May, 19th 98
Interview with Volker Wertich (the inventor of the Settlers and mainprogrammer of Settlers III)

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When will you be finished with the work on Settlers III?

Volker: Settlers III will be published in the end of 1998 - the exact date still has to be fixed.

The Settlers III - will it be a sequel to The Settlers 1 and
The Settlers II?

Volker WertichVolker: The Settlers III will be a sequel to both of them - there will be a lot of new stuff, it's certainly not the same game with improved graphics..

Will S3 be published in Germany first?

Volker: I suppose it will be published simultaneously all over the world, but finally this decision has to be made by the departments of marketing and production.

How many copies of S1 and S2 have been sold?

Volker: Your estimate number of 600,000 sold copies of S2 is o.k. S1 and S2 together sold more than one million copies.

Will there be different tribes again? And will they have
different buildings and abilities?

Volker: Yes to all! The tribes will not only differ in looks or a few mathematical features. The three tribes will be Romans, Egyptians and Asians. I cannot say anything about their specific abilities yet, but let me tell you why we decided to take only three tribes:

Three well balanced and completely worked out tribes with different abilities and special features are much better than 10 tribes that only differ in a few graphics and parameters. This way we give the tribes their very own personality and that enables different strategies.

How many colours will S3 support?

Volker: Settlers III is a HiColor-game and will support the screen solutions 640*480, 800*600 and 1024*768. Furthermore we wish to be able to take all future opportunities (1280*1024, 1600*1200).

Will S3 run under DOS Protected mode or will it be a true windows game?

Volker: Settlers III will rely on Direct-X and it will run under Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT.

How many people are presently working on the project Settlers III (including those who cook coffee and sharpen the pencils)

Volker: It is nearly impossible to name an exact number. I.e. the intro is developed by an outside studio and some helpers are only working part-time at Settlers III. Altogether there are more than 25 persons working on it.

Will the landscapes be bigger than now and what will be the maximum size?

Volker: The single triangles of the landscape will be much smaller and enable with gouroud-shading and patterns a landscape that looks like nearly being rendered. :-) A comparison with the present size of the world is for this reason not easy, but right now I can say that everyone will get his money's worth and even very big landscapes will be supported.

Can worlds of Settlers II still be played? What graphics engine
will be used?

Volker: Worlds of Settlers II cannot be adapted because of the new system, but I am sure there will soon be someone who will program some kind of converter... The graphics engine has been developed by me and doesn't have anything to do with Extreme Assault (as was pointed out wrongly in some magazines).

Will it be possible to view the worlds from different
perspectives?

Volker: Fortunately not ... The player would hopelessly lose his orientation, esp. as it is a triangular world.

How much RAM is necessary for the game and what is the minimum hardware?

Volker: With a solution of 640*480 a Pentium 100 will be sufficient, with the resolution of 800*600 (that one looks best) it should be a Pentium 166. For a solution of 1024*798 it would be advantageous to have a very good Pentium or a Pentium II. These requirements are necessary for a perfect and fluent animation, but the game can still be played with less good hardware. Settlers III needs 32 Mbytes RAM.

How does the combat-system look - I have heard you want to get rid of the indirect fighting-system?

Volker: Concerning the fighting-system I will invent many new things. I cannot tell you everything about that in 2 sentences, but something I can tell you: war units (fighter, fighting ships, catapults, ...) now can be controlled directly, BUT due to the different options there won't be wild click-orgies. Here, the computer is thinking for the player, and the player will be able to place the important commands before fighting, which he misses in other games...

Please describe how a day of a woodcutter will look like. When does he leave his hut, how often, and what does he do with his logs? Does he put them directly to the carpenter's workshop?

Volker: Workers are doing their jobs just as in S2, the biggest difference is the much more efficient transport system. With this the player won't have to wait endlessly for the materials. Transporters take goods directly from their sources to the places where they are needed. If necessary, they also take complicated routes. I will talk about the creation of roads next time...

Are in S3 still headquarters and warehouses?

Volker: Yes, there will be warehouses, but now you can see inside of them. Of course this information raises five new questions... :-) Therefore the player cannot collect unlimited goods in one warehouse. So he must be more careful with his economy and he must stop the production of useless materials in time. The big advantage will be the new, higher resolution: THE PLAYER SEES EVERYTHING. No clicking on a building if you need to check the goods in it. This produces a much better overview. At the moment, a town hall, which can grow bigger in 3 steps, is planned.

Will there be a server from Blue Byte for playing S3 over the net? And if not, how are the players coming together? Will there be also a highscore?

Volker: Yes, there will be a Blue Byte server, a world-wide highscore, and even more. The server has been connected and it also has been tested already. My second programmer Dirk Rättig is responsible for the programing and he is doing very good work there.

How many players can play against one another?

Volker: Errhh, that is something that I shoudn't tell you... but it is a two-figured number :-).

Do you have experience with online-gaming? What do you want to do against bad pings? I think that is a very tricky problem.

Volker: My online experience is the biggest danger for S3... hahah ... Seriously: In Warcraft II I'm in the Top 100 and I have tested also other games like AOE or Starcraft.

I have worked out the S3 multiplayer system at the beginning of the project. Fortunately for games like S3 bad pings are not as dangerous as for an action game. We have created a dynamic system, which will coordinate the response times with the quality of the connection. This should avoid stopping games. Of course we are helpless if someone has got a very, very bad ISP. This player will get thrown out of the game by us. We are using a timer which isn't always reset to check.

We are also planning to replace removed players with computer players. This will keep some games from getting silly (e.g. 3 against 3).

How much jobs and how much ranks of soldiers will S3 have?

Volker: The number of jobs is nearly the same as in S2, but there will be some new jobs and some are not in S3. The soldiers have got 3 statuses, but there will be many different knights..

Aren't there carriers in S3?

Volker: Yes, they will be there... like already said above only the transport system is new.

Will there still be the quirly-factor? (I've missed it at Anno 1602)

Volker: It will be more quirly then ever... look at the screenshots :-)

The ships in S 2 -  eerrhh - will they work better? ;o)

Volker: If in S3 the ships aren't very good, I will get lynched. 8-) There were a lot of (justified) complaints about this problem in S2. In S3 transport ships can ship goods, war ships can attack and ferries can take units to enemy parts of the map...

Which ways of transport will be supported? Will there also be some kind of airplanes? :o)

Volker: S3 shouldn't be totaly realistic, but airplanes in the past is probably too much...

Were that too many questions? = :o)

Volker: Wahhh... Again one hour not programming... damn...

More news (trading with friend and enemy, war system, new jobs, multiplayer-mode, online-betatest and the secret features) I will present soon...

... byebye and happy settling...

Volker Wertich

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