Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator interview: Producer shares the insights on mobile development

Hearing from the Inaugural Pocket Playfest Winners!

There is a lot of curiosity regarding Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator which emerged as the inaugural winner of the recently concluded TapTap Pocket Playfest 2023. We at GamingonPhone felt the same way and sat on an interview with Guo Xing, the Producer of Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator at Screambox Studio to get some insights on the game to get the thoughts of the team regarding their win, insights behind the game idea and their plans for the future.

You’re the winner of the inaugural TapTap Pocket Playfest. How are you feeling about it?

I feel both honored and surprised. Due to the rushed preparation for this TapTap Playfest, we haven’t had enough time for game optimization. As a result, the game’s loading time was longer, and it could not run on devices with less than 4GB of RAM. I want to apologize to those players who love our game but are unable to experience it smoothly.

Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator gameplay
Image via Screambox Studio

However, I’m grateful for everyone’s support for Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator (I’ll just call it SWS). Despite the challenges, players still chose to vote for it. Thank you all. We are currently working on game optimizations, and now we have made it possible for low-memory phones to experience the game smoothly.

What was the original idea behind Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator?

As a game developer, my first game AngerForce is a scrolling shooter game with a 90s arcade style.

When the game was released, my son was less than two years old, but he would grab my phone and swipe around to play it. I assume he didn’t fully understand it, but that didn’t stop him from playing for over a year. One day, I came home and found that he wasn’t playing my game anymore. Instead, he was playing Wefly (a F2P paid Shmup game developed by Tencent, where you can pay to make your plane more durable or increase the damage of your bullets). I was surprised and asked him, Why aren’t you playing daddy’s game? He replied, I failed a lot when playing your game…” At that moment, I felt like Wefly “stole” my son.

Most of the games I made before were action games, more on the hardcore side with fast-paced gameplay, which may not be a suitable choice for everyone. I wanted to create a game that was easier to play, allowing kids to have fun as well.

I believe many people had childhood fantasies of playing with toy soldiers and pretending to be in a war game. Siege Warfare Simulator attempts to recreate that world, like a toy sandbox. My son gave his maze book to me to “draw some inspiration.” He really likes Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator and often asks me to play co-op with him against computer AI. He’s 10 years old now.

How will the porting from PC to mobile platforms affect the gameplay and user interface? Are there any changes or optimizations for the mobile version?

During the early stages of game design, we considered how to approach the interaction design for potential porting to consoles or mobile platforms. In fact, the first prototype of the game was a mobile version running on the iPad Pro 2018.

Now, the first issue we encountered on mobile platforms is the loading speed. Many players have reported that the main menu takes a long time to load, and some even thought their devices had frozen. This is because the game’s resources are loaded in a single burst, which takes a considerable amount of time.

Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator gameplay
Image via Screambox Studio

Furthermore, this results in excessive memory usage, causing low-memory mobile devices to crash or be unable to run the game properly. We sincerely apologize to those players with such devices. Our development team has limited testing devices, making it challenging to cater to the experience on all models.

We have now implemented dynamic loading of content for low-memory devices and will release memory based on the running situation, thereby addressing the two aforementioned issues. In the future, when the game is officially released, we will provide quality options, allowing older devices to maintain smooth performance by disabling certain special effects.

Could you tell us more about how players would progress in the game?

SWS offers a high degree of freedom and a diverse range of content. We designed over a dozen prototype units, each equipped with different active and passive skills, forming the game’s fundamental combat units/squads.

Additionally, the game includes various types of siege equipment and consumable items. These items can assist the squads in completing different types of missions during battles—using ladders to forcefully climb the city walls, steadily advancing with the aid of arrow towers and city fortifications, or employing highly maneuverable troops for exploration and disruption, among others.

Explaining all the tactical possibilities that arise from these elements to players would be difficult, but we can showcase the game’s content and features through a series of short and distinctive levels. As for how to apply them, players are encouraged to freely use their imagination and explore the possibilities.

How will microtransactions or in-game purchases be implemented in Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator, if at all?

To be honest, we haven’t thought a lot about this yet.

SWS is a paid game on PC and includes a level editor (although it’s not fully open yet). After purchasing the game, players can freely experience the content provided by the development team. If they are not satisfied with it, they can use the editor to create new content on their own.

This kind of feature design is reminiscent of the games I played in the 1990s, such as Heroes of Might & Magic III, StarCraft, and Warcraft. Besides the main game, they also included level editors on the installation discs. I used to spend a lot of time playing with their level editors and enjoyed playing the imaginative levels created by other players online.

Over time, development tools have advanced, and an easy-to-use game editor is no longer a necessity for developing games. Nowadays, few kids have the opportunity to experience the joy of using the editors shared by developers. With SWS, we hope to offer a free and generous tool, just like those old games did, allowing players to unleash their imagination and find more joy. Balancing fun and generosity with commercial design is undoubtedly a challenging task. For SWS, our current goal is to focus on completing the first two aspects.

A few game modes on PC, King of the Hill and Surprise Raid look fantastic. Any additional plans for the mobile version?

SWS is still in continuous development, and in the PC version, there will be gameplay modes allowing for resource scramble and resource points capture. Moreover, there are many interesting elements in our minds that we want to try. We are looking forward to presenting them to players in the official version.

Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator gameplay
Image via Screambox Studio

Additionally, we are creating special versions of maps specifically for the mobile version. For example, in the current testing phase, there are several maps with the “Pocket Version” suffix, designed exclusively for players on the mobile platform.

We’re curious about the lengthy game title. Why Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator? 

I’m not very good at coming up with names. At first, I just wanted to create a unique and fun tactical simulation game with a level editor, but when it came time to release the game, I really got a headache.

I had a friend who made a game called Amazing Cultivation Simulator, and I thought that name was really catchy. I also saw another warfare simulator game called TABS: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator. These names have a quirky and humorous feel to them, and I remembered them instantly.

So, I learned from them and gave my game a contrasting name: Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator. Every time I proudly say this name out loud, it feels like I’m casting out some incredible spells that immediately captivate others! And when they play my game, they can’t help but smile.

The game would be fun to play with friends with a co-op feature. Is it already there or are there future plans for that?

SWS not only supports co-op modes and battles but also allows players from the mobile version and PC to play together across platforms.

In the official release version, the level versions for each platform will be tailored to their characteristics, resulting in slight differences. For example, since mobile devices have smaller screens, we will appropriately reduce the size and complexity of the level maps in the mobile version.

With the cross-platform feature, mobile players who wish to experience the level maps from the PC version can join rooms created by PC players to play them.

What’s the future roadmap for this game?

We are continuously creating new content, with new-level maps being added to the game almost every month. The sandbox editor of the game is also in ongoing development, with more features being integrated. In the future, we will also support co-op in custom-made levels. For mobile players, please be patient, as we haven’t completed the porting work for the sandbox editor for the mobile version.

In addition to the new materials and performance improvements available in the sandbox editor, we are also developing new Rogue-like gameplay modes. It won’t be long before everyone can experience them.

That’s all for our Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator interview! Did you feel we missed out on any query in this Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator Interview? Let us know in the comment section below!

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