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Net Charger / MindSurge Ent. | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Development  (est.rel N/A)  | Pub:Net Charger / MindSurge Ent.
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Interview With Dev Team

FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal Interviews - By Richard Cox on April 04, 2004

Interview With Dev Team

Recently I had the privilege of sitting down and chatting with several members of the development team for FreeWorld. For several hours we sat around talking about various aspects of the game and the different features which will set it apart from the rest of the MMORPG genre. Below are the highlights of this conversation for your reading enjoyment:

Participants:
Draconus: Clyde Bielss - President of MindSurge Entertainment
Scott: Scott Mortan - Music
Brandon: Brandon Ward - Sound Effects
Liz: Liz Capeal - Writer, Quests and Story
Lightning: Maria Warner - Scripting
Midien: David Midien - Tiles and Textures
MacCoy: Lead Modeler

Kunou: Before we get started, I'd like to thank you all for allowing me this time out of your busy schedule and answering some questions for me and the many readers of MMORPG.com.

Kunou: First of all tell me a little about these exclusive screenshots and the map you've provided to be included with this interview.

Draconus: That is a map of the up coming new desert area that will be in our new phase witch starts on the 16th. Our graphics are far from done; most of the textures and models in game are test ones. Most games do not release images of un-finished work, but we release as we get them and do not doctor them. A lot of people do not realize we are trying to share the development process through the screens we release and they always think it is a final version when it is far from it.

Kunou : If you think about how many hours and hours a mmorpg gamer puts into whichever game he is playing, aka addicted to, at the given time, how long does it really take before you've heard everything the game has to offer 100 times over?

Scott: Excellent point! I actually took that into consideration when starting on the Freeworld Score. Music should be a supporting element, but yeah, you're right, it can get old QUICK especially when you're constantly in a MMORPG world. That's why we are using music to highlight events and places, rather than having it play all the time. Regular battle music was removed since it gets old real quick.

Music functions as an introduction to areas and places, and we include music for boss battles or the BIG events. I'm finding that doing an enchanting score and yet reigning in when it's played actually helps keep the fatigue down when listening.

Kunou: True, but I can't think of a single mmorpg I've ever played where the sound didn't get turned off within the first week, and I've played almost all of them at some point or another.

Scott: Yeah . . . that's the first challenge, creating an immersive yet "non-annoying" experience. I think the key element is "subtlety." I try and create the music so that it taps into the background of the players mind instead of being in their face. I think another key to keeping MMORPG content (art AND audio) interesting is to keep developing new content. An MMORPG is a persistent world and must be "persistently changing". New music should always be written, but then of course you have to balance it with time and budget as well.

Kunou: Excellent point! I have never seen a game "patch" it's audio to add more music, effects, etc. Usually whatever sound and music that is there at day 1 is all you get until an expansion pack is released, *IF* you get new music in the expansion.

Scott: I can see MMORPG franchises coming into fruition that have dedicated composers, sound designers, hell, a whole design team that is just dedicated to the MMORPG alone. That's what it would take to keep every element of the game fresh. It's a careful balance of budget, maintaining the developing staff, and keeping your players interested I think.

Scott: I guess in general, the less you play the music in the game, the more effective it is when you DO play it. We try to maintain enough of a gap between tunes to keep the player from getting tired of a specific tune . . . but, considering the hours some people put into MMORPGs, you're right, that's the challenge, keeping them from turning off the sound and not putting on their favorite CD instead. Ultimately, it's important that a player is comfortable in the MMORPG world, and I think that there are those that will always turn off music to listen to their own . . . but yet, there are those who really love the individual flavor of and MMORPG soundtrack, and will keep it on.

Kunou: So are you just music or do you handle sound effects also?

Scott: We brought on two cool guys for sound effects; Brandon Ward and Ken Rogers (Ken worked for Sierra for a number of years and now does freelance work).

Draconus: Here is Brandon.

Kunou: Talk about ask and you shall receive, welcome Brandon, care to share a few words about the upcoming sound effects you are working on?

Brandon: No prob - I'm currently working on the character sounds for the Triderian, Altrogg and Paladrone races (as well as 1 sound not yet done for the human female). It's an awful lot of sounds, but people have wanted them for quite a while, so I'm doing by best to get them done this weekend.
 
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