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Empire Earth III

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
Developer: Mad Doc Software

About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'Empire Earth III' Developer Q&A

by Rainier on Oct. 23, 2007 @ 4:30 p.m. PDT

Empire Earth is the only RTS series that allows players to build and rule an empire from the ancient world to the distant future, battling it out across the globe through the eons in a bid for worldwide control. Unlike other RTS games that take away the spoils of victory, Empire Earth III will offer continuous free-form gameplay that will allow players to keep units from one battle to the next.

Empire Earth III builds upon the success of Empire Earth II and redefines RTS games with a truly global approach to world domination.

Empire Earth III is a real-time strategy (RTS) videogame that places the entire globe at the touch of the fingertips making the earth a canvas for the strategy mind. Gamers will build and command an enduring global empire with the goal of World Domination. Empire Earth III is one of the few strategy games that offers players the scale and scope to take an empire from the ancient world to the far future.

Q: How will the tech tree work in Empire Earth III?

A: Various upgrades and new abilities can be researched each epoch. For the most part, each of these pieces of research is entirely independent of other research, though there are many units which can only be built after researching them, and once you build them you can research new abilities on those units (so there's a dependency chain in some cases). Most of this indivudal research within one epoch costs Wealth.

Epoching up is a separate line from most other research, and uses tech points.

Q: Will there be wonders to improve your civilization?

A: No.

Q: Will random events occur, such as Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Fires, Floods, Freezing, etc?

A: Not at random

Q: What resources will be included in Empire Earth III

A: There are 3 resource types: Raw Materials , Wealth , and Technology .

All units and buildings cost a certain amount of Raw Materials, which you gather from resource sites after building a warehouse next to them. More specialized and/or powerful units also have a Wealth cost, which is gathered by trade caravans that originate at markets. The amount of wealth you get from a trade route is based on the distance between the market and the city center it's traveling to, meaning that longer routes are more lucrative, but also expose your caravans to more risk. There are techs available that allow you to trade with allies, leading to really long and prosperous trade routes. Wealth is spent researching upgrades and units, and is used to hire workers and trade caravans at your warehouses and markets. In this way wealth acts as the fuel that powers the rest of your economy. Finally technology is used to epoch up, and is earned from researchers as explained above. For the most part these researchers cost both raw materials and wealth, so players are forced to choose between building units in their current epoch vs. investing in new researchers in order to tech faster.

Q: Will the AI in EE3 be scripted or passive?

A: The AI in EE3 is neither scripted nor passive. It has a set of preferred units, building, and technologies that it tries to build. It gathers raw materials, wealth, and tech points just like a player, builds armies, and sets out to conquer the map (or world, if you are playing on a World Domination mode). It reacts to your attacks and chooses different strategies based on your actions, preferences for different regions (for exampe, the Middle Eastern region likes to rush more), and a little bit of randomness thrown in for good measure.

Q: Will the EE3 feature an AI that can be customized by selecting different types of AI for the novice players and a more detailed script version (similar to EE2) for the more advance modder?

A: You can mod the AI just like everything else in EE. Almost none of it is scripted, and there are a bajillion different knobs that you can turn to make it do different things. The AI for the novice player is pretty much just a “dumbed down” version of the standard AI, which builds more slowly and builds fewer units.

Q: Will space maps be included in EE3?

A: No.

Q: How will Epochs work exactly? How many Epochs will there be?

A: By purchasing workers at your city center, you will generate tech points, which can be used to epoch up when you have enough. Each epoch costs more than the one before it. ancient, medieval, colonial, modern, future. We cover roughly 2000 BC to 2500AD

Q: Will we see a return in any of the EE2 features, such as diplomacy, cit manager, war manager, pip, weather, etc?

A: The UI for diplomacy has been completely rewritten, and we think it's much easier to use and more effective than in EE2. We do have weather (which does not affect gameplay). The pip and warplans have been cut.

Q: Will Units take a more realistic method to be healed, such as being garrisoned inside the hospital to be healed or stopped on an engineer platform to be repaired?

A: One region has hospitals, which heal in a radius. One region has a special combat action that will allow their infantry to self-heal. One region has a healer hero.

Q: How modable is the game (EE2 was very limited)? Are the snipers back in EE3?

A: Almost everything is exposed within our data structure: unit speed, range, hitpoints, attack power, damage, reload time, also our entire tech tree with upgrades, unit relationships (strenghts and weaknesses versus other units), epoch costs, unit introductions, etc etc etc. Every meaningful stat that you can think of can be edited by a modder.

A: We also added a pretty cool file system which should allow you guys to switch between mods quickly and easily by just editing a text file. I wrote up a detailed description of it which I expect will be released to the fan sites before the game hits the shelves.

Q: Can we create new units to import into the game?

A: No, you probably cannot, because we have not released our exporter for Studio Max files. You will be able to edit the textures of the units, though.

Q: Will there be custom scenario support with triggers, scripting or anything? If not, would this be possible in an EE3 expansion?

A: We aren't supporting scenario scripting or a trigger based editor system when we release. Like EE2, this is something that could be added in a patch, but right now we have no plans to support it.

Q: How long does a typical game last in EE3?

A: 1v1: probably 20-30 minutes. 4v4: probably 40-80 minutes.

Q: Are you planning to release an Empire Earth III demo?

A: Yes, probably right around the time it ships or just before.

Q: Will GameSpy be running the EE3 online servers?

A: The servers are run by the people playing the game. Gamespy provides anonymous matchmaking, and chat and buddy services, but all this will take place from within the game.

Q: Will online players be ranked?

A: Yes, we will have a ladders and ranking website available right around release or immediately after. Hosted by Gamespy.

Q: What are the minimum and recommended system specs for Empire Earth III?

A: Min Spec

  • 1.7GHz P4
  • 512MB RAM
  • 128MB Graphics Card
  • Shader 2.0
  • DirectX9.0c
  • I have no idea what recommended is, but here is my system, which runs the game quite nicely on recommended graphics settings:
  • Athlon 3500+ 2.2GHz
  • 1.5GB of RAM
  • nVidia GeForce 7800GT (256MB, I think?)

My card is Shader 2.0, and I generally turn off Glow Effects, but have most of the rest of the graphics bells and whistles turned on. I get 20fps, ocassionally dropping during the heaviest battles. If I turn the graphics to best performance my framerate is buttery smooth all the time.

Q: What’s the release date?

A: Early November 2007

Q: How many different unit types are there?

A: Including all regional, treasure, and event units there are around 230 unique units in Empire Earth 3.

Q: How many techs are there to research per epoch? What is required to advance an Epoch?

A: The number of researchable units and techs varies from region to region and from epoch to epoch. A casual glance at the tech tree tells me there's a little over a dozen new things to research each epoch on average. To advance an epoch the player must spend Technology points, and these are earned by hiring researchers at your city center. You can either pay increasing costs to fully stock your initial city center with researchers, or you can take new territories to get cheapers researchers on secondary city centers.

Q: How much of a difference does teching up within an epoch make? Will a fully teched up player destroy a player who doesn't tech up much ( assuming equal size forces) if they are in the same epoch?

A: Destroy? No. Win? Yes. That's the point of researching upgrades. :D If we're both fighting with longswords and longbows and I've researched pierce-resistant armor on my swordsmen and improved hit points on my bowmen, then I'm going to have an advantage in that battle, no doubt. I've also shelled out a fair amount of weallth for that tactical advantage so I'm probably weaker in other places, such as economy.

Q: Will a player who is 1 epoch ahead of another player completely destroy them? What about a 2 epoch edge?

A: A one epoch advantage is not decisive, but it very much depends on the situation. For example, if I hit the Medieval epoch but have no units while you're attacking my base with short swordsmen and onagers (Ancient units), then you will likely win that game, because I could never take advantage of my tech lead. If, on the other hand, I handle my economy better and manage to get a 100 supply Colonial army against your 100 supply Medieval army, I will most likely win that fight unless you are really superior tactically. We've often seen people battle back after losing the tech advantage, so it's totally situational. A two epoch advantage on the other hand is a bit more decisive, especially if I'm building bombers in the Modern epoch while you're still building knights in Medieval. (O_O)

Q: Is rushing viable?

A: Rushing is indeed viable. :D

Eastern players start with 5 peasants that function as your initial builders and weak infantry. You can also produce more of them from your city center without building a barracks, and they produce very quickly. We've seen some interesting strats where a 2-player team both chooses East, and immediately rushes with as many peasants as possible. There are other rushes as well (for example a slower Western rush that involves pikemen and onagers), and if you don't build early units or some defense around your markets and warehouses, you can also be devastated by light cavalry raids.

Q: How much does the AI cheat on normal difficulty levels, and on those levels what kind of challange does it give?

A: On the normal difficulty level the AI doesn't cheat at all as far as I'm aware. At that level it takes new territories, epochs, harasses, and builds diverse armies in an effective way.

Q: Does world domination mode have any multiplayer support, or is MP only for skirmish?

A: Skirmish only. Would you really want to sit around waiting on the world level while other players partake in their real-time battles on the other side of the world? ;)

Q: What kinds of specific military research options are there? Do you upgrade unit stats individually, or upgrade whole units? Are most units unlocked through research or are the unlocked by epoching?

A: There are upgrades that improve hit points, give new abilities, decrease the cost of that unit, improve speed, damage, and attack rate, etc. Upgrades apply to a unit line, meaning a unit and all its descendants. For example Short Bow > Long Bow > Musketeer > Rifle Infantry > Robosoldier is the West's ranged infantry line. At different epochs there are upgrades available to be researched, and researching these upgrades affects all subsequent units in the line. As for getting new units, it's a mix between researching them and unlocking them automatically through epoching.

Empire Earth III, rated “T” for Teen, is developed by Mad Doc Software, and scheduled for launch in North America on Nov. 6, 2007.


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