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'Time of Defiance' - Features & Screens

by Thomas on June 25, 2002 @ 1:15 p.m. PDT

Two years ago, Toby and Ben Simpson, the past producers of the Creatures series of games, set up Nicely Crafted Entertainment (NiCE) and began work on the world’s first fully 3D massively multiplayer real-time strategy title. Their goal was to feature the highest level of intelligence ever found in a game. Their solution was ingenious: it’s you.


Cambridge-based development team founded by Toby and Ben Simpson revolutionise multiplayer gaming

Time of Defiance, the first title from Cambridge-based developer, pits human versus human in the first ever 3D massively multiplayer real-time strategy title. The game – available now at via a simple download – will launch in August 2002.

In Time of Defiance, players battle for control of thousands of islands spread across the remnants of a distant planet – giving a game area of over 14,062,500 square kilometres. Up to 1,000 players can compete in each game, and there will be many games running concurrently in order to accommodate a huge audience.

Toby Simpson, Managing Director, NiCE said. “Essentially, there’s no substitute for the deviousness of people. Everyone knows how much more enjoyable it is to play against other people rather than computer-driven AI – and we’ve come up with a game so flexible in structure and tactics that there is an almost limitless strategy for victory. To date, we’ve run a dozen full games with a fairly small number of players with every player emerging with a different strategy. The winners of each game will be those that demonstrate the most skill, cunning, treachery and bravado. It is a strategy game unlike any other.”

Time of Defiance boasts a persistent world for each separate game – a period typically lasting a month. Players build their empire by scouting and colonising uninhabited islands, enlarging their empire from the resources they mine from the islands. The richer an empire, the quicker it can expand – with players deciding how much to channel into defending their islands or attacking others.

The game continues in real-time, so players must both automate their defences and plan their attacks for periods their opponent will, hopefully, be away from a computer – and Time of Defiance’s easy-to-use menus assist in this process. Additionally, players can opt to receive an e-mail or mobile phone text message (the latter launching in August) whenever an attack is underway, enabling them to adjust strategies if the situation demands.

NiCE’s unique virtual world management software technology ensures that bandwidth demands are not restrictive; typically, data transmission is kept below 200 bytes per second – a rate so low, players can even enjoy the game using a laptop and an infra-red-enabled mobile phone. And the average 56k modem will cope more than admirably for home users.

Time of Defiance uses lavish 3D visuals to portray the game world, and a host of drop-down menus keep the display uncluttered. A simple point and click interface allows users to command vast armies at a single mouse stroke. Beginners are guided through an easy-to-use tutorial before being placed in the game proper.

A host of community tools allow players to brag about their fortunes to others, or form complicated alliances with which to further their conquering ambitions. However, at the end of each game only one can rule, adding an element of politics to the proceedings.

The game is currently in ‘preview programme’, with around 400 gamers battling it out for ultimate control. The full release is planned for August 2002. A free demo is available from, offering players the chance to try before they buy. Players can “taste” the game for as little as £5 per month or £25 for six months during the preview programme.

Players can join at

Time of Defiance Features:

The first 3D massively multiplayer real-time strategy game

Huge community aspect: Players can chat, brag, forge alliances and buy or sell items in central ‘Eighth House’.

Massive play area: It can take several days of real time to cross from one side to another (though ‘jump gates’ are available for those that can afford them!)

Ability to interact with the game via e-mail and SMS (text alerts available in August)

Requires little bandwidth: Players can play with virtually any modem

Not a time dependant game – it isn’t the player who is on the most that wins

Emergent strategies are limitless

Latency is not an issue

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