Bernd Beyreuther from Radon Labs about Nomads and Nebula Engine

I got the chance to ask some question to Bernd Beyreuther from the german developer studio Radon Labs who are currently working on Nomads which is built on their own engine called the Nebula Enginewhich they distribute completely for free !

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1. What’s the history behind Radon Labs ?

Radon Labs is a games company, located in Berlin, Germany. We are currently focused on realizing THE NOMADS project and the engine it is build on, THE NEBULA DEVICE
As the core team behind Urban Assault B.Beyreuther, A.Weissflog and A.Flemming started Radon Labs in 1998, to realize their computer game visions in an independent environment. The 3D action strategy mix Urban Assault was developed at Terratools and worldwide distributed by Microsoft. Currently Terratools reports 400.000 sold copies.

With the support and experience of Gerd Hahn – the successful director and founder of Hahnfilm (one of Europe�s leading animation companies, “ASTERIX in America”, “Werner” …) – Radon Labs relocated to Berlin and is expanding now.

2. Why are you “giving away” your engine, instead of selling licenses ?

I have to answer that 5 times every day 🙂 When we started NOMADS the first decision we had to do was: should we use an existing engine or should we code our own. The very specific demands of NOMADS – clouds, flying islands, 10 miles line of sight – required an new engine. The moment we decided to write our own engine, the possible options were:

1. sell
2. do not do anything with it
3. making it free

about 1.: We would become an engine developer. We would have to spend a substantial amount of time to manage, doc, our product , to support. Our customers would be companies. We probably would earn some money, but we would loose some time too. Some companies prefer to go that way. We prefer to make games. Our customers are gamers. So we decided to focus on NOMADS-development not on selling NEBULA.

about 2.: We would not win anything.

about 3.: We win a lot: a huge betatest for free – thousands of users testing nebula on extremely different machines (different linux, windows-versions, different video-cars) The result: Nebula runs stable and on tons of platforms making code open, forces you to write clean code (since everybody will SEE it 🙂 clean code is good for every project people write extensions to Nebula and offer them for free too (we really do not have to develop everything ourself) we can give back something to the OSS community
lust but not least it is a big advertising campaign for RadonLabs

3. What’s the story behind Nomads ?

Imagine NOMADS as: FLYING AROUND IN THE CLOUDS and BEING a DAMNED powerfull Wizard, do mighty spells, commanding huge armies and stomping mechanical cities out ouf the ground of the flying islands.

The NOMADS are the survivors of a world before…

The story will explain the world of NOMADS (why is the world as we know it ?) during the single player story, there are traders, other Nomads, speaking artefacts, old ruins and so on, that will tell you more and more about the world of the NOMADS. Since the scheduled release date currently is more than 12 months away I do not want to tell anything in detail at moment – please understand :-). But there will be big secrets to solve, sudden changes in story line, a number of characters to meet and lots of interesting places to explore and a surprising showdown. AND – this stuff will not stay in the way of the player. If you do not want to listen to somebody – just go away. If you do not want to find a quest-item – you do not have to do it.

There will be NO FMVs ! We are currently developing a new system called MASTER�S VOICE that will handle challenges (quests, difficult situations, dangerous enemies, complex issues to solve etc.) for the player similiar to what a game master in tabletop roleplayer games like AD&D; does.

4. Will there be tools released with the game so that people can build their own levels for Nomads ?

A level design tool will be part of the game.

5. What’s the primary target audience for Nomads ?

We hope to bring action-strategy to casual gamers.

6. Nomads is being built on the Nebula Engine. What can we expect from the game ?

The environment is fully dynamically day/night, sun/moon, changing lights, interpolated weathers – clouds moving, changing – rain, wind, lightning… Hundreds of vehicles, creatures, dozens of islands. The line of sight is somewhere at 10 miles. NEBULA gives you: Meaner baddass badguys, viciously montstrous monsters, more explosive explosions and bigger booming guns. (and all of this also available as Open Source :))

7. How are things going on the publisher-part ?

We currently in discussion with a number of publishers. A final decision is not done.

So far !