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Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon

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Super Powers 2

Recently I had the chance to speak with Jean-René Couture, President of Dreamcatcher Int regarding their new game Super Power 2. What follows are the answers to several questions that Jean-René was kind enough to answer. GVK: What is the setting and story for the game?
JRC: That’s what interesting in SuperPower2, YOU make the story. We give you the world, with all 193 countries recognized by the United Nations. Each of those countries are represented realistically, thanks to all the data from the United States Military, the United Nations and the CIA. You choose any country you want, you choose the objective you want to attain and you embark on your quest.
If you prefer a fixed story, you can also play one of our many scenarios: Invade Iraq, Reunite USSR, Acquire the monopoly of the world’s Fossil Fuel production, etc.
GVK: Going into this game, what were the main objectives you wanted to achieve in regards to content and gameplay?
JRC: First, we wanted to make the game more accessible. We wanted to keep all the complexity of the game, but make it easier for gamers to pick it up. I think we achieved that with the new layered interface. For each sphere (politics, economics and military), the first level window presents all the basic information you need to control your country. If you want to play the game only with those three windows, it is entirely possible. But if you master it quickly and want to go into more details, you can use the second and third level windows that go into much more depth.
We also wanted to include all the good ideas we had that didn’t make it in the first game, as well as suggestions we got from the fans. We did include a lot more variables in SP2, and it makes the game a lot more realistic and a lot more fun.
GVK: What weapons/units will be available to players?
JRC: If you mean weapon in the sense of gun, it is not represented in the game because we thought it was too much micromanagement. Soldiers are represented, but you don’t know what gun they have. As for units, we created a Modular Unit Building system based on more than 100 real units. Using each part of those units separately and mixing and matching, the player is able to create more than 500 different 3D models and thousands of designs.
GVK: What sort of Multiplay will the game offer?
First, you will be able to play 32 players multiplayer games on Internet or LAN. You’ll be able to choose between many multiplayer modes: the Free Form, where everybody chooses a country and a goal and tries to attain this goal; Last Man Standing, where you try to conquer all human players, and others.
GVK: Will the game be available on consoles?
JRC: No. The sheer amount of data in SP2 would be too much for a console.
GVK: What is your background in gaming and what are your favorite games?
JRC: By background is essentially making SuperPower! I’ve been making small games since the days of the Commodore 64, but Superpower 1 was my first commercial release. And as any old timer, I’m still stuck on older games, DOS games or on the NES. I still play Super Mario Bros and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and I still play Death Rally on the PC. You know, kids, in my days, games didn’t need pretty pictures. We had 4 colors, and we were happy with them! Games had one option: Start! And we liked … *continues mumbling about the past*
GVK: What sort of new gameplay features will the game include that will separate it from others in the genre?
JRC: First, SuperPower2 is the most realist game on the market since it is based on the largest database ever assembled for a computer game, using real-world CIA, UN and US Naval Intelligence data. So if you want to play real world and pit yourself against the Bush, Chirac, Blair and Kim Jung of this world, SuperPower 2 is the game for you.
Also thanks to our extensive data, the players will be able to zoom everywhere on earth, to the nearest 500 meters. It is a very neat feature because it allows you to see every major roads and cities on the globe!
Finally, the feature I probably like the most myself is the fact that SuperPower2 is entirely moddable. At GolemLabs, we’re all big fans of shooters like Quake and Battlefield and we were inspired by the community that surrounds those games. That’s why we built the game to allow the fans out there to modify it as they wish, giving life to their own stories.
GVK: What were the biggest obstacles and success stories that you encountered in creating the expansion and will it include features that you wished to include in the original release?
JRC: It includes a lot of ideas we had originally. Some ideas we had to cut for various reasons, but they might still make it back in a bonus pack or expansion. In the end, I think SP2 is true to the vision we had more than 2 years ago. The biggest obstacles were probably technical problems. No one had even tried to make a game like that, with the moddability we offer. It resulted in enormous structural challenges. One of our programmers that even has a master’s degree in physics and had previously worked on critical emergency response software said that he had never worked so hard on something in his life. At the same time, our biggest obstacle becomes our biggest success story because it works. We’ve created a strategy game engine that’s completely moddable, and we’ve built a complex game on top of that that’s also easier to get into.
GVK: How long is the planned development cycle for the game?
JRC: We are in latest stages of testing and tweaking so the game will be released shortly. We will have worked on it for 24 months!
GVK: What engine is being used for the game?
JRC: We created our own engine for the game: Ginger. It is a generic strategy game engine that lets you modify completely the gameplay of Superpower 2, but also create complete new strategy games built on a solid code base. It handles data, mapping, multimedia, but also AI and event messaging that’s specific to strategy games. It’s the first one of its kind that does it to such an extent


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