-Icewind Dale
   -TA: Kingdoms - The Iron Plague
   -Deus Ex
   -and TONS more...
   -Elite Force
   -Max Payne
   -Theme Park World
   -and TONS more...
   -Space Empires IV
   -Ian Winter
   -Tomas Jachimczak
   -Kelvin Phillips Jolt
   -Sujoy Roy XSi
   -and TONS more...
   -Beta Testing
   -The Best RPGs
   -DotCom Security
   -Gamers Desktops
   -and TONS more...
  Submit News
Help Needed
The Admins

  Get Hosted!
Site Directory
Admin Sections
   -Online Manual

   -Account Manager
Hosting Terms


GibSeek Search:-

GibWorld Interviews!
Richard Arnesen & Aaron Hall - Interviewed by Bobertchin
     Space Empires IV is a turn-based strategy game in which you get to develop worlds, design your own race, design and build a substantial fleet, and take over an entire galaxy. If you have played Master of Orion or other 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) games, you know a little bit about this genre. What makes Space Empires IV different? Well, it's fully customizable, including the ability to design the galaxy (down to what types of planets and warp points are available), design your own race (with different advantages and even your own graphics!), design your own ships (again, including graphics), and even set victory conditions. The Space Empires series was created in 1993 by Aaron Hall. Hall's development company (which is still very small) is called Malfador Machinations. Space Empires has long enjoyed popularity amongst those 4X fans that somehow or another found out about the series, but the general public has been mostly denied this deep and compelling series. That's about to change with the release of Space Empires IV. Why? Because this time, Malfador has found a publisher in the form of Shrapnel Games, a small but talented publishing company dedicated to strategy and wargames. With Shrapnel backing them up, Malfador is set to release Space Empires IV on October 1st, 2000. 
     We interviewed Richard Arnesen (RA) of Shrapnel Games and Aaron Hall (AH) of Malfador Machinations to get some information on the new publishing deal for Space Empires IV. Here is what we found out:

BC Who are you and what is your position at Shrapnel Games? How does this relate to Space Empires IV?
RA My "official" title is Director of Covert Ops. What does that mean? Not much, really (*smiles*). We are mainly a two man operation with some contractors who work on art, music, sound, etc. Tim (Brooks, the president of Shrapnel Games) and I split duties, but for the most part my main duties are marketing, PR, website management, and developer relations and recruitment.

How does this relate to SE:IV? Well I originally went after Aaron [Hall, designer of Space Empires IV] after being turned on to the game by some friends of mine on the Internet.
BC What other major games has Shrapnel published?
RA Well the team that originally started Shrapnel did the work on 101rst: Airborne in Normandy, which was published by Empire Interactive. Not too soon after that, they formed Shrapnel (from disgust over how developers were treated by big time publishers). I joined up to help out.

To date we have "published":

Horse and Musket: (designed and written by Boke Strategy Games)
Armies of Armageddon: WDK2K (Another Boku product)
Brigade Combat Team: (designed and written by ProsimCo)

Currently we have in the works:

Steel Beasts: (designed by esimgames)
Space Empires: IV, duh :)
Combat Command 2:(Another Boku product)
Armoured Task Force: (Another ProsimCo product)
All American: The 82nd Airborne in Normandy, which is a Shrapnel internally developed product. It is the sequel to 101 which we published through Empire Interactive

[You can find information and downloads for these games at the Shrapnel site--BC]
BC Malfador Machinations is the developer of the Space Empires series, which has enjoyed nice underground success for a number of years but has never had a major publisher. Why are you taking a chance with Space Empires IV?
RA Because it is an awesome game, that's why! My wife normally looks at a new game I get and says "but it looks like all the other games you buy". When I started up the beta I recieved of SE:IV she lit up and so did I. She loved the eye candy, I loved the depth of the game. I don't see it as a risk; this game will be a big hit IMHO.
BC Will SEIV be available in stores? If so, when? Are there other ways that SEIV can be purchased?
RA Well nothing is certain but we are working with an undisclosed distributor (due to an NDA we signed) to put our games in retail, especially in Europe where shipping is so high. As far as SE:IV, the EARLIEST it will go retail is Q1 next year. However, buying it from our website gives the developers a MUCH larger cut of the action. Our contracts are much more generous to developers than most publishers.
BC Many of our readers are European. Are there plans for international sales? If not, will you at least be offering the game for worldwide sale through your website? Can you guess on the costs for non U.S. residents?
RA Yes, we do sell the game currently to anyone, everywhere, via our website.
After the game cost itself the total shipping and handling works out to be:

U.S. - Whatever the local costs of shipping are
Canada - 13 dollars flat fee
Mexico - 13 dollars flat fee
Europe - 19 dollars flat fee
Rest of World - 30 dollars flat fee
BC I have been playing the demo and find it very deep. Where can people download the current demo version? Where can people find news about the progress of the game (and ordering information)?
RA There will be a new demo coming out on Friday (August 11, 2000).

The best place to find out the latest is on our BBS at:
BC There have been some controversial changes made to the series. For instance, research is done differently than in SEIII. I myself noticed that if I remove my current project from the queue I lose any progress I had made on that project. I also no longer have to option to assign percentages to research. The latter is not a problem for me, but the losing my research is frustrating. Will issues such as this be resolved in the final product, or are they intentional?
AH Definitely. We're receiving a tremendous amount of feedback from the demo which we are really taking to heart. A number of items have already been changed. For example, the Scrap window now allows you to select multiple ships for those orders. And we've added a path flag so that players who create their own data files can keep them in their own directories. Much like the history of SE3, we will continue to improve and refine SE4 (even after its release) until it is everything that our fans want.
BC Another feature that has been noted by some players is the lack of scouting memory. If you no longer have any assets in a system, you cannot check the planet types and get other information. Will this be changed in the final version?
AH It is on our To Do list. That and a hundred other items. We can't guarantee which features will actually make it in before the final release, but there will always be patches after the CD's go out. Except that our patches usually add more features than bug fixes. [Hooray!--BC]
BC What sort of other features will be added to the final version?
AH There is more technology, more race styles (we've got 10 more), complete data customization, and a slew of other things. But you don't have to wait for the final version; we're releasing a new version of the demo today (08/11/00) at our web site. It fixes and improves a lot of items. 
RA Currently there are some rather lively discussions on the beta forums about such things as play balance and added features. Time will tell if they get added though...
BC What do you think sets SEIV apart from other 4X games, such as the Master of Orion series?
RA I know most folks won't find this as interesting as I do, but I remember when I first designed a ship (which is a HUGE improvement over any other 4X space game I have played) [me too--BC] and noticed the simulator option. Now why didn't anyone else think of that :).

Seriously though, I love the depth of technologies, the infinite customization ability of ships and just about everything in the game via text files. I love the fact that in a 4X space game I can finally use functional carriers, the interface is much improved over SE:IV.

I could go on and on but you get the general idea. I can just tell with this game that someone put a LOT of love and thought into the design.
BC Armies of Armaggedon (already published by Shrapnel) certainly has sci-fi elements, but SEIV is a fully 4X space game. Does SEIV represent the beginning of a new direction for Shrapnel Games? Will you be looking for other independent developers to work with?
RA All of our games (except All American) are from independent developers. If there are developers out there who are looking for a publisher, we are always looking for new developers. However, the key things I look for in a game are a strong fan base (or a developer who talks and does not yell at his fans, i.e. Derek Smart and others) and that is customizable. These two things promote community, which is what I think gaming is all about.
BC Can you tell us what kind of sales you are expecting for this game?
RA Hard to tell since this is our first foray into the genre. I can tell you the game, so far, has surpassed (far surpassed) any of our other games for pre-release sales. 
BC Will you be able to make the October 1st release date?
RA I don't see why not but that is all up to the beta testers and Aaron.  Thanks for taking the time to talk to me! 
AH Thanks for the interview!
BC And thank you for the information! Good luck with the release!

Interview held by Bobertchin on:
August 11th, 2000

Man1c M0g fell too far and broke

So you've opted to be a beta tester and get games ahead of all your friends, but is it all that is cracked up to be? In this article we discuss the job itself, and the work it entails.

So you've opted to be a beta tester and get games ahead of all your friends, but is it all that is cracked up to be? In this article we discuss the job itself, and the work it entails.

GW Admins
BloAtEd -
D4N73 - [10/08/2000]
Bobertchin - [03/08/2000]
Spooky - [28/07/2000]
Man1c-M0g - [21/07/2000]
eXecutioner - [16/07/2000]

GW Guests
diesel -
Woolley - [13/08/2000]
Crespo - [07/08/2000]
flopz - [21/07/2000]
Horus - [18/07/2000]
MINS - [15/07/2000]
reaps - [12/07/2000]
wrECK - [05/07/2000]
fab_fiona - [02/07/2000]
Cage - [27/06/2000]
K3nZ - [17/06/2000]
Gaz - [17/06/2000]
Ven - [08/06/2000]
wabut - [04/06/2000]
KenwooD - [27/05/2000]
avatar - [18/05/2000]
smiler - [13/05/2000]
UkSiR - [13/05/2000]
templar - [03/05/2000]
Bl4sT - [28/04/2000]
Melachi - [25/04/2000]
Kain - [24/04/2000]
Kaos - [18/04/2000]
Slash - [06/04/2000]
Gunner - [02/04/2000]
kevman - [27/03/2000]
Scum - [20/03/2000]
List Columners
List ALL Postings
 Signup For A Column


Looking for the latest mod news, reviews, previews, and info for a multitude of games? Mod-Scene has it all, and more!








© Copyright 1999 - 21st Century, GibWorld Networks. All Rights Reserved.