On a recent trip to the EA Mythic studios in Fairfax, VA. MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood spoke with Paul Barnett and Josh Drescher about the state of the game since our last report, beta and building a living world.
When we first arrived at the EA Mythic studios last week, those members of the media who were in attendance sat down with Josh Drescher and Paul Barnett to get an update on how the game had progressed since the last time that we had talked about Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. This was only one of the many presentations that we had, and we will be bringing you reports from those specific area presentations over the next week.
“Now that people are running around,” Paul said, “we’re making a game.” What he meant by that was that planning and designing the game are one thing, but it isn’t until you have actual players responding to (and breaking) the systems in place that the real work of making something for others to enjoy begins. He looks at beta as a chance to try things out and as such, they are currently in the process of seeing what works and what doesn’t for the game.
Read the whole article here.
NCsoft has announced that The Kamael: Hellbound, the latest content update for Lineage II and the final installment of the First Throne, is now on the public test server.
The 1st Throne - The Kamael: Hellbound update is now live on the Public Test Server! Be one of the first to try out the new level 80+ skills, new quests, the improved pet system, the Underground Coliseum, new Hellbound challenges and much more!
Check the official Public Test Server forum for more info on The 1st Throne - The Kamael: Hellbound update Public Test Server!
Read more here.
NCsoft has announced that Patch V1.6.5 will be on live servers soon, bringing a long list of changes, improvements, and fixes.
Patch V1.6.5 is headed to the live servers soon, possibly tomorrow morning. We are excited about releasing the patch as it has a good list of new or improved features. You can see the full list in the Patch Notes in the morning or check out the Test Server Patch Notes as a preview. We wanted to take a moment to thank our community for helping us test this patch on the Test Server. You found several key bugs that we fixed and gave us feedback on other changes such as those to TSRs and CP tokens. We have made further refinements based on your feedback as well as internal testing that make the game that much better.
To that end, we are still working on one more bug-fix patch that we will roll out soon that will fix an issue with Wargame results not reporting properly and a possible bug with schematic drops, but on the whole we feel like the patch is ready to go. We will also see how the new control point token vendor charges for items works in a live environment, and if adjustments need to be made we can take that opportunity to adjust them further as well.
Read more here.
Cryptic Studios has posted a Q&A with their own Shayne Herrera, art development director at Cryptic Studios, where he discusses his job and his work on Champions Online.
Our series of Q&As with members of the team creating Champions Online continues with Shayne Herrera, art development director for Cryptic Studios.
Q: What do you do as art development director?
A: As the art development director I oversee all of the art that is created at Cryptic Studios, whether it is for our web sites or the entire Champions Online universe. I am lucky enough to work with the most talented art team in the business. And with their skill and talent, we are creating amazing new worlds with interesting characters.
Read more here.
IGG has announced that the alpha test for Wonderland Online will begin tonight at 9PM EST.
The Wonderland Online Alpha Test will start at 9:00pm EST on March 27th and last until 9:00pm EST April 2nd, which is 1 week in total. The server name is Aries. There are 2 main goals for this test: 1. Perfect the game. 2. Prepare for the upcoming Closed Beta Test.
These are some notes that players should pay attention to before starting the Alpha test:
A. Make sure the Alpha Test client has been downloaded. If it hasn’t, click the link below to download it. http://wl.igg.com/download/download_client.php
B. Make sure the Alpha account has been activated. If the account hasn’t, click the link below to activate it. http://wl.igg.com/news/newscontent.php?aid=340
C. The Wonderland team has prepared a newbie guide for all players. Check it out now! http://wl.igg.com/guide/guide.php?acid=190
Although the test period is not long, the Wonderland team will be holding as many cool events (including online events and forum events) as possible.All participants’ character information will be wiped out at the end of the test, but the Wonderland team will be compensating them for the loss. (“Compensation” will be announced at the end of the test)
Read more here.
Pirates of the Burning Sea Art Director Bruce Sharp has created a devlog which tells the tale of the development of the game's artistic style.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a devlog, and since we have so many new folks in the game Aether thought it would be a good idea for a reintroduction. For those of you who may not know, my name is Bruce Sharp and I am the art director for Pirates of the Burning Sea, and I started working here at Flying Lab Software three years ago this month. There have been a lot of changes and expansions on this project since then so I thought it would be fun to take a look back to see where we started, how we got here, and speculate on where we’re going.
When I interviewed for the position, the game was entirely a ship combat game and at the time I thought, “This is the coolest bathtub EVER and I really want to play in it!” Granted, it was a cold and ugly bathtub, but that was the point: this game needed an artist! I was very hopeful that that artist was going to be me because I had a vision in my head of how it could look and I was excited to get started on it.
Read more here.
The folks at Cheyenne Mountain have produced a video podcast where Stargate Worlds artist Jake Johnson talks about his work.
The next video podcast in the ongoing Developer Profile series has arrived, this time featuring exclusives surrounding artist Jake Johnson! Here's what the podcast includes ...
Artist Jake Johnson talks about his role at Stargate Worlds, some of his favorite projects, and some of the quirks from inside the office! This podcast includes a complete interview with the artist, as well as an exclusive first look at the sky dome for Dakara!
Stay tuned for deleted scenes coming your way soon!
Watch the video podcast here.
After yesterday's announcement that EA Mythic would be delaying the launch of their upcoming MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood spoke with VP Mark Jacobs about the move.
Yesterday, EA Mythic announced that they would be delaying the launch of their upcoming MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, until Fall of 2008. Reaction to the announcement has been somewhat mixed with some applauding the move in the name of a fully polished product, with others suggestion that the move may mean doom and gloom for the IP game. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with EA Mythic VP Mark Jacobs about the move.
The first question that I asked Mark was whether or not this delay should be seen as a sign that their game is in some kind of serious trouble.
“Oh God no,” he responded in his usual candid way. He went on to tell me that if the game was actually in trouble, we would have been more likely to see one of two things happen. First, we would have seen changes at the company, most likely starting with Mark himself and second, EA wouldn’t have granted the time extension. Since everyone is still employed, and the delay was announced, we can assume that the game isn’t in trouble. In answering the question, Mark also pointed out that if the game were in trouble, it would be far more likely to go the way of EA Mythic’s last project, Imperator, which was “postponed indefinitely”.
Read the whole thing here.
BBC News is reporting that Blizzard is suing the creator of MMO Glider, a bot program which automates a number of actions in World of Warcraft.
The makers of World of Warcraft are locked in a legal battle with a firm that has produced a tool to automate many actions in the virtual world.
Blizzard is suing Michael Donnelly, the creator of the MMO Glider program, which performs key tasks in the game automatically, such as fighting.
Both sides have submitted legal summaries to a court in Arizona.
Blizzard says Glide is a software bot which infringes the company's copyright and potentially damages the game.
In its legal submission to the court last week, the firm said: "Blizzard's designs expectations are frustrated, and resources are allocated unevenly, when bots are introduced into the WoW universe, because bots spend far more time in-game than an ordinary player would and consume resources the entire time."
Read more here.
IGG has announced the addition of Little Sky to Zu Online, a magic place shrouded in mist and populated by mystic beings.
The Zu team is happy to announce the long-awaited, highly anticipated scene “Little Sky” is now available to all Zu players!
“Little Sky” is a Xanadu surrounded by dense fog all year around. Nearby the tranquil lake there’s a lotus pavilion. It was originally built for Boulder Immortal, but now it is used to keep the 7 Seven Northern Immortals trapped. Although Little Sky is very small, the amount of wonder and magic there are unsurpassed. The way there is on a twisting cloud path that winds through the silent bamboo forest and Starfalling Cliff. Most of the monsters in Little Sky are approximately levels 140 to 180 and there are also many new treasures to be found including precious items and top equipment.
Read more here.
NCsoft has announced that is has licensed Unreal Engine 3 for the development of two unannounced MMO projects.
SEOUL, KOREA (March 25, 2008)–NCsoft Corporation, the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, today announced that it has reinforced its relationship with Epic Games, Inc. by licensing Unreal Engine 3 to develop two unannounced, top-tier massively multiplayer online games. NCsoft has achieved spectacular results working with the Unreal Engine over the years, shipping the highly successful Lineage II, and the soon to be released Exteel, using Unreal Engine 2.
“Unreal Engine 3 has a well structured rendering pipeline, and its graphical quality is superb thanks to advanced lighting and shadowing systems,” said Young-muk Choi, lead programmer, Development Unit, NCsoft. “Tools within the Unreal Editor empower us to instantly produce and optimize our outputs, and we especially love how the engine enables designers to easily prototype concepts without the need for programming.”
“NCsoft pioneered online game development using Unreal Engine, as evidenced by Lineage II, one of the most commercially successful and enduringly popular online games in history,” said Jay Wilbur, vice president of Epic Games. “We are thrilled to take this next step with NCsoft, and are fully committed to supporting their projects. We expect to be completely wowed by what they do with our latest technology.”
Read more here.
Masthead studios has put out a press release announcing they will be using Scaleform GFx UI middleware to aide in making their post apocalyptic MMO, Earthrise.
March 25, 2008 – Sofia, Bulgaria – Masthead Studios, the innovative independent game development studio based in Bulgaria, announced today that it has integrated Scaleform GFx, the number one hardware-accelerated user interface (UI) and scalable vector graphics engine, into its post-apocalyptic MMO, Earthrise, to provide accelerated UI production and an immersive cinematic UI experience.
Masthead Studios is facilitating a smoother development process of Earthrise’s UI by eliminating steps between design and execution with the help of Scaleform’s GFx. “This software has provided our art team with the artistic freedom that we want,” said Atanas Atanasov, CEO of Masthead Studios. “The tools allowed us to create a rich, interactive and dynamic user interface without losing time.”
“While designing the UI for Earthrise we wanted to give our artists the power to directly create the look and feel of the game without depending on programmers to implement their vision,” continued Atanasov. “We chose Scaleform GFx middleware because it’s fast and optimized for the game’s implementation of the Flash rendering engine.”
Using Scaleform GFx and proven visual tools such as Adobe Flash™ Studio, developers can access an artist-driven dynamic UI and animated texture production pipeline. Scaleform’s hardware accelerated vector graphics technology is scalable and deployable across multiple platforms, including the leading console and PC systems. To date, GFx has been licensed for such blockbusters as BioWare’s Mass Effect for Xbox 360 and Crytek’s Crisis for PC, and is now integrated into most major 3rd party game engines such as Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 and Emergent’s Gamebryo.
Read more here.
Snailgame has announced that the transforming system in Age of Armor has been finalized and will be implemented on April 2nd with Chapter II: Dark Valley.
After long time testing, the transforming system in Age of Armor, the final version of the transform system is decided, and is ready to be released on April 2nd together with the Chapter II –
. Dark Valley
On April 2nd the
will welcome its first visitors, and when the three Instance Dungeons are broken through by any teams, all the Bosses in Age of Armors will loot transforming modules, as well as weapons and skill chips which are specially made for transforming system. The styles of transformation are different due to the race, the Nature Human will transform into vehicles, the Enhanced Human can transform into Beast type, and the Neo Human has the ability of transforming into Aero Fighters. Choose the fittest one for your own type, and help this world out of chaos. Dark Valley
Free Exciting Romantic, Age of Armor will grant you the ability of transforming; can you help this world out?
Read more here.
The folks over at The Chronicles of Spellborn have released this great new Game Design Journal that focuses in on just what it is you, as a beginner, need to know about TCoS's unique combat system.
Aiming, clicking: check. But the rest?
This document should give quick insight in all things related to spellborn combat.
Please note that this is just an example on how to set-up one’s skilldeck. Players are advised to adapt it at their own discretion.
There’s nearly an unlimited amount of possibilities to arrange your skilldeck. There is no ‘best’ arrangement, however, there is a ‘worst’ arrangement. This will be discussed later in the combo section.
The arrangement of your skilldeck is not something you’ll have sorted in 1 minute, especially at high level. It’s a process of finding what works best for your own style. I’ll try to explain some basic strategies in building your deck. For these strategies I’ll assume that all tiers and slots are available. (6 tiers, 5 slots/tier)
Read it all here.
Joymax has announced the addition of a number of items to the Silkroad Online Item Mall.
Joymax has announced new features for Silkroad Online players, available now in the item mall. The new selections include Premium Gold Time Plus, Fur Clothing (for a limited time), and a one-day Clock of Reincarnation for certain pets. The new Premium Gold Time Plus provides players the opportunity to earn additional experience points for five hours, along with many other perks such as increased attack and damage absorption. Fashionable fur hats and coats, affordable and cruelty-free, grant gamers an aura of affluence and warmth during chilly spring evenings. The one-day Clock of Reincarnation will extend the life of a summoned pet for one day, adding an alternative to the four week item.
More information on these new accessories can be found in-game by visiting the item mall.
Read more here.
The Pirates of the Burning Sea official site has been updated with a look at the process behind sharing game date online.
In the end of my previous dev log, I alluded to exporting game state via an internal server that Wes wrote called the “Crawler Server.” The original indented use of the Crawler Server was to allow us to write internal web tools inspect game data like a character or a landmark, instead of having to be logged in to a cluster and use GM commands in the chat window. However, we soon realized we could use this functionality to export data to the public as well. Specifically, I was interested in exporting the port state (unrest levels, port resources, etc) and server victory state (the scoreboard displayed in the server victory dialog in game).
You might wonder why we can’t just write web tools that read the game database directly. The primary reason is that even though the game data is stored in a MS SQL database that a web app could theoretically query, all of the data is in encoded binary blobs, rather than one column per field (think of an excel spreadsheet with one player’s character information per row and the character stats like ‘level’ and ‘xp’ in each column). We use blobs because it’s faster to move game data in and out of the DB if it’s in one large binary chunk. We also have game code that intelligently upgrades the binary blobs if fields are added and removed. For example, we may add a new character stat and thus need to upgrade existing characters in the DB, who were created before this new stat ever existed. Also, there is the issue of maintaining integrity of the game data. Web tool development is usually more fast and loose, and thus more prone to corrupting data on accident. It would be a bummer if we accidentally corrupted character due to a bug in one of our web tools.
Read more here.