We talked with lead designer and executive producer of Ceidot Game Studios
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Strategy Informer: Firstly, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Céidot Game Studios: I’m a lead designer and executive producer of Céidot Game Studios, a Turkish game development organization which is an official brand of Imengi Design. Céidot is a young but dedicated and enthusiastic studio and its main aim is bringing new aspects to the game design by creating a unique gameplay and game fiction. To achieve this, we decided to use Céiron Alternative Reality fiction, which is an unseen and untold setting and never used by any other product before. Céiron is also our brand and its roots dated back to around 7 years before. Its both fantastical and scientific fiction and it is totally unique. You will not find any elves or orcs at Céiron, because there is enough of them out there. We have more than 23 unique races, very detailed game map (bigger than Asia), totally scientific space and planet settings, more than 7 great nations which are harmonies of real world cultures and most importantly, a new retro-futuristic and subatomic energy that replaces magic. We believe gameplay, fiction and story are the most important parts of any RPG games. However, obviously technical aspects are also quite important. That’s why we have partnerships with Gamebryo as a graphics engine (which has been used in Oblivion and Civilization 4), Ageia PhysX as a physics engine, Speedtree for real time tree and plant solutions, etc… We are also developing our own AI and GUI systems.
Where did the idea of creating Sovereign Symphony come about?
Céidot Game Studios: Again, we have to talk about Céiron to understand roots of our game. In Céiron fiction, there is two philosophical aspects that humans generally evaluates the power. First is called as “Power Prodigy Philosophy” and believers do not see any harm about using powers, especially atrón energy. Power Prodigies are generally very advanced atrónists or wealthiest merchants, sometimes highest ranked generals or even rulers of empires. Opposite side, whose nickname is “Torment Prodigies”, believe that using powers without “will” and “limitations” is far more dangerous that you can imagine. Some of them believe atrón is a energy of gods and humans should not use it. Rumors say powerful torment prodigies can feel the pain of suffered, raped, killed or tortured people. That’s why they had fleed from the humanity, to protect their dreams from the sins of people, and they withdrawn to the deepest caves of highest mountains. Some say that they have still an eye upon us…As you see from my short introduction about our game setting and story, neither Céiron fiction nor Sovereign Symphony have an ordinary hack’n’slash setting. Like I said, we are trying to bring something different and we think people who like original content and adventure feeling rather than simple hack’n’slash games will like Sovereign Symphony.
Is there any features of Sovereign Symphony we don't currently know about that you'd like to share with the world?
Céidot Game Studios: Yes, there are many features we still did not share with public. Obviously, most important one is the gameplay difference. Sovereign Symphony is not a ordinary hack’n’slash RPG game. It is neither massively multiplayer game, nor a Diablo (or any other “kill everything you see” game) clone. It is a strategic role playing game. No, I do not mean anything like Spellforce. It is not a hybrid of RTS and RPG. Mainly, Sovereign Symphony is an RPG game but your main character and your companions (your team) should be handled well to face against all types of creatures and conditions without trouble. Real time strategical thinking, environmental interactivity, team controls and strategies and well thought skill development is the key of the gameplay. We will reveal much more details after our first playable demo.
What can you tell us about the graphical and physics features?
Céidot Game Studios: We are trying to keep both of them at the level of world standards. Gamebryo is a really top class graphics engine that enables us to create next-gen graphics. All we have to do is to bring our creative and magnificent concepts and designs into digital life with our artists. Naturally, we will also use some cool graphical features like HDR, normal-paralax-bump mapping, next-gen models, real time shadows and dynamic lighs, etc…Physics is a different story. It is very important for our gameplay because of both our fiction and game design. Atrón, our special energy can interact with quite everything in nature and environment. At least its supposed to be so. Without a powerful physics engine, we can not create atrón as what it is in our fiction. So our partnership with Ageia PhysX got its place and save us from a very important trouble. We are also going to support PhysX cards so you will have a tremendous access at environmental and natural interactivity. It is not only for realistic game play, also for fun and strategy (yes, using environmental objects and atrón energy is VERY important for the game strategies).
Sovereign Symphony is planned to be released on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Will there be any extra content for these platforms?
Céidot Game Studios: Well honestly it is really hard to talk about such a thing. We are still waiting to receive licenses from Sony and Microsoft to be a registered game developer for their console platforms. We are ready to upgrade our production to a cross-platform state but without SDKs and licenses from manufacturers, we can not go any further. I hope few months later, if we succeed to receive licenses, we can talk about your question again with more details.
What kind of support do you plan to offer once the game is released?
Céidot Game Studios: Product support is one of the most important things for us. Technical, community and multiplayer supports will keep your game alive and make your company “player friendly”. However, it is still too early to talk about such a thing but we have some important plans for it. You know, our game will be released at the first quarter of 2008 and our main aim is finishing our production.
Are you planning to release a demo for Sovereign Symphony?
Céidot Game Studios: Yes, our first playable demo will be finished around Christmas. With a small possibility, it might delay around January 2007. However, our first playable demo will be sent to our “potential” publishers (more than 20 worldwide publishers are watching closely our project) only. Playable demo date for the public will be announced later.
Can you tell us about the single player aspect of the game?
Céidot Game Studios: There is too much thing that we can talk about the single player aspect. I hope there is enough information about game’s overview and single player option so far. To conclude them, strategical role playing style, unique atmosphere and fiction (Céiron), and interactive physics and environments are the most important elements of the game (both in single and multi player). Now let’s have some more information about our single player mode. We have a random item generator to add more fun at our game and create a different game play each time you play. This also works in multiplayer and players will find different items in the same place or from the same creature. Also you will find academies, arenas, otags (training tents) and kulliyes (training complexes) to empower your party skills, develop your team’s cooperation and apply to the teachers, as well as enter some funny combats and bets. I think we had already enough spoilers for this time.
We haven't heard if there will be a multiplayer option, could you let us know if there will and what will it feature?
Céidot Game Studios: Surely we will have a multiplayer option. And that’s not the entire story that we have about the multiplayer features. Currently we are focused on the single player aspect, but still we have many great plans about multiplayer. Main difference will be the game flow between multiplayer and single player. Multiplayer will also have siege wars and open ground battles, as much as dungeon ventures. Differently from single player, you will not have to wait for the storyline to enter the action at multiplayer mode. Just drop your characters, collect your friends and enter massive siege wars against AI or real players! Needless to say, multiplayer features will be revealed more and more in future.
Can you give us an assessment of the health and long-term viability for Sovereign Symphony?
Céidot Game Studios: We have two plans to keep our game alive even months and years after the release date. First, we will update it continuously with patches to balance the gameplay and we will launch new expansion packs to add new characters, classes and objects. Second, we will include a level designer / mod editor tool for players so they will have a chance to create their own levels and game scenarios to play with their plans. Of course our multiplayer community and substructure will play a very important role on this aspect of the game.
Could you tell us about the weapons that we'll see in the game?
Céidot Game Studios: This is one of my favorite questions! Céiron is a retro-futuristic fiction that has really cool and unique weapons because of the atrónology and atrón-ankhenon technology. It also has fantastic and scientific weapons. You can use rifles and cannons, as well as atrónic crafted swords and shields. Atrón is a massive power; however other nations whose atrónology is lack of quality has developed their alternative technologies like gun powder and bombard weaponry.
What races will players meet while playing Sovereign Symphony?
Céidot Game Studios: First, you will not face any “common” and “well known” creatures like elves, hobbits, dwarves, etc… We did not use exhausted sources like Greek and / or Egyptian mythologies. So this means there is no titans, mummies, gargoyles, medusas, etc… in Soveregin Symphony as well. In Céiron fiction, there are 23 advanced races among with humans. Even our humanity is different because of atrónic side effects. Here is brief information about some of our other races:
Sai-Jeva: Brutal, fast, sadistic and fearsome creatures that kills not only for feeding, but for their own pleasure also. They hunt and act with groups and their telepathic communication gives them great coordination.
Tjon: Tjons are one of the most powerful atrón users in the Céiron planet. They are slow but mighty, enduring intelligent creatures. They have an alliance with one of the great human nations. They are the greatest enemies of sai-jevas because of historical reasons.
Aurion: Aurions live in swamps and rivers and they are well known raiders against every eatable being. Two great human nations forced to form an alliance against them to protect themselves against those night beasts. Real source of their power comes from their hierarchic public order and coordinated attacks.
Kalabra: Kalabras known as mighty birds and they are “gods” of one of the barbaric tribes. This matriarchal tribe is ruled by blood maidens for centuries because kalabras only obey to their maiden tamers. Maiden matriarchs and their brutal kalabras joined an alliance with one of the greatest human nations.
I hope those brief information will help you to figure out the originality of the Sovereign Symphony game project and its atmosphere. We will release more information about our fiction in future. So, stay tuned!
As a gamer, what's your favorite part of Sovereign Symphony, what makes you proud to have helped create it and why is it game fans will want?
Céidot Game Studios: Actually, three things make me proud. First, atrón usage… Second, interactive physics which is very important for our gameplay. Lastly, our concepts and setting which makes us unique. I think it is time to shift the RPG description a little. Both in gameplay and game fiction aspects. Hopefully Sovereign Symphony will lit the fire of this revolution.
What's the currently release date and is it possible we may see some changes in the future?
Céidot Game Studios: Our projected release date is the first quarter of 2008. With a strict possibility, we will have many improvements in future, especially in technical substructures of the game. You will see better screenshots, more efficient physics usage and more advanced graphical effects.
What has been the hardest part of development?
Céidot Game Studios: I really would like to talk about something in technical or even conceptual, however for our studio; hardest part of the development is the fact of being in Turkey. There is no professional industry in here; people do not know much about game development. Neither government, nor research and development fund sources or venture capitals shows respect to our job. Still, somehow we keep our business alive and we are keen to finish it and serve it to our fans and all RPG enthusiasts over the world.
We've come to our last question, is there anything you'd like to say to the fans of Sovereign Symphony which are eagerly awaiting the release of this interesting RPG?
Céidot Game Studios: Yes, actually it is true that we are a little bit different from any other ordinary game developers. We are much more transparent company and we share quite everything about our development processes with public. Sometimes that might be look like amateurish thing but we prefer to called as “sincere” rather then amateurs. One of our missions is “enlightening” the Turkish game community about how a top class game could be done and in which processes we should handle with. That’s why even from today we had shared a tech-demo and we are continuously updating our screenshot gallery. Please never forget that our game will be ready around 2008 and our current visual quality is not our projected one. Important thing is “development speed”, not our “actual level”.
We have some new screenshots about one of our outdoor levels with our current graphical quality. Please check this two:
In this picture, at the left side, you can see our situation of our janissary character 3 months ago. Within 3 months, how our model quality has been developed is clearly visible if you see the right sided janissary character
This terrain screenshot has been taken from our tech-demo, which has been launched at 7th August 2006
You can also check other new screenshots and one in-game video to judge our current level. So, I want from our fans to keep their faith in our game. We will keep our word and create a unique, world-class and addictive RPG game for them!
And this screenshot has been taken at 29th August 2006. You can see our development rate within only 22 days
My last word is, Sovereign Symphony is not developing for next-gen console platforms currently because of the license problems. We could not acquire licenses and SDKs from console manufacturers. However, design and technical substructures of our game are in cross-platform style so we can quickly switch our production to console platforms also, whenever we obtain the permissions.