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Interviews: Dave Jones Interview

By Guest Writer on March 31, 2010

Dave Jones Interview

Recently, enigmatice writer Allen Smithee brought us a report from a demo given at the recent Game Developers Conference of the upcoming MMORPG, All Points Bulletin. Today, he brings us the resulting interview with Realtime Worlds' Dave Jones.

Now that you guys are talking, what information do you really want to share about the game?

Dave Jones:

We kind of went dark, but I think everything we show from now on is absolutely in the game. The trouble with APB is that it is a real player's game. It's a bit like Crackdown. And how do you explain Crackdown without playing it? It's such a tactile game. It's extremely tactile, so it's hard to get players excited about it by talking about it. That was one of the reasons we went dark. There are a ton of things we absolutely love about it. I think one of the things really is that games suffer from repetition. So, because we built APB around the fact that you are always interacting with real people, I can play APB for several hours and never feel like there is repetition. Because it's people, they have emotion. They're yelling and screaming. You never know who you are up against. Compare that to any game where you are fighting AI, and that one element is what makes the whole game playable for a long time.


We got to see you join a group of players who were already on a mission, jump into an SUV with them, and go driving off. How does a player initiate his or her own missions?

Dave Jones:

It's the same for a solo player. So they would come into the world and be offered a mission from an enforcer or criminal from effectively one of the contacts in the game. So if you aren't pledged to anybody, or working for a specific person, we actually have random contacts calling you and asking you if you want to do a mission with them. If you take that mission, you'll earn reputation with that single contact. If you want to be active and you go up to one of the contacts, you can start to get missions from them. So if I see a contact in the game that I like, I can pledge to her if I really like what she is selling. If I really like her weapons, then I can pledge to her and I would get missions exclusively from her. If I am a single player, then those mission offers come to me. If I am group leader, I can decide which mission offers to take and I can either accept or decline on behalf of the group.

Is there a point that you can flip back from enforcer to criminal, or vice versa?

Dave Jones:

No. You are fully committed. We lock you on that world, for obvious reasons of cohesion. We cannot talk about it much, but in the future, after the game launches, we have plans to advance the story. We want players to feel very much a part of: "Hey! I'm an enforcer" or "Hey! I'm a criminal".

You started out with player customization and showed us the Social District. When you went on the mission, you went into the Financial District. Is that "zone" pretty much just PvP?

Dave Jones:

Yes, well, basically that is where you are going to go for opposed and offered missions. The third district is Waterfront. The Waterfront and Financial districts are very much the same types of zone, they just offer different environments. They are like different areas of a city, so thematically they are different. You get different contacts that live in them, and different rewards and everything, but they are not Social Districts. They are both action districts. There is a 100 player cap in those.

We saw a mission start for criminals that involved tagging six locations. Were those randomly generated?

Dave Jones:

Yes, they are generated by the mission dynamically. So you have no idea where, because we have other groups doing those missions. So we had to create a system whereby tag points are set up for different groups of players.

Could there be multiple types of missions going on with multiple sets of enforcers?

Dave Jones:

Absolutely and sometimes they converge!

How crazy does that get?

Dave Jones:

Well, we were looking at 4 vs 4. However, one of the sides can call for backup and the system decides if they are a little underpowered for that, so the criminals will pull in a bunch more people. Then the enforcers will get the call too. I like the idea of "We need backup!" and very quickly it can escalate. 20 vs 20 are tremendous experiences.

With 20 vs 20 on a single mission replicated multiple times, what is the most amount of people you can throw into a district?

Dave Jones:

We have meta-grouping, so currently we cap that at 20 per side. So you could have two big missions with 40 players each and an additional 20 players doing their own missions.

So if someone logs in at that point will they get put into a different instance of the district? 

Dave Jones:

Yes, so if the 100-player cap is met, they will be put into some other instance. So when you click on a district, like Social or Financial, they click on it. Behind the scenes we take them to the best version. There is also a friends tab, so they can click on friends and join their friends. 

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