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PC Action interview with Justin Halliday

During our visit to Beam Software/Melbourne House, we had the opportunity to interview Justin Halliday. Justin has worked at Beam for 7 years now, developing software and programs during this time there. Among these include the role game Shadowrun for the PC and Star Wars for the Super Nintendo. He produced KKND and now, KKND2, the sequel to the original.

PCA: What makes KKND 2 better than its predecessor?
Justin: KKND already had all essential elements of a great real-time strategy game, but the gameplay was too linear. KKND2 is simply prefect, its pure war! The multiplayer mode is greatly improved, and there is more variation in the singleplayer missions. The interface is more intuitive; there are more buildings, units and so on. In the development process, we played KKND1 and realised what we wanted to integrate the original game into the sequel. So, that was how KKND2 was born.
PCA: The AI is damn good. How did u get this to work?
Justin: We had a good base thanks to KKND1. We are multiplayer freaks and we tried to let the AI act like a human player, this was a long process. We set different parameters, and look how the AI reacts and sometimes it performed exactly how we wanted. In the end, I think it was a success. We found that we needed to slow the computer down in the first missions, as it was simply too difficult to play for beginners to the game.
PCA: How do you do this?
Justin: This process was actually very simple. We didn't hash around with the AI, but rather edited the maps. The distance to resources was changed to make the AI work harder, leaving the KKND 2 novice time to build up their base. Nevertheless, the AI will always defend itself with all available materials when it is under attack.
PCA: How highly do you rate KKND in comparison to the competition?
Justin: I see two main competitors: StarCraft and Total Annihilation. However, I don't want to judge this games now. I think that hard-core strategist will buy all three titles anyway. The matter is not whether KKND 2 is better than StarCraft, but rather whether or not KKND2 is fun to play. I can only say: yes! It's a lot of fun!
PCA: What game would you produce if you had unlimited time and money?
Justin: Oh, I think a I would produce a role-playing game. I would enjoy realising something similar to Zelda 64, for the Nintendo 64, on a PC format.
PCA: Thanks for the interview.

Download the Full PC Action article in German (PDF, 2.1 MB).