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Battle plan

The PSP's cache of games is steadily growing, but there are still very few exclusives for the handheld that are truly worth the time. Strategy and tactical nuts should be quite excited to know, however, that Field Commander is shaping up to be one of the hottest multiplayer games on the system. We recently caught up with Bill Coyle, lead designer of the grid-based, military game for more info.

How early on did you know that multiplayer was going to be a huge feature in Field Commander?

The multiplayer capabilities of the PSP made it a foregone conclusion for us. With the ability to connect wirelessly and play Ad-Hoc or Infrastructure games, the system just lends itself well to multiplayer. Along with this the nature of Field Commander, being military turn-based strategy made us want to include as many ways to play the game with other people as we could.

We've heard about a feature where you can take turns playing through email... what's the history behind that move?

The feature you are referring to is called Transmission mode, and it’s a nice throwback to the old days of turn-based gaming where users would e-mail each other their moves, allowing one to take their turn at their convenience. Because the nature of handheld gaming is playing at your convenience, we though that this would be a great multiplayer option for Field Commander.



Online play is, on the surface at least, one major thing FC has over this genre's workhorse, Advance Wars. What else do you think makes FC stand apart?

Along with the multiplayer features, we decided to make the battlegrounds in Field Commander truly 3D environments and let units in different layers stack on top of each other. Thus, in Field Commander, you can park your stealth fighter over a tank or run your submarine under an enemy Battleship line.

What inspiration did you take from Advance Wars, and what do you think you've improved upon?

The inspiration for Field Commander comes from a rich history of turn-based strategy games, new and old, simple and complex. We tried to incorporate what we liked from all of these sources and make a solid game that you can pick up and play regardless of how much you know about the genre.

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