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Linkage
- Empire Deluxe Yahoo Group
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- PGIE Yahoo Group


All About What's Buzzin' in the Bee Hive (FAQ)

Hopefully this page will answer many questions you might have regarding the development aspects, as well as some other aspects of Killer Bee Software. The forum is the best place to get answers to questions not answered in this page.


Killer Bee Software Development FAQ

Questions


Answers

General Killer Bee Questions

Who are you?

I am Mark Kinkead, a nerdly computer programmer with a passion for games, especially strategic ones. Empire Deluxe has to be one of my all time favorites, and The Perfect General was a ton of fun to play head to head. I acquired the copyrights to these games and formed my own software shop, Killer Bee Software.

What is your experience?

I have about ten years of programming experience in both military and commercial/financial settings. I have not really written any major programs for the entertainment industry, though I have written several hacks and utilities for games such as Empire Deluxe, The Perfect General, Dungeon Keeper II, and the Counter-Strike Half-Life Mod. All of those utilities were simple hobby products that I did in my spare time.

So is this just a hobby project?

No it is not. This is my full time job. My intentions are to see it through, and there is no personal or financial reason as to why I cannot. Do remember that only through your purchase and word-of-mouth praise when you obtain the product will I be able to continue and make it better for you.

So who is your publisher? How are the games available?

Currently I am working without a formal publisher. If the necessity to have one arises, I shall look into obtaining one. However, at this time I intend to publish the games myself.

The games are distributed online via download. Most people order the games from BMT Micro with their credit card. The games can be purchased out of BMT's catalog or from my order page.

Are there other ways to buy the games besides Credit Card Purchase?

Yes there are. I have accepted payment via Western Union Money Gram, Paypal, and through the mail. Those interested in a transaction this way should fill out the "mail order" form for the game of interest, and then contact me at mok@killerbeesoftware.com. The mail order form can be found off of the order page for each specific game.

Can I get your games on CD?

I am not distributing the game on CDROM, but if you order the games through BMT Micro's Catalog you can get your order put on CD for $10.00.

Can I work with you on your projects?

No, currently I am not looking for further help technically with my projects.

What future products are you planning to create?

There are other projects planned for Killer Bee Software. Currently the only ones that have been hinted at are Empire Deluxe Enhanced Edition and The Perfect General Enhanced Edition. Neither of these titles have been formally announced as of yet, but I am furiously working on their design, as well as concrete designs for two other yet to be mentioned games.

I never heard of Empire Deluxe or The Perfect General. Why should I care?

You should only care if you enjoy a good game of Chess, or Steve Jackson's Ogre/GEV series, Sid Meir's Civilization Series, Avalon Hill's Tactics II or Panzer Blitz, or some other board based war game. Like those great games, these games were carefully balanced, tested, and played by many experienced war gamers. ED and TPG were created at a time when graphics were 16 colors or less and the main focus was on game play. These games have given me personally literally hundreds of hours of excellent gaming experiences. My feelings towards these games are not unique. Thousands of other gamers enjoyed these titles. Sure, there were spin-offs, rip-offs and other inspired works, but few really lived up to the quality game play of these two games.

I think you're crazy for doing this...

A lot of people have mentioned this to me, and they are definitely on to something I suspect. However, I am not alone in the asylum because I have recieved a ton of e-mail from people happy to hear of the revival of some excellent strategy games, have recieved mentions in PC Gamer Magazine, on CNN, and crazy people are purchasing and enjoying these games every day. You can find some of those lunatics in the Empire Deluxe Yahoo Group, The Perfect General Internet Edition Yahoo Group, or on my forum.


Empire Deluxe Internet Edition Questions

What is Empire Deluxe (ED)?

"Empire Deluxe is a game of strategic conquest. You, the player, start with one city on a vast, random world. You decide what your cities will produce; armies, planes or ships. Then explore the world and conquer neutral cities. Expand your power base as you attempt to conquer the entire planet. There's only one small problem. There may be up to five other players out there trying to do exactly the same thing, and you're in the way."

-- Old ED Manual, Introduction Section

Empire Deluxe is one of my all time favorite games. It encompasses strategic planning, exploration, production management, and fog-of-war in one nice package.

The game originates from Walter Bright's EMPIRE, which has ventured both on Unix systems and PC platforms. Mark Baldwin and Bob Rakosky of White Wolf Productions took EMPIRE, added more rules and units, and created EMPIRE DELUXE.

Here are some screenshots of Empire Deluxe Internet Editon (EDIE).

There was a book written for the game by Alan Emrich and Mark Carroll, It gives a historical perspective on the game. It can still be bought used on Amazon, called "Empire Deluxe, The Official Strategy Guide". Check it out.

We are now writing the next page of that history right here.

I thought this game was owned by New World Computing. Do you own the rights to this?

NWC was only the publisher of the game. White Wolf Productions made up of Mark Baldwin and Bob Rakosky, the developers, owned the rights to the games themselves.

The games are now out of print, though I believe the old versions can still be found on the Internet. The publishers either went bankrupt or shelved the games because their focus was elsewhere with wider margins. White Wolf Productions has retained the rights all these years and now I am pleased to have acquired them and shall begin to move these games forward. Walter Bright has been kind enough to provide me with a license to use his rights to Empire Deluxe as a derived product of Empire, Wargame of The Century as well.

Are Mark Baldwin, Bob Rakosky, and Walter Bright working with you on these games?

No, only I am working on them.

White Wolf Productions, Bob Rakosky, Mark Baldwin, and Walter Bright are in no way associated with Mark Kinkead or Killer Bee Software, save for their participation in the transfer of rights or the relevant licensing agreement.

How will we pay for the game and how much will it cost?

The game can be purchased on the Empire Deluxe Internet Edition Order Page with a credit card. The cost is $27.50.

Is there a demo?

Yes. The Demo Can Be Found Here.

Why should I pay money for your update of an "old game"?

The Empire series has been going on for around thrity years now. The game is emerging from a dark period where it was unsupported and stagnant. The only way it will thrive is through player support, and you are only asked to purchase if you play EDIE.

Chess is an old game. So is Monopoly. Empire Deluxe is a game that has lasted a decade on many people's hard drives, and still has a community of players. Very few games can make this claim. It has definitely survived the test of time in computer gaming. The game is certainly not for everyone, but if you dismiss Empire Deluxe Internet Edition purely based on its age, then you are making a mistake.

Regardless, Empire Deluxe Internet Edition is much better than the older version due to the fact that it works on modern day operating systems, has Internet Play, larger maps, more reports, and is customizable. But don't take my word for it. Ask around.


The Perfect General Internet Edition Questions

What is The Perfect General (TPG)?

The Perfect General is an abstract game of strategy on a tactical level. Players buy units such as tanks, artillery and infantry, place them on a map, and try to capture and hold strategic areas. The game plays in a series of turns, with each turn having different planning, fire and movement phases. Opponents are able to match wits against a computer general or another player. To truly test you against your opponent, The Perfect General was played in matches, where you would have a chance to prove your mettle on both sides of the battlefield.

I loved this game, and so much enjoyed the ebb and flow of battle against live opponents via the modem. I am pleased to have brought this game back into the modern gaming world and allow you to squash people over the Internet.

Here are some screenshots of The Perfect General Internet Edition.

I thought this game was owned by QQP Do you own the rights to these games?

Yes, I own this game. QQP was the publisher only.

Are Mark Baldwin and Bob Rakosky working with you on these games?

No, only I am working on them.

White Wolf Productions, Bob Rakosky and Mark Baldwin are in no way associated with Mark Kinkead or Killer Bee Software, save for their participation in the transfer of rights.

How will we get the game and how much will it cost?

The game can be purchased on the The Perfect General Internet Edition Order Page with a credit card. The cost is $20.00. There is a bundle with the WWII Scenario disk (more scenarios) for $25.00.

Is there a demo?

Yes. The Demo Can Be Found Here.

Why do I want to play this game instead of something like Steel Panthers?

The Perfect General Internet Edition is an abstract strategy game, where both players use the exact same unit types to out maneuver and defeat their opponent.

Steel Panthers is a fun game. PGIE is different in that it is not nearly as detailed. A game like Steel Pathers is designed to put the player in historical or hypothetic battles using armor and infantry with realistic limitations based on the country of origin. PGIE does not try to make such pretenses.

Do you have the rights to The Perfect General II?

Partially, yes. TPG II cannot be legally republished or enhanced without my permission, but some of the copyright for TPGII is still owned by others. It is not my intent to make or acquire TPGII at this time. With a unit editor in the Enhanced Version a user could possibly create the additional units required to make the game more like TPGII was, but the original TPG is my focus at the moment, and the game shall evolve from that point.


Empire Deluxe Enhanced Edition Questions

What is Empire Deluxe Enhanced Edition?

Empire Deluxe Enhanced Edition (EDEE) is the working title for the follow-on game to Empire Deluxe Internet Edition. It will incorporate some new rules, new units, but maintain the same abstract and simple game play feel.

So are you going to screw the game up in the Enhanced Versions?

I look at Empire Deluxe as much as a good work of art as a good war game. With that in mind, my intent is to preserve the original game play, and then allow the players to select additional optional features to add to the game.

This is actually much in the spirit of the same way ED worked the players into the Advanced Mode of play with a Basic mode (close to Bright's Empire) and a Standard mode. I anticipate over time, players will choose which options they enjoy best in competition.

The older modes of the game will be left in, and newer ones will be added.

In the Enhanced Edition, are you going to add really cool 3-D graphics and give me neat isometric views?

No. The focus of these games will remain as if they were tabletop board games with God-like views. The focus is not on fancy graphics, but game play and replay value. However, the games will receive a face lift, and there are plans to enable the user to edit and create his own graphics for terrain and units in the Enhanced Edition.

Are you going to add NUKES or some other such unit to the Enhanced Edition?

Possibly, but most likely not. However, YOU just might do it, for the Enhanced Edition will have a Unit Editor, allowing you to create new units. Drop by the forum and add your unit ideas to the WISH LIST. I will not promise any unit posted there will make it in, rather my focus will be to make the editor and game play flexible enough for you to put it in and enjoy/refine it.

What new features and rules are you considering for the Enhanced Edition of ED?

EDEE is currently in the design process. More up to date information may be avaialble in the staus reports.

It is my hope that any new additions to game play will be available as options, and can be added or removed before a game is started.

This list is very fluid, but currently has the following on it:

  • New units
  • roaming weather systems
  • engineering rules
  • roads, rail, and bridges
  • artillery rules
  • elevated terrain rules
  • interchangeable, programmable AI
  • Unit Editor
  • Terrain Editor
  • Cooperative/allied team play
  • Dedicated server
  • Email turn processor
  • New game victory objective types (like Regicide, King of the Hill, Victory areas)
  • Resources and resource based games
  • More detailed statistics and scoring
  • Access to unit and terrain graphics
  • User accessible sound files
  • User changeable string table for different language support
  • North-South map wrapping available

    Drop by the forum and add your feature ideas to the WISH LIST and I will consider them. I believe that as we play these games again we will discover things we want added.

    When will EDEE be out?

    Since it is in the design phase, EDEE is currently vaporware. I have not set a schedule for it as of yet, but by the time implementation begins, a ballpark date should be known. Again, more relevant information may be in the staus reports.


    The Perfect General Enhanced Edition Questions

    What is The Perfect General Enhanced Edition?

    The Perfect General Enhanced Edition (PGEE) is the working title for the follow-on game to The Perfect General Internet Edition. It will incorporate some new features, new rules and new units.

    What new features and rules are you considering for the Enhanced Edition of PG?

    It is my hope that any new additions to game play will be available as options, and can be added or removed before a game is started.

    This list is very fluid, but currently has the following on it:

  • Interchangeable, programmable AI
  • Unit Editor
  • Terrain Editor
  • Map Editor
  • Scenario Editor
  • Dedicated server
  • Additional Terrain
  • Possible Additional Units
  • More than two players and allied/team play
  • More detailed statistics and scoring
  • Access to unit and terrain graphics
  • More victory objectives (critical units, protected terrain)
  • User accessible sound files
  • User changeable string table for different language support

    Drop by the forum and add your feature ideas to the WISH LIST and I will consider them. I believe that as we play these games again we will discover things we want added.

    When Will PGEE happen?

    This is unclear. As far as development scheduling goes, it wil take place sometime after EDEE's release, which is no where near being scheduled yet. There may be other projects that occur in between EDEE and PGEE. It also depends on the come back of PGIE, and whether there are enough fans to warrant the enhanced version. It never hurts to express your interest by sending me mail at mok@killerbeesoftware.com.


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