes, so they have to be balanced. Every player must have equal chances.
- Was there an experience during your Defenders of Ardania play, when an enemy AI surprised you with its actions or decisions made? Tell us more about this.
- Yes, there were times during the testing session, when the AI gave us hard times in Defenders of Ardania. One time it used an advanced technic we called «The Walking», which means, that it built up and sold towers simultaneously, to force the other player’s units to walk up and down next to its most effective towers. Basically, the AI is not that sneaky, but it has its own answer for every tactics.
If you send runner units, it will build up an effective anti-runner tower wall, if you send tank units, well it knows what will be the right answer. It also capable organized attacks, it monitors your units and towers and always tries to send the most effective units, and cast the most effective spells.
- How the game can be played cooperatively, and what are the possible ways for the allies to help each other?
- Two game modes allow you to play Co-op in Defenders of Ardania, the Team Survival and the 2 on 2 Multiplayer. The Team Survival is a classical Tower Defense mode. You can’t send units, and you’re not able to destroy the enemy base, but you have to survive the endless waves of the enemy units as long as you can. The 2 on 2 mode is a multiplayer mode, where you have one of your friends on your side, and your goal is to destroy the two enemy base before they do it with yours.
In Co-op modes, your spells and hero abilities are affecting the allied units too, not just you own. You can help your ally to target the important enemy units with the bounty system, you can build gates – if your selected race allows you – to reach the enemy’s base easier, and so on.
- In your opinion, how much is the graphics important in a Tower Defense game? What are the main visual features of Defenders of Ardania that you are proud of the most?
- Well, it depends on the game. Some Tower Defense games don’t emphasize the graphics, only focus to the gameplay, others have nice visuals. In Defenders of Ardania we have a rich fantasy world, which is always grateful. We do not strive for realistic visuals; instead, we want to create a cool fantasy atmosphere.
- We have already heard a few music samples for the new game. It sounds very authentic to the Majesty universe style. Who was your composer, and how did you record the music for the game?
- It is not a coincidence. The composer of the soundtrack is Andreas Waldetoft, who brought us the music of the previous Majesty games too. As he already knows much about the world of Ardania, it was very easy and good to work with him. He’s a great composer and made excellent tracks for our game.
- Who has done the VO for the in-game briefings? The advisor in Defenders of Ardania sounds like a narrator from the first game in the series.
- The texts for Defenders of Ardania have been written here at the Most Wanted, but the actor selection and the recordings were made by and independent studio called S&H Entertainment (Hong Kong). Yes, our idea was to keep the feeling of the game as close to the original Majesty series as we can. So we tried to find familiar voices to the roles.
- From the view of gameplay, there will be no differences, except the iPad version, which is obvious, because it has the weakest hardware. Therefore, on the iPad version, we had to sacrifice some features, levels, and other stuffs, but it remained an exciting tower defense game. The hardest part of the different versions was to match the requirements of the platform owner companies. There are very strict rules of developing games on any kind of platform, and we had to match them. It was quite a hard task for the whole team.
- What are your favorite video games this year?
- Limbo (2011) and Bastion (2011) are on the stage from the Indie games, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (2011) from the big ones and Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011) is a good kind of surprise too.
- Name some things you associate with Russia.
- Moscow Kremlin, Hot Girls, Trans-Siberian express, my Russian teacher from the elementary school and Vodka. [Smiles].
- Thank you for your answers! If you want to add anything else, you can do it here.
- Thank you for asking us!
Defenders of Ardania
Defenders of Ardania:
A next-generation Tower Defense game set in the rich fantasy world of Majesty (2000-2009), but with a twist. Besides the addictive core mechanics of placing towers to stop advancing enemy units, Defenders of Ardania also allows players to take on the role of the attackers seeking to conquer the enemy base. Innovative new game concepts include light RTS elements, taking the popular genre to the next level.
Players must oversee unit production and upgrades while assembling the most effective army from one of three playable races, each with unique locations, towers, and units. However, without magic, a fantasy game is little more than a toothless lion (or dragon, rather), so a wide range of spells will be available for players to decimate their enemies and protect their forces.
Although Defenders of Ardania includes a single-player portion, the focus of the game is undoubtedly multiplayer, where two to four players can take each other on or compete against AI opponents via Internet, LAN, or PSN. The multiplayer component offers three different game modes where players can assume either the defensive or offensive sides – or both!
Key Game Features:
- Interactive environment that affects gameplay;
- A wide range of offensive and defensive Spells;
- Defense. 24 different upgradeable towers to erect against the invading enemy;
- Attack. 24 varied units with diverse attributes to assemble into an offensive force;
- Strong Multiplayer. Component with a variety of game modes for up to four players;
- Ardania. The world of Majesty with three playable Races and their unique environments;
- An intriguing new take on the massively popular Tower Defense genre: in Defenders of Ardania players lead both offensive and defensive operations.