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Saturday 14th October 2000 - Bitmap Brothers Interview
Posted: Saturday, 14 October 2000 16:38pm

    1. Tell us the history of The Bitmap Brothers, how did you guys (and girls get started?

    Founded in 1987 by Steve Kelly, Mike Montgomery and Eric Matthews the Bitmap Brothers were the original 'rockstar' developers - a small, but highly successful development team that prized quality over quantity, and depth over glitz. Originally set up to develop the game Xenon.

    2. Was the first Z game a success? How will the first game be improved with this sequel?

    Z was a success but certainly had competition from other similar titles at that time. Z2 is a logical progression from Z and adheres to the formula used in the original, an arcade style strategy game that is immediate and accessible. Z2 will be an altogether more immersive experience and is certainly far more detailed than the original. Essentially, Z took place within the Z universe whereas Z2 defines it. The territory model from the original is still employed but has evolved into a resource model for the sequel.

    3. The game is set in the far future, what goes wrong this time? Aliens (or something similar)?

    Z2 begins at a time where a peace initiative between the Red and Blue factions is almost signed bringing the long and devastating conflict to a close. The player's alta ego is stranded on a lowly backwater planet along with his squad and is awaiting extraction and reassignment elsewhere in the system, probably as a security guard - what else can a combat robot do? Then something goes horribly wrong...

    4. Z2 is a 3D RTS game that looks very much like Ground Control or Dark Reign 2, what will be the main differences?

    It's something for all RTSG fans and I think that Z2 like many other sequels has 'grown up' in terms of both technology and gameplay. There's no psuedo 3D used here, everything from the ground up has been designed to make the most of the 3D nature of the game but make it as accessible and straight forward as a 2d game. Thus players will need to work out how to use the terrain to their advantage, deciding which territories to conquer next, do they go for the economically sound or strategically important? Which route should they employ to gain their objectives and which units should they build and deploy to achieve them?

    5. Do players need to build a base, units and manage their resources (like money etc...)?

    Z2 allows you to build your own base where you want to rather than having predefined building positions. The only constraint on the player is that you have to own the land that you wish to build upon, so you are still forced to go out and conquer the terrain in the region. When you take possession of a territory a mine is built that harvests Xenonite that is converted into currency for the player to pay for the expansion of his forces.

    6. Who or what is your opponent?

    Unlike the original Z2 is plot driven, with the player progressing through a campaign that takes place over 30 levels. The mission structure of the game takes this into consideration with the player having to achieve a plethora of objectives in his battle against the blue forces.

    7. Any special weapons or vehicles that we haven't seen before in any game?

    The war machine that the player commands has been completely reworked and extended within Z2. Again due to the fact that highly realistic terrain environments exist within the game it seemed only fair to give the player a full navy and air force to command as well as the robotic infantry and armoured fighting vehicles from the first game. In total there are 30 unit types and 20 building types for the player to experiment with. There is a new core of elite infantry units that have been introduced, the Technician, Explosives Expert and the Spy.

    8. Will there be a multiplayer part in the game? Will there be a community such as Battlenet? What multiplayer options will be included?

    The multi-player aspect of Z2 features a variety of multi-player gaming modes and supports up to 8 players over LAN or the Internet.

    9. Any clue about the release date?

    March 2001

    10. Tell us something more about the graphics engine.

    The engine has full support for Direct3D and Glide 3 with 16 or 32-bit colour at any resolution your card can handle. We're using a level-of-detail system for the landscape combined with real-time shadows, reflections and real-time deformation. The engine also has an advanced particle system allowing effects like smoke and dust to be affected by global and local forces. The physics system provides some stunning explosion effects on building and units and the weather system provides realistic snow and rain and time of day effects.

    11. Thank you for this interview.

    You're welcome...

Taken from

Related Links

Game Sites:

Bitmap Brothers pages

Official Z: Steel Soldiers Site
Z: Steel Soldiers


EON Digital Entertainment




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