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Cannons Lasers Rockets. Enough Said.

Interviews By Garrett Fuller on February 18, 2013

MMORPG: So what exactly is Cannons Lasers Rockets?

Cannons Lasers Rockets is a free-to-play multiplayer arcade space game. That includes PvP and Co-Op (PvE) gameplay with a strong accent on player-versus-player and team-versus-team combat.

Cannons Lasers Rockets provides 2D spaceship combat in 3D environment. We have wide variety of combat roles fitting different playing styles. Players can select one of many starships that is best suited for them and further customize it with gear and ammo so that it will look and feel more personalized. Any pilot can take part in PvP and Co-op PvE missions, be accepted into clans or participate alone. Later players can change ships to explore other combat styles, not beginning a new but advancing over what they already have.

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MMORPG: We love the name Cannons Lasers Rockets. What made you go with something so simple?

Being simple is the whole point in our approach to the development of Cannons Lasers Rockets. Somehow, while other genres and settings are being approached by game studios from both sophisticated and simplistic points of view, space combat is almost universally treated as complex, you might say, hardcore gaming are. As we wanted our game to be as streamlined as possible, we asked ourselves - “What are the three most fun things in space combat as we see it?” - and then, you see, we just made the answer to that question the name of the game.

MMORPG: How did Cannons Lasers Rockets originally start out?

Cannons Lasers Rockets is a passion project of a group of Russian game developers. Before starting work on Cannons Lasers Rockets, we have all worked in different genres and took part in creating some of the better-known Russian videogame titles. Currently all our time is dedicated to Cannons Lasers Rockets, which is a game we really wanted to do and which we create on “by gamers for games” principles.

We want to make something that we ourselves would like to play — a game chock-full of what’s cool about spaceships shooting each other up and none of that boring stuff that big games today are filled with. We hope you will share our excitement.

MMORPG: Can you give us some background on the universe behind the game?

Right now we are not ready yet to publish the information about the game universe. As in all other aspects of Cannons Lasers Rockets, we strive to make the backstory as short and fun as possible - and yet that’s not something that can be done in a lunchtime, in our point of view. We have a dedicated write working out the details of the plot, but what can you be sure about is this - in our imaginary future, there are some superstates locked in an arms race. This struggle is a goldmine for mercenaries of all kinds - and that is our players. And, of course, there will be aliens. What’s a space game without aliens, after all!

MMORPG: So how is your game different from similar but bigger titles, like EVE and BSGO?

Cannons Lasers Rockets is not about exploration, building empires or leading large fleets into strategically-organized battle. It’s about those other little things that are fun. Nobody really knows what realistic space combat looks like – so why not try a different route? We have found a lot of other space combat games lacking energy and drive, and we want to bring to the genre those much needed clarity, simplicity and joy. After all, there are enough games you can play if you want macro-economy or politics, but clearly not enough games where you can shoot a laser at your opponent’s starship and make it explode.

MMORPG: Space combat games can be tricky, what are you working on to make the combat mechanics fun and balanced?

First of all, we made quite a rdical choice and “cut off” the Z-axis, but left the whole 3D environment intact. This gives any player clarity of what is happening, what should they do and where should they go. Three-axis movement is the most attention-consuming part of any other space game, and we want that attention to turn to where the fun is - shooting some spaceships up!

We pay great attention to game balance, for in PvP-oriented game that’s what makes the difference. Game elements are balanced on several levels - equally powerful (yet different) factions, equally capable ships, and equally effective weapons. They will be also balanced in relation to ship tiers and each ship’s combat roles.

Every kind of weapon in Cannons Lasers Rockets is going to have a unique feel, a unique play style, if you wish. It will be balanced against other weapons, not in a simple rock-paper-scissors fashion, but taking into account many variables that are present, such as projectile velocity, distance, damage, armor penetration and so on. Yet player won’t need to pay attention to most of these numbers, he’ll just progress from “weaker” to “stronger” weapons or from, say, “slower” to “quicker”, whatever fits his playing style.

MMORPG: What are your plans for player ships in the game? Will you have levels of customization as well?

Players will be able to take their pick of the multitude of ships, which will belong to different game factions and will represent different play styles. Whaterer your preferred combat role is, you will be able to choose between several implementations of that role and several “advanced” versions of the ships fitting this role. Furthermore, all ships will be customisable with different kinds of upgrades, new weapons and replaceable ammo of different kinds. Thus, you will be able to outfit your combat ride in a pretty much unique way and then some. This will even make it possible for you to partially change the combat role of your ship by heavy customisation.  There’s also an idea that we consider, which is about letting players “upgrade” their ships with experience points, so that if you especially love a certain ship, you won’t ever need to change it for a better one.

Also, to encourage expression of the players’ individual styles and desires, we will make ship skins, decals for the hulls and special effects available. So even you and some other player’s ship shoot the same and fly the same (however unlikely that is) you will definitely not LOOK the same. Well, you certainly COULD achieve the same look (for team or clan representation purposes) - but the inhabited space will not be populated by dozens of the grey ships of the same design, indistinguishable from one another.

MMORPG: Can you give us a scope on the size of the galaxy players will have to fly around in?

Unlike more complex - and therefore, less accessible - space combat games, Cannons Lasers Rockets is not an open-world game, and this is very much a design choice.

Every combat mission, in which up to 10 ships on each side (in standard play) or up to 50 ships total (in clan-versus-clan play) participate, unfolds on a separate map of a space sector to which player ships travel through special gates. This can be thought of as a map in a more conventional deathmatch-type game, only it’s not a maze or a location, it’s a whole space sector.

These sectors will be plentiful and actually linked together as a “space grid” of sorts. Some of the sectors will be available to you as you play, access to some will have to be “earned”.  In PvE missions you will be able to travel between the space sectors across this grid, discovering places you’ve never been before, and then playing PvE missions in them or coming to this sectors in PvP missions.

MMORPG: In the trailer there are jump gates, how do these work? Will they take players to different combat zones?

First and foremost, in the PvP game modes they are the locations at which player ships enter the combat zone when you leave your landing bay. In the PvE they’re that and also they let players travel from map to another, exploring different sectors of the inhabited space - this is both part of th? various game missions and also a part of the gameplay by itself. We also plan on creating multiple-map combat zones for clan PvP, on which the jump gates will be needed to travel between parts of the combat zone and therefore used for gaining tactical advantage over opponents.

MMORPG: "Free-to-play, not pay to win" sounds cool but what exactly does it mean you you?

We do not believe in micro-transactions or other ways of leeching money from players. Cannons Lasers Rockets will only provide means of donations which both we and players consider fair.

Players will be able to purchase a "premium account", which will give them increased rates for receiving XP and money in the game, but will not affect combat-related gameplay in any way. This means that premium-account player will spend less time «earning» the high-level ships and gear, but in combat a hard-earned ship and a ship whose owner took a shortcut (and saved some time) are not going to be different.

Premium account will also come with some eye-candy bonuses, but that’s just icing on the cake.

Yes, there will be an in-game shop where you could spend real money. With those, you could buy special ship designs, skins, and decals, but all gameplay stats of things you could buy this way will be on par with the rest of the available game content. This will provide a lot of possibilities to make your gameplay experience unique and your ships memorable for other players.

MMORPG: What are your plans going into 2013? How far out are you from beta?

We’ve recently finished the first playable version of the game, the “production version” as these are usually called, on which the gameplay video is based. It includes main gameplay components, a still-rough-but-usable HUD and PvP functionality. We continue working on the game features and are planning to enter the next stage of testing in the middle of spring. Then, of course, we will open our game to wider audience and the release will be just around the corner.

The idea is to implement a new gameplay mode once a month and give those to players as soon as possible. So, first you will get your “deathmatch”, then a CTF-like teamplay, then - a cooperative “defend the base” mode, and so on and so forth - basically, we want to give our players a new game every month or so.

If you'd like to support CLR, the game is currently up for addition to Steam's Greenlight Platform.

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