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Rise of Nations - John Dongelmans
Rise of Nations is a real time strategy game being developed by Big Huge Games and published by Microsoft. We asked a few questions regarding this title to John Dongelmans.

Could you please introduce yourself to our readers.
John Dongelmans, Product Manager for Rise of Nations
When can we see Rise of Nations in the stores?
Rise of Nations will launch in Spring 2003.
Could you explain for our readers what you believe Rise of Nations to be, what the game is and how it works.
Rise of Nations carries the sweeping scope of epic turn-based games such as Civilization, but gives the player the quick decision-making of real-time strategy games. The game brings to life the entire sweep of human culture, from the late Stone Age to Modern-day technology not just in warfare, but in city building, trade, and diplomacy. Gamers will be able to move through the game timeline quickly and have a satisfying game experience without playing for hours.
The Age of Empires series of games has been extremely popular, will Rise of Nations pick up the baton from them?
Rise of Nations is a new game with its own distinctive game play. We are convinced that gamers, who have played historical strategy games before will love Rise of Nations.
What features can we expect in Rise of Nations that AoE (Age of Empires) players will find familiar?
Rise of Nations is a real time strategy game. We have familiar strategy game options like resource gathering . However the game has got many unique features and improvements. For example we have got resource gathering in the game but the cool thing about the resources is that they never disappear. We have got 6 basic resources in the game (food, timber, metal, gold, knowledge and oil). Besides the 6 basic resources there are also 32 rare resources like: diamonds, wool, copper and uranium. Rare resources give the player s nation special bonuses.
How much historical research was done for Rise of Nations?
Big Huge Games has on staff noted historian and author Joe Balkoski (bio). Additionally most of the design, production and some of the art staff are all hardcore history people. We feel that in order to make a game about history, you have to start with an understanding of the subject matter
Have you looked at other popular RTS games and tried to take the good points from them to put into RoN (Rise of Nations)?
Both the teams at Microsoft Game Studios and Big Huge Games play a lot of strategy gamers. When we play we look at things we like in games but also things we can improve. Brian Reynolds, lead designer of Civilization 2 and Alpha Centauri is one of Big Huge Games founders.
Will the game rely on micro or macro management?
We will offer both options in the game but the emphasis will be on macro management. Rise of Nations features some very cool game play options such as:
  • Smart citizens
  • Unlimited resources
  • Automatic unit transportation
  • Your citizens are smart in a way that if they stay idle for a certain moment of time they will start collecting resources for you or help out with building new buildings. The resources itself never disappear. This means you never have to rebuild farms and mines. Automatic unit transportation means you do not have to build any transport ships to send your armies across a river or sea. All these unique game play features let you focus on the big picture of the game: building your nation and expanding your borders.
    Will the single player missions follow a set story line?
    Rise of Nations will have multiple story driven campaigns and also one special campaign called the Conquer the World Campaign . In the Conquer the World Campaign you play on a real-map of the world and you conquer different nations one by one. By doing this you will actually gain control over their territory, resources and technologies.
    Can the player rotate the view much like in Warcraft 3?
    We have a unique feature in the game called Zooming Scale. Zooming Scale gives the player a global view of their nation's cities and sweeping military campaigns while still controlling the progress of individual cities and battles. It provides the ability to lead civilizations at the macro and micro level. Gamers will see clearly defined national borders, which focuses gameplay on nation-building.
    Will each nation have unique units, or identical ones?
    We have 18 different civilizations in the games. They are the Aztecs, Bantu, British, Chinese, Egyptians, French, Germans, Greeks, Inca, Japanese, Koreans, Maya, Mongols, Nubians, Romans, Russians, Spanish, and the Turks. Each nation will be able to build at least two special units. Some unit examples: the Japanese have Samurai, Bantu have Umpakati, the British have Flamethrowers.
    Is the game going to promote offensive play or defensive?
    The game offers both options of gameplay. You can be a very offensive player in the game focused on military development or you can select to be a more defensive player and develop a strong economic nation focused on science. You can also decide to play a political game by setting up alliances with your enemies.
    Will there be a map creator/editor tool supplied with the game?
    Yes, we will ship the game with an advanced editing tool to create your own scenarios and maps.
    How have you tried to make the Artificial Intelligence fair?
    Rise of Nations AI is designed to give the player a compelling game experience appropriate to the skill level selected. We know that a game AI that seems to "cheat" or play in a way that is radically different from human play is much less fun to play against. We are committed to equipping Rise of Nations with AI that is both fun and challenging.
    What sort of minimum requirements can we expect for RoN?
    Operating System: Win98/2000//Me/XP
    Processor: Pentium III 500 Mhz
    Memory: 64 MB of RAM
    Hard Disk: 500 MB of hard disk space
    Graphics: TNT 2 Ultra with 16 MB RAM
    What will be the player limit in multiplayer games?
    Rise of Nations features up to 8 players in multiplayer mode
    Will Rise of Nations support the IPX protocol?
    No. Rise of Nations supports LAN and Internet play via TCP/IP
    Will there be 'join specific IP' and online games services?
    Yes. Both "direct IP" and Internet matchmaking are supported.
    Is there the possibility for different multiplayer modes?
    Rise of Nations has got many different multiplayer modes. Just to give you a small idea of the options. First of all we have got different Game Styles like Diplomacy (nations begin alone but you can form alliances) or Assassin (each player is assigned another player s nation as a target). Another option in the game is to set the Victory Type. For example you can win the game by conquest of all your enemies but there are also other options like First player to Reach a specific technology wins the game. These are just some examples for the different modes the final game will feature many more.
    We would like to thank John for taking time out to answer our questions.