Interview with Proxy Studios on Conquest

We recently reviewed Conquest: Divide and Conquer, a turn-based strategy game.  We’ve since touched base with Proxy Studios, the independent developers behind Conquest to investigate the people behind the game in much more depth, and chat about their other upcoming projects.

Mana Pool: For readers who are unaware, could you tell us a little about Proxy Studios? Who are you guys and how did you end as developers?

Rok: It’s basically two computer science students (Lorenz and me) and an awesome graphics artist (Soheil). I first met Lorenz while playing another game some 4 years ago or so. He had just started making a game at the time – something he had always wanted to do – and I eventually ended up joining him. In the process of looking for additional art we stumbled across Soheil on deviantArt. Soheil was happy to let us use the requested art, but it didn’t end there. A few months later he was so impressed with our work, that he wanted to get actively involved and create more art specifically for the game.

How did you come to the decision to develop a turn-based game?

At first we felt it was the easy and natural start for our first game – not having to deal with animations or other real-time stuff. With our limited experiences we didn’t want to be overly ambitious and actually finish something. Mind you, we didn’t actually have any plans to make money off it at the time.

Who came up with the concept of Conquest, what was the inspiration behind it? What classic games influenced the concept?

Conquest ReviewI think we were extremely in agreement with what we wanted Conquest to represent. After turn-based had been settled we both knew it should be simple. We didn’t want to make another Master of Orion or Civilization. Partly due to limited resources, partly because we didn’t see ourselves in typical 4X. Soon after came the main focus: competitive multiplayer. I can recall we were a lot into Defcon at one point of development, so that must have affected it in one way or the other. Really though, it was the mixture of simple, fast and competitive.

Everything you’ve done to Conquest revolves around the idea of doing things quickly, and being fast-paced. Did you know from the start that your full focus would be on multiplayer?

Definitely. From a commercial stand-point that was terrible, but that wasn’t our goal at the time. We basically created what we wanted to play. We didn’t even add an AI until being quite a bit into the 2D public beta.

Conquest really needs a competitive multiplayer environment to survive as a concept. Have you thought about what happens once the interest in the multiplayer side dies down? How long do you plan to support the game and do members of your team join in multiplayer battles to keep the community going?

We think multiplayer in games like these is timeless. There might not be a lot of demand for it, nor much audience for it, but you can fire it up anytime and it still has its magic – just like Go or chess. We mentioned lifetimes support in the past so  we plan on keeping it up for as long as we can. We have also played our share of matches, more-so in the earlier days, but I actually feel sad I couldn’t join the tournament we’re currently holding. Every so often we get a few amazing players and it’s really interesting to see them match up against the veterans.

The graphics of Conquest are decent, but the sound and music are really quite good. You’ve got someone with a lot of talent there – can we expect another game to flow out of Conquest based on the same work?

Haha, that’s actually interesting. Sound effects and music are the only two things we truly outsourced. They are there thanks to Charlie Armour and Gene Rozenberg. We also think some tracks are really cool and we might team up with them again in the future.

Conquest ReviewWill there be additional single player content added to Conquest moving forward, or will you focus purely on the multiplayer aspect of the game?

Since we decided we wanted to make a living out of making games, we have been improving the single-player experience and will continue doing so. New victory conditions, more AI difficulties and improved unit management for large-scale maps are some more immediate things we currently have planned.

What sort of additions and/or improvements can players expect to the multiplayer side of Conquest? Will you keep developing the game further?

At the moment we think the current multiplayer features serve its purpose and without more interest in it, multiplayer will have to take a back-seat for the time being. That does not mean however we are going to transform the game into something else. It still is primarily a competitive multiplayer game in our hearts, we’re just trying to make it more accessible. Having said that, we still plan to add LAN support.

Assuming you are planning to develop another title at some point, could we expect something along the lines of Conquest, another strategy title or would you consider an entirely different genre?

We have already started work on another game. I don’t think this is the time to reveal much, but it’s not a strategy title.

Thank you very much for answering our questions, and we wish you the best of luck with Conquest!


the author

Managing Editor of ManaPool, Peter lives in York, UK and is a great fan and master of turn-based strategy games. If he isn't playing one of those, you'll probably find him in a role-playing game instead. He's definitely not afraid to provide a straight up opinion on any game and has a strong like for indie developers. We all start small, after all.