I realize that this is a game listed under the BYOND Strategy guild, however this is not a review and pertains more to the atmosphere of how a developer thinks, and not the game itself, albeit you can learn a few things about the game. I realize that some of you want to argue about this being here, and quite frankly I don't really care. Go argue with yourself, it's not getting moved. [/edit]
I interviewed Unknown Person about his game Ultimatum quite some time ago, it's been years since this interview and Ultimatum has seen quite a few updates. While I haven't kept up personally, I have heard good things, so if you were a fan in the past or just looking for a fun strategy game, I suggest giving this a try.
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After much anticipation, and much eager waiting, we here at BYOND Fantasy finally bring you a much awaited interview. I met with Unknown Person a couple weeks ago and interviewed him about his title Ultimatum. We hope it peaks your interest, and gets you eager to play his game.
Mikau: I'd like to thank you for taking the time to meet with me.
Unknown Person: No problem.
Mikau: I've always been curious, what made you start making Ultimatum?
Unknown Person: Well, around two years ago in my random game scavenging hunts, I found a game called Battle of Wesnoth (which you probably have heard of, since it's basically the main inspiration of Ultimatum). It's always been in my head to bring something over that shows what BYOND can do, and also fill the gap in strategy games.
Unknown Person: So I started Ultimatum. Ironically, it was originally going to be an RTS game.
Mikau: Interesting, what made you change the style?
Unknown Person: Well, I didn't completely envision in my head that it was going to be full blown RTS, since such a big game is already nearing some limits, but TBS games tend to be more simple and straightforward; it doesn't require you to think all the time. The only downside I could think is that the average 2 player game can last for 1-2 hours.
Mikau: I guess it's a game that you would have to plan out and take your time with.
Mikau: Were there any games besides Wesnoth that inspired you, perhaps a BYOND game?
Unknown Person: Not really, although I have taken some concepts from the game "Age of Wonders" as well. That game actually inspired me of the idea of siege implements, so it is a fairly important inspiration. There aren't that many BYOND strategy games at this point, so I took inspirations from the outside game community.
Mikau: What about single player? Is that an option in the future?
Unknown Person: It's an open option for the future, but I don't have any promises for the near future. Right now, I'm working on building up the foundation for a solid game, then expand with more things on from there. I envisioned single player to be facing through a form of scenarios, rather than having a storyline, though.
Unknown Person: However, if this does happen, I do plan on bringing general background stories.
Mikau: Sounds good.
Mikau: Are there any plans for more races in the future, or more classes of infantry?
Unknown Person: The current 5 factions are planned to be the foundation of units in the game, and at this time, I don't plan for any more. It'd be more realistic for me to start adding more units to each faction, because at this point the factions aren't completely balanced, and you can see that with the Elves faction at this moment. My next leap on infantry is to introduce Siege Implements, which I've already planned for on the battle HUD.
Unknown Person: Siege Implements are essentially objects that units control, such as cannons and trebuchets. This can also introduce new types of working units, which is my main goal right now.
Mikau: What else might you add after siege implements and faction balancing?
Unknown Person: When the game is ready for a release, I will be adding a point-based rating system. This type of system should make it more motivating to finish games, even if you are on the losing team. The system isn't completely sketched out, but it will essentially let players gain points when they finish games (more when they win, less when they lose) Dependant mainly on how much they did during the battle. This can potentially allow the loser of a game to gain more points than the winner if they have done more in the game.
Mikau: What about walls and other obstacles, will the players have the option to fortify themselves in the future?
Unknown Person: You can think of the display you're looking at while in a game in Ultimatum as a map, and tiles are pretty big. If you're talking about walls which units are impaired from entering, then you can think of that as a terrain's movement cost. The idea of letting units fortify themselves from attacks wouldn't be what you would think, since it would break the gameplay by letting units pop in and out of buildings, for example.
Unknown Person: Units can defend themselves by going into more defensive terrain, such as mountains and villages, and that's what the game's basis of defense will be built upon.
Mikau: I've noticed that ranged units can only attack one tile away from themselves, the same as melee. In the future, will range actually be ranged?
Unknown Person: For units, most likely not. You can think of game tiles measured in kilometers. However, I am planning on giving Siege Implements having ranged attacks longer than 1 tile.
Mikau: Aside from the game play, do you do all the development yourself, or do you have help from anyone secretly?
Unknown Person: Like all of my projects, I do development all by myself, since it's much more simple without the overhead of other people, and I can end with the game I envisioned from the start.
Mikau: Time for a little bit of fun for the readers.
Mikau: Do you have a favorite faction?
Unknown Person: Yeah, I tend to stick with Humans. They have a good balance in units, and have got a healer.
Mikau: Have you noticed any 'cheap' tactics being used in your game yet?
Unknown Person: I haven't seen anything extra-ordinarily cheap in the game, since the unit's average lifespan makes it hard to find unfair strategies. The only real cheap strategy in the game is common in free-for-all games when players team up against each other, even if they don't mean to do it purposely. This is most commonly seen in fast 3-player games in maps such as Anguish Peak when player A waits for player B and C kill each other to attack and have the advantage.
Mikau: What about distinct strategies that become common between games?
Unknown Person: Common strategies in Ultimatum are to recruit fast units at the start of the game, since the key to surviving the longest and ultimately winning is to capture the most villages early on in the game. Other common strategies is to team up many units against one during one turn, and attack in wolf packs.
Mikau: Any secret strategies?
Unknown Person: Yeah, always designate a couple of units to directly attack your opponent's leader if it's possible. For example, if your opponent isn't careful you can send two Mermen or Nagas over in the map "Showdown" in the water, and attack your leader. But don't try this strategy if you're planning on playing against Leftley.
Mikau: Haha, alright.
Mikau: What's your major long term goal for the game?
Unknown Person: When I started Ultimatum, my goal was to bring a strategy game over to BYOND for the community to play and have fun with. You can say my long term goal is to let the game be run by the players, since without players, there is no game.
Mikau: Any spoilers to reveal for us?
Unknown Person: I don't know what could be called a spoiler since Ultimatum doesn't have a storyline, but I try to let the players know what's coming up next so they ultimately can help me test it during the public tests in the weekend. If you count the possibility of AI and BYOND Member exclusive features spoilers, there you go.
Mikau: Well, thanks for you time, I'm out of questions. Any last words for the BYOND Fantasy readers?
Unknown Person: Yeah, come join Ultimatum during the weekend tests!
Mikau: Will do, good luck with development.
Unknown Person: Thank you.