GZ Interview: Create Intricate Strategies and Besiege the Enemy in Besieger

Create Intricate
Strategies and Besiege the Enemy in Besieger


Louis Bedigian


Players can
build and train enormous armies in this promising real-time strategy game. 
Internal Producer Pavel Grodek tells us how it’s done.


To besiege or not to
besiege.  Surely those who are besieged will beseech help.  Those who do it
will be deemed beleaguers; harassers of the unprepared, the apparently
innocent.  But in war if you make the wrong decision you’re considered
incompetent – if you make the right one you’re considered incredible.


Surely the effects of an
incredible action will be indelible.  But what might be a memorable experience
to some is misery to another.


Knowing this, can you go
into battle, ready to fight, ready to charge?


Heed these words young
straggler, for one day you will ponder whether or not you should besiege.





Forget my poetic nonsense –
it’s meaningless.  When looking at a game like Besieger, how
could you possibly do anything but besiege?  Onslaught.  Destruction. 
Surround.  Those are just a few of my favorite words, and Besieger
encompasses every one of them.


What other words does the
game encompass?  Off the top of my head: action, strategy, multiplayer, LAN,
fractions.  For a full list of words we sat down with the game’s Internal
Producer, Pavel Grodek.


Besieger’s economic system allows players to build and populate citadels
comprised of 40 different types of building and 20 different types of unit. 
That’s all we know thus far – could you fill in the blanks?  What is it that
makes it an innovative system?

Pavel Grodek:

Well, there are many aspects of economics that make our system innovative, but
let’s focus on a few of them that really make it stand out among other
strategy games. Basically, you just don’t have to “buy” people. Your units are
“free” in a certain sense: if your warrior gets killed – just wait a bit and a
new one would be born to take his place. Your army size is only limited by the
number of houses that you’ve built – each house can initially support five
villagers (and even more after some upgrades).


This approach, while being
realistic, doesn’t make your life that much easier: after all, what would you
expect in battle from a young and untrained lad? It’s your task as their
leader to teach them how to fight and help them build up their skills. You
have to build, say, barracks, where your farmers take weapons (you’ll have to
spend some resources on these, of course) and become proficient in their use.
After you have an army – lead it into battle and watch how your warriors get
more and more experience and progress in levels. With each level they become
stronger, hit harder or get more health, so it pays off to keep your veterans
alive and well.


In the same way you build
machines and teach your villagers to use them – from simple arbalests with a
driver and a shooter to huge flying ships and balloons.

What are the different types of buildings and units?


There are 60 of them, so it would be a bit too long to name them all. Instead,
I’ll describe a few of my favorites. Sappers with big explosive barrels who
can blow up enemy walls and machines (with luck, they can even kill people
inside them without destroying the machine itself, so your people can take it
and use it themselves). Majestic flying ships (more on them later). Cavalry,
various siege machines such as battering rams, even simple siege ladders –
everything has its place in a good army.



It’s amazing how beautiful
war can be at sunrise.


Besieger is set in a fantasy world.  How do you go about designing
locations for a world that does not really exist?  Where do you turn to for


We started by defining our setting and then set out to learn everything about
that time period and races that we have – Vikings and Cimmerians. Both races
are popular enough, so it was important to know both historical truth and
popular beliefs about them. From there it went naturally: if you know your
setting everything else follows, including locations, visuals, and storyline.
Sure, we have taken some liberties such as adding flying ships, some magic,
but it was really important to integrate hem into the game without destroying
the basic sense of “being there.” It seems that we have succeeded and both
Vikings and Cimmerians came out very close to their real-world prototypes.

How have the levels turned out?  What can we expect from them?


Our engine has a feature set that, basically, lets us do anything we’d like
to: no limits on level size, no limits on number of units, no fog to limit
your visibility (yes, you can actually see everything to the horizon), so we
just let our imagination go berserk as Vikings should – and the end result
seems to be pretty good. At least, we are being told that by Russian press and
sites 🙂

Tell us about the different fractions and their significance to the game.



There are Vikings and Cimmerians, of course, and you’ll get to fight for them
both, but there also are other minor races that could become your friends or
enemies. You can even recruit some heroes among them – and trust me, a troll
or a centaur could really help you in many aspects. Their auras would help
your warriors in a wide circle around them; their devastating attacks would be
a great advantage in battle. And a few werebears or a group of protectors of
Krom’s own sword could change a lost battle to a great victory.


Besides, we have a story
that’s a bit more complex than usual fractions that fight to the death for
some obscure reason. In our game both Vikings and Cimmerians find themselves
in great danger, and they’ll have to discover its source first and then work
together to save themselves. First you’ll play as Viking leader, Barmalay, and
then, after meeting Konin, Cimmerian rules, you travel back in time to
discover what events led him to this point in time and space. Finally, you’ll
have both armies under your command and fight your final battle for survival.



Lots of units creates a
better, more strategic experience.


Besieger has a day and night management system.  How quickly does day turn
to night?  How does this affect the gameplay?



We’ve timed the typical missions and found out that day-night cycle looks best
when it’s about 100 times faster than in real life. So, “in-game 24 hours”
equal about 14 minutes of player’s time. In the night, as expected, everyone
sees a bit worse, so it’s possible to get closer to the enemy without
disturbing his soldiers.

Are the natural elements solely intended to enhance the realistic feeling
of the game, or do they have something to do with the gameplay as well?


Besides natural elements, such as sun or snow, there is one important thing
that’s both realistic and fun: physics of the real world. You run faster
downhill, you throw thing further, so it’s very important for real battles to
have advantage in height and lay of the land. Imagine a few archers
strategically positioned on a good hill. Now put a strong group of enemies
armed with axes or swords next to them. What would happen? Basically, a
massacre – archers don’t have any means to hold off such attackers. But… wait,
how would those enemies get next to them? They’ll have to climb the hill
first! And that would be pretty slow – after all, it’s a steep one! And all
this time our archers would be shooting, and they’ll start it from quite a
distance (their arrows fly farther from the hill). So, no enemy even reaches
them, and no one gets hurt.


No hills? Well, after all,
the game is called Besieger – we have sieges as our distinctive feature. You
can build high walls around your town and put archers or pike-throwers on
them! This gives them a lot of advantage and at the same time protects them
from enemy shots to some degree. That’s why the art of besieging is so
important here: you’ll get to use rams, flying ships, you’ll try to get your
troops inside enemy walls to open the gates… Expect to have a lot of fun and
discover a lot of strategies.

Besiegers are said to be able to build flying vehicles.  Is this a task
that the player actually does in the game?

Sure, each side in the game
has its own set of flying vehicles. You’ll get to build them and use them
heavily in your battles.



Either that lone fighter is
really strong

or really stupid.


What are they flying vehicles?  What is their primary use or advantage, and
how are they commanded?


In Besieger most goals that you’ll want to reach are protected with high and
strong walls. You can’t even scratch them with swords, axes or arrows, just
like in real life. There are lots of other means to enter, though, and flying
vehicles, such as flying ships or balloons, are one of them. You build them
just like any other machine, put your people inside (there are transport
ships, attack ships, etc) and get in the battle. By the way, I’ve already said
that we have no limits on level size, so our only limitation was gameplay –
would it be fun to travel so far? One of the things that a defending side in a
siege has on its side is time: killed warriors get reborn in their houses, so
defenders don’t have to travel back to the battle (they are already there!),
while attackers will spend quite a few minutes getting back. That’s why
transport ships are so important: by traveling in a straight line and
delivering new units fast they make your attack much more concentrated and


Some of those flying
vehicles have a sizeable arsenal on board, so they could suppress defensive
fire and even overcome it if used properly. Once you can get over the wall you
can try and put your own man in control of the town gates. And as soon as the
gates are open the town lies open to your troops – come and get it!

Please go over the game’s multiplayer features.


There are four modes: simple Deathmatch, Capture the Artifact, Siege and
Tactical Combat. Besides live players some bots could be thrown in for even
more fun.


Deathmatch and Capture the
Artifact are pretty standard, up to 16 players, with some minor improvements.
For example, in Deathmatch there are different victory conditions (destroy all
enemies, all enemy building, all enemy houses).


In the Siege mode you have
to reach certain goals in a set time: for defenders – protect their buildings,
for attackers – destroy them, of course. This mode is just for two players,
though. Note that in this mode both sides cannot get more people or units in
normal ways, and only attackers get reinforcements from time to time.


Finally, Tactical Combat
means that no-one could build or get more people, armies meet in the field and
have a simple goal: destroy the opposition!



I’m not sure what this is
(possibly a village?),

but it definitely looks



Up to 16 gamers can play per server via
LAN or Internet.  Are the players divided into teams (8 vs. 8) or can you
decide who you want to align yourself with, and potentially create a game
where it’s 15 against 1?


There are alliances: you can sign an agreement with some other player or
players – and fight together. No one stops you from betraying them, though, if
you so decide. Everything works just like in real life with real consequences.

Thank you for your time, Pavel.


Thanks for your questions!