Welcome to another Arcade Highlight. Today we are featuring the turn based tactical strategy game, Elite Agents.
In Elite Agents you take control of a squad of three marines and attempt to outmaneuver and outthink your opponent, taking out his troops and capturing map objectives. You decide what kind of composition you deploy with, from the beefy ‘heavy’ class to the versatile ‘scout’. Game creator Trevor ‘Trieve’ Quach gives players with different playstyles the tools they need to dispatch their opponent as they see fit. If you like the idea of blasting apart several marines in one shot, the rocket launcher is the way to go. If you prefer finesse in your combat, flash grenades will be your tool of choice, disabling and blinding your enemy.
The goal of the game is to earn points by eliminating marines, capturing the flag, and holding the hill. You can only move one marine at a time and each marine can only take a limited number of actions per turn. Moving, attacking, switching weapons -- everything deducts from your total action value, so planning ahead is a must for you squad to be the most effective.
If you’re ready to execute your strategy and send your squad into battle, jump online and play now. As with all featured games, Elite Agents is available to anyone using the free StarCraft II Starter Edition.
We asked Trevor some questions about his history as a developer and the design process of Elite Agents. Here is what he had to say.
Traysent: Please introduce yourself!
Trevor: Hi. My name's Trevor. I’m from Australia, and I'm a huge fan of sci-fi strategy games.
T: How did you get started in game design?
Trevor: I was encouraged to be creative ever since I was very young. This ranged from playing with Lego blocks to educational software in primary school where you could build simple systems by placing and connecting things together. Being creative is a very satisfying experience and I eventually stumbled onto StarCraft 1’s editor where my fascination expanded.
T: What made you want to make games with the StarCraft II editor?
Trevor: Initially I was curious to see what the editor was capable of and whether I could manage using it. I never did Warcraft III modding because it seemed too complicated at the time. I was very impressed with the Starcraft II editor. It is very powerful and almost anything is possible. I still consider the StarCraft II editor as the best set of tools in the gaming industry for letting people push the limits of their creativity in a fairly accessible way.
T: What was the inspiration for Elite Agents?
Trevor: The strategy game, X-COM Apocalypse, primarily. I was extremely fascinated with how much depth, complexity, and realism there was in the game. I wanted to share what I consider is one of the best gaming experiences I ever had.
T: How long did it take to complete Elite Agents? How many people worked on it and what roles did they have?
Trevor: Elite Agents took about 4-5 months. Technically speaking, it has been about 4 years. I had some basic ideas of simplified X-COMs in earlier projects but I always reached a stage where my editing skills and knowledge improved and I wanted to do better. Elite Agents is an evolution of my previous projects.
I did roughly 99% of the technical work. Caparosmith and Ranakastrasz from SC2mapster.com were active supporters of the project and suggested lots of ideas which helped shape it. Soulfilcher also created the load screen, Arcade icon and several custom in-game icons.
T: What was the most challenging part in the development process? How did you overcome it?
Trevor: The most challenging part was solving every problem encountered. Whether it’s that elusive bug, a problem brought up from feedback, or figuring how to implement an idea. This will sound cheesy but the way I overcame these problems was by not giving up. Keeping an open mind to alternatives or learning more about the editor also helps.
T: What do you feel makes your game compelling?
Trevor: It’s unique, provides lots of interesting choices, realistic, and interesting. I don’t know about others but I get so much joy from firing a high powered gun, watching the projectile fly towards the unlucky victim, and imagining how much terrible, terrible, damage I’m inflicting.
T: Any tips you want to share for players who want to dominate in their games?
Trevor: Experiment with all your options and do what you love best. Every decision comes with a risk and reward. Anything works. If you’re a frontal assault player, there’s rocket launchers and power armor. If you’re a fan of advanced tactics, there’s cover and flanking.
T: What advice would you give to someone who was interested in using the StarCraft II editor to make their own game? Where is a good place for them to start the learning process?
Trevor: Start small and simple so you can familiarize yourself with the editor. As your editing skills improve you can gradually make new projects that are slightly more complicated. SC2mapster.com is a very good place for resources and assistance when you’re stuck. In regards to game design, when you are coming up with an idea, think about how it will both help and hurt your game and whether it is really worth adding. Having passionate testers is also very helpful.
T: How did you get people to notice your game once it was released?
Trevor: I simply opened up lobbies and people joined. It helps a lot to know a small group of people eager to play your games regularly.
T: Do you have any favorite games on the StarCraft II Arcade?
Trevor: Macromicro. It’s a very interesting idea to split up melee play so I can focus on my role and perform much better. It also makes some decisions easier and more-interesting because I need to think of my partner when playing.