'Twas just a few days past that I had a chat with Robin Flodin of Zeal Game Studio, the folks behind Paradox's forthcoming game about dwarves, A Game Of Dwarves. The game seems to be a mixture of the old Bullfrog games and, well, a rather more recent experiment in dwarf simulation, and certainly warrants deeper investigation. I asked Mr Florin about what he was actually trying to do in a game where dwarves dig deep, and build shiny things.
RPS: Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for A Game Of Dwarves? What sort of game is it exactly? What is it similar to?
Flodin: It's a dangerous thing to talk about inspiration in the video game industry, people will rush to either point out differences between the games or sometimes turn right away since they did not like the inspirational game in question. So when I say that we're inspired by the old management games of the 90's we don't mean the game themselves as much as we are trying to capture the genre. The fun but hard time sinks that used to rule PC-gaming.
RPS: So how much direct control do you have over the dwarves?
Flodin: While the control of your dwarves are excellent, we try to limit the direct control as much as possible. Having to micro several dwarfs individual quickly becomes tedious and in really large settlements near impossible. So the approach is more god-game than RTS, you tell the dwarves what you want done, and the game sends idle dwarfs to do your bidding.
RPS: How close to "finished" are the visuals we have seen so far?
Flodin: We still have loads of pre alpha art in the game right now, they will all be replaced before release. Especially the textures on objects and dwarves are very much unfinished in the screens that have been released before. I can assure you that the game will look absolutely delicious before release.
RPS: What's the scale of the game - how many dwarves do you expect us toe able to control? And how big will your bases be?
Flodin: The Campaign is divided into several levels and each of those levels are large enough to keep you entertained for hours, you also have the option to return to a settlement on a earlier level to continue build and maybe complete some side missions or grab an achievement. The actual size of the levels and the bases, still fluctuate some and depends heavily on play style, a spartan player could complete his levels while building very small settlements and on the other hand players might build humongous creations with unique rooms for each individual dwarf.
RPS: Are the comparisons to Dwarf Fortress fair?
Flodin: As I said earlier inspiration is a dangerous word, there are similarities between aGoD and DF but the focus is different. At this point in time aGoD is nowhere near as hardcore and complex as DF although if this is something people want we're not below adding features at a later date.
RPS: Do you anticipate any multiplayer aspect to the game?
Flodin: I can't really answer that at this moment, I can say that it's something we're looking into and right now it could go either way. Expect more news on this some time after GDC.
RPS: Thanks for your time.