Steve Hemmesch, the Lead Game Designer for Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns, took a minute out of his busy schedule at TimeGate Studios to answer a few questions about the new Real Time Stragetgy game that everyone is talking about (Review coming soon!)
How was your typical day spent during the design of the game?
My name is Steve Hemmesch, and I was the Lead Game Designer for Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns. I was responsible for working with the Executive Producer (Alan Chaveleh), who was also the man who defined the game concept at the beginning. It was my job to take his concepts and story ideas and flesh them out, turning them into working gameplay. I was also responsible for creating most of the content of the game: units, spells, heroes, tutorials, and the campaign. My typical day differed depending on what stage we were at in development cycle. During the height of development, I would spend the morning responding to new bugs and content issues sent to me by other team members. Then I would continue work on the campaign map I was currently focused on, defining its look, adding triggers, and writing dialogue. Then I would round out the day with balance testing of recent unit and feature additions, making tweaks and corrections when necessary.
What did you try and accomplish with Kohan?
Our primary goal in Kohan was to blend the truly strategic gameplay found in most turn-based computer and strategy board games with the exciting, quicker paced gameplay of our favorite RTS titles. We felt that RTS gaming was growing stagnant with few new innovations that related to actual strategy. We wanted to rectify that. The so-called “zone” system is being talked about a lot..When did this idea originate and why do you think this adds to the game?
The zone idea was one of our core design concepts we had at the very beginning of the project. We wanted to institute the strategic concept of exerting control over territory. We wanted the battles to be about gaining ground and pushing your opponent back, rather than the typical wipe out his base gameplay; Something more akin to strategy board gaming. We think it gives even the small skirmishes that occur in Kohan a feeling of importance, where every fight is pushing into enemy territory or holding the line against their assault.
I was very impressed with the tutorial in Kohan, especially for those of us who aren’t strategy game experts. How important do you think is a good tutorial in a game, and how much time and effort went into developing the tutorial for Kohan?