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Tuesday, April 7, 2009
 

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Introversion Software's Chris Delay Interviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Offworld has published a new interview with Introversion Software's Chris Delay. During the discussion the programmer discussed the company's history, the ideas behind its games, its unique method for dealing with game pirates, and Introversion's next title: Subversion, a game which will offer procedurally generated cityscapes.

And Defcon had a neat method for making money out of pirates included in it, right?
CD: The idea was that Defcon was a multiplayer game that needed a constant supply of players online if it was going to work. We were worried that without enough players it wouldn't gain enough momentum, and that it would jump right into a downward spiral. We figured that genuine players would still have a better time if they were playing against pirates, than playing against nobody. So we produced a pirate version of the game and released it into the world.
With Darwinia we released a torrent version that purported to be the full game, but was just two levels and a message telling the pirate they had ripped off a little indie developer. We'll never know how successful that was, but a huge number of people got that version. With Defcon we put the full game out with a specific authentication key, so we could track the use of it. It was all switched on and you could play the pirated game with that key, but at any time we could flip the switch and turn that version of the game off, with a message saying that you needed to pay for the game. That brought in new purchases. The idea behind what we call the "Purity Control" plan is to accept that there's going to be a pirate version on day one and take advantage of that. We've done that.

You're making programmer art an art style. You're vindicating that. Artists don't have to be there to make games look good.
CD: There's definitely a look and style to our videogames. I love sharp, vectorised lines, and work towards that. Look at the Darwinians, they're a classic piece of programmer art that got promoted into the lead character of the game. They're now our company logo too - what kind of logo summarised our design philosophy? We got into all kinds of discussions about that. But ultimately we're not going to make another shape that is as iconic as the Darwinians. They're an example of programmer art going mad and taking over.

That seems to continue in what we've seen of your new game, Subversion. The idea there is procedural generation, isn't it? Mathematics to create the totality of the game world?
CD: Well Subversion if the culmination of all those lessons about content that we learned in the earlier games. Subversion is quite an epic game, but Defcon and Darwinia are known in scale, you immediately grasp it. Here we're doing something else... procedural generation is really useful - we used it in the level creation of Darwinia, where we had high level plans of "oh, we want mountains there" but the details came out of the landscape system. We didn't plan every nook and cranny, it was completely randomised. We were planning for a mix of good luck and experimentation. With Subversion we're going to go the whole way with that, and use procedural generation to make the entire city.
Check out the full Q&A at the page linked below.

Offworld: Introversion Software
Introversion Software


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