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Developer Chat – Randy Ficker on ‘WarLight’

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WarLight is a free multiplayer strategy game where players are tasked with conquering the world. Easy enough, right? Well, with some turn-based strategy titles, learning the rules and mechanics of the game can seem to take longer than actually taking over the world. With WarLight, I was conquering Europe in seconds, Africa was mine in minutes, and the entirety of Asia was under my control shortly thereafter. That kind of power is addicting.

I suppose I should point out that I am no military genius, I was simply playing the tutorial level. Regardless that my opponent during my first world-takeover had the intelligence level of a crayon, I still had fun, and in a genre that I typically try to avoid, —due to the time drain turn-based strategy games typically are— I found that I was quite enjoying myself.

WarLight can be played against A.I. or (properly) against real opponents. Players take turns reinforcing positions and plotting to move their troops to unoccupied territories during the first few “land-grab” turns of the game. Once the four corners of the Earth have been claimed, it’s time to start the fighting. Everything is based on numbers: attacking a zone defended by 8 troops with 20 troops will result in a victory with some losses. Attacking a zone of 12 with 4 troops will result in a quick loss. Essentially, the more troops a player has, the stronger their army is. By using complex mathematical algorithms ( 14 – 10 = 4, for example) WarLight is able to determine how many troops from either side survive the battle, and live on to fight another turn.

I was able to chat with WarLight’s solo developer, Randy Ficker, and talk to him for a bit about the game, and his future plans, notably the upcoming 2.0 update.

 

IGM: What will update 2.0 will bring to the game?

Ficker: 2.0 brings the game to iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire, all for free.  It also adds a bunch of new features to the game, such as a leveling system.  Whenever you win a ranked multiplayer game or tournament, you gain points which can be used to level up.  Leveling up allows you to unlock additional features and maps that you can play on.  For example, you can unlock the ability to use the luck modifier, which allows you to control exactly how much that randomness affects the game.
2.0 also adds achievements and trophies, as well as other secret features that haven’t been announced (they can only be discovered by leveling up.)

IGM: Can players play WarLight cross-platform?

Ficker: Yes!  It was very important to me that players can play with their friends even when they’re using different platforms.  WarLight works seamlessly even when players are playing on different devices.  For example, one person can be at their computer (Windows/Linux/Mac) playing against others on Android or iOS and they’d never know it.

IGM: Any plans to allow for custom content?

Ficker: In fact, it’s already possible for players to make their own content!  Players can make their own maps as well as their own levels.  These can be saved on the WarLight server in the form of templates and shared with friends or other players.   Here are some links to show you how:  map making, creating single player levels.

IGM: What sort of difficulties have you encountered, while making a multiplayer strategy game for the first time?

Ficker: As you point out, WarLight’s mechanics at its core are very simple.  However, the engine behind WarLight is very powerful and supports hundreds of different customization options that players can make use of.
This customization was very challenging  to create, as every time I add a feature to the game, I not only have to test that new feature, but I have to test how this feature interacts with every feature previously added.  To help accomplish this, behind the scenes I make extensive use of automated testing.  Every time I add a feature, I add a suite of automated tests that exercise that feature in every way imaginable.  Before every WarLight update, I run every test and won’t release the update until all tests are passing.  This ensures that I can confidently continue to add new features without worrying about breaking anything old.  I still have a lot I want to add to WarLight – expect more updates in the future!

 

Visit the official WarLight website, and register to play for free today.

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IGM's Editor in Chief. Particularly enjoys games that let him break things. You can reach him at tom@indiegamemag.com or on Twitter: @tomscott90