The game was developed to run only on Windows 95 in 800 x 600 pixel resolution with 256 colors. The program needs roughly 16 MB RAM, but since Windows 95 itself needs about 8 MB, your computer will need at least 24 MB memory. Currently the program may not run on Windows NT. Microsoft( DirectX5.0/6.0 components are used in different technical parts of the program. You must have a Pentium-compatible processor with at least 133 MHz clock speed. This enables the game to run smoothly and realistically. You'll need roughly 80 MB hard disk space, since the rendered cut scenes are loaded only by CD. You'll also need a soundcard, but the brand doesn't really matter, since Windows 95 will take control here. The music is played with the help of audio tracks. You won't need a joystick or equivalent, only a mouse and your keyboard. To support network action, we used Microsoft's( DirectPlay You can pause/start the game at any time using the task list. The program is written mostly in C++, with a few routines in Assembler language for the sake of speed optimization. The development was carried out with Microsoft's( Developer-Studio. The program does not currently support MMX.
All the graphics (with the exception of the landscape), are bitmaps, which are either "pixelled" or calculated using Autodesk's 3D-Studio Release 4 program. They are flexibly structured and merge perfectly with the light and shadow conditions of the corresponding background. The background was created using the Gouraud-Shading Routine which enabled realistic high ground imagery. Creating the landscape, with true-to-nature hills, valleys and plains, was extremely complex. To obtain a proper, natural image of different types of terrain, we used up to 256 different bitmaps, laid out in rectangular sections, each roughly 40 by 40 pixels. The animated water in the landscape was created using palette rotation. Game animation is based on 10 images per second. The shadows of countless objects were generated by a black grid pattern, which is almost impossible to recognize as such, due to the 800 by 600 pixel resolution. A "real" shadow is technically programmable, but not practicable in this case, due to the high cost of the calculation processes.
The networked game
Special cards are available for the multi-player mode. They make the game really competitive and exciting. The cards are programmed with strategic components which are different than those available in the single player mode. To avoid having each player hanging around in his own backyard, so to speak, we situated a lot of sources of raw material between the players' locations, making confrontation necessary. Single cards for two or more players are also available, meaning that groups of players can oppose other groups, winning or losing as a unit. At least 10 or more multi-player cards will be available in the near future.
During the game the player can send messages, which are sent in single player mode. This enables the player to read incoming messages, if he has the time to do so. He/she can ascertain the source of the message, and, from that, the priority level, by simply reading the symbols, without actually reading the message itself. In some circumstances the computer will actually send a message from a fake source to a player. These fake messages will either be threatening, insulting, or begging for mercy. This breathes life into the normally passive computer opponent, and forces human opponents to be at their competitive best. There are three types of computer opponent: weak and helpless, neutral and constructive or aggressive and powerful. Just like the human players, the computer can and will break up alliances and form new ones.