GA-Souce - First Looks
News Center   All The News
  Gaming News
  Hardware News
  Linux News -NEW!!
  Developer News
  Community News

Business News   Business News
  Investor Insight
  Industry Index

Interviews   Interviews
  Gamer Among Us

First Looks
Previews
Reviews   How We Grade
  Stamp of Approval

Hardware   News
  Reviews

Special Features   Articles
  Beta Team
  Contest!

Files   Demos
  Patches
  Drivers
  Trailers

Community   News
  Editorials
  Discussion
  Links
  Live Chat!
  GA Sports
  GA Network

Information   About Us
  The Staff
  Contact Us
  Advertise


 










 

Dragon Hoard
Publisher: None Yet
Developer: Blue Fang Games
Scheduled To Release: Q2 2000


Written By: John Bergerud
Posted On: Wednesday, March 10, 1999

Introduction

Dragon Hoard is a strategy/role-playing game where the player assumes the role of a great dragon of legend. The player chooses to be one of five types of dragons. The player ("he") will spend much of his time flying around a full 3D world, with a third-person perspective. He will collect gold to increase his hoard, gain prestige and knowledge, fight fantastical creatures, compete head to head with other dragons, and influence the various races in the full world simulation to do his bidding-all in an effort to become the most powerful dragon in the land.

Dragon Hoard combines a real-time strategy game with role-playing and action game elements, to create a game experience for the player that is both role-playing game and god-game, where the god-like being is the player-dragon. The concept works on a number of levels, and has a strong precedent in the classic game Sid Meier's Pirates. In the game Pirates, the player's task is to become a great pirate, performing all of the acts for which pirates were universally known: fighting warships and sword duels, amassing great treasure, and becoming famous. Dragon Hoard will advance this concept by applying the latest technology advances to this hybrid game experience to create a rich gaming experience for the player.

Dragons wield great influence over the people, places and events in Dragon Hoard. It is up to the player to decide how he wishes to play the strategy portion of the game. He can use his immense power to subjugate the humanoid races under his sway, ruling an area by fear and intimidation. Or he can choose to work in subtler, and perhaps more positive ways to help one of the "lesser" races to succeed and as a result worship the dragon for its wisdom and aid. To "win" the game, he must become the most powerful dragon in the world, defeating all other dragons in the process. The game has tremendous possibilities as a multi-player game, with players assuming any of the five different dragon types and competing with one another for world supremacy.

In terms of the strategy genre, Dragon Hoard features a fully-simulated world in which the player as the dragon must work to influence and control the humanoid races, monitor the progress of other dragons, and control the territory he inhabits in the game. As for role-playing elements, the player can choose the type of dragon (character) he wishes to play. As the player-dragon moves through its many age changes, he can also choose which attributes, spells, attacks (bite, claw, tail, breath, etc.) and defenses he wishes to build up at each level. He can gather, store and use magic items, spell books, etc. And finally, Dragon Hoard has action game elements, in that the player flies through a full 3D world, battling humanoid parties and armies, unique creatures and monsters and, of course, other dragons.

Story

Though there is a compelling back-story that plays throughout the game and ties things together for the player, much of the essence of Dragon Hoard revolves around the myths and legends of dragons themselves. Dragons are among the most potent and terrible of creatures of mythology. Though descriptions vary to some degree, in the main they are huge yet agile, bright but vain, enchanted but physical, and learned yet savage beasts. Dragons are the embodiment of all natural forces of knowledge, motion, strength, and magic, be it for offense or defense. No creature of legend or nature manifests such a wondrous blend of attributes.

The Dragons

Though there are five different types of dragons in Dragon Hoard, they all share similar features. They possess slender but well-muscled bodies, six appendages (two legs, two arms, and two wings), great talons, a long neck and tail, horns, and scaly body armor, relatively soft on the underside and reinforced along the spine by a row of raised or spiked plates.

Dragons are always looking to increase their knowledge, especially involving all things magical. They are always on the lookout for new spells. Dragons can grow to be powerful spell users in the game, though each dragon type has their specialties. Dragons are even willing to trade service to gain this magical knowledge.

Given all of the above, the question that might naturally rise is: "If dragons are this powerful, then why don't they just eliminate the lesser races?" The quick answer is that they need an audience. Dragons are amazingly boastful, self-centered and invariably consumed with pride. They revel in flattery and bask in others' adoration. Their nature forces them to show the lesser creatures how great and powerful they are, generating worship akin to that given to minor deities. The more fear or adoration the dragon receives, the more power the dragon has. He can force others to do his bidding, based on status attained.

The player-dragon will be concerned with four key things: Prestige, Gold, Vanity, and Knowledge (includes magic knowledge). The most important element of Dragon Hoard is prestige. Everything the dragon does in the game either increases or decreases their prestige. This in turn has a great effect on the attitudes of the races, creatures, and other dragons toward the player-dragon. The more prestige and influence that the dragon has on the world, the easier it will be to overcome villages and defeat other dragons in the game.

Dragons also have an innate and well-documented need to collect gold. They use this gold to transform from one age to another. They also use it to compare themselves against other dragons. The more gold a dragon has, the more prestige they have relative to other dragons. The dragon is always interested in increasing their treasure hoard.

Dragons are also notoriously vain creatures. Dragons often boast about their deeds. Judicious use of boasting can increase the player-dragon's prestige and power. However, if the player is not careful, this can backfire on him. For example, boasting to a more powerful dragon just might make that dragon angry enough to seek out the player, and force him to back up his boasts-a potentially lethal situation for the player.

Gameplay

The player starts the game as a young dragon. He must gain experience, knowledge, power and gold to grow in stature and rank. The game will present itself to the player as a series of scenarios. Each time the player completes a particular set of scenarios, he will enter a special dragon sleep, which lasts but a few moments in real-time but in the game, many decades at least will have passed when he awakes. The dragon will have grown in size and power, gained new spells and abilities, and will be ready to deal with the world as it has progressed through those many years. The world, and its inhabitants, will not have been idle.

Levels

Dragon Hoard is broken down into ten different segments, each representing the dragon's age. When the player accumulates enough gold, he will enter a special sleep, in which the dragon will grow to the next age level. Since a dragon often lives 1000 or more years, this process can take many years to complete. The dragon will awaken to a brand new world having gained more powers and abilities. The player will be able to pick and choose these new skills and abilities, much like traditional role-playing games. This enables the player to tailor the abilities of the dragon to his style of play.

The player will spend much of his time flying around a full 3D world, with a third-person perspective situated above and behind the dragon. He will control their dragon with a combination of the keyboard and mouse as he flies over a richly textured landscape of forests, mountains, plains, towns, castles, and more. The player will use all his resources including the dragon's breath weapon, spells, tooth and claw to battle various 3D modeled creatures, from the wandering groups of lowly goblins to massive fire giants. Once defeated, enemies often yield treasure, mostly gold but sometimes useful magic items.

Whether to heal battle wounds or just plan their next move, the player will return often to their lair. This is his home base. The player will use the lair as a place to plan his next strategy, store important magic items, change available spells, and heal. He can also examine the world situation with an extensive informational map. The map will display the status of controlled villages, the territories of the other dragons and races, and interesting power areas and special sites.

Weapons

A dragon's weapons are many. Their huge claws, whip-like tails, and massive, multi-rowed teeth enable them to physically overpower almost any foe. But the dragon's most devastating weapon is his powerful breath weapon. Dragons have an innate ability to spew forth various elements, depending on their heritage and environment. The great Mountain Dragon belches forth a cone of incendiary fire, while the Desert Dragon shoots forth a bolt of lightning-each devastating in its own way.

Magic

The player-dragon's pursuit of magic is another important element in the game. They are always looking to increase their magical knowledge. This is accomplished by seeking out wizards, completing quests, controlling Elven villages, and defeating powerful creatures. The more magic knowledge a dragon has, the more powerful they are and the more prestige they will have earned.

What's New

The exploration and combat in Dragon Hoard would not be as captivating without a living, breathing world in which to interact. While the player is going about their business, the world is being simulated. Three races: Elves, Humans and a mysterious third race we are calling the Vrak will be competing with each other as they try to establish themselves in the world. Each race has their own unique abilities and characteristics. These change and grow over time as the races advance their technology. Technology includes things such as magic, armor, weapons, tactics and general defense, depending on the particular race. Villages can grow from a small collection of hovels to large castles and cities, with requisite advances in technology. Advances in technology will be one of the primary vehicles for increasing the difficulty-level of the game as the player advances.

While the races have their own goals and ambitions, how these play themselves out during the course of the game is different every time the game is played. In one game, the Elves and humans may be at constant war while in another they may co-exist peacefully. The player's actions can often have a large impact in shaping the world. It is very similar to the pebble in the pond analogy. The player's actions, though they may seem small at the time, can ripple throughout the world. This offers a multitude of situations and challenges for the player to experience, each and every time he plays the game.

The different villages of the races offer a unique opportunity for the player. Dragons can control these villages, either through fear and intimidation or through kindness and service. These villages can confer on the dragon gold, prestige, and knowledge in varying amounts, depending on the location and race of village. Once a player controls a village it will continue to confer the bonus to the player until another dragon takes control of the village, the population revolts against the player, or the village is destroyed. The size of the village determines many things: the amount of gold, prestige, and knowledge it produces; the type of defense, the strength of the defense, the service/intimidation needed to subdue the village, etc. While it may have been easy to subdue the low-tech human village, the heavily fortified castle is a different story.

There will be other power areas in the game as well: castles, wizard towers, ancient magic areas, and special locations that confer gold, prestige, knowledge, or some other special bonus. Some of these might be one-time bonuses or they can be controlled, like a village, and confer the bonus over time. But, they can also be taken over or destroyed by other creatures/dragons.

The game will end when the player completes the last stage of his life and has defeated all the other dragons.

Latest Update

When will we see this game and where are you in terms of game development?

Dragon Hoard's tentative ship date is Q2 2000, so we're still more than a year away from the game's release at this point. We haven't even nailed down a publisher yet, though that situation is beginning to sort itself out. We've got a number of follow-up meetings set up for the Game Developers Conference out in San Jose in March, where we expect we'll be getting close to determining who our publishing partner will be.

But for now, I can tell you that we've got a beautiful looking dragon flying around in a pretty awesome looking 3D world, with some special effects in place. There are some game play elements in place as well. That's about it, but IMHO that's pretty good considering we're more than a year away from ship.

Editor's Note: The company's president and cofounder is Adam Levesque. Levesque was most recently the general manager of Papyrus Design Group, a Cendant Software company. Prior to holding that position, he was the executive producer at Papyrus for the Grand Prix Legends auto-racing game, and the producer and designer of both the NASCAR 1 & 2 racing games.


Related Articles:


Copyright � 1999 Gamer's Alliance Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission
of Gamer's Alliance Inc. is prohibited.