"Our biggest feature is the battle system..."
Orion's Belt was first developed as a school project in 2003. After being maintained as a hobby project for over 5 years, it was shifted to the current employer of Pedro Santos in 2008 to ensure a more commercialized and professional development of the game. And it was well worth it: Not only has the community been blessed with a whole new set of features, even some tv stations have been attracted...
Galaxy-News: Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Pedro Santos: Hello, I'm Pedro Santos and I'm one of the developers of the Orion's Belt Browser Game.
Galaxy-News: When and why did you come up with the idea to create a browser game? How long did you work on it?
Pedro: I came up with the idea to create Orion's Belt with my friend and colleague at the time: Nuno Silva. We had to make a web application for a school project, and we thought about making a web game. This was in 2003 and we made the first version of Orion's Belt. We put it online and gathered a small but amazing community, that stayed with us
for a long time. During this period another friend joined the team, Tiago Sousa.
For about 5 years we maintained the project as a hobby, but last year our current employer decided to invest on the game, and we've been working on a new, commercial version of the game, for about a year.
Galaxy-News: Are there any special system specifications that are required to play Orion's Belt?
Galaxy-News: Please give a brief description of Orion's Belt.
Pedro: Orion's Belt is a space browser game where all battles are placed on a board game similar to chess. We have a universe representation where the players see the planets, fleets, arenas, and several other universe bodies. This universe has several innovations, like the fog of war and the real time representation of all items. The battles aren't automatic. When a player attacks another, the battle is placed on a board game, where every combat unit has its specific skills and abilities. This makes Orion's Belt very challenging, because it isn't the one with the most units that win, it depends on a lot of factors.
Galaxy-News: What other features are vital to succeed in the game? What else are you proud of?
Pedro: Definitely our biggest feature is the battle system. To succeed in the game a player needs to play very well on the battle field, and that can be very rewarding. It's great when we have a smaller fleet and even so we're able to win, just because we were smarter than our opponent.
Galaxy-News: How are players able to compete with other players? Let's focus on the multiplayer features.
Pedro: There are several multiplayer options. On the universe, we have special items called relics, designed for alliance wars. There are a lot of relics on the universe, and when an alliance conquers a relic, the relic will provide all the alliance members with rare resources per day. And the more relics an alliance has, the more resources it will gain. This makes that alliances focus on tactics to try to get as much relics as they can, without loosing none. Alliance diplomacy also comes to play here.
Another way to compete is on arenas. There are on the universe several arenas that work as follow: a player conquers the arena and is the current Gladiator. Another player can challenge the Gladiator for a fight, paying Orions (the game's currency). The winner stays at the arena and with the opponent's orions.
We also have a War Zone on the game, just with tournaments and ladders on top of our battle system. On the War Zone it's only the skills on the battle field that come into play.
Galaxy-News: Besides these options of fighting against one another: Are players able to cooperate and collaborate?
Pedro: Yes, mainly as an alliance. The battle for relics focus a lot on player cooperation, because the alliance members need to plan attack and defense.
Galaxy-News: Does the game support different play styles such as the "trader" or the "care bear"?
Pedro: The game has several professions that the player can choose. We have Gladiators that fight for arenas, merchants that focus on performing trade routes between markets, pirates that raid planets and hunt merchants, and bounty hunters that are after pirates.
The races also ofter different gameplay, there are races more easy to manage, and others more prepared for offense for example. The mix of race and profession offers such different play styles.
Galaxy-News: The game is currently available in 9 languages. Can we expect more to come in the near future?
Pedro: Yes. We've made available the Orion's Belt Translation Project[http://lang.orionsbelt.eu] where players can translate the game to other languages. We reward the players that help translating with Orions. Even so we'll target other main languages such as German, French, and will hire professional translators for that languages.
Pedro: At this moment we're implementing computer controlled mobs/fleets, and we'll have quests for players to hunt them and gather resources. The idea is that this way the players will be able to play faster without needing to wait for opponents.
Galaxy-News: Thank you for your time. Good luck with your game!
Pedro: Thank you :-)