5 captures
26 Dec 1996 - 04 Nov 1999
About this capture
Agents of Cool's Richard Grimes and Wes Kilgore recently interviewed MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries Producer Jack Mamais and Director Tim Morten. In this excerpt, Mamais and Morten discuss the game's conception, creative motivations behind game features including cumulative damage and repair situations, and networkable play.
Jack Mamais
Tim Morten
Listen to the interview in:

AOC: What do you guys exactly do in terms of taking a game from nothing to something?
T. Morten: It usually starts with some technology and a creative concept. The hard part of course is getting the two things to agree, so there is a long period of modifying the creative concept to fit what we can technically pull off and expanding our technology to try to satisfy the creative ideas of the design team. It's a pretty long process. On MechWarrior 2 we spent two-and-a-half years on the product and on Mercenaries it took basically a year.
AOC: So who came up with the idea on Mercenaries of having the damage become cumulative and having to buy stuff after each battle?
J. Mamais: We knew after MechWarrior 2 the Clans and Ghost Bear's Legacy, a lot of people were asking to play the Inner Sphere side of things. In the Battle Tech Universe the Inner Sphere side is run a lot differently than the Clan side, and to best illustrate that point we wanted to make the Mechs more geared to the players. So we decided that we would enforce a cumulative damage and repair situation so they would have to basically take care of their Mech armies themselves rather than just having access to a huge stable of Mechs with any type of weapons. It was in response to people's desires and also something we could do to remain true to the Universe.
AOC: You know, I'll be honest, I thought it was going to kind of an annoying feature, but its actually one of the most enjoyable parts of the game.
J. Mamais: I'm glad you like it. After spending $1.5 Million T-bills customizing their Mech, we wanted to make sure that they were very scared about losing that Mech....We wanted the Mechs to become more dear to them. In the BattleTech Universe, Mechs are almost considered artifacts because they're so valuable and so hard to get a hold of. So we wanted to try to instill that spirit in the game.
AOC: Right. It certainly takes the Rambo out of you when you realize you have to actually pay to get it fixed afterwards. You now include the ability to play over the Internet. Is that going to be available in more of your games?
T. Morten: Absolutely. Mercenaries was the premiere of that technology from us and we will be including it in a lot of games. Right now, we're working on making our server side more sophisticated so we can do things like track player scores from game to game. Now there are players waiting on our servers to play pretty much all times of the day so you can get matched up with other people around the world who want to play a Mercenaries game. But there is no sense of longevity in terms of your scores or ranking, so we're going to continue to develop that technology.
AOC: It's really hard to get four or six of the people you work with to buy this $50 game to play with you. Are you looking into bundling this access a little differently?
J. Mamais: Well, actually all you need is one copy of Mercenaries and eight people can play because it spawns other copies. All you need to do is find friends on a network and install Mercs on their machine and it will run fine.
AOC: Do you have a Mac version of Mercs coming out?
J. Mamais: I don't think it's planned right now.
AOC: Can you network a MechWarrior game between a Mac and a PC?
T. Morten: Unfortunately not yet, but that's something we've had a lot of requests for, so we're looking into that technology.
AOC: Any chance you're gonna have any titles available on the new Nintendo 64?
T. Morten: We haven't announced anything yet, but there is definitely a good chance that we will.
J. Mamais: Activision's always there.
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