Conifer Games Forums

At The Gates => AtG - General Discussion => Topic started by: Jon Shafer on June 04, 2015, 04:08:58 PM

Title: Gameranx interview offers a new look into AtG's development
Post by: Jon Shafer on June 04, 2015, 04:08:58 PM
INTRO:

Jon Shafer knows 4X games. After all, he's spent at least half his life on them. Starting in high school the 30 year old games designer slowly climbed the ranks at Firaxis, first as a teenaged Civilization III modder, then as a Civilization III expansion beta tester, to programming intern and later, full time designer and programmer on the Civilization IV expansions.

After conquering the development ranks by reaching lead designer and principal gameplay programmer for Civilization V, he moved on briefly to Stardock to work on an unannounced title but left two years later to found his own studio, Conifer Games, where he remains today working on At The Gates. This Kickstarter-funded strategy title pits the player as barbarians playing against the Roman Empire, competing for land and dwindling precious resources as they strive towards the superior society.

I spoke with him recently about At The Gates, strategy games, what it's been like to carry a studio on his own shoulders, and whether Kickstarter has helped or hindered the creative process. He was very generous with his answers, even when I asked (because you know I just had to) about those oh-so-controversial hexagonal tiles in Civilization V. Read on...
(http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/28201/article/exploring-a-new-strategy-frontier-an-interview-with-jon-shafer/)
Title: Barbarian Politics
Post by: marcavis on June 09, 2015, 11:36:10 PM
Quote
"Unlike other 4X games, At The Gates is played from the perspective of the Barbarians, eschewing the typical empire-building in favor of a more nomadic-style pursuit of victory. Was this inspired at all by Civilization and its use of raiding Barbarian camps? As I read up on At The Gates, I felt myself lamenting that Civ 5 does not have a mode that allows you to go against city states and civs as a Barbarian camp/unit"

I thought this was an intriguing question in several ways... it not only asks you what was the deepest inspiration for At the Gates, but... I sorta saw it as attempting to ascertain how deeply games criticism feeds back ideas to game developers? (Even if unintentionally)
Modern games criticism has often tried to extract political thinking from game mechanics and narratives, and one point that I've seen argued is how one-dimensional barbarians often are - often, all you can do is destroy them, and that could say something about how (e.g. western) society views nomadic peoples and such in its art.

Political focuses aside, Jon, have you looked into diversifying Bandits in the future, given how they work pretty much like Civ's Barbarians? It's looking like it's turtles all the way down, and probably the Bandits have their own Bandits to bother them.  :P
Title: Re: Gameranx interview offers a new look into AtG's development
Post by: Yabby69 on July 10, 2015, 05:42:39 AM
Hi Jon

On the bandits, I love that you've included the mechanism of disguising your troops. However, it also felt like a cheap tactic - have you thought about the disguise / un-disguise taking effect at the start of your next turn rather than on your current turn to lessen its power?

Then again, maybe I'm over valuing the power of this ability...
Title: Re: Gameranx interview offers a new look into AtG's development
Post by: clayffo on July 12, 2016, 06:17:18 PM
its nice to see that you're posting to your site and ignoring us KS backers as per usual.  Thanks again

Creator Jon Shafer on May 13 

Hey all, apologies for the lengthy radio silence. I've been dealing with some health issues the past few months and had to take some time off. I'm back in the saddle as of today though, so no need to worry about whether the game will be finished or not - you should start seeing updates to the game again next week!

- Jon
Title: Re: Gameranx interview offers a new look into AtG's development
Post by: Athelas on July 13, 2016, 05:09:01 AM
Which site is he posting to? These posts are old. I tried reaching him on twitters and mails no luck. Anyone got anything new?
Title: Re: Gameranx interview offers a new look into AtG's development
Post by: Thanaburn on October 18, 2017, 01:16:51 AM
Hopefully the pudding times will have something good that's old.