It seems now that a game which shut its doors in the new year, has been given a second chance at life. Twilight War, a game from Smiling Gator announced in January that it was closing its doors due to lack of funding, but it seems as though those problems might be over:
A little over a month ago, Smiling Gator announced that we had run out of funds and were subsequently shutting down operations and halting development on our MMO-FPS project, Twilight War: After the Fall. Like the untimely deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobaine, the announcement generated a spike of interest.
At first, we thought it was primarily a case of "rubbernecking"; everyone is fascinated by a good train wreck. However, it soon became clear that lots of people genuinely thought Twilight War was a great concept and wanted to find a way to keep it alive. There was an outpouring of support from our loyal community, and even new business inquiries, almost as much as when things were alive and well.
The net result is that, After the Fall of Twilight War, there is now a plan for its resurrection. We are very pleased to announce that Smiling Gator has concluded an agreement to license the Twilight War concept and sub-license Valve's Source engine to a new partner company, General Computers, to fund and continue development on our behalf.
General Computers is an independent information technology vendor with offices in Long Island, NY and Beijing, China. It provides high quality IT solutions to worldwide customers. Founded in March 2001 to build customized IT products, it is rapidly growing and expanding into new areas. The agreement with Smiling Gator marks the company's entry into the gaming world.
We will continue keep followers of Twilight War informed of progress through our game site (www.twilightwar.com) but, for now, our primary forums will remain closed. Discussions and community activities are being hosted by our UK fansite, Twilight War HQ (www.twilightwarhq.com).
Victor Wachter, the Community Manager of Dungeons and Dragons Online, took the time to answer five new questions as our bi-weekly series continues.
| MMORPG.com: Players are very concerned that developers do not listen to their feedback during beta. How often would you say that Turbine listens to its players?
Victor Wachter: We’re being very active in listening to our players. They’re our best source of information on the game. Over the course of Beta, we have frequently looked to them for feedback on gameplay elements and more information on issues that they have encountered.
A good example of this is the recent changes we made to stealth and invisibility. Our Beta players gave us lots of great feedback about the changes and we used that to further refine the system. What resulted was a good compromise and I think that’s indicative of our commitment to taking player feedback.
Our plan is to stay in touch with the community and communicate back to them what our plans are in response to their feedback. We’ve tackled a number of issues during Beta with help from the playerbase. We’ve spent extra time researching problems that have been reported. Our business gives us so many different opportunities to find out what our players are feeling about our game, and we try and take full advantage of them.
The full interview is available here.
Chris Tou, the Producer of Flyff, answers questions from our own Garrett Fuller about their micro-payment MMORPG that was localized recently for the North American market.
| MMORPG.com: How does Player vs. Player action affect character development and storyline?
Chris Tou: Our PvP system is unrelated to the storyline, because it is a free PK (Player-Killing) system. However, it does change game play and character development quite a bit.
On the PK server, any player level 15 and above becomes PvP enabled once they step outside of town, meaning, anybody is fair game for anyone else to kill. A player who is killed stands to drop items in their inventory, and/or penya (money). Additionally, they also will lose a small percentage of their experience points. PK players is a good way for players to make a lot of money and gain new items, however, they also stand to lose a lot!
That’s not to say that players who kill indiscriminately will not be punished, as we also have a Karma point system in place. Killing other players may earn you negative Karma points. After accumulating too many negative Karma points, the player becomes kill-on-sight for town guards. The next time the player with high negative dies, they are teleported to “Jail” island. On this island, a player has to complete quests in order to clear their Karma and off the island.
A bounty system is also in place. There is a NPC in all the 3 major towns where, for example, Player A, who has been killed by Player B, can place a bounty upon that Player B. Any aspiring bounty can speak to the NPC and see a list of current bounties, and, for a small fee, see where the target bounty is currently on the world map. This definitely adds an interesting element to PvP/PK that no other game has.
You can read the full interview here.
(Sunnyvale, CA – February 16, 2006) – Armchair golf champs get ready, this is the tournament you’ve been waiting for! Shot-Online is about to play host to the First Shot-Online Professional Tournament, which will be offering about $2,000 in cash as well as cyber-cash prizes to semi-pro ranked golfers (or higher) in Shot-Online. The time? The tournament starts tomorrow, at February 17 at 12:00 AM to February 20 at 12:00 AM (CST). The place? The tournament will be played on the “Abel Plena” course, only in the massively multiplayer online golf game, Shot-Online.
The tournament prize structure is as follows:
1st Place – $1,000
Shot-Online, developed by OnNet Co., Ltd., is a hybrid massively multiplayer online game, a golfing simulation incorporating elements of traditional role-playing, enhanced by a proprietary physics engine for golf ball dynamics and interaction with eight challenging, varied golf courses. Detailed 3D graphics and smooth-as-silk animation enhance the realism of Shot-Online as a simulation. On the role-playing side of Shot-Online, characters can level and grow in skill and capability through training, while team and solo competitions allow players a chance to win game currency to buy skill-enhancing items, and quests and other community events are offered for even more depth.
Shot-Online, for Windows/PC systems, is available online for free download at the official website (http://www.shot-online.com). Shot-Online offers absolutely FREE play without time or play limits; however, with a Gold Membership for the entertainment-packed, high-value rate of $9.99 a month, a 50% discount on the greens fee; a 30% discount on items purchased with in-game currency; the locker fee is free; and trade between users is free, and other benefits are offered. For the Gold Plus Membership of just $14.99 monthly, along with the other benefits of regular membership, the greens fees are free and a friend’s green free can be discounted 50% and a one million monthly allotment of the in-game currency is given to the player, along with other benefits.
To find out more details about Shot-Online and all the latest news about the game; the Shot-Online Professional Tournament and the rules, please visit the official Shot-Online website. (http://www.shot-online.com).
Lots going on over at Auto Assault. Not only have they released the third in their February Car Show series, but they're also bringing us info on combat tactics and have added some new areas to their website.
Game Info Update: Combat Tactics
This week's Game Info update examines the use of Combat Tactics in Auto Assault, and why combat is not just simply about rolling up to your latest victim, guns a-blazin'.
The February Car Show: Week Three
We're in the third week of our February Spotlight, the You Auto Be In The Pictures: The February Car Show. Today we have the Mutant Bloodhealer Mk II.
We've added a couple of new sections to the website this week, featuring some of the things we've previously had on our closed beta site, the OCD Roadhouse. Under News we have the new Feature Updates section, including patch notes and other goodies from the beta.
For more on Auto Assault, click here.
Blizzard's World of WarCraft has a problem that might just be envyable for other developers. It seems as though they have having difficulty in controlling Realm populations. Well, they're come up with a solution:
We've implemented a new system that will disable character creation when a realm has a queue to better control realm populations. This system will disable character creation for accounts without characters on an individual realm when it has a queue. This will limit population growth on congested realms during peak hours and assist us in our efforts to provide a better overall gameplay experience for our players, especially those on high population realms.
Please note that players with existing characters on a queued realm will still be able to create characters, and during off hours when there is not a queue all players may create characters as normal.
For more information on WoW, click here.
WAR, the Mythic Entertainment MMORPG that is based on the popular Warhammer franchise, has not released a new newsletter this month. Instead, they have released a short note to readers about a double issue coming in March, and also encouraging fans of the game to keep an eye out for stories about the game in March.
We wanted to let you know that we are currently hard at work on a special "double" issue of the monthly newsletter to be published the second week of March. It will be packed with exciting news, information, and a couple of sneak peeks that are just for you. It will be worth the wait! To tide you over until then, we've posted the latest installment of Paul's Video Phone Diaries for your viewing pleasure.
We are also about to blow the cover on WAR and have been lining up feature stories to hit over the next two months. Be on the look out for the game's debut coverage coming to a magazine and website near you soon!
If it's WAR news that you're looking for, you won't have to look too far to get it, as MMORPG.com will be one of the sites bringing you debut coverage of the game!
Johnathan "Mapmaker" White is the man behind the map in Pirates of the Burning Sea. Today, he files this developer journal that discusses what he does on the project. Included are three drawings he did.
|A Historic Cartographer is the name given to the very few of us in the industry that specializes in the creation of researched maps that represent a specific location at a particular point in time (mine specialization being 15th through 18th centuries). The term "Portolan" is used to identify hand-made maps that are observed as having a specific set of characteristics used by early Cartographers (Cartouche, Scale, Windrose, Rhumblines, and Misc uses of Hand-Created Art in the Map itself). A "Portolan Artist" is someone who follows the same design principles and technique as early Cartographers.|
You can read the full article here.
Jon Spofford, of the Undead Lords guild, recently interviewed Danielle Vanderlip, the assistant community manager for Shadowbane. He decided to contribute the article to our site and we thank him for it. The article provides an interesting peek behind the scenes as Danielle gives her thoughts on a range of genre topics.
John Spofford: The lore was a huge part of Shadowbane, and on the newest game server limits who can group with who, and what classes can be in which guild. The other big aspect of lore was the Feature Character program, what can you tell me about this?
Danielle Vanderlip: The Feature Character program was a program in which we had a team of virtual actors that would run characters within the game world and create interactive events for the players. These events were loosely scripted to where we had the basic premise of the event and the backstory of the character we played, however the outcome wasn’t always perfectly scripted out. The end of an event was what the players made it. If they succeeded or failed it was on their own merit. If others came in to interrupt or take part, that was also a part of the event. There were no rules saying who could or could not participate and in that the events became different for each server even when the basis was the same.
Unfortunately with a program like this, it requires extra funds in order to keep a staff on hand to keep the events going. Eventually the staff was layed off or reshuffled and only a skeleton crew is able to do events relatively infrequently.
Support for player events however is still given as often as possible. We’ve always encouraged people to change the world they live in and whether for good or ill, that is exactly what we’ve gotten.
You can read the Q&A here.
There's a new Q&A in town over at The Saga of Ryzom. This one, the 14th in their series is just as interesting as the first for fans of the game. Below, we give you the company's introduction to the Q&A. If you like what you see, follow the link below.
Today is the release of the 14th Q&A! It gathers pretty various questions, from the logic behind the choice of neutral TPs to the limited number of landmarks, through the economy of Atys, Spires and teleportation, R² and the number of droppable items, coming back to character selection without delogging, facial animations, Atys Rangers... To end with some information about what the devs are currently doing.
This Q&A is a bit different from the previous ones since I included several answers that were given directly on the boards. From the time when the first Q&A popped up about 1 year ago until now, we have provided more and more answers on the forum and want to focus on this way of interacting with you, as answering on the board provide more responsiveness to your concerns. Of course, we will never be able to answer all the questions, but we will do our best!
As a result, the Q&A special thread won't be needed anymore, as the whole forum could be used to ask questions. I will keep releasing Q&A and updating the Forum Watch, though. While the latter allows you to read anything we post, the Q&A will sort and archive important answers, which will be translated in the three communities' languages.
The good folks at The Matrix Online have given us another edition of "The Other Side of the Looking Glass". As usual, we bring you a small piece of the article. If you're interested in reading further, follow the link below.
Happy Valentine's Day
It's A Long, Long Way to Tipperary
We're happy to see the positive feedback about the new combat effects. We also appreciate everyone keeping an open mind to the removal of Tactics numbers and damage absorption text. Our hope is that the combat effects give enough visual feedback for you to make strategic decisions during combat.
Even though we've come a long way in implementation over the past few months, we still have the final stretch ahead. There are still items we feel must be completed before CR2.0 is released and there's all your feedback to take into consideration. The journey has been a long one since the initial proposal last year, but we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. (No, it's not a subway car.)
To read it all, click here.
The following article appeared on the website, english.chosun.com. The story itself deals with an issue that has cropped up in both Lineage II and Lineage. The problem is identity theft and fraudulant accounts... Read for yourself:
Massive ID Theft Opens Gates to Online Game
The Korean online game “Lineage” is played by a small army of fraudulent users who use the IDs of others to register for the game. Fraudulent use of hacked personal information on this scale is without precedent.
There have been no reports so far that victims whose personal information was stolen online have suffered financial losses, but that may change since so-called “items” such as game weaponry can be easily converted into cash.
“Lineage”-maker NC Soft said Monday it was investigating reports that some 500 individuals play the game in the name and at the expense of people who never joined “Lineage” or “Lineage II.” As of Monday at 5 p.m., the number was still increasing.
The two “Lineage” games are the most popular Korean massive multi-player online role playing games (MMORPG). The number of players has been calculated at 1-2 million who engage in fights with each other against the backdrop of a medieval fantasy world. Along the way they are rewarded for their skill by acquiring “items” that boost their characters’ strength.
NC Soft said it was not clear how the user IDs were stolen, but given the scale of the fraud it speculates that a major portal site or community site was attacked by hackers.
An NC Soft staffer said the fraudulent users created game characters for themselves with stolen ID numbers and names and paid for membership via mobile phones that were also registered with stolen names. The firm is investigating to establish the exact scale of the damage
One clue points to China, because many of the fraudulent users use Chinese names like Xi. There have been warning signs for several years. A staffer with an IT security firm says several hacking programs designed to steal private information from various Internet sites went around last year, and there have been several attempts in China as well as Korea to steal private information online.
For more on Lineage II, click here
DarkSpace, an MMORPG in development by Palestar, has announced they their Open Beta test for version 1.484 is now open. If you're interested, read on:
Dallas, Texas, February, 2006. Palestar Inc. is happy to announce that version 1.484 of it's flagship space MMO, DarkSpace, has now entered Open Beta testing. The client is available to download via the http://beta.darkspace.net website and features multiple improvements and balance changes.
DarkSpace is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game that combines tactical ship to ship combat with strategy in a team orientated game. Players gain rank and prestige, which expands the ships they can command and the strategic decisions they make.
Key changes to version 1.484 include a completely revamped ship upgrade system, aimed at making the game much more accessible to new players, and a streamlined resource management system. The focus of this update is to put more emphasis on the fun combat action as opposed to the unduly complex micro-management of previous versions. We have also added some improved server profiling code that will enable us to track and reduce any server stability issues, making a better overall gameplay experience for everyone.
The current release version of DarkSpace is available for download from the website at http://www.darkspace.net. DarkSpace features a limited access demo account, which enables all members to play for free without requiring a subscription or card payment details, in addition to our 14-day subcription trial, which allows access to all of the games features and resources.
PaleStar looks forward to seeing many new faces in the DarkSpace Community.
Visit us at http://www.darkspace.net.
For more on Darkspace, click here.
Blizzard's World of Warcraft has announced that the character transfers that had been advertised for Eitrigg will be ending a day early. Players wishing to transfer to Rexxar, a new PvE server, have until the 16th.
Eitrigg Transfer Update - Deadline - Wednesday, February 15, 3:00 PM PST
Character transfers on the Eitrigg realm have gone better than we had hoped for, and as a result character transfers are closing one day early. We encourage players on Dragonblight and Bronzebeard who are interested, to do so before tomorrow, February 15 at 3:00 PM PST.
If you're interested in transferring your characters from these realms to Eitrigg, please click here.
New Realm: Rexxar - Deadline - Thursday, February 16
Eligible character transfers are available Monday thru Friday from 3:00 AM to 3:00 PM PST. If you're interested in transferring your characters from the realms listed above to the new PvE realm, please click here.
For more on WoW, click here.
Kru Interactive (www.kru.com) invites game players to come and experience ‘Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds’, one of the world's first massive multiplayer online games (Korea, 1996). Explore the mysteries of the kingdom, emerge yourself in the surreal worlds of ancient Asian mythology, and experience the game play that made Nexus loved by half a million players world wide. Kru has just finished a complete upgrade of Nexus with new graphics, new features, and new adventures.
To celebrate this exciting moment, Kru will be offering a special in-game gift for registered Nexus players. For details, please visit www.nexustk.com , and don’t miss out on this special opportunity!
About Kru Interactive:
Eric Slick: First, the Disclaimer: Our plans for Player vs Player activities in HJ are quite elaborate. Some of it will be available at launch and other parts will be made available with future expansions. What is described here is the intent of the design and may not reflect the actual state of PvP at release. PvP will exist in two basic flavors:
You can read the full Q&A here.
We have been given another developer log from the people at Pirates of the Burning Sea. This one is from Misha, and gives us even more insight into the beta thus far. Below, you will find a sample. To read the whole log, follow the link below.
We've played a few more times since my last Dev Log, the longest session again being 4 hours this past Saturday. Mojo helped me host by hanging out with the Brits and answering their questions while I hung out with the Pirates and answered theirs. Primarily, we're trying to get the Beta testers to help us track down a lag/lurch issue we have so it was pretty much "free play" but "everyone, whether they had problems or not, please send us info about your performance experience."
The beta testers know that most of the available missions have changed since the build they have, the navigation zone has changed dramatically, and some of the UI has changed. That leaves them not a huge number of things to test except various PvP lineups. Which they did...
"It was a very good fight, If Mojo had just stayed in range 4 seconds longer on that initial encounter I would have sunk him and I believe I could have taken the other two. It was the constant bombardment of 3 ships rolling in and out that kept me completely on defense. That and I forgot to buy [repair consumables].
Outside of that I think the encounter went quite well, I am of course disappointed in the loss but considering it was 3 on 1, I cannot complain too much. I did find out my flare was apparently on strike... as such, I could not call anyone else in.
The Royal Navy made for a very interesting (and for me awfully short) fight... I'm sitting around in the harbor... minding my own business... and I see [M] sailing by, and think "Heh, this should be fun..." so I pick a fight, and all of a sudden I've got 4 enemies in the [encounter] with me...
To read it all, click here.
Yesterday, we brought you one of the two Star Wars: Galaxies February producer's letters. Today, we bring you the second. This one is from Julio Torres, the Producer from LucasArts.
Hope this letter finds you all well. Here we are roughly three months after unveiling some significant changes to Star Wars Galaxies geared towards delivering the ultimate immersive Star Wars experience. Though not all elements of the new direction were welcomed by all players with open arms, we still see that the majority (~80%) of players still in the game were playing before the changes were unveiled and implemented. We also continue to have more and more players enter the galaxy daily through the demo, almost 200,000 players to date.
First, we'd like to thank everyone who has been posting their feedback and that we want to keep hearing from you in an effort to improve the game experience. We appreciate your passion and your involvement in the community. Towards the end of last year, the team made many of the changes, adjustments, and fixes you were asking for and we're going to continue to try and do this in an effort to improve Galaxies for current players as well as new players.
Refining, Fixing, & Improving The Existing Game
Our number-one priority is on improving the existing game. We are dedicating significant development resources to polish the existing experience. One of the biggest facets the new game enhancements got knocked for was that many elements were broken. Quests would break halfway-through or not trigger at all, quest NPC's and enemies wouldn't be where they were supposed-to, as well as other issues that literally made portions of the game unplayable or simply not fun to play. Our main goal of this top priority is to fix all existing issues to the highest standard of quality, not just-enough to where they are playable. There are a lot of annoying bugs out there and we want to knock ‘em out for good!
One of the key efforts of our focus on existing game improvement will be to give all publishes extensive time on Test Center so that you all can have time to evaluate and share your feedback with us so we can make any necessary adjustments before we push them to the live game.
We certainly want to see as many new features and improvements to Galaxies as possible, but we're focusing on the quality over the quantity of features going-forward. As we mentioned, this will also include addressing the issues that already exist in the game. O ur approach is to make sure that as much attention is paid to addressing bugs as is to implementing new features. This approach will also affect the frequency of publishes this year. However, this does not mean we have reduced efforts to fix bugs and issues via hotfixes. We are confident our approach in terms of frequency of publishes will allow us to deliver better, cleaner, and more fun Star Wars content. The end result is that everything new and that is fixed in the game is going to undergo a lot more scrutiny, both internally and from the community. We know this will result in a much higher-quality experience for everyone.
As I mentioned, our goals aren't limited to refining and fixing the existing game. In an effort to improve it as well, we are focusing heavily on giving players the opportunity to differentiate themselves within their chosen profession from others within the same profession. The first you will see of these efforts is in tomorrow's Publish 27 in which we are introducing new abilities to the Jedi profession. We plan to do the same for all nine of our iconic professions across the board. In addition to adding new abilities, we eventually will be introducing new skills for each profession to give players further opportunity to differentiate themselves. Look for information on these skills to be popping-up on the boards in the coming months. Remember, your feedback on these abilities and skills is essential to their successful implementation.
Increasing Interaction With Community
Community is an important part of the Star Wars Galaxies experience – it is as important as the game's design itself. We're going to be listening to your feedback and posting much more about the issues and features that are important to everyone. Moving forward we will make sure we have a much stronger dev presence on the boards. Though we may not always be posting, we are always listening.
As part of this effort, we'll be posting more details about upcoming features on the forums so we can get your feedback before any of these features are set in stone. We'll start by posting information, publishing the features to Test Center , and getting your feedback on how each of these features plays. We will then be able to more effectively polish the overall experience before anything makes it to the live game.
As all things develop, we'll be letting everyone know what's going on with more frequent letters from the producers and other members of the development team in addition to our more frequent interaction with you all on the boards.
Until next time – may the Force be with you!
For more on SWG, click here.