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Interview With 'Hegemonia' Project Manager

by The Six Billion Dollar Man on Nov. 27, 2002 @ 6:13 a.m. PST

In Haegemonia: Legions of Iron you will explore and conquer the galaxy at the head of your fleet, plan colonisations, terraform planets, manage your resources and decide on the appropriate technological research to lead mankind where you want it to go. Diplomacy combined with a top-notch spy network will enable you to survive in a stellar system which is much more dangerous than it would at first appear. Who says that space is empty? Black Holes, asteroid fields, nebulas, cosmic clouds and wormholes, and alien races make each fleet sortie a perilous affair... We sat down with Laszlo Peller,lead designer and project manager of Hegemonia, and fired off a few questions ...
Q : State your name rank and occupation! What was your contribution in the development process, how long has it been in development and how many people are on the team?

LZL : Hi, I am Laszlo (Leslie) Peller, lead designer and project manager of Hegemonia. I was on the project from the very beginning, together with my 11 colleagues. Besides this core team, several others helped us – like paper artists, testers, marketing people at out publishers etc. The planned development was 14 months, but we were late a bit – and finished with some extremely heavy workload for the whole team.

Q : From pre-beta to playable demo have you added or enhanced the graphics just a bit to give us a little precursor to what the full game will be like or have the graphics always been and will always be what is displayed in the demos?

LZL : The demo was graphically almost finished; the main difference to the final version is the amount of graphics. In the latter all races are present with all their spaceships, effects and animations. The humans’ graphics was a bit revamped also, especially the effects.

Q : What sort of feedback have you received since the demo release? And have you incorporated things accordingly into the final build? Some examples?

LZL : I am happy to say, that most feedbacks were positive. We also tried to learn from the critics – for example changed some missions after the demo release to make them easier. We also put down lots of ideas (I am especially thankful for these) for the possible sequel or our next game!

Q : Since there will be a multiple galaxies, will you be able to jump from galaxy to galaxy in single via a worm hole or jump engines? Will this hold true to the multiplayer part as well?

LZL : I would rather say multiple solar systems, but otherwise yes. Wormholes are used to jump between systems and the same system is incorporated in multiplayer too. These are strategically critical points – very advised to watch them in single and multiplayer as well. Especially useful, that you can see them as they become active from a big distance – for example when spies try to sneak in…

Q : Will you be able to disband groups and re arranged into one massive group or will there always be a unit limit to groups?

LZL : As in most strategy games, you can define your own groups and assign them to numbers. They can be recalled and controlled easily. There are extra hotkeys for selecting all types of a ship (like all military ships for example).

Q : Are you planning to give the planets a bigger role besides just being the basis for weapons research and money?

LZL : Well… as they are the main money income sources, they are extremely important! If you managed to build up one from the very beginning, you will not be happy at all, if it is lost… Production is done solely on planets as well…

Q : Will there be planetary defenses besides the orbiting space station/ships above?

LZL : Yes, you can build planetary guns (satellites), which can fend of small scale attacks alone. But they have no chance against several battleships, so your fleet and bases are definitely needed!

Q : Will there be larger space stations available to you? Or are the ones we have seen the only space station you can have?

LZL : There are 2 stationary stations foe each race and one mobile one. These will be introduced later in the game as you progress in research.

Q : Will there be any cosmic events that take place during a mission? For example a star collapsing, a solar flare, or meteor that could threaten your ships or settlements?

LZL : Sure! Just not in the beginning of the game... These “random events” have a lot of variety; can be negative and positive for your empire. They will be enabled in the 3rd episode, together with random heroes.

Q : Are you planning any expansions packs or a sequel to Hegemonia?

LZL : We already have a design partly ready, but the negotiations haven’t started yet with our current publisher. Maybe the ideas will appear in an another game, not in Hegemonia 2. It is a bit early to say anything definite yet…

Q : Why did you change the spelling from Haegemonia to Hegemonia?

LZL : It was the request of our US publisher for marketing purposes.

Q : Are there any features you wanted to see in Hegemonia but when implemented didn’t work out?

LZL : Lots. There were lots of changes in the game during the development and lots of ideas were changed or let out. We had to leave some graphic ideas out, because we wanted to be compatible with older cards, some effects slowed down gameplay too much etc. Gameplay and multiplayer are different what it was in my mind in the beginning – but it doesn’t mean it is worse of course!

Q : Will you able to capture enemy tech and incorporate it into your tech tree?

LZL : Yes, spies have special missions for that. You can steal inventions from other races, which are normally not accessible for your race at all.

Q : Why did you shrink the playable races from 5 to 3?

LZL : Originally 4 were planned, but we had no time to balance them all. The 5th was meant to be non-playable in the original design already. And the reason is simple: time… We are not so big developers, who can develop a game for years…

Q : How many total unit groups will there be?

LZL : There are about 65-70 unit types, including all non-military and story specific units. In a mission you can control about 25-30 squads maximum

Q : What will govern the number of allowable units and how will you be able to increase it?

Your rank is the main limiting factor both in numbers and level. You will see both of them increase as the story goes on. There is no limit on your number of planets however.

Q : Are you planning to add any more resource options, besides harvesting meteors, taxation, and trade?

LZL : There are 2 more in the game: wreck recycling and stealing with spies. Spies will appear in the 3rd episode, while recyclers can be available earlier if you develop them.

Q : Will you be able to have more than one trade ship? And can you capture enemy’s trade ships?

LZL : Trade ships are in the special ship category, so you can have as many as the category allows. Having 3-4 trade ships is a very very good and solid income source. Capturing the traders of the enemy is not possible, but you can destroy them if you like…

Q : Also what will be the effects of higher taxation on your populous besides changing there attitude for normal to low?

LZL : If you raise taxes extremely high for a long time, your planet may revolt. Additionally planets with low morale is much easier to capture… If you do not need money urgently, its not a good idea to keep tax high (and as money cannot be transferred between levels, it is useless, too).

Q : Any final words? A short sales pitch to convince people why they should purchase Hegemonia?

LZL : I am not very good in phrases especially not in my native language ;-). Anyway if you liked our previous games, or you like strategy games in general, I think Hegemonia is the right choice. If you want some challenge, put it on hard level (evil grin)…

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