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Final Fantasy XI : New Monsters and Battlefields

Posted Jul 19, 2006 by Jon Wood

Final Fantasy XI has announced thay in their next upcomoing version update, they will be adding new monsters and battlefields tot he game. Specifically, the areas included in Treasures of Art Urghan:

 

In the upcoming version update, new notorious monsters and battlefields will be introduced into the Treasures of Aht Urhgan areas.

Also, certain monsters will soon possess an accumulative resistance to magic. Click here for details.

For more on FFXI, click here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Dev Log

Posted Jul 19, 2006 by Jon Wood

Our friends over at Pirates of the Burning Sea have released another new Dev Log. This one comes from  Software Engineering Lead, Brady Houck. As usual, the log is too much to print here in our newslroom, but following the link below will let you read it all!

 

Recently, I went on a recruiting trip to the University of Washington in search of a fourth member of the newly formed Team Brady. I’m a big fan of having a wide range of experience levels represented on the dev team, and Joe and I both agreed that it made sense to bring on somebody with a fresh viewpoint. It can be a short hop from rookie programmer to all-star in this industry. It’s a lot easier to land a good programmer who is just starting out than it is to get that same programmer after they’ve had a couple of years experience with another company. Additionally, Team Brady was feeling outnumbered by Team Joe, ConCo, ArtCo, TestCo, and the other rival factions of Flying Lab. We needed some extra muscle in a big way.

All of the people I interviewed were obviously very smart, very capable programmers. On average they were much more familiar with Flying Lab and Pirates of the Burning Sea than candidates we’ve interviewed in the past. It’s a huge deal for me that an applicant has taken the time to research us before coming to an interview. So it was refreshing to see that everybody had done their homework. That many interviews in one day can be mind numbing, but I was able to have several really great talks with the applicants.

Read it all, here.

General : Cartoon Network MMORPG

Posted Jul 19, 2006 by Jon Wood

The Cartoon Network has announced a partnership between themselves and Grigon Entertainment, a Korean MMOG company to create a Cartoon Network-themed MMORPG. This game is intended to be marketed toward kids:

 

Cartoon Network to Develop Massively Multiplayer Online Game with Grigon Entertainment

First Partnership Between U.S. Entertainment Company and a Korean Game Developer

Cartoon Network announced today that it is developing its first massively multi-player online game (MMOG) in an unprecedented partnership with a leading MMOG developer, Seoul-based Grigon Entertainment. Cartoon Network New Media, already a leader in online entertainment and gaming, will debut the game in the United States. This is the first-ever partnership between a U.S. entertainment company and a Korean developer to create an MMOG for the global marketplace.

The Cartoon Network MMOG will launch in spring 2008 and target the growing and sophisticated kids' interactive gaming market. The game will be free to download, with subscription and micro-transactions available to players to enhance the gaming experience. New areas for exploration and play are planned and will be added regularly over a span of several years. The game brings Cartoon Network's beloved characters and sensibility to the fast-growing online gaming realm with an "East-meets-West" creative approach. Grigon Entertainment is best known for successfully developing and launching several online games in Asia, including Seal Online, a light-hearted role-playing game (RPG) that took the online gaming world by surprise. Localized versions are available in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Indonesia and Thailand.

"Cartoon Network is an immersive experience for our fans, and this MMOG will allow our fans to interact with their favorite characters like never before. Not only will kids be able to play with their favorite characters like Mac and Bloo, Ben 10 and the Kids Next Door, but they will also be able to develop their own online gaming personalities and interact, virtually, with other players in a safe way," said Jim Samples, Cartoon Network executive vice president and general manager. "This MMOG is a key part of Cartoon Network's growth strategy, and is an important complement to our mobile, broadband and our existing online business. With the MMOG, mobile content, our Web sites and, of course, our linear network, Cartoon Network is always on for kids."

"Online games have been the most important driver of Cartoon Network New Media's success over the last few years. With more than 84 million U.S. homes expected to have broadband Internet access by 2008, and Cartoon Network's reach and creative vision, we're excited to enter the fast-growing world of massively multiplayer online gaming," said Paul Condolora, senior vice president and general manager, Cartoon Network New Media. "In Grigon Entertainment, we have found a partner who understands how to build a successful MMOG for the casual marketplace. With our characters and creative direction, along with Grigon's experience and technical know-how, we think Cartoon Network's MMOG will have great success and longevity."

"It's my greatest pleasure to work as partners with Cartoon Network, the world's most influential entertainment brand," said Byung-Kyu Cho, chief executive officer of Grigon Entertainment Co., Ltd. "When I look at the globally adored characters of Cartoon Network getting together harmonically with the renowned strength and uniqueness of Grigon, I have all my confidence that we will proudly present an online game which will astonish the world."

Massively multiplayer online gaming has expanded in the United States in recent years, with games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest achieving large and loyal followings. Most MMOGs have been driven by high-intensity fighting and action with fantasy elements and have attracted an older, adult audience. To date, few games have targeted younger audiences. In Asia and Europe, where broadband penetration is ahead of that in the United States, MMOGs have been developed for all audiences, from kids to teens and adults.

Cartoon Network's games will feature a persistent and expanding world, which will allow players to develop their own characters, attributes and possessions over the course of many months and even years. Players may also meet and interact with other players online, forming virtual friendships and communities. Cartoon Network's MMOG will be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) and will offer a safe gaming environment for players.

Conquer Online : Tougher Penalties for Bots

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

Another game trying to show force against cheaters and botters, as Conquer Online announces tougher penalties for people caught cheating in their game:

In order to provide a clean game for all honest players, we will punish botters more severely.

After server maintenance tomorrow, if you are caught for using bots, you must pay a certain amount of DragonBalls instead of CO silvers to leave the jail as punishment for your guilt.

If you are Caught using bots for the first time you must pay: 1 DragonBall
If you are Caught using bots for the second time you must pay: 2 DragonBalls
If you are Caught using bots for the third time you must pay: 4 DragonBalls

If you are caught using bots for more than three times, Warden will not set you free, and then you will have to email to sherry@nd.com.cn

Furthermore, we sincerely suggest you one more time: Please Do Not Drop Items During a Mid-air Jump! If you claim you are caught for doing that again, you will be responsible for the consequences of doing that.

We take all these measures on the purpose of protecting most players' benefit and hope you can understand it.

Let's play the game fairly!

For more on Conquer Online, click here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Tech Support Closing Early Thursday

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

Dark Age of Camelot has announced that their tech support department will be closing at 6PM on Thursday for a meeting.

 

Tech Support Closing Early Thursday, July 20

Just a head's up - we'll be closing the phones at 6:00 PM for their bimonthly staff meeting. All other services will continue unabated, sort of like this heat wave we've got here in North America this week.

For more DAoC, click here.

World of Warcraft : Public Test Realms Live!

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

World of WarCraft has announced that their public test relams are now online and live! Currently the realms are being used to test a new content patch, "Drums of War", that will contain cross-realm battlegrounds:

 

The public test realms are live! Players can now try out some of the changes and additions coming in World of Warcraft's latest content patch: Drums of War. The highlights of this patch include cross-realm battlegrounds -- where for the first time in the history of World of Warcraft, you will be able to face off against players from other realms in the battlegrounds -- rogue talent improvements, and world player-vs.-players objectives in Silithus and Eastern Plaguelands. Read the Drums of War test realm patch notes to learn more.

Note: For this phase of testing, we would like players to focus on cross-realm battlegrounds. The world PvP objectives in Silithus and Eastern Plaguelands are still in development and will be patched during the testing process. For a list of current battlegroup designations click here.

Players who had an active account as of 12:01 AM PDT Tuesday, July 11 can participate in the test realms by creating a character, using a pre-made level 60 character, or copying their characters from existing realms to the test realms. To copy a character, visit our public test realm page. Pre-made character copies are available anytime during the testing period, while personal character transfers to the test realm are available from 3:00 AM to 3:00 PM PDT Monday through Friday. The test realm game client, which can be downloaded at the same page, is available for both PC and Mac.

Please be aware that the test realms are designed to allow us to test major content patches before they go public. Therefore, some changes may be introduced to the public test realms during the testing phase, before a patch goes live, and some changes may be introduced to the patch after the test realms have closed. To read more about the test realms, please review the Test Realm FAQ. We truly appreciate players taking the time to help us test the latest changes to the game; thank you all!

For more on WoW, click here.

General : MASSIVE Deals With SOE for First Issue

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

MASSIVE Magazine has announced that it has made a deal with Sony Online Entertainment that will see an "exclusive gaming DVD" included with the magazine's first issue:

 

MASSIVE Magazine to Collaborate With Sony Online Entertainment to Distribute Exclusive Gaming DVD

DVD To Include SOE MMO Games, Movie Trailers and Bonus Features for Gamers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., July 18, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- MASSIVE Magazine, published by the theglobe.com (OTC BB:TGLO.OB - News) and the editorial staff of Computer Games Magazine, today announced a collaboration with Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), a global leader in the online games industry, to release an exclusive gaming DVD which will be included in the premier issue of MASSIVE Magazine, set to launch in September 2006.

The DVD will include free trials of some of the most popular Sony Online Entertainment massively multiplayer online (MMO) games and services. Trials will include EverQuest II, EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, SOE Comic Book Creator, The Matrix Online, PlanetSide and more.

"We feel this is a great way to launch our new publication," said Jayson Dubin, Vice President and Publisher of MASSIVE Magazine and Computer Games Magazine. "This is an exceptional value for our customers. They are getting a premier publication and a jam-packed DVD for half the newsstand price of some of our competitors."

In addition to trial MMO games, the co-branded DVD will also include special offers, trailers and videos, including access to the Beta test of Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, Medieval Weapon (the EverQuest II-powered Machinima series produced by g-NET for Spike TV) and a trailer for the upcoming Sony Pictures Animation release Open Season.

According to Sony Online Entertainment, this exclusive deal will be an opportunity to reach out to growing a market of gamers.

"We're very excited that online gaming has reached the point where a magazine like MASSIVE is possible," said Laura Naviaux, senior global brand manager, Sony Online Entertainment. "Over the years, we've watched the online games space grow from niche to dominating the minds of gamers around the globe. The time is right for online games to reach from the virtual space to a dedicated print magazine."

MASSIVE Magazine will include in-depth features on the culture of MMOs, focusing on players, guilds, communities, and their adventures both inside and outside the games. The editorial staff of Computer Games Magazine will produce the content keeping the same style and credibility expected among its fiercely loyal readership. MASSIVE Magazine will be written with a lighthearted and breezy editorial tone that will resonate with anyone interested in MMOs and their place in the world of gaming.

The new publication along with the exclusive DVD will be available at all major retailers, including Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. For more information about MASSIVE Magazine, please visit www.massive-magazine.com.

Lord of the Rings Online : Exploring Middle-Earth

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, has released another of its points of interest in a feature called "Exploring Middle Earth". This time around, they're looking at the home of popular LOTRO character, Tom Bombadil:

 

In the Old Forest, between Buckland and the Barrow-downs, stands a welcome sight: the home of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, the River-maiden. Weary travellers will find this an unusually pleasant retreat amongst the ancient and often foreboding forest and the mist-shrouded downs beyond. Tom Bombadil himself is a person who defies specific explanation, though his intentions clearly favor the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. He is pleasant and affable, warm and welcoming, yet undeniably powerful and as ancient as Middle-earth itself. From the modest surroundings of well-tended gardens and delicious meals, Tom Bombadil commands the respect of all around him, from the creatures of the forest to the very land and trees themselves.

Adventurers in Middle-earth will no doubt want to seek out the home of Tom Bombadil in the Old Forest, as it is a very memorable chapter in The Lord of the Rings. It also represents a critical place to stop and rest, since the areas just outside its welcoming glow contain all manner of dark and uncertain paths. When creating the home itself for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, it was important to capture the warmth that signals a safe retreat, yet also maintain an air of otherworldliness to the home and a physical connection to the land and surrounding forest.

Tom Bombadil has been the focus of much debate over the decades, since he is so uniquely connected to Middle-earth, yet mysterious and powerful beneath his bright clothing and light-hearted manner. He was clearly one of Professor Tolkien's favorite characters, sharing a connection with nature and a need to protect the ancient living things of the natural world against the encroaching darkness.

Turbine has also asked that we remind everyone of their beta signups, which are available now.

Guild Wars : Nightfall

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

After the success of Guild Wars Factions, the first follow-up game to ArenaNet and NCSoft's hit, Guild Wars, the company has announced that they will be adding a third game to their franchise. This one will be titled Guild Wars Nightfall:

 

ArenaNet Announces Guild Wars Nightfall

Guild Wars Players Invited to Play in Exclusive Player-Versus-Player Event as Beta Testing Launches for Next Guild Wars Campaign

July 18, 2006 (BELLEVUE, WA) – ArenaNet®, developer of the world’s leading subscription-free online roleplaying games Guild Wars® and Guild Wars Factions™, and NCsoft® Corporation, the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, announce today the title of the next game in the award-winning franchise, Guild Wars Nightfall™. Further, Guild Wars Nightfall has entered the beta testing stage and Guild Wars players worldwide are invited to participate in an exclusive, first-look player-versus-player (PVP) event, July 28 – 30, 2006.

During the PVP Preview Event, both Guild Wars and Guild Wars Factions® players will get a first look at Guild Wars Nightfall, and will be able to try out the two new professions being introduced in the game; the Dervish, a scythe-wielding holy warrior, and the Paragon, guardian angel of the Elonian people. In addition to testing out the new professions and arenas, players will also be able to compete for items that will be exchangeable for a variety of rewards throughout the weekend event.

The Guild Wars Nightfall PVP Preview event will kick off on Friday, July 28 at 12:01am PDT and will continue through Sunday, July 30 at 11:59pm PST.

Guild Wars, an instant bestseller worldwide upon its release in April 2005, and Guild Wars Factions, the number one game in both North America and Europe earlier this year, are global online roleplaying games. Guild Wars Nightfall will continue the tradition of inviting players to immerse themselves in an epic storyline centered in a vibrant fantasy setting, build personalized characters, compete in head-to-head battles with players from around the world, and find adventure in missions and quests, in a Guild Wars game unlike any players have seen before.

For more on Guild Wars, click here.

Navarea Online : Janrurary 2008+

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

The good people over at Navera Online have sent us word that their game, which is currently in development, will be looking at a game completion date of "Janruary 2008+".

 

A lot of people are saying that the game will never be completed, this of course is wrong. The current direct x we are using is 7 which make's the graphics dated, we are upgrading it to direct x 9 which is the best and newest one. This will make the graphics very very nice. For those of you with cheap computers, we will still release the direct x 7 version. The reason I am telling you this is because the game will be released on a later date. The direct x9 feature we are using will not be completed until winter of this year, work until then will be very slow so figure the game will be completed the January 2008+. We are sorry about this, but we feel this is the best way to go.

For more on Navera Online, click here.

Savage Eden : Nicholas Dobbins, New Team Member

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

EI Interactive, the company behind the MMORPG, Savage Eden, has announced that they have hired a new Coordinator of Marketing and Business Development in the person of Nicholas Dobbins:

 

E I Interactive Adds New Member to Its Nashville Team

NASHVILLE, TN - (July 17, 2006)

In response to the recent success of their MMORPG Savage Eden, E I Interactive (EI) has hired Nicholas Dobbins to be their Coordinator of Marketing and Business Development.

“EI has licensed new games and is expanding at such a rate that we need to grow our communication process and have a high impact person devoted exclusively to coordinating development with advertisers and affiliates”, said company Chairman Edward C. Andercheck, “and Nicholas really brings both the creative and communications skills as well as the artistic touch that will keep pace with our dynamic environment.”

A student of the arts, Dobbins studied theater and graphic design at the University of Memphis and received a degree in Management and Organizational Design from Bethel College, in Nashville. He will be tapped as a contributing writer for GameIntruder.com (EI’s game news and review site) and as a Creative Director for the plot development of EI’s MMORPGs.

Among other duties, Dobbins will be managing the advertising campaigns and affiliate programs for all EI Interactive properties. He will also be designing the newsletters for and coordinating the content of GameIntruder.com.

EI Interactive (EI Communications Corp.) is an establisher publisher of online content, including MMORPGames, casual games, web based game portals, including a casual game portal, and game review and information sites. EI is aggressively working to complete its portals stable of six MMORPG properties. EI acquires publishing rights to MMORPGames and casual games to work synergistically with its browser-based products due for release during 2006 and 2007.

For more on Savage Eden, click here.

City of Heroes : Double XP Weekend

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

City of Heroes / Villains has announced another double experience event. The event will be held beginning on Friday, July 21st, and will end on July 23rd, Sunday.

 

Heroes and Villains, prepare to experience our first ever Double XP weekend event! The rules are simple. Hero and Villain characters will receive double the XP for all of their accomplishments in the game. Take advantage of this opportunity to level up your favorite characters. Good luck and have fun!

Double XP Event Timing

Start: Friday, July 21st at 9am PST / 12pm EST
Finish: Sunday, July 23rd, 8:59pm PST / 11:59pm EST

For more CoH, click here.

Carpe Diem : Developer Journal & Screens

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Dana Massey

Today, Ken Johnston of Persistent Worlds pens a developer journal that unveils the background story of Carpe Diem. In addition, we also have three new screenshots from this upcoming MMORPG.

Carpe Diem is a new MMO game with several new and different gameplay ideas.

The first of these is that the game is story driven and a real person plays the main protagonist online in real time. So if you feel that there is a malevolent hand guiding your opponents, then you are probably right! Secondly, the action is mostly mounted. All characters can choose to get a mount from early in the game and thus the gameplay is faster and the combat more tactical. There are many other new gameplay ideas (such as the possession system and the weapons of legend) so if you are interested the check out www.carpediemgame.com.

Today I would like to tell you about the background story to Carpe Diem.

You can read more here.

Final Fantasy XI : Sequel Buzz

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Dana Massey

IGN PC - by way of Nikkei Net - is reporting that the fabled Final Fantasy series is about to go MMORPG again. SquareEnix is reportedly working on a sequel to Final Fantasy XI. Here's to hoping they don't call it Final Fantasy XI II. The game will be available for the Windows Vista, the PS3 and the XBOX360.

apan's respected Nikkei Net news service reported today that Square Enix is currently working on a sequel to Final Fantasy XI. The next-generation massively multiplayer online RPG is being developed for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows Vista formats. Further details about the project were not provided, including whether or not the sequel is a direct follow-up to the adventures of Vana'diel or just a "spiritual successor."

You can read more over at IGN.

Istaria : Chaos Reigns!

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

Horizons has released the fourth edition of Chaos Reigns! A small sample of the feature appears below, if you'd like to know more, click the read more link below:

 

Eastern Deadlands Expands, Swamp Partially Blighted

The Withered Aegis have strengthened their grip on the lands south of Harro with the construction of extensive fortifications along the edge of the Spirituous Swamp. Portions of the swamp itself have also been blighted. Travelers report that the creatures native to the swamp have become remarkably aggressive, often attacking in droves. Experts with the New Rachival Research Institute have theorized that the unusually aggressive behavior is due to the encroaching Blight destroying the delicate wetlands ecology and inflicting psychological trauma on the bloodsnout gruok and purple spiders native to the region.

Read More...

For more on Horizons, click here.

Ryzom : Film-Maker's Conference

Posted Jul 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

The official Saga of Ryzom Webpage is advertising an in-game film-makers conference. The conference will be held on July 22nd, and will cover the realm of in-game movies and their creation:

 

I would like to invite everyone interested to an Atysian film-makers conference on the Zora Stage, Arispotle Shard on Saturday the 22nd July at 9pm BST (8pm GMT, 4pm EDT, 1pm PDT). This conference is open to everyone from all shards. The main purpose will be to meet other film makers and exchange ideas. If you don't have an Arispotle character all ready, just make a new Zoraï character on Arispotle and talk to Chiang about coming over to the mainland.

The discussion will include a variety of topics such as:

  • What do you use to make your videos
  • Good resources for free music
  • Exchanging ideas about what sorts of videos we can make
  • How can we support each other in making videos
  • How can we host/promote our videos, so more people from and new to Atys can see them
  • Should we agree on a central site for Atysian videos (say Acrediel's site and/or others).

There are already forum threads about this on the English and German boards, and hopefully someone can translate it into French too. More info about the event is on these threads.

I hope to see you all there!

For more on The Saga of Ryzom, click here.

EVE Online : EVE TV

Posted Jul 17, 2006 by Jon Wood

EVE Online has announced another new and innovative feature for their already popular sci-fi MMORPG. It seems as though they have debuted something called "EVE TV". EVE Tv brings watchers live coverage on ingame events, and more!

 

EVE TV now live!

EVE TV is now a reality. Watch live coverage of ingame events mixed in with commentary and analysis from PVP experts, all live from CCP headquarters. EVE TV also brings you exclusive interviews with the Dev and GM teams.

Coverage is between 15.00 and 21.00 GMT on the 14th, 15th and 16th, and then 21st 22nd and 23rd of July.

For more on EVE Online, click here.

Gods and Heroes : Going to the Block Party

Posted Jul 17, 2006 by Jon Wood

Gods and Heroes has announced their intention to be in attendance at the SOE Block Party that is set to take place on July 22nd in conjunction with the San Diego Comic Con:

 

See G&H at the SOE Block Party During Comic-Con! - July 17, 2006

Come to the SOE Block Party!Come join us for the first-ever SOE Block Party and get a tour of Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising! This community event will be held during the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, July 22 from 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM. Even if you're not attending Comic-Con this year, stop by the Block Party, anyway!

The Block Party will also feature guided tours of the SOE buildings, prize raffles, food, drinks and other assorted goodies. In addition to a live demo of Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, there will be SOE game demos, including a sneak peak at the upcoming PlayStation 3 title, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom!

Come hang out with the members of the Gods & Heroes Community team! You'll also have the opportunity to meet acclaimed fantasy author R.A. Salvatore along with comic writer and The Matrix Online storyteller, Paul Chadwick.

Busses will shuttle attendees from the San Diego Convention Center from 3:00 PM until 5:00 PM (Look for the SOE signs near section B of the Convention Center). Return trips to the Convention Center will be running every half hour until 7:00 PM. For those of you coming on your own, we highly recommend carpooling, as parking will be limited.

The Details
What: SOE 2006 Block Party
When: Saturday July 22, 2006. 3:00pm - 7:00pm
Busses from Comic-Con to SOE: 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Busses from SOE back to Comic-Con: Every 30 minutes
Where: SOE Headquarters. 8928 Terman Ct., San Diego, CA 92121 (map)
Why: See Gods & Heroes, meet fun people, tour SOE buildings, free food, drinks, games, music and prizes. To have fun!
Attendance: FREE

For more on Gods and Heroes, click here.

D&D Online : Weekly Development Activities

Posted Jul 17, 2006 by Jon Wood

Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, has released a new edition of their "Weekly Development Activities". As usual, the list is too large to print here, but a simple click on the link below will give you the whole story:

 

Check out the latest updates to the "Weekly Development Activities." The goal for this feature is to give solid expectations on what you can expect to see in future updates.

In QA

These items are in QA and should be a part of the next scheduled update.

General

  • Loot messages from other players will be tagged as loot messages and can be filtered out.
  • Players will no longer get stuck while dismounting from ladders.

Monsters

  • Improved the dragon's spellcasting AI and line of sight recognition.

Read it all, here.

Pirates of the Carribean Online : Q&A

Posted Jul 17, 2006 by Jon Wood

Pirates of the Caribbean Online has released this new Q&A with Mike Goslin, the Vice President of VR Studio. The Q&A gives answers to a number ofquestions, from gameplay to the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow:

Inside the Captain’s Quarters

An Interview with Mike Goslin – Vice President, VR Studio

What is a normal day for a VR Studio developer? How much time spent in meetings? Brainstorms? Coding? Is it true you live on soda and pizza?

Thankfully, we don't have too many meetings... but we do spend a lot of time debating in the hallways! Since most people in our group work in an open space, we tend to "prairie-dog" a lot. For example, if a discussion is going on, someone might hear and pop their head up to chime in with suggestions.

How we spend our time also depends on where we are in the development cycle. Early stages are dominated by brainstorming and coming up with concepts and art. Later the focus is on prototyping and trying things out to see if they are fun. Eventually we build systems and start hooking things together. Finally, it's polishing, performance tuning, and bug-fixing. Occasionally, someone will eat a salad in addition to soda and pizza.

We really enjoy being able to mine the richness of the world of Pirates of the Caribbean. There's a ton of great material, history, and humor to draw from.

The huge success of the first film (Curse of the Black Pearl) makes it a real challenge to live up to people's expectations of what the game experience should be, but it's a challenge we are excited to take on. We know when to break the rules for fun's sake. For example, while developing the Pirates of the Caribbean virtual reality ride for DisneyQuest (Battle for Buccaneer Gold), we discovered that the real-world physics involved with steering a large ship doesn't exactly produce fun game play. As a solution, we amped up the physics to make the boats move and turn like high-speed yachts. When challenged with the need for thousands of Toontown players to interact together in the same world, we developed a new shard system that allows players to switch from one server to another on the fly - which I don't think anyone else was doing at the time. Because of our Imagineering background, we always look for creative solutions to any challenge.

What differentiates this game from other MMOs and pirate games?

The biggest difference between this game and other MMOs is that the pirate-themed world we are designing will feature some supernatural elements that are unique to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise: defending your ship from sea monsters, fighting skeleton pirates, and casting voodoo spells. We will also include the classic pirate activities: epic sea battles, searching for buried treasure, playing dice and cards, and carousing in towns.

What do you think fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will like most about the virtual world?

I think they'll really enjoy the chance to become a pirate and live out their own adventures in an expanded version of the world from the films. Casting voodoo spells is a lot of fun, too.

[ expand article ]
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