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Developer Journal #3

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MMOCenter.com - "How Do We Do It?"

As the word spreads about Rapid Reality and MMO Center, one of the most common questions to arise surrounding our company has been people either asking how we’re making so many MMORPGs so fast or simply assuming it’s impossible and that we’re liars pushing vaporware. For the genuinely curious and the reflexively slanderous, we offer the following article.

MMO Center is the result of a powerful merger of talented individuals and significantly advanced technology, but that’s just the short answer. Our employees hail form all over the world, from California and Detroit to Russia and Malaysia, each with an art-focused education and industry experience. Our lead world builder is Alan Carter, who is probably best known as being the very first person among the player base that There.com requested and bought designs from. Two of our art leads hail from Sony Online Entertainment, where they worked on art production for EverQuest 2. Now Tim Petty and Eric Webster share their skills and experience with the rest of the team, increasing both the quality and speed of our art. Before joining the Rapid Reality team, I was the official proofreader for CCP Games, the makers of Eve Online, and had twice written for White Wolf Publishing in the Creature Collections 2 and 3. Adam Ghetti, our Lead Creative Director, holds part ownership in several technology patents, sits on the Computer Science Advisory Board for Gwinnett Technical College, and has been involved in more than a few MMORPG community developments.

While we have two technology partners that we’re not ready to disclose to the public, but the third associate, responsible for our network’s incredible new game engine, is Klaus Entertainment, who is responsible for the Kaneva service and platform. Their dynamic engine allows for an effective mix of FPS interactivity with RPG functionality. No more clicking where you want to go and watching your avatar take some ridiculously out of the way path; no more fumbling with an awkward third person camera just to get a quick glimpse of what’s right in front of you. Players in MMO Center’s games will be free to experience the world through the first or third person perspectives, with combat focused mainly on the first. Sure, some of those things are possible in existing MMORPGs, but what really sets MMO Center aside is that using the same engine for each of many diverse games allows us to create them much faster and cheaper. These aren’t just re-skinned versions of the same game, though; the Kaneva engine has an incredible array of features, capable of creating any FPS, RPG, RTS, or hybrid thereof. Though we’ve chosen not to reveal our second two partners at this time, we can assure you that just about every online gamer on the planet has heard of both of them. Due to our agreements with them, however, their relationship with MMO Center cannot be announced at this time. Once our subscription service goes live, you’ll know who they are.

Rapid Reality didn’t form one day because a few guys decided that video games where the easiest way to get rich, we’re mostly a collection of artists and gamers that are unsatisfied with the state of the MMORPG industry. For years now we’ve been fed clone after clone, each a watered down version of the previous. We’ve seen better graphics but shallower gameplay, bigger advertising campaigns but fewer game features. When we came to the realization that we had the resources and contacts to dive into the market and offer up something truly revolutionary, we immediately went about soaking up talented people to help us. Along the way, we’ve nurtured partnerships with other companies that lead the world in their respective technology fields, penning exclusive deals with them for the production of MMORPGs. Some of the technology makes what we do better, some makes it faster, some actually does both.

Our funding comes from two private individuals, not an overbearing, impatient, greedy publisher. Marc Ghetti and Paul Hester sign the paychecks and purchase orders, not the rubber stamp of a venture capitalist board or distant parent company. They’ve volunteered all of the funding we require to make MMO Center’s games, confident that the team we’ve assembled and systems we’ve developed will be more than capable of producing them. The best part is that both gentlemen are admittedly “not video game guys,” which means they have a remarkably hands-off approach to their investment philosophy. MMO Center might be funded by businessmen, but it’s being created by talented artists and seasoned MMORPG players. We write our own designs, make our own decisions, and set our own deadlines.

Rapid Reality aims to achieve what no other MMORPG development studio has done to date: Release multiple titles simultaneously, each for a fraction of the cost and production time of the industry standard. We’re doing things so much faster not because we’re careless and hasty, but because we’ve found a better way. Some people have assumed that making games faster must mean that their quality suffers, and to that we offer the following analogy: Does anyone out there think that propeller airliners are generally better than jet airliners? They’re both doing the same job, hauling cargo and passengers, but one is doing it much faster. Does quality really always go down when how long it takes to get the job done decreases? Well, obviously jet engines are faster and more effective than propeller engines, and that’s the difference, right? That’s how Rapid Reality operates.

In short, Rapid Reality has the stuff and we’re showing the goods. We’ve been making games for MMO Center since May of this year (2005) and we’re already ahead of other games that have been in development much longer. Our release date is still scheduled and on target for the end of the year, and until then, we invite you to enjoy our movie trailers, mountainous stockpile of screenshots, extensive documentation, and daily input from our developers. Internal alpha testing is already underway, with an exclusive feature beta test coming up in a few weeks and the official beta soon after. To further illustrate our legitimacy and reduce the gap between gamer and developer, we’ll soon be starting our Open House Program, where we invite members of our pre-order beta community to visit our offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and meet our staff. We’re not just making games; we’re turning the industry upside down by changing the development process, updating the technology, and setting new standards of customer support. Welcome to Rapid Reality.

- Nathan Knaack, Rapid Reality


Guest Writer