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Earthwork Games Forts Interview

Forts is a physics based, tower building, action real time strategy game. You must build your fort while collecting resources, building defences, arming your fort, upgrading, repairing and shooting down projectiles. You must do all you can to keep your reactor safe.

I first came across Forts at this years Eurogamer when wandering around the Indie section. I would have walked straight past if a wonderfully mustached gentleman dressed as a WW1 soldier hadn’t stopped me. Then I played a little and had a rather lengthy conversation with it’s two creators, Tim and Nick. I had so much fun with this game I had to find out as much as possible and the more I heard the more I looked forward to it. This was definitely the game of the show this year for me.

Shortly after Eurogamer I got in touch and they kindly offered to do an email interview for us.

How did you come up with the idea for Forts? Did it start as something else or a minor concept and then eventually snowball into what Forts is now or is this the vision you had from the very start?
In early 2003 I was playing lots of Bridge Builder. A game where you construct a bridge to safely carry a train over a canyon. I thoroughly enjoyed the physics of it, and started brainstorming other game ideas that it could be used for. The second or third idea I hit upon was to add weapons and instead of constructing bridges it would be forts. It was a winning concept, reminding me and many others of a pen and paper game played as teenagers back in the 80’s.

The game you see today is true to the original concept, but has gained new features as we have experimented with it. We have a balanced set of weapons and defences, a tech tree, online co-op multiplayer, single player campaign, interactive tutorials, achievements and so on. Growing up with moddable games such as the Quake series there was no question about incorporating classic features such as a map editor, replay viewer and modding support. -Tim

Did you look at any other games to get any inspiration or ideas or did you actively avoid that to try and keep your game as original as possible?

Originally, the way the game worked, you could build any weapon you liked as soon as you had enough resources. However, this meant that the player wasn’t made to make decisions, and could counter pick easily, when confronted with a new weapon. We decided that this didn’t make for strategic thinking, and that the games could be more interesting. Having both played the original Company of Heroes, back in the day, we liked the way the simple tech tree system allowed for a variety of strategies, so started playing around with the idea of a proper tech tree.

The result is what you see in Forts today, with Workshops having to be built to construct Mortars, and Missiles, and then the Factory, which is necessary to create Cannons and Lasers. Along side that, you have the Upgrade Centre, for upgrading weapons, so now the player must make choices as to which building and which weapon they should build next. -Nick

I didn’t explore Forts much while I was playing, I was enjoying just shooting the other tower too much so I didn’t really look into the defenses and what different ones there are. So how many different defenses can you get and are they upgradable? Do they differ depending on which faction you play as?

There are a variety of ways to defend in Forts. The first, and most obvious, is to replace the standard wooden bracing with armour. Armour is tougher, meaning small arms have difficulty damaging it. Energy Shields can be used to reflect lasers, and sandbags absorb a lot of damage.

The second method is creative construction. The way a player builds his fort can decide whether or not they emerge victorious. By employing techniques like cross-bracing for extra stability, double doors to protect valuable weapons, and slanting armour to deflect incoming projectiles, a player can mitigate the effects of enemy fire.

Lastly, the third path to good defence is to not get hit at all. Good anti-air defence can mean the difference between a win and loss. Mortars and missiles can be shot out of the sky by machine guns, miniguns, and laser beams. With all these techniques available, we’re looking forward to seeing what ingenious forts players come up with. -Nick

Lastly, this is more a question for me than anyone else. When can we get our hands on Forts? I’ve not been able to stop thinking about this game since playing it and I need it.

We’re currently running a private beta,which you are part of, in order to get feedback and test the game. We will be releasing the full game Q1 2017. -Nick

I would like to thank Earthwork Games (Tim and Nick) again for this interview. As mentioned I am in the beta and it has not disappointed. Forts is a very impressive and ridiculously fun game. I’m not very good but I’m learning and still enjoying every second. I’m looking forward to playing the full game even more now. This game is definitely worth your time. To find out more about Forts head over to Earthwork Games.

About Aaron Chester

Massive game and movie enthusiast. In any free time I'm always playing something or watching something. I didn't choose the hermit life.

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