Line of Defense explained by Derek Smart: "It's not the game everyone else is doing"

Nightbridge LOD 2012-02-06 13-03-02-27

Derek Smart, president and lead developer of 3000AD, has a lot of ambitious ideas swirling around in his head. He talked almost continuously for 45 minutes yesterday as he took me on a tour of his latest creation: MMOFPS Line of Defense.

My preview of the game didn't include any combat, as Smart was wandering through a lonely alpha version of the game, but I did see sprawling bases, ships, and stations; a buggy bouncing across an alien landscape and a fighter maneuvering through space; a neat "wingsuit" drop insertion; purchasable companions; and so much more in rapid succession that I was fully overwhelmed.

If you really want to dig deep into what Line of Defense is, Smart has posted enough information on the game's official site to keep you busy for a while. Rather than attempting to explain every detail, I'll let Smart do the talking here with his most notable comments from the demo...

You can't play Line of Defense like Battlefield 3 or Call of Duty

“We give you some stats, some weapons, some bullets, and well wishes, and send you off on your way. It's not a capture the flag or capture the base kind of thing—each of these bases has eight different key points, and these are objects—air defense shield, air defense jammer, communications, the ARC, which is the Asset Requisition Center—and each one needs to be captured. The capture mechanism is very simple—it's a timer. When one opposing player gets to that general location, a timer kicks in, and the more players around there the quicker the timer goes.

It's team based. You can create fireteams with a bunch of players and squads with a bunch of fireteams. Anyone who thinks they're going to play this game in a run-and-gun Battlefield or Call of Duty type fashion is going to be sorely mistaken.”

It isn't a space game, but there's space

"It's not a space game, but we did space regions just to appease my space combat fans, all of whom were gonna be gunning for my head if I didn't do it. So, you know, I had no choice, it's just one of those things you have to do to keep your fanbase, but it's not really a quote-on-quote space game. Anyone who wants to do combat in space in order to capture the region or the station is more than welcome to do it."

Battles won't be won overnight

“We anticipate that it'll take at least a week—7 to 10 days tops—for any fully-populated bunch of gamers to capture a base. We didn't want to make a capture the flag game. Everybody's already done that — you capture the base and that's it and you switch sides. No, we wanted to be focused on team play so you have to capture all eight units to capture the base, and now it's on your side and you move on to the next and everybody gets experience points. Rinse and repeat.”

Success is about player skill

“The GUI elements are very, very simplistic. It's not one of those MMO games where you see 50 different icons on the screen. There's no harvesting skills. It's all based on player skill. If you're good at flying then you'll succeed. Just because you have a really good fighter doesn't mean that somebody with a surface-to-air weapon isn't going to take you out, as it were.”

Player groups will be able to build bases

“So we have the four space regions, and in those regions we have all the planets and the moons. They're not populated. The only one that's populated which is the point of conflict in this game is the Lyrius planet. It has four bases on it, which are all themed—you have the desert, you know, canyon, blah blah blah.

These other ones, the other planets and moons, we're going to populate over time. In the initial game we're going to allow players who can afford it to actually build their own bases, so you can have a guild, or fireteam, as it were, who are pretty good at what they do, build their own base and defend it on any one of these planets.”

It's less complex, but still a "Derek Smart" game

"It is a huge game, which is pretty much how my games are. But the major focus has been on keeping it tight, keeping it interesting, less complex. The game has like, 16 commands, not three or four pages like my previous games. Even though it's a 'Derek Smart' game, it's a simple game, and it's not the game everyone else is doing, but by the same token we want to keep it hardcore in terms of the type of audience that we attract."

5000AD plans to release Line of Defense in June. If you missed the recent trailer, you can see it here.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.