Gamasutra has published an interview with Joe Ybarra, Cheyenne Mountain's Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations, where they discuss Stargate, the culture and philosophies of Cheyemme Mountain Entertainment, CME's other products in development, and more.
I'm slightly unclear on how the company got started. Were the internal studios all hired completely from scratch, or did you annex existing teams?
Joe Ybarra: Well, yeah, the short version is: Yes, we built everything from scratch. And I'm trying to think now if there's an exception to that statement. I guess not, because we did pursue the possibility of an acquisition at one point, but for whatever reason, that didn't come through. So, we pretty much built the studio from scratch.
We started the company in July of 2005, and the company was basically started by a group of people that had a relationship with MGM, three years prior to 2005, for the rights to get the online versions of Stargate. And it took them about three years to find Gary Whiting, who is the chairman of our company, and our primary fund raiser. And so he thought, "Well, gee, this sounds like a really interesting idea, trying to do an MMO based on the science fiction TV show."
So I was recruited and brought on as employee number one, the start of the start of the whole studio process. And over the course of the next year, year and a half, we built up the first studio, which is Stargate Worlds Studio, and then -- as I mentioned -- about a year and a half later, we started up studio number two, which was at the time headed -- and still is, actually -- by Rod Nakamoto, who's our VP of product development. So, now we're a year and a half in the process, so over the next year, we proceeded to build two more studios. So we have four now, one of which is located in Boston.
It's kind of... I don't know if "insane" is the right word, but uh, to start a whole bunch of studios before having released anything. Maybe ambitious is the word.
JY: Yeah, there are several different adjectives that you could use to describe that. Yeah. (laughter)
Read more here.
IGG has prepared a deeper look into the workings of the pet system in Angels Online.
One of the highlights of Angels Online is the unique Pet System which has attracted many players since it was first announced.
Players can ride various cute animals such as turtles, pigs, horses, and big lizards to wander around the world. During battle, their pets will not only help them to fight against monsters, but also can level up and become more and more powerful.
Today the Angels Online team from IGG is going talk to you in more detail about the Pet System such as Abilities, Pets of different levels, Pet upgrades.
Read more here.
The folks at PlanShift have announced the release of Steel Blue, the latest version in PlanShift's development which adds new quests, new dungeons, improved combat and more.
PlaneShift Steel Blue has been released for Windows, Linux and Mac! This
marks a major milestone (0.4) in the development of this game.
PlaneShift reached 500.000 total registered accounts!
PlaneShift is a freely available fantasy 3D MMORPG created by an
independent group of developers. No fee, no banners, no premium
accounts! It features a fantasy world with monsters, magic, combat and
exploration. It's main focus is role playing and the creation of a
realistic virtual world. Latest added features include:
- Many new quests for a total of about 200
- New dungeons
- One new city
- Improvement to combat and NPC AI
- New crafting possibilities
- Usage of new lighting system
- A tutorial map
- ... and more.
Read more here.
The folks at Eudemons Online have announced their final price for the new ItemLocker and ItemUnlocker as only 1 EP.
Recently, the item lock/unlock feature has become a hot topic issue in Eudemons Online. Players have been quick to reply when asked to guess the prospective price of each item.
Figures are varied according to respondents (click here for details), some skyrocketing to as high as 1348 EP! But the truth is that these new items will actually be sold for only 1 EP. This will allow all players to enjoy the added security and peace of mind that comes from having an item locked and subsequently unlocked.
Thank you all for your participation and we hope that you continue to enjoy the game.
Read more here.
Face of Mankind's Marko Dieckmann pens this new Dev Diary that outlines the general concept of their game in terms of both features and gameplay.
Programming & General (written by Marko Dieckmann)
A few more weeks than usual have passed since our last development update. But we’re still alive and the project is more than alive. It’s making progress and growing. Right on time for the Easter Holidays we took the time to release this new update. Happy Easter!
Let me announce an important thing first. As you have seen, we have basically taken down the Face of Mankind portal. There is just an image and a few links to fan sites. This is because we have to redo most of the site contents and it wouldn’t make much sense to keep it there half-baked and confuse new visitors by letting them register and then not getting anything from it.
For news releases we have chosen MMORPG.COM as our primary official channel. We have had many good specials running with the guys over there in the past. So, you can expect all major news related to FoM to be released on MMORPG.COM.
Read the whole thing here.
MMORPG.com is happy to announce our latest exclusive contest for MMORPG.com members. From now until April 15 you can enter to win 1 of 200 beta access passes for Florensia, a new MMORPG featuring naval gameplay and more!
As with all contests at MMORPG.com, the more days you login to MMORPG.com the better your odds of winning (see official contest rules for details).
Are you ready to enter the contest? CLICK HERE!
Nexon America has announced the commercial launch of Mabinogi, their latest free to play MMORPG.
March 24, 2008 – LOS ANGELES – Nexon America Inc., the U.S. division of Asia’s leading online gaming company Nexon Group, presents the commercial launch for Mabinogi, its latest free-to-play, massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) on March 27. This follows its popular open beta and offers the first of many expansions to the Mabinogi world, including the first chapter of its epic storyline, known as Generation One: The Advent of Morrigan.
The commercial launch offers new items, fresh skills, and the chance for players to further enhance their gameplay experience. Players can initiate their own personal fantasy life by signing up for free at http://mabinogi.nexon.net.
“There is nothing out there quite like Mabinogi and the commercial launch is just the advent of what’s to come,” Nexon America President and CEO John H. Chi said. “Mabinogi dispels the negative connotations free-to-play games have had with North American players. From its unique combat system, to its rich gameplay variety and the way players can mature and develop an avatar in the game, there’s no question Mabinogi is the first game of its kind to pay such close attention to detail.”
With more than seven million players in Asia alone, gamers have been highly anticipating the North American launch. Finally, casual and core gamers alike have the opportunity to discover the world of Mabinogi. Without spending a dime, adventurers will find more dungeons with dangerous monsters. Players can equip avatars with innovative items, like kite shields and crossbows. Those who don’t want to fight will appreciate learning the latest skills – either through new skill books or practice. And if a player wants to take it easy but doesn’t have a nearby body of water, they can go fishing in Mabinogi.
With the commercial launch, users will have the option to purchase upgrades in the Nexon Cash Shop to enhance their world. Although these upgrades are by no means a necessity to improve or enjoy the game, they allow fans who choose, to customize their experience. One of the most popular features of the upgrade packages is the mainstream storyline, which advances through each generation of the game. Players must select one of three exclusive monthly services to participate in the storyline.
Other options at the Cash Shop include enhanced character creation features, and a Character card. This card allows players to rebirth a character and carry over skills. Avatars can even be reborn at a younger level, which will reset an avatar’s level and make it easier to gain ability points. The Character card also allows players to create a new character or change a character’s appearance. The premium character card gives players more customization features than the basic options.
These elements just augment the full experience Mabinogi offers gamers of all levels. The game’s well-respected combat system, incentive-driven time element and age component are paired with traditional MMO options to create a truly unique affair. In addition to these unique features, the social emphasis present in all Nexon Games position Mabinogi at a unique crossroads in the MMO landscape.
Read more about Mabinogi here.
Acclaim Games has announced the addition of the new Liaodong map and Storm vs. Storm PvP event to 9Dragons.
Los Angeles, CA (March 19, 2008) – Acclaim Games announces the latest content releases for 9Dragons with the new Liaodong map and Storm vs. Storm PvP event. Players of the free to play martial arts MMORPG must defeat Japanese invaders in the beautiful and challenging new Liaodong map. In the new Storm vs. Storm event, they can team up with other players to take control of the manors, and then fight to defend their territory against other teams. These amazing new game updates will give players all new and exciting challenges to test their martial arts skills!
The Liaodong area expansion represents a new direction for 9Dragons – a journey into history and the age-old Sino-Japanese conflict. Players must come to the aid of the villagers who must deal with the “invaders from the east” and vanquish their mystical Samurai monsters, such as the legendary Oni and the magical Phantom.
Liaodong offers a whole new map area, with new NPCs, new monsters, new items and new quests. And with new rewards and opportunities for advancement, Liaodong is the place to be if you’re in ancient China and a martial artist!
Storm vs. Storm is an exciting new team-based PvP event. But this is not your ordinary PvP. This is about territory, control and hard cash. That’s right, the winners own the territory and they get a tax on all transactions in their territory, so it’s worth more than pride to win in Storm vs. Storm.
So gather your hero bands and leagues and get ready to fight for pride and control. This is going to be fun… and profitable! Oh, and by the way, winners get some great treasure items, too.
Read more here.
Funcom has produced the first Hyborian Insider, a video dev diary which looks at the game-play and features of Age of Conan. In the first video, Erling Ellingsen shows us the game's combat system.
Join product manager Erling Ellingsen as he takes you into the world of Conan and shows you just how the combat system really works.
Today we're launching a new video series called The Hyborian Insider.
These videos are meant to show you the game and its features using actual gameplay footage. Thanks to the wonders of bluescreen technology, we even manage to put Funcom's Erling Ellingsen into it so he can explain what's going on.
Read more here.
SOE has announced that they have extended EverQuest's Norrathian Guild Recruitment Festival until April 16th.
Celebrate the 9th Anniversary for EverQuest by joining a guild or recruiting more guild members to help you battle against The Fabled Planes of Power!The Norrathian Guild Recruitment Festival continues and has been extended until April 16th! Guild Recruitment:
Guild Recruitment List – (Updated March 21, 2008). If your guild is recruiting, please let us know in the Guild Recruitment Submssion on the forums. We will keep the list updated throughout the festival period.
Read more here.
The folks at Star Wars Galaxies have posted a look at some of the collections that will enter the game with Chapter 9.
Chapter 9 includes a number of new collections, including the first PvP collections in Star Wars Galaxies! The Galactic Civil War collections in Chapter 9 reward combatants for participating in the fight against the Rebellion or the Empire.
Player vs. Player Collections
Rebels and Imperials who defeat their opponents in the Galactic Civil War have a chance to receive a collection item upon victory.
Collecting "kills" of your fallen foes in Player vs. Player combat activates the Patch Collection or Rank Collection, which are new slayer collections in Chapter 9.
Read more here.
IGG has announced that hey will be holding a number of events in Tales of Pirates to celebrate Easter, and the game's official launch.
Tales of Pirates, a 3D MMORPG from IGG, will release a series of events to celebrate the release of TOP and Easter.
Here is a brief introduction:
The TOP team will continue to offer surprises for players during Easter and Released of Tales of Pirates. TOP GMs will wander around the three main cities and leave Easter Eggs randomly. If players are lucky and smart enough, they can obtain Easter Eggs and even mysterious Pet Eggs.
Hide and Seek
TOP players haven’t played Hide and Seek for a long time we’re sure. Well, now, Hide and Seek is back! The TOP team has also prepared abundant rewards for the sneakiest players.
Although it could be unbelievable, many of the fearsome BOSSES from Tales of Pirates will come. It is an opportunity for players to obtain rare treasures and show off their courage and abilities.
Players can continue to enjoy the Hexathlon which offers an entertaining means of leveling every weekend.
Read more here.
The folks at Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment want to answer your questions about Stargate Worlds, and they have announced they will be taking the next round of fan questions.
The next chance to get your answers directly from a Stargate Worlds developer has arrived! Developer Q&As allow fans to ask anything to any developer pertaining to any aspect of Stargate Worlds. You have to be a member of Stargate Worlds Forums to submit your question, so if you haven't registered already then please do so here in this thread. It's free!
Expect Episode VII to become available on StargateWorlds.com next week. We wanted to go ahead and get a jump-start on the next installment, however. Pop into the forums and submit your question!
Read more here.
The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.
Q. I have a question regarding the celerity tincture that can be imbued onto crafted armor.
Is it possible to recharge the item once you have used up all the original charges? When I delve my crafted item (circlet) it now reads 0 of 7 charges remaining. When I go to a Recharger and give him/her the item I get a pop-up saying that it will cost 0g to recharge, then a message saying that the Recharger cannot recharge the item. How can I recharge my item?
A. After pondering in deep thought for a moment, the Lady of the Jewels responds: If it is a crafted item, and therefore has a player-made charge applied to it, only an Alchemist can recharge it for you. It does not have to be the same Alchemist thankfully. The NPC Rechargers are only able to recharge items that did not have their charge imbued by a player Alchemist.
Q. I have never seen my Heretic's increasing damage spells ever crit. Is it possible for it to crit and if it isn't then why does the class get Wild Power?
A. The Balancinator went to the testing dungeon to verify: The Heretic increasing damage spells can achieve critical hits. The class starts out with a 0% chance of a critical hit. The only way to achieve critical hits is to buy the realm ability "Wild Power" and it will take you above the 0% chance to do critical damage.
Read more here.
The folks from EA Mythic will be releasing information on the game's Collector's Edition on Wednesday, March 26th and MMORPG.com will have the full scoop. Keep an eye out for the feature!
Recently, a mysterious countdown appeared on the european WAR website, and speculation abounded as to its purpose. EA Mythic head Mark Jacobs addressed the rumors by saying without saying that it would be CE info and not an open beta announcement at warhammer alliance.
You can check out the posting here.
On Friday, the folks at Flying Lab announced that today (March 24th), current players of their game, Pirates of the Burning Sea, would be given three buddy keys good for a 14 day trial of the game.
This Monday we will be unveiling the Pirates of the Burning Sea Buddy Key Program, which will allow customers with active accounts to invite three of your favorite people to join you on the Burning Sea for a 14 day trial – free!
The three keys will be generated just for you, and can be used at any time. The trial doesn’t start until the keys are entered, and they don’t expire until they’ve been activated.
Rhaegar will be providing download links and instructions for you to claim your three buddy keys on Monday, so keep your eyes on the headlines!
Enjoy, won’t you?
According to a March 20th press release, IGG's Tales of Pirates ses its official launch today, March 24th.
IGG has announced that their prized 3D MMORPG, Tales of Pirates, has completed the development and will have been officially released on March 24, 2008.
Tales of Pirates started its’ Alpha Test on March 15, 2007 and its’ Open Beta Test on March 29, 2007 respectively and during the tests they received tons of encouraging comments while the number of players online climbed significantly.
IGG has promised that they will continue doing their best to perfect the game and offer the best services. Additionally, to celebrate this important moment, they have prepared many online and offline events for players.
Read more here.
About a month ago, at the Game Developer's Conference, a technical glitch meant that we couldn't bring you our interview with the guys from Live Gamer. This week, Community Manager Laura Genender brings us this interview meant to replace the one that the technical gremlins stole in the first place.
While a significant portion of gamers use gold sellers, the process of gold farming/selling is often regarded as annoying, frustrating, and disheartening. From random, badly worded tells of “sorry to disturb, platsellsite.com fast cheap safe lift your enjoyment of game” to groups of characters named Iiilili farming the same lucrative camp for hours on end, the secondary market is slowly joining the ranks of the most despised, abhorrent internet communication: spam mails.
Publishers and developers are being punished by this black secondary market as well: unknowing gamers angrily blame Sony, NCSoft, and other game developers for undelivered gold or credit card theft; players quit at the seemingly inaction of these companies in removing gold sellers; and innocent players are swept up in mass bans, losing developers real customers as they try to get rid of the farmers and bots.
And thus was created Live Gamer.
Read the whole thing here.
At Connect '08, MMORPG.com's Donna Desborough had the chance to hear about a few new tidbits that will be making their way into Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online, including the Monk class which will make its debut in Module 7.
The weekend of Codemasters Connect marked the two year anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons Online. All weekend, celebrations were happening to mark this momentous occasion. Old players were also invited back to play DDO to take part in the celebrations and see just what they've missed out on. This of course was perfect timing for Connect'08 as old players would be able to log in and play DDO at Connect without having the hassle of having to download and re-install the whole game.
While celebrations were happening in the game, we were getting a sneak peak at things at Connect'08. During the Dungeons and Dragons Online roundtable, attendees were able to see the new class that will be coming to DDO in the Mod 7 update. The Monk class. This class is a balance between a Shaolin monk and the traditional monk class from the tabletop Dungeons and Dragons game. The developers have done their best to stay true to the class in the tabletop game and from what we were shown they've actually managed just that.
Read it all here.