HJ Developer Journal
Mutterings From the Land of Do-As-You-Please
By GameMaster Erik "Sev" Roggeveen
While I would love to take this opportunity today to discuss Hero’s Journey -- as I have been asked by my superiors to do -- I fear I cannot in good conscience proceed without some discussion about the day’s most important topic -- immigration.
I mean, these Ukar are popping up everywhere! One minute I’ll be minding my own business, tinkering on some rotisserie of debone-ificating doom, and the next I find myself compelled to go battle the endless waves of latest-and-greatest primordial Ugrek hooligans. Ukar everywhere! Toss your children behind you to trip them, and flee! Flee or none may survive! End PSA.
For those of you who've read articles by our lovely and talented manager Steph and been convinced game designers are a good bit loopy...I'm the last person to make you believe otherwise. In fact, there could be an implied conspiracy here that she sent me over to make her look completely normal by comparison. If that's the case, I shall have to employ secret defensive plan number 553 to make myself appear completely normal! Now where did I put my eyelid clamps....
Otherwise, I am here because of my continuous years of service to Simutronics, first in GemStone III and IV, and now in my second year with Hero's Journey. Working as a GameMaster from home puts a lot of responsibility on the individual, and it takes a different type of lab rat to keep after the cheese when it is in a different state entirely. Home is where I keep most of my best distractions, too! You have to not only be able to sit down at your computer and get work done fueled solely by willpower, but also spend practically all the rest of your waking hours contemplating what needs to be done the next day. If we worked ourselves this hard as, say, accountants, our heads would have long since vividly imploded. Getting the job is easy for the talented, but keeping it requires a special type of person who can see farther down the road than the average dice-fumbler with a gaming rig.
For myself, every day of the week I pop out of bed at daybreak, shriek away my dream demons in ablution to the pagan gods of fire and pain (wake up neighbors!), slap myself into coherence to get the blood shuffling along the tubes, and then sit down to a few hours of intensive designing before lunch. This is a good time of day for me to get my own writing and building done, because the on-site staff is available for any major issues I might have, and most of the other offsite people are still at their day jobs. Later in the evening I tend to keep an open door for any issues other offsite GameMasters may have, and my mat is fairly worn through.
What amuses me is how much amazement we can still evince from the masses, due mostly to our relatively small size as a company. Simutronics is nothing if not a braintrust from the preeminent days of gaming, with a constant flow of brilliant minds passing through our virtual halls, that often later go on to infiltrate every level of the industry in their own careers. So to someone familiar with the inside workings of Simutronics, it seems almost bizarre that people are surprised by what we come up with. We’re totally obsessed I tell yas!
Nobody wants highly-detailed and interesting content more than us, so we are even hungrier than the audience for something fantastic!
One thing that stands out, and that you will be seeing a lot more of in weeks to come, is the graphical quality of the world itself. Now that we have a fully articulated terrain creator in HeroBlade, GameMasters have complete control over every nuance in the areas they make. The world is a distinctively fantasy environment, shattered and deformed by wicked trauma, and everywhere you go that struggle of life is apparent. Imagine what kind of unspeakable catastrophe it would take to unify our own entire world’s people, and within may be a glimmer of the horrors that the sentient beings of Elanthia survived.
What I'm trying to say is: It's a tough and bloody life in there. And, wow, let's move on to something more positive, eh? How about them Wyr?
Mentioned in other places, and now being artfully manhandled by yours truly (hi mom!), Wyr are a huge part of our actually very exciting history system. You know the way that people say everyone has one good novel or song in them? I feel the same way about our GM staff and Wyr! No matter if they are a codeninja, A.I. statistician, or just artfully placing dead scampers all day, eventually they will all be squeezed for their sweet, sweet lobe juices full of anecdotal Elanthia.
Mmm. Lobe juice.
Wyr are pulling our history together in a vast and tangible way, creating not only the basis for recording the past, but a framework for the present and future to be woven into the story, as it is written. It is a very organic occurrence when Wyr are created in Elanthia, and whether from the unified agony of a hard fought battle or the individual heroism of a monkey stealing his banana back from the emperor, there is always some significance. For instance, that monkey might have later grown up to be... my father! (Not a terrible stretch of a "for instance", if you've seen my filthy office!)
Expect a great deal more information on these entertaining and perplexing paranormal trinkets, and how they affect the lives and equipment of your (future) character, very soon!
So if this article reaches you people out there in the daylight, through the layers of NDA and security protocols, the unpitying scalpels of the mysterious Shadowbosses (because doesn’t every fantasy game need lots more Shadow-"word" names everywhere?), and the lovely people of Wherevertheheckweare, it means you can hear me…so listen on, avid listener!
How much impact can one individual have on a major online game release? Find out! As I highlight GameMasters in the first of our new 734 part series, "GameMasters, what they do, what not to feed them, and whether that tick is nerves or ill-concealed violence."
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