Divinity: Dragon Commander - All News
Monday - April 29, 2013
Dragon Commander - Preview @ PCGamer
PCGamer has a new preview for Dragon Commander.
It’s tough being a king who’s also supreme commander of a steampunk army and also fights in all his battles and can also turn into a dragon with a jetpack and also has to manage social policy for the lands he conquers. Interesting, but tough.
Your long-term goal is the same as that of anyone who can turn into a dragon: conquer the world. The campaign map is divided into a few dozen large territories, and from there you can build units, move them, buy upgrades for them, or get new spells for your dragon form. When you’ve finished, you end your turn, and your enemy moves.
Everything gets built quickly, there’s no fog of war, and the cap on recruits means a single battle never takes too long. Once it’s over, you can fight or auto-resolve any other conflicts that happened on the strategic map that turn. And when everything’s finally dealt with, you return to your giant steampunk airship.
A turn is a long time in Dragon Commander: it’s not unusual to have five conflicts going on at once, each of which you might want to play out as an RTS match. In fact, the whole singleplayer campaign is only expected to take about 20 turns, although obviously that’ll vary a lot from player to player. So when you return to your ship between each one, a new chunk of story stuff unfolds.
That takes a few forms. There’s a main story that’s the same each time, but I didn’t see how that progresses in the few hours I played. The rest of the story stuff is randomised, and there’s more of it than you’re likely to see in one playthrough.
Tuesday - April 16, 2013
Dragon Commander - Preview @ Gaming Illustrated
Gaming Illustrated reports on their hands-on session of Dragon Commander.
However, gameplay in Divinity: Dragon Commander is anything but standard. While combat is going on, players have a potentially game-changing ability in their back pocket. When battles are just not going right, players can take the form of a dragon and dive into war with third-person style gameplay. Dragons are equipped with a jetpack to quickly fly to units who need the most help. Then, dragons can unleash hell on opponents. When fire-breathing beasts are defeated, players will have to wait through a respawn period before they can enter the battlefield again. This makes RTS combat fast-paced and satisfying. Even when losing, players can wreak havoc using a dragon in a jetpack.In addition, RTS gameplay is supplemented by card game elements. According to Namdar, Larian founder Swen Vincke is a big fan of the genre and wanted to add old-school board game elements into Divinity: Dragon Commander. Card gameplay occurs on the turn-based map before combat is about to take place. Players earn cards throughout the game and can use the specific abilities of the cards to supplement their RTS attacks.
Saturday - April 13, 2013
Dragon Commander - Video Q&A with Larian Studios & GOG.com
GOG and Larian bring a video Q&A for Dragon Commander. Be warned the video is almost a hour long. Enjoy.
Divinity: Dragon Commander is an innovative fantasy real-time strategy game spliced with free-flight combat action, in-depth strategic view, and some trading card game mechanics, in which you become a fearsome Dragon Emperor. This is the recording of our live Q&A session with Sven Vincke and Farhang Namdar of the Larian Studios, the game's developer.
Thursday - April 11, 2013
Dragon Commander - Available for Pre-order on GOG
Gamebanshee posts that Dragon Commmander is available for Pre-order on GOG. The listing price is $39.99 and has a release date of July 2.
You are the Dragon Commander. Your mission it is to reunite a broken empire and become the new emperor. Success depends entirely on your ability to efficiently rule your empire, build invincible armies and lead them to victory. Your secret weapons: your tactical insights, your leadership skills and your ability to turn yourself into a dragon.
More than 'just another' strategy game, Dragon Commander seamlessly blends turn-based and real-time strategy, action gameplay and roleplaying into a grand adventure. Plot the political course of your empire, move your armies into key locations in the world, command troops on the battlefield, and decimate the opposition as a ferocious dragon.
As a bonus here is the trailer video for the preorder.
Tuesday - April 02, 2013
Dragon Commander - Hands-On Preview & Interview
PCGamesN bring us their report of the hands-on session they had for Dragon Commander.
Genres be damned, say Larian Studios. The developer clearly has no interest in trying to squeeze Dragon Commander into any particular category. Instead, they've brewed together a giant soup of genres and into this they've stirred a fridgeful of influences.
Anyone who dips their spoon into this bubbling broth will catch the familiar taste of real-time strategy infused with roleplaying elements and even underscored by the subtle, beefy aroma of action. There's a faint aroma of politics in the air somewhere and also bobbing in this brew are ingredients usually associated with grand strategy board games, high fantasy and steampunk. Then, an unexpected flavour comes into the mix: while Larian don't seem to have added elements we'd usually associate with dating sims (thank heavens), it looks like getting married is going to be an important moment in the game, something that may well be just another step along a taught political tightrope.
And Gaming Illustrated took lead designer Farhang Namdar apart and talked to him about Dragon Commander:
Gaming Illustrated (RB): Can you tell me a little about what went into making that decision as far as blending everything together?
Farhang Namdar (Larian Studios): The idea originally was to create a very, very short 10 mission dragon game. The gameplay with the dragon was actually pretty fun because we never really flushed it out in The Dragon Knight Saga. We got some time to actually make it play well then we said ok, we have these campaigns and stuff but it would be great to have this mothership where you come back to and keep track of all these characters. I was a really big fan of Wing Commander so I always wanted to have that in there.
If we were going to fly missions, I wanted to have the mothership there as well with all the different characters but then with choices that matter–not like Starcraft where you just click on a character and it starts a cutscene but that you can actually make choices during this cutscene. Later on, we were looking at these Cinemaware games and games that were made in the 80s and early 90s. They always had like strategy games with different things happening in between. You always had this world map where you chose what countries to attack and things to do. Once you did that, you had these interesting events popping up like this wizard travels from a far away country to your empire with a gift for you. Would you accept him or not? These small useless choices that just popped up with a single image actually made a pretty big difference during gameplay.
Also, Swen’s [Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke] a big board game fan. so we decided to integrate all that together and, yea, we really love making RTS’ as well so that’s how everything came in to the game
Wednesday - March 20, 2013
Dragon Commander - Hands-on Video
Gamespot have made a video of their hands-on session of Dragon Commander. The video focuses on the RTS part of the game and provides quite a bit of info on how the game plays.
Friday - March 15, 2013
Dragon Commander - Voice Recording Sneak Peak
All text in Dragon Commander will be spoken and during the recording the faces of those speaking will be recorded as well in order to get a very good face animation in the game. The video shows a recording of the person speaking a part of the text of Catherine, the former Warrior Queen, now general in the army of the dragon. She once ruled a land where women were in charge and in the game she will bug you at any possible opportunity with equal rights for women.
Monday - March 11, 2013
Dragon Commander - More Previews
Here are 3 more previews of Dragon Commander.
The game’s namesake obviously points to dragon commanding combat, and you can do just that. At any point on the battlefield, so long as you are close enough to a friendly unit, you can transform the camera into a third-person view of your dragon flying about the sky. You can control the dragon like a ship could be controlled in the Descent games, and depending on what upgrades you have purchased for your dragon, you can reign some serious hell down on the enemy. While dragon-only combat is possible in some instances, it should be noted that dragons are very ineffective against enemy buildings, so you will most-likely have to take those with good old fashioned boots on the ground.
The fights are quite unpredictable. If one side planned better in the world overview mode they might have enough units to just rush in and clear the other side out before they even get their first community center off the ground. Some fights might be blocked from happening to begin with by playing certain political cards to delay enemy assaults. Other fights might offer one team a one-sided advantage due to cards played to add additional units at the start or add additional skills to compliment your dragon. But when the fights are relatively even… fireworks happen. Huge battles of multiple unit types clashing in chokepoints. Zeppelins and Air Balloons clashing with Ironclads over contested naval ports. Every unit will feel familiar and yet unique and you truly get to enjoy them on a whole new level when burning through them in your dragon form at mach speeds thanks to a resource guzzling rocket pack on your back.
Dragon Commander is a game that is trying to straddle an incredible amount of genres. Larian has done a great job unifying all of them artistically, thematically, and (most important) logically. The branching choices and the consequences they’ll have for the player were hardly even scratched in the section of the game that I saw. The RTS portion will undoubtedly attract the attention of those interested in competitive gaming, but is still approachable enough for folks like me who haven’t touched the genre in years. Divinity: Dragon Commander has something for everyone, and I definitely recommend keeping your eye on it.
Friday - March 08, 2013
Dragon Commander - Preview @ Co-Optimus
Also Co-Optimus checked out Dragon Commander on the tour of larian Studios.
All four of us were able to battle in a RTS environment. Our starting units, if we had any, were what we moved around the RTS map. There are numerous buildings to capture, including towers and recruitment centers. By controlling more of the structures, you gain the ability to recruit more forces for that particular battle. Remember that 1600 number on the territory map from before? That was the total number of recruits available on the map from which to draw from. So the battle rages for control of recruitment centers and building from which you can transform them into barracks, naval centers, or other buildings. These allow you to keep producing troops...
Now for the exciting part. At any time during the battle, you can press "enter" and transform into your dragon. The dragon can zoom around the field, and you can manually target just about anything and mash the left mouse button to fire shots. There are also special dragon abilities hotkeyed such as a large fire blast and a healing aura. The mechanic was awesome, and after a short time, I got used to sending my troops into battle, pressing enter, and supporting them with my dragon. Dogfights are a big part of the action too, which occur when dragons meet in combat. It is a seamless mechanic, and adds an interesting level of complexity to the RTS combat. Just remember, when your dragon dies, you can't turn into him for another 30 seconds. The battle continues until either the troops are exhausted or one side surrenders.
Thursday - March 07, 2013
Dragon Commander - Preview @ GamesRadar
GamesRadar checked out Dragon Commander as well and wrote amongst others the following:
At the press of a button, players can change take control of their Dragon Commander from a third-person perspective, who consequently changes into the form of a dragon during conflicts--a dragon with a jetpack strapped to his back, no less. Thanks to the jetpack, you can travel from one side of the map to the other rapidly, letting you lay waste to enemy units with fire and magic attacks. As you progress through the story, you'll earn skills your dragon can use during battle giving you the ability to quickly change the momentum of any fight. In our playthrough, we had access to a powerful homing fireball and a healing spell that replenished health for all friendly troops within range. Though it may seem the case, the dragon form isn't overpowered. You'll have to actively switch between managing your army and burning your enemies to a crisp as the dragon if you want to gain a victory in battle.
Wednesday - March 06, 2013
Dragon Commander - Preview @ Strategy Informer
More previews on Dragon Commander are bound to become available while the people from Larian Studios are on a press tour. Here is the one from Strategy Informer.
There are a lot of elements in this game – a basic economy drives a respectable empire management system, where you can build buildings, or capture regions that have buildings already in them. Factories allow you to build units, and capturing/building one can allow you to open up another front, Tavern’s allow you to gain Mercenary cards, and so on. You move your armies about the map in true TBS style; although you have to make sure units aren’t caught out on their own otherwise they’ll be trashed. There’s also the RPG system – which is one of the few things that hasn’t changed that much since we last saw it. At the end of the day, you’re playing as a Dragon Knight, and your goal is to not only unite the races of Rivellon, but also to defeat your grand enemy. Dragon Commander doesn’t sound like it has the greatest plot in the world – basically your overall goal is to get rid of the very steampunk technology you used to win it, returning Rivellon to its more traditional High Fantasy state. Imagine if Divinity II had tanks and artillery… would have made an interesting game.
RPGWatch Feature: Dragon Commander - Hands-On Preview
I had the opportunity to play Dragon Commander when I was at the offices of Larian. I'm not much of an RTS player so I focussed more on whatever RPG elements their are in the game. Check out our article to read what what I discovered.
UPDATE: Swen Vincke told me the story has changed recently. I updated the article to reflect that change.
Monday - March 04, 2013
Dragon Commander - Hands-on @ RPS
Rock Paper Shotgun have written up their experience from a hands-on session with Dragon Commander.
If the camera is close to friendly units, a player can summon his dragon and fly around the battlefield dropping bombs, breathing fire, healing squads and generally being a disruptive git. My attempts to assist my troops lasted about twenty seconds, at which point the other player’s dragon jetted in behind me and burned me to a crisp. There’s a cool-down before dragons can fuel up and divebomb back into action, although it can be skipped at the cost of a few population units. The intervention of the creatures is devastating and with the correct upgrades they can completely turn the tide of battle, but without support from the ground they can’t win the war. Success will come from careful use of the dragon, I imagine, knowing the best moment to strike and the correct skill to use rather than blundering in repeatedly.
In the build we were shown, the combat AI isn’t in place so the troops that overran my defences were controlled by another player. There was a lot happening on screen and it was happening quickly, but there is an icon-based clarity stencilled atop the busy graphics and once attuned to the pace, I think even my slow, methodical chess-player’s wits will find the tactical considerations simple enough to manage in real-time. That said, the use of population as a shared resource does favour the commander who acts quickly.
Sunday - March 03, 2013
Dragon Commander - Preview @ Insomnia
Insomnia, a UK LAN party site, brings us a blog on Dragon Commander, which gives a summary of the different parts of the game.
You control your units just like any other RTS game, but while they're moving around, performing the actions you've given them, you can turn yourself into a jetpack-equipped, firebreathing, unit-destroying dragon. You can combat other dragon commanders in this mode, you can even control your units to a slightly lesser extent, and lets not forget you can manipulate the way the battle unfolds with your dragon powers.
From being the annoying little untargetable bee, buzzing around a bigger unit and doing minor damage relentlessly, to destroying entire battalions in a second with devastating attacks, to mind-controlling enemy units and healing friendlies, your dragon is by far the most powerful unit on the battlefield. The controls are wonderful and intuitive, and with just a little practise (it took me all of one game to get the hang of it and thoroughly devastate the poor journalist I was placed against!) you can learn to be highly effective switching between full RTS control to maximise the effectiveness of your units, and being what is essentially a hero unit in third-person control.
Friday - March 01, 2013
Dragon Commander - Preview and Interview @ PCGMedia
PCGMedia is one of the first to report with a preview on what they've seen on the tour that Larian Studios is currently doing to promote Dragon Commander and Original Sin.
Larian Studios know what they’re doing. It might seem a strange sentiment, but it’s actually completely apt. The biggest problem with this title will be how to market it. Is it an RPG? Is it an RTS? Is it a good one of either? It seems to be a good one of both. Whilst other titles have tried to mix fantasy RPG with RTS (namely King Arthur: The Roleplaying War Game), no one has done it so intelligently and boldly as Larian Studios. Whilst I admit I didn’t get a chance to check out all the upgrades and how the story develops, I can say with all honesty that the core mechanics, and the core principles are fantastic. The beautifully rendered characters, maps, and fluid battle dynamic blew me away – and many members of the press at the event actually broke their time-slot to stay and play some more.
I can certainly see many hardcore players of some of the top played RTS games having problems with the direct Dragon control, since it veers away from micro-management, but given that it’s a game of Risk in the first place rather than instantaneous matches, I’m not convinced it’s a game for them, anyway. Divinity Dragon: Commander is a hard sell – not because it isn’t good, but because there are so many contrasting ideas that juxtapose what we think we know about RTS and RPG’s, that we’re left, at first, perplexed. Try the demo (available soon), and all will be understood relatively quickly.
Besides that they also had an interview with Swen Vincke on Dragon Commander, Original Sin and developing games in general.
Me: To me, American RPG’s seem very ideological – they often take a stance – they are very ideological gamers. Be the best of everything; be a hero, be a good person – but their games often are unmatched in fidelity and polish.
Swen: Ideological, that’s interesting… the problem is we don’t have the polish. If we [European developers] had the resources that they have, we would be at least matched. That’s what CD Projekt is also trying. If you can have the polish of what they do, with the core values of what we do… I really think it’s a cultural thing… there’s a culture in the games that we make that you will not find in American RPG’s, and vice versa. I mean, I’ve loved quite a lot of American RPG’s – there were some really good ones in the past; Ultima is one of my favorite RPG’s of all time. There are a lot of good Russian RPG’s, they just don’t have any production values at all.
Me: Do you think European developers aim their games towards older audiences?
Swen: I think European games developers aim their games at themselves. And that American developers aim them towards a ‘target audience’, and that’s a very big difference. I’ve seen this myself – I mean, this one [Original Sin] is made for me and my girlfriend, because we were playing Dark Alliance and I said “ah, I like the fact that I am playing together with you, but there’s nothing to do. It’s just hacking and slashing,” and so from there came Original Sin. If I like it, and he likes it [points to imaginary co-developer, not his girlfriend], then there are probably other gamers who will like it too.
Thursday - February 28, 2013
Dragon Commander - Self Censorship
In his blog Swen Vincke talks about self censorship in Dragon Commander.
I've played a bit of the game last week in their studios and was given some examples and didn't think the statements in the game were actually something to worry about. I think it is great what they are trying to do. Swen also refers to the Dwarven princess in his blog and to make you draw a picture of her in your mind. Think about a not so slender girl, who is short and shows a lot of cleavage, which is made possible because she really has a lot to show.
One thing that worries me a bit in particular is the discussion I’ve had with several journalists about the the political and satirical topics in the game. They were all pretty interested in that part of the game and since they are journalists after all, I can see how that’s going to be something we’ll have to deal with.
Admittedly, some of the topics are a bit controversial, even if we did base them on real-life issues that dominate political agendas around the world. But the wording used by our writer is pretty much in synch with Larian’s culture i.e. it’s very satiricial, and since the internet is the internet and some of the satire will be lost in translation, it’s probably inevitable that flak is going to head our way.
It also doesn’t help that our lead animator decided that on this particular game he was going to show the world what he thinks of censorship. He made the most obvious sexist camera shot ever for the introduction of the dwarven princess to the dragon knight, and then queried me whether I thought it was over the top, and whether or not such an expression of artistic freedom belonged in a game. As I was debating the issue openly I somehow managed to get half Larian around me, who vigorously let me know that censorship is a thing of the devil and what they thought about their right to aim a camera at a dwarven princess’ breasts.
I let them cook a bit by playing the devil’s advocate, but let it in because a) I’m no big fan of censorship, b) I’m no fan of enforced politically correctness because it gives media too much power to shape opinion and c) I thought there was something symbolical about this particular shot being such a discussion generator just because it was visual. I think there is much more controversial stuff than this in the way the councillors formulate their opnions , but apparently the fact that that’s just words doesn’t provoke the same emotions.
Some of the guys who saw our presentations got it though and understood that there was gameplay value in putting in things a large majority wouldn’t agree with (at least, I hope), but which a player would still contemplate because it might let him reach his goals, pretty much the same thing a politician has to do all the time.
Dragon Commander - New Trailer Released
Here is the new trailer for Divinity: Dragon Commander.
Thursday - February 14, 2013
Dragon Commander - The End Game, part 1
In his personal blog Swen Vincke talks about the upcoming hands-on sessions for Dragon Commander that gaming journalist will be having in the next weeks and the current state of development. Besides that they will also be showing Dragon Commander at the largest LAN party in Belgium.
Whichever it is, we are pretty much in an alea iacta est situation regarding the hands-on thing as the alea was already iacta’d the very day we decided that we were going to be showing Dragon Commander to an audience of a 1000 hardcore gamers at FOM, the biggest LAN party in Belgium, inviting them to come and play Dragon Commander and originally also Original Sin (we’re still deciding about the latter).
If you show it to 1000 hardcore gamers and give them the opportunity to play, you shouldn’t be afraid of letting people from the media play it, yet still, for some reason, that frightens me more than those 1000 players.It was a mad plan we decided on a long time ago and in truth it should probably have been cancelled in light of the development tasklist but it wasn’t, meaning that impressively, we’re now indeed going to be standing at FOM with something playable, proving yet again that Larian indeed has the planning abilities normally only reserved for those professional companies we hear so much about and ensuring that yet again I will get many invitations from very reputed institutions to lecture on how to plan in a creative environment!
Wednesday - December 12, 2012
Dragon Commander & Original Sin - Music Review Meeting
Larian Studios uploaded another internal review meeting video. This time the review is about the music in both Dragon Commander and Original Sin and thus also has the unfinished music and ideas of Kirill Pokrovsky, who composed all the music in the Divinity games.
Tuesday - December 04, 2012
Dragon Commander - Larian Needs Your Help
On his blog Swen Vincke is asking for your help and feedback in pitching Dragon Commander in the best way possible.
I’m going to list here what we have for the moment in the hopes that somebody reading this might come up with a couple of suggestions to improve the text and clarify the message.
Dragon Commander – Become the dragon, command the empire
The lands of Rivellon are overrun by the forces of chaos. You are one of the last dragon knights. Do you have what it takes to unite the races and build an army formidable enough to defeat the biggest threat ever ?
- Become the Dragon – Take control of the dragon in you and join your troops in combat, assisting them with a host of powerful magic skills
- Full 3D massive real time strategy – Engage in land, air and sea warfare, commanding unique fantasy units with various upgrades and tactical abilities
- Dynamic story driven campaign – After each battle, you make choices that affect the lives of everybody in the empire and from your strategi map, decide which countries to attack
- Cooperative and competitive multiplayer – Play with or against your friends. In cooperative mode, one player can command the armies while the other blasts away at the enemy in dragon form
Feel free to rip it apart but please do give feedback – if you find this text appalling, please let us know, because otherwise you risk being appalled even more when next you find it back in all kinds of languages in all kinds of ads and on all kinds of boxes in say about six months Likewise, if you find it appealing, let us know too. And obviously, if something is unclear, please ask so I can clarify. Not being clear is the thing I’m the most afraid of.One other issue we’ve been dealing with and for which we could use some ideas is how we’ve been handling our online presence. Up to now there wasn’t a clear plan other than everybody bitching that we could do better, but now that we’re trying to do better, we’re finding that it’s not that easy – go figure.
Thursday - November 29, 2012
Dragon Commander - About Motion Capture
Larian Studios shares with us a video on motion capture try-outs for Dragon Commander in which they show how the motion of real person's faces while talking are mapped to in-game characters.
The video is part of an article from Swen Vincke about the process they went through to get where they are now as far as spoken dialogs go.
Nowadays, bringing dialogs to life is not a question of voice recordings alone anymore, but also of having perfect lip synchronization and fitting non-verbal communication on the virtual speakers. The latter is certainly the case when you’re dealing with high quality character artwork, which is more or less the norm in these modern times.
While cool for players, this requirement is pretty uncool for poor and not-so-poor independent developers, and I already talked extensively about the problems this has been causing for us during the development of Dragon Commander. Because there’s a shitload of choice and consequence going on in between game turns, the dialog asset requirements are pretty steep in that game, and when we did the initial research on how much it was going to cost us to animate all the dialogs, we came up with numbers that were bananas. (between half a million and one million U$ for one language!)
For a long time actually we thought that we’d have to resort to plan B, which was just recording and animating the opening lines, without having anything in terms of animation or voice for the rest of the conversation.
It’s been almost a year since I first wrote about this particular problem here, and I’m really glad to say now that we finally cracked it (just in time ). It’s amazing what a courageous lead animator who refuses to admit defeat can do if you give him a few good programmers and a bunch of cool cameras.
Sunday - November 18, 2012
Dragon Commander - Facebook Q&A Answers
The answers to Larian's Dragon Commander community Q&A on Facebook were posted earlier in the week:
Q: Are dirty tactics allowed in game?
The game is made for it!
Q: What is the level of tactical sophistication within the battles - ie, Are the units balanced preventing the emergence of a 'Super unit' that is just plain better, or is it who has more gold/credits/larians/currency wins?
There are always multiple counter strategies and while you might manage to create a super unit at some point that decimates the enemy in battle, odds are that by the next battle your enemy will have formulated an answer. How that works exactly will show off in future videos.
Q: Does the enemy have access to the same 'bonuses' you have?
Yes – because of the strategic campaign being an important part of gameplay, the units you start out with are symmetrical. However, the research choices you make rapidly cause differentiation in terms of abilities available to the units. Again, we’ll soon come up with videos showing how that works.
Q: How does the rock/paper/scissors format work with the ground and water units, when water can hit land, air, and water, air can hit, air, land, and water, but land is restricted to only being able to attack air and other land units?
If you have only land units, and the other guy has air and sea, you probably have a problem. Unless your dragon happens to pack the right skills…
Tuesday - November 13, 2012
Dragon Commander - Facebook Q&A
Larian is collecting questions for Dragon Commander on Facebook, if you'd like to ask Lead Designer Farhang Namdar anything. Of course, we'll bring you the result once the questions are answered.
Friday - November 09, 2012
Dragon Commander - Land Ahoy
Swen 'Lar' Vincke writes a new blog entry titled Land Ahoy that discusses their struggle to get the design of Dragon Commander right - and the eventual solution:
And as we looked at the original concept, it dawned on us that there was nothing wrong with it. We had just refused to do one thing because it made our jobs harder, and we didn’t want to take more production risks than we were already taking.
Our mistake was that the entire game was taking place in the air.
Now, it’s not as if we didn’t want to include ground combat from the very beginning, but because of all the AI misery that’d cause, we’d decided to steer away from it early on. Thinking back, that decision had actually been taken really lightly, without even checking exactly how much AI misery it was going to cause. We’d just assumed it to be a bad idea, based on our previous experiences with the flight/ground AI in Divinity II, and we also didn’t really realize at the time what a negative impact it’d have on the gameplay.
Design wise, the moment we envisioned introducing land (and sea) units again, our problems started to disappear rapidly. And as they disappeared, out of the blue solutions appeared for the other problems we still had. Put differently: by introducing land units, suddenly we could get the entire thing working as planned.
Monday - November 05, 2012
Dragon Commander - Election Inspired Fantasy Issues
Dragon Commander contains quite a few political issues and choices, which are fictional. However it is not that easy apparently to think of them, so because of the upcoming elections in the US the developers present you with some political choices that might or might not be in the game and ask you to decide where your vote would go if you were presented with the issue.
You can only participate if you are logged in on Facebook though.
Thursday - August 30, 2012
Dragon Commander - Preview @ Hooked Gamers
Hooked Gamers looks at Dragon Commander after a viewing at Gamescom:
Actual battles for dominance over an area can be settled by simply clicking the auto-resolve button and letting the AI calculate the outcome, but it’s more fun to do it yourself. Aerial combat involves swarms of aircraft duking it out in the skies. Aircraft come in three variations: slow but heavy hitting, small but highly maneuverable and something in between the two. Flying at higher altitudes makes your units slower but more lethal, while flying lower will make them faster but do less damage. In concept, that’s very straight forward, but the game does have some surprises up its sleeve.
The first of these involves cards. You start a battle with a stack of cards that can be used to award special skills and attributes to your squadrons to give them an edge in combat. The other is that jet-pack-powered dragon that I mentioned earlier. While the battle is raging and your opponent may think he has you in his sights, you can join the battlefield as the dragon and rain down on his parade with bolts of fire. The dragon is fast and agile and often able to get behind the enemy lines without too much trouble. He is not invulnerable though, and should you be slain you have to wait a while before you can get back in, or rejoin almost instantly at the expense of a lot of gold.
Saturday - August 18, 2012
Dragon Commander - Board Game to be part of Collector's Edition
While I was visiting the Larian Studios booth, Swen Vincke showed me the board game of Dragon Commander that they have created in parallel with the development of the game and are planning to ship as part of the Dragon Commander Collector's Edition at the end of March 2013.
Here are two images showing some parts of the game and the current design of the cardboard box.
Swen explained some parts of the game to me. It has hexagon tiles which can be placed as you like. Some of these tiles are obstructions (water, mountains), resulting in you having to travel around them.
After placing the tiles each player gets to place small cards that come in two types providing either gold or resources on each of the tiles, which you can utilize once you own a tile. After that all players can place your troops.
Troops that are on a tile are attacked by moving a selection of your troops there (the game features different types of troops) and throwing the red dices. The defender gets to throw the green dices. Depending on what both of you throw you lose troops or your opponent does. This is continued until there is one survivor.
In addition you can play one or more of the playing cards you have that either give you and attack or defense bonus. There is quite a lot of strategy involved before you can win the game, but given that there are dices it also has a luck component.
As I did not take any notes while Swen showed it to me an I am getting older I might have missed a point or two, but you should get the general idea :)
Anyway, this is an awesome Collector's Edition that comes in a box of a size we have not seen in a while and certainly beats most if not any CE that has come to the market in the last years.
Wednesday - July 11, 2012
Dragon Commander - Preview @ SideQuesting
A site called SideQuesting has a preview of Larian's Dragon Commander:
Once the battle in our demo was complete, the developer was taken to his home base, where the presentation shifted to a 2D planar planning area. In this mode, which had the feeling of a cross between Ace Attorney and Mass Effect‘s conversation system, the developer had to chose to bring the opponent under his alliance, or to utterly crush him. It’s during this portion that stat-boosting cards are earned, which can be played throughout the match for various effects. We were shown a massive array of flow charts on the wall behind us that displayed some of the possible conversations and potential outcomes and stats boosts based on situational outcomes. Bad decisions and alliances can haunt the players later on, we’re told.
There seems to be a lot of politicking that needs to take place in Dragon Commander, and the verbal work is as important as the action.
Monday - June 11, 2012
Dragon Commander - Previews @ GamingLives, Gamercast
Here are a couple of E3 previews for Dragon Commander. From GamingLives:
The various trailers had suggested that the crux of the gameplay involved controlling a jet-powered dragon as it tore through the sky destroying enemies with fire and additional arsenal, but within mere seconds of taking my seat, I knew that this was going to be so much more than that. The first hint was that the booth walls were, quite literally, covered with concept art of perhaps thirty or more characters as well as a few creatures dotted around, and a game involving nothing more than a flying dragon would certainly not have had this much meticulous detail afforded to characterisation. The next clue was the initial map screen, with areas sporting various coloured borders and the suggestion that there was at least a degree of diplomacy within the gameplay. Already, this had transformed in my mind from being a meeting where I’d get to see something fun that would help while away the hours, to a game which may just be the most surprising revelation of the entire expo.
I wasn’t far wrong. For those of you who may not yet be aware, Larian’s Divinity series is steeped in fantasy lore and has always offered rich and immersive gameplay, although the mainstream gamer has never quite taken them under their wing as they have the other RPG franchises such as the Elders Scrolls or Gothic series. The beauty of Dragon Commander is that it sits astride several genres at once, offering not only the aerial warfare with the jet-powered dragon, but also full real-time strategy for controlling other troops in the gameplay arena, and a political-based RPG with heavy leanings towards diplomatic relations… and, just when you thought it had no more to offer, you discover the card-game element which drives the way you progress through the game. It’s actually pretty staggering when you see just how many different gameplay styles they’ve successfully pulled together to create one seamless experience, with no feeling of anything being shoe-horned in for the sake of gimmickry.
...and from Gamercast:
When you're ready to jump into a real time battle you can do so at your leisure from the tactical map ensuring to play any battle cards that you may deem useful, real time battles are your standard affair, we were not taken into length of the different types of buildings or defences, but to be honest the main focus of the real time battles was placed on the dragon that you can command like you're just out of Panzer Dragoon.
With control of the dragon you have full reign of the map to fly around, and the ability to shoot enemy units out of the sky, now of course your little dragon cannot simply gun down everything before him or we'd have no use for strategy, however it acts in a similar way to the use of Skye and her arsenal in the first person tower defense Sanctum. Suddenly that lone ship can be picked off without have to send your whole battalion of troops to its location, oh yeah and did I mention that the dragon wears a jetpack, so he can travel very very fast!
Saturday - June 09, 2012
Dragon Commander - Five Insane Things
PC Gamer has posted a Dragon Commander article titled Five Insane Things You Should Know About It. Let's go with #3, because you probably already know the first two:
It was prototyped with a board game…
…which Larian Studios Founder Swen Vincke hopes to release with the special edition and as a stand-alone product. OK, that’s not conceptually insane, but it does tell us something about Larian’s creative freedom and business sense. If they make something they think is fun, they want it out there.
The board game release isn’t solidified quite yet — Larian still has to decide who’s going to produce it — but Vincke has some options and sounded ecstatic about the idea.
Oh right, the non-board game: this is the tactical map, where troops can be shuttled around and RTS battles initiated. When you claim a new territory for your empire, you’ve got to keep it in check diplomatically, or by tossing a few occupiers in. These regions produce gold, and some contain factories which can be used to produce new units.
Head over for the screen of the tactical map.
Thursday - June 07, 2012
Dragon Commander - Preview @ Destructoid
Destructoid has a preview of Dragon Commander, saying the game has been a "personal highlight of the show so far". Multiplayer is also revealed in passing. Here's a snip on some of the systems:
Dragon Commander consists of multiple stages of play, each one appearing to be well crafted. From the player's main airship, the Raven, various political and social activities can be undertaken. Advisers will suggest new courses of action, which can be followed or ignored at will, and ambassadors from other kingdoms can appear to offer various alliances. A princess from one of the kingdoms can be married and visited in the bedroom for advice, and each marriage will affect the realm in various ways. In the demo, the player divorced his elven bride and married a dwarven one, causing various provinces to rise up in rebellion but gaining the trust of the dwarf faction.
Lar also has a blog post on the reception for Dragon Commander at E3, so far.
Wednesday - May 30, 2012
Dragon Commander - Site Relaunch
A new website for Larian's Dragon Commander has been unveiled. New additions include blurbs on the player's ship, the Raven, and locations within the ship, such as the bar, bedroom and war room.
Friday - March 30, 2012
Dragon Commander - The Cost of Dialogue #2
Larian shows off their trademark humour with a humorous unboxing video of some mocap equipment that will be used for Dragon Commander. Worth a quick look for a laugh.
This video accompanies a new blog post from Swen Vincke where he looks at the extraordinary cost of facial capture that lead to the decision to buy their own equipment. From The Cost of Dialogues #2:
The decision to do it this way came after checking plenty of other solutions, ranging from trying to set something up oursevles with Kinect devices (cheapest) to hiring simultanous body & facial capture studios (most expensive).
The latter had prices in the range of $1000 to $2000 per minute which would cost us between 0,5M US$ to 1M US$. I actually contemplated this for some time, but then decided against it. I figured that in the end we’d be best served if we could come up with a homebrewn solution, even if that causes a bit more pain and might in the short term not give us the highest quality solution.
Friday - March 16, 2012
Dragon Commander - What's Going On?
Larian's Swen Vincke has posted a new blog entry titled What's Going On With Dragon Commander? The post covers a lot of territory from recent hires (congratulations to Raze from their forums who has been hired as a community manager), to their current focus, to engine changes. Lar also announces they will have their own booth at E3 (not under the umbrella of a publisher) and will reveal Project E:
As a quick recap, Dragon Commander is a game that is played in several turns. Each turn, you make decisions in a RPG fashion that affect the flow of the game. You research and invest in magic & tech, upgrade your dragon & fleet, and decide how to run your growing empire and what territories you want to attack. Then, you engage in combat, using your dragon & fleet side by side to defeat your enemy.
At this point, we’re pretty much done with how the RPG part will work, are in the middle of dealing with the strategy part & have changed the combat gameplay drastically so that it has much more depth.
The big problem we had with the combat was how to ensure that controlling both your dragon and your fleet at the same time was fun. It took a lot of iterations and try outs to get that balance right, but I think we finally cracked it.
Tuesday - February 07, 2012
Dragon Commander - Interview @ RPGCodex
RPGCodex has an interview with Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke. Swen talks Dragon Commander as well as Choice & Consequence, his design philosophy as well as other topics. Here's a snippet:
12) I agree C&C has become a bit of a buzzword as of late. Well, having real options in each quest sure sounds good. You've never focused on C&C in your previous games; what caused this change in design direction on your part?
I actually always wanted to have deep integration of choice & consequence in our games, but for some reason (well actually a whole list of reasons), we never managed to do it correctly. So this time, we made sure from day 1 that this wasn't going to happen again, and we made the choice & consequence mechanics so fundamental to the game, that we don't have any err... choice in the matter. We also took our time to prepare the implementation of this properly, an advantage of the self-funded development approach.
13) You also said that the limitation of branching is the visualization of consequences. Could you elaborate on this? How does the need for cinematic representation in modern games influence your job as a designer?
Funny that you ask this - I just wrote a piece on my blog about that. The limitation is the performance acting - if we go full voice, full motion and facial capture - obviously the more dialogue is in the game, the higher the cost, and that's a limiting factor. The RPG systems we now have in place, after doing this for over 10 years, allow us to script pretty much anything we can think off, but showing it all cinematically, that's always going to require quite a lot of effort, and the question is, how far do we go and how much money do we put in it. All the money we put in that, we can't use for anything else.
Friday - January 27, 2012
Dragon Commander - Interview @ Rock Paper Shotgun
Rock Paper Shotgun has interviewed Swen "Lar" Vincke on Dragon Commander and on the move of Larian Studios to become self publishing.
RPS: Yes, the game does seem quite different to your previous offerings, can you explain why you went that route?
Vincke: I have this little notebook here full of game ideas that I’d like to do, and I’ve tried pitching them to publishers, several times, and I’ve never managed to get funding. Since we’ve said that we will now go completely independent it was time to take a look in the little notebook and see what we’re going to make. Out of that came Dragon Commander. It’s a blend of genres that I’ve always liked to play – my gaming education was in the Amiga times, and the C64 before that – and I remember playing this Cinemaware game, Defender Of The Crown, which was something I liked, and it was a genre that faded away. But if you put modern production values on that, and add all the innovations of the intervening years on that, then you have something appealing. And in any case I would like to play it, so we said “okay let’s bet on that”. It’s risky! I pitched it to the usual suspects and they all looked at me… suspiciously, let’s put it that way.
Monday - January 23, 2012
Dragon Commander - Chinese New Year Promo Offer
Larian has a free humorous Chinese New Year promo, offering up a Dragon Commander in-game item in return for your email address:
Today we celebrate the arrival of the year of the Black Water Dragon.
The whole team of The Burning Imps, Inc. is proud to announce that this wise and powerful creature now uses our Silverfire™ jet-pack technology to satisfy its travel and combat needs.
Last year, the Silverfire™ tech has been voted as Best in Class by both The Rivellon Times and The Raven's News.
If you want to join the Black Water Dragon, and use the superior Silverfire™ technology, you can sign up here for your FREE trial offer (*)
Monday - December 19, 2011
Dragon Commander - The cost of dialogue
An interesting post on Lar's World, with Swen Vincke thinking about the 6-figure cost of doing voiceovers for Dragon Commander and wondering if the money could be used better to develop other features. I'm pretty sure I know how our readers will feel - and also what the final result will be - but it's worth a read:
I’m sitting with an egg. That probably doesn’t mean a lot to you, but it’s a popular Flemish expression for ‘something’s bothering me’. We say – “ik zet met een ei”
The egg of it is that we’ve been making some fuzz about all the choices and consequences in Dragon Commander. Right now however, all these choices & consequences only exist as text. And now we need to find a cost-effective way of translating all that text into animated dialogue.
Obviously, we also want whatever dialogue animation we put in the game to be as good as possible, so everybody’s saying – have you seen LA Noire ? And I say, yeah I’ve seen it.
Wednesday - December 14, 2011
Dragon Commander - Political Content
Lar has blogged about putting controversial content into Dragon Commander such as "euthanasia, abortion, illegal immigrants, healthcare, same sex marriage, drugs, religious tolerance":
So now we’re making Dragon Commander, and one of the things we’re trying to do with that game is putting recognizable real world situations in a fantasy context. The game contains a RPG part that’s all about choice and consequence, and the idea is that you have to decide as a ruler how you want to organize the societies in the lands you’ve captured. That means you need to make political decisions, so we figured it’d be cool if we filled the game with situations that are very similar to the things we read in our newspapers every day.
Monday - November 14, 2011
Dragon Commander - Status Update November
Swen Vincke from Larian Studios has updated the offical forums telling us about how the progress for this game has been and about "Project E" as well. Apparently, Swen has been both nervous and impatient these days. A quote on how they view Dragon Commander:
Internally we look at DC as a game being split in two phases – phase 1 is the strategy/rpg part, phase 2 is the action/rts part. Since we want to be able to make the claim that you’ll make more decisions in DC than in any RPG we’ve ever produced, we made sure that for every character you encounter in the game, there are complex decision trees, and that the impact of reaching a certain point in each decision tree has an impact on the overall gameplay.
Friday - November 04, 2011
Dragon Commander - Interviews
Thanks to Alrik for sending in a couple of Dragon Commander interviews with Larian's Swen Vincke. The first is a short Q&A on Facebook:
Q: Could we have more info about the RPG part (story-wise)?
They key-phrase here is going to be - "real decisions".
Every character you'll encounter has a detailed branching storyline & character arc, and the choices you make are going to have big impact on them. I realize that the phrase "choice & consequence" has been over-abused by PR & marketing departments when it comes to RPG's, but in Dragon Commander we have the perfect opportunity to confront you with many moral, ethical, political & personal interesting situations, and we'll exploit that. The extent to which this goes will only be visible once gameplay footage is being shown of that, so you'll have to be a bit more patient before you can fully appreciate how the entire choice/consequence game will pan out.
I believe one of the images that was already released here on Facebook showed you part of a flowchart ? Well, that flowchart shows all the fundamental decisions you could make around one character, and there's plenty of these flowcharts.
...and the second is on GameStar.ru and is a translated interview from the Russian Igromir show:
And what about other possibilities? There is a global map, some real time maps and an RPG element...
- It's quite a lot actually, you will be very surprised; it’s almost impossible to show it to you now. But we are RPG makers, at heart, and we won't forgot our roots. The characters are extremely realistic developed, much better than in the previous games, of course we have to finalize it but we will have much more choices and consequences than other RPG ever in this game. And the reason why is the way we’ve constructed the game.
Get well, Alrik!
Sunday - September 25, 2011
Dragon Commander - Small Status Update - CDP to Publish in Poland
Lar has kicked up a small status update on the Dragon Commander forums as they start to tie up publishing deals. At the moment, CD Projekt (not surprisingly) will distribute in Poland and then they are off to Russia and then the West:
Real quick - sitting in the airport in Warsaw after a successful announcement of our cooperation with CD Projekt for publishing Dragon Commander in Poland. Learnt here that the Polish market is much bigger than I thought, that CD Projekt really knows their metier (which I guess was already clear from seeing how they handled the Witcher), that we'll probably be able to do very cool things here with Dragon Commander, and that the food is quite good.
Next stop is going to be Moscow for the Igromir show where we'll be showing Dragon Commander to the Russian audience, and start our cooperation with 1C-Softclub, the largest publisher over there. After that, it'll become time to start focusing on the West, but so far so good - the game was really well received here and people seem to be quite enthused about what we're showing & telling them. I've got 3 Dragon Commander T-shirts left that I need to do something with - I think we'll organize a quick contest when I get back.
Going to board now, have a great weekend all !
Thursday - September 15, 2011
Dragon Commander - Small Status Update
Lar has kicked up a small status update for Dragon Commander:
I have this madman running around who forces me to regularly update our facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/dragoncommander) so I figured I might copy/paste what we're writing over there in the forum too - here goes:
Some really big decisions were made yesterday about the rpg & strategy gameplay - we locked down the character diamonds of the princesses , what political factions there will be & what hidden agendas will be at play. One thing is sure, you'll need to make a lot of executive decisions while on board of the Raven. To tickle your imagination - here are some of the links we looked at during our research:
And this in a game about dragons !!!
Oh, and our first cover of a magazine for Dragon Commander is going into print tomorrow
And as the last tidbit of news for today - we'll be on TV tonight (in prime-time i.e. 20:15) on the popular French TV-show, "tout s'explique"
http://www.rtltvi.be/emission/tout-s-explique/7.aspx . They filmed at our offices a couple of months ago when we were still busy preparing for GameCom, and Dragon Commander still looked like a game from the nineties.
Thursday - September 08, 2011
Dragon Commander - Status Update
Lar has posted a lengthy status update again, talking about his difficulty getting major publishers interested in Dragon Commander at Gamescom:
Other than showing the game to the press, which was handled well by Farhang I think (you can see how he did on the gametrailers footage,) my main purpose at Gamescom was seeking out distribution in retail, so that one day you can actually buy a copy of Dragon Commander in stores. During the conversations I had for that purpose, I quickly realized that even being called the biggest surprise of the show by many a site does not impress some of the dinosaurs of the games industry
“You know, marketing did research on Dragons for one of our own major properties, and they told me positively that there’s no audience. Nobody will buy it.” was a statement I heard from one of the guardians to retail heaven. I had been building up quite some enthousiasm as I was presenting him the game, at least in my head as I was imagining all the cool things we were going do in Dragon Commander, and I honestly couldn’t imagine him not being at least moderately positive this time. I’d presented quite a few games to him in the past with little success, but this time, fresh from the enthousiastic reception I’d been experiencing the previous days, I was sure I’d struck gold. I of course didn’t think about what marketing would have to say – I just wanted to hear if he liked it.
As he politely started explaining to me why Dragon Commander would be a total failure, memories of a similar conversation popped up in my head, where I was equally politely told by the same guy that maybe I should focus on our kids titles because clearly we had nothing to seek in the “real game” space. He didn’t remember that I think, or didn’t want to remember it as the success of the Dragon Knight Saga was too tangible a proof that his predictions had a tendency of being iffy. So as I was waiting for him to tell me that “jetpacks might raise global warming issues among the audience” (which to his credit he didn’t say), I suddenly realized that the best endorsement I could get was this guy telling me that it was going to be a complete and utter failure! Or so I liked to think.
And it continued. I met major publisher after major publisher, meeting completly risk averse people, seemingly brainwashed by their marketing departments and thinking about games as SKUs. I had to look up what a SKU was, so for the equally ill informed, a SKU is a number or code used to identify each unique product or item for sale in a store or other business (at least according to Wikipedia). To be blunt, my feelings about thinking about a game as a SKU can be summarized as - Yuk! Yuk! And Yuk! But that’s just me. It’s cliché to talk about majors like that, but hell, why do they have to honor those clichés ? A little bit of out of the box behavior would make these meetings a lot more fun!
Sunday - September 04, 2011
Dragon Commander - Facebook Interview
Swen Vincke answered several questions that were asked by visitors of the Dragon Commander Facebook page.
Q: Can we unlock armor parts, special attacks for the dragon and special moves for the troops during the game?
There is an entire research and development part to the game that we haven’t shown yet (and to be frank are still designing). You’ll be able to upgrade/expand your dragon and its equipment as well as your fleet in many ways.
Q: Are you going to include a few pieces of enemy ships falling from them, when they explode?
We’re planning on adding many more layers of graphical polish as well as animations to what you’ve seen so far, the goal being a very dynamic experience. In human words, we ‘re trying to get you to feel very powerful and very fast, so it ‘s very well possible that debris is added, but that’ll only be done when first a whole bunch of things that need to be done visually are actually done. What I’m trying to say – I don’t want to promise it right now, but if we can, we will.
Friday - September 02, 2011
Dragon Commander - Videos from Gamescom
Two videos of Dragon Commander from Gamescom showing the part that was presented and more has been made available by Larian Studios on GamesTrailers.
Saturday - August 27, 2011
Dragon Commander - Behind the Scenes at Gamescom
Larian has released a behind-the-scenes video dev diary from Gamescom, along with this humorous press release to promote it:
Larian Studios releases behind the scenes Gamescom footage
Gent , August 26, 2011 - Since the Larian Studios booth at Gamescom 2011 wasn't accessible to the public, we decided to release some behind the scenes footage showing how our team experienced the show and what we were actually doing there.
If you're interested in some developer camcorder reality TV, or better yet, why we'll never be fashion idols, then check out our GamesCom 2011 video diary.The entire diary, consisting of four parts, can be found at:
Discover how nervous we get when the press comes by, witness what secret tools we use to beat million dollar marketing budgets and hear for yourself exactly why dragons with jetpacks are the next big thing to come from a country that has no government but probably does have the best beer in the world!
Thursday - August 25, 2011
Dragon Commander - Previews @ RPS, StrategyInfomer
Here are a another couple of Dragon Commander previews. First, Rock, Paper, Shotgun about the "oddness":
If I hadn’t spent an hour playing Saint’s Row: The Third, Larian Studios’ Dragon Commander would comfortably be the oddest game I saw at Gamescom. It’s not odd through and through, however – in fact it’s a focused, ambitious and visually gorgeous brew of roleplaying, strategy and aerial combat, with all manner of batshit silliness peppered about its surface.
It’s already found some notoriety due to the decision to feature a dragon fitted with a jetpack. Smiles Farhang Namdar, lead game designer, “that caused a lot of comments on your site!” It is, however, a decision I am 100% behind. It looks great, it justifies the roaring speed that dragon is capable of, and it makes Dragon Commander instantly distinctive, not rote fantasy. There’s so much more going on than improbable dragon mobility aids, however.
Finally, there's the tactical/combat map – these are always in the air above whatever terrain zone you happen to be above, and involve your army and the enemy army trying to wipe each other out. As the 'dragon commander', you can give orders to your AI controlled units, and you can also get in on the action itself. The game is supposed to be flexible, so that you can just hang back and let the AI do the work for you, do everything yourself, your a mixture of both. There's definitely tactics and strategy involved here, as the enemy will try and flank you, and you need to make sure you whittle down their defences and take down their mothership without using yours.
It's still early days yet, but this is looking like a really fun game. If we're being honest, the whole steam-punk technology-meet-magic thing is a bit of stretch for the Divinity universe, but we're willing to let it slide. Divinity III it may not be, but this is way more than a silly arcade/combat game with dragons. The war of the Dragon Knights is something that gets hinted at through-out Divinity II, so it's a good setting for a game like this.
Source: Blues News
Monday - August 22, 2011
RPGWatch Feature - Dragon Commander Interview
While at GamesCom we had the opportunity to ask Swen Vincke from Larian some questions after the presentation of Dragon Commander. Here's a sample:
RPGWatch: What games would you compare Dragon Commander with?
Swen Vincke: I don’t have a clue. We started out making a game with dragons that was a very small project, a tryout. There were only 2 guys working on it. Then somebody put the slowdown thing in it, played it and felt: “Wow, this is fun”. The flying around really feels natural, both with a mouse and a controller.
We asked ourselves the question what to do with it? Let’s make a small DLC game. So we added missions… boring. This is the mission goal; destroy this or that… boring. To make missions interesting nowadays you need to have things happen every second. Huge things need to be happening and that was expensive. So we figured that if we made a game with dragons, because we like that combat mechanic, we need to have developments like we do in all the games. There needs to be some role-playing developments or character developments. But then we need something to develop against. So we put characters around it, added a storyline and quests.
But the missions still felt boring and why did it feel boring? Because you don’t get the feeling that you are in control over what you are doing. So that is where the strategy part came from. Being able to control what you are going to do. Once we had that in we rapidly had princesses, the fleets, the generals and the game worked. It is almost like the game is making itself.
Friday - August 19, 2011
Dragon Commander - GamesCom Previews #2
Here is a list of Gamescom previews for Dragon Commander:
- GameInfusion (German)
What to expect from a dragon with a jetpack. The concept alone is already completely over the top, but it is done in an aweseome way. Still Dragon Commander has much more to offer, which is a very good designed game principle that promises quite a bit of fun. Friends of both strategy and roleplaying games should keep their eyes on this game.
- GameCity (German)
The looks of the game are not final yet, but I must say that the terrain already looks very good.
Dragon Commander doesn't have a release date yet -- some time in 2012 is the best guess the team can give right now. The already impressive looking demo showed at Gamescom today was built in just 4-5 weeks, though, so given a year or so to develop and refine the game further, the Belgian developer could well have a sleeper strategy hit on its hands.
The gameplay is based around making the player feel as awesome as possible. The jetpack strapped to your back allows you to cross kilometers in the blink of an eye, or circle your prey so fast that its swiveling turrets can’t keep track of your blurred form. The rough UI I saw at my Gamescom demo had four slots for equipping special powers mapped to a 360 controller’s face buttons, with limited quantities of Imp Cannon shots (basically nukes that can one-shot anything in the game) and the dragon roar that vaporizes all smaller craft within a kilometer. The developer demonstrating the game launched the basic breath attack, a superheated plasma blast that melts steel, nonstop as he tore apart enemy fleets.
What strikes me though isn't that the game has the potential to be awesome when it's done, but that it looks fantastic already. The graphics, while not stellar, are certainly on the better side of good and the scale of battles is astonishing; dragons surrounded by hundreds of smaller units that sling lasers, crossbow bolts and bullets with startling abandon. We were given a glimpse of a night mission and the sky is lit up like a decade of bonfire nights – a jetpacking dragon in the centre, using his rockets to dodge attacks and charge after gunships.
RPGWatch Feature - Dragon Commander: First Looks
We had the opportunity to see the recently announced game Dragon Commander at GamesCom 2011 to see how it looked and if there was something of an RPG in it. Here's a snip from Myrthos' article:
In the strategy mode you have a turn based map in which you can move your enemy troops. You can also buy units, invest in different types of technology or magic trees and you can play your cards.
Once you made all your decisions you can end your turn, after which you will have to decide which combat to participate in and under which general you want to deploy your troops. There are multiple generals to choose from, each with their own story arc, strengths and weaknesses. Once you’ve made your choices the fight can begin.
Thursday - August 18, 2011
Dragon Commander - First news from GamesCom
The following non-English sites have reported about Larian's recently announced Dragon Commmander.
4 Players (German):
What the complete package will provide can currently not be said as the game is still far away from production and many items still await their implementation. The release will take place sometime next year, a publishing partner Larian does not have - the game from which they had long dreamed of will be self-financed.
What is shown definitely makes you want more, even the Steampunk style works very well. The level of detail of the landscapes in the early demo, according to the developers, was still significantly below what will actually be possible, but overall quite pleasing. Quite spectacular was the battle when two fleets clashed and the anti-aircraft batteries of all units were firing from all turrets. (Translation by me).
Barre de Vie (French):
The great surprise of the day. [...] Dragon Commander plays out in successive stages: first, a role-playing phase during which the story develops inside the aerial base of the player; then a strategic phase, which plays like a Risk-like board game enhanced with Magic The Gathering cards; and finally, a real-time combat phase where the player controls a dragon equipped with a jetpack. [...] It works really well: aerial battles feature tons of units, shots are fired all around you, yet the action remains clear and your units easily manageable. (Translation by Larian Studios).
Mondes Persistants (French):
We met developers really passionate about their game, and what a game! A true gem, full of ideas! [...] The graphics and visual effects are beautiful. [...] As a dragon, you can give orders to your units, choosing to lead frontal attacks or sneakily attack your enemies from behind. [...] Add to all this an expertly crafted sense of humour, a hot skeleton princess and a 4-player multiplayer mode, and you get a game to really look forward to. (Translation by Larian Studios).
Thursday - August 11, 2011
Dragon Commander - Larian Announces New Game
Larian studios has announced Dragon Commander, their latest game in the Divinity universe. I'm not sure what type of game it is going to be, but it looks like a turn based strategy game with RPG elements, but I might know more when I've visited GamesCom next week.
Information aboutDivinity: Dragon Commander
Developer: Larian Studios
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Expected at 2013-07-01
· Publisher: Larian Studios