Lion TV will start recording a revolutionary new gaming series next week to air this autumn on BBC2 in the all-important 18.00 slot currently occupied by The Simpsons, writes Sam Espensen.
Time Commanders stars contestants fighting historical battles by using 3D technology developed by a games company. The military strategy gaming show was conceived by Lion TV's director of programme development Adam McDonald. The show will be one of the highlights of the BBC's autumn offering, following Jane Root's request for a 'breakthrough graphics show,' according to McDonald, 'with good quality CG in real time.'
McDonald found nothing suitable until he discovered that gaming company The Creative Assembly had already been working on a games engine called Total War, a 3D core programme that allows battlefields and armies to be rendered in real-time.
Time Commanders will challenge a team of people to outwit the finest military minds in history in a virtual re-enactment of a battle. The battlefield is represented by an interactive map, and the team will be faced with a giant screen showing the armies. Contestants will control the army via technicians who follow their commands. McDonald, who is director of development at Lion TV and a former scheduler for the BBC, said: 'We wanted a crossover show to appeal to both young and old history audiences and that's what we've got.'
Co-executive producer and head of special projects at Lion TV Cassian Harrison told Broadcast that Time Commanders, like Fightbox, will be vastly different to other gaming shows: 'It will be a successful TV programme rather than just a game that's been stuck on TV.' Harrison added that the show is 'more than just someone using a mouse. It's about human interactivity and interpersonal relationships, and is psychologically different.'
Time Commanders goes into production at BBC TV Centre next week.