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MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel N/A)  | Pub:Simutronics
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Q&A #10

By Jon Wood on November 08, 2005 | Interviews | Comments

Q&A #10

Interview #10 sees Jon Wood and Jeremy Starley quiz Eric Slick

Simutronics' Director of Development Eric Slick drops in for our 10th Q&A with the Hero's Journey team. This week he discusses the secondary market, community building in-game, collision detection and more. Check back in two weeks for more questions and answers.
[Jeremy Starley]:
Inn rooms and player housing have been brought up before as a place to store and display things. What plans do you have in regards to groups of players constructing entire towns or forming their own mini-kingdoms?
Eric Slick:

We very much like the idea of players being able to build their own communities in-game. As such, we have some very interesting plans for how we’ll accomplish this. However, it is unlikely that players will see free-form town construction. There will be private homes, and private communities, and private guilds … even private hunting grounds (estates.) Players will be able to customize these to a great degree, and each will include fun features. Homes and communities should be about more than just inventory storage and trophy displays, after all. We also have preliminary plans for larger scale, private areas like those mentioned, but those are slated for future expansions to the game, and it is much too soon to discuss them.

Beyond that, players will be able to architect great structures as part of quests: mage towers, bridges, walls and sentry towers. Players will be able to destroy things too – through fun sorts of demolition that include explosions and massive impacts.
[Jeremy Starley]:
A good percentage of players like to try out more than one race/class combo in any given game. How many character slots will we be allowed in Hero’s Journey, and - if more than one - will we be allowed to use them on the same server?
Eric Slick:

We haven’t decided on how many character slots will come with each account. However, there will be enough characters slots that players will be able to explore a variety of character combinations. With over 60 class combinations, we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to explore the possibilities!
[Jon Wood]:
How will your collision detection will work. Will players, for example, "just walk through each other like ghosts?"
Eric Slick:

We want to have enough collision detection that you won’t see visually odd things such as creatures or players walking through trees or other objects they clearly shouldn’t. However, it’s technically impossible to eliminate all visual oddities because games require imprecise collision detection. This includes players colliding with other players. Even if we have it, it won’t be visually precise in any case so in the end, gameplay (including abuses such as someone blocking a door to a key merchant) will dictate how colliding with other players will be handled.

[Jon Wood]:
The purchase of in-game goods with real-world money has been a topic of hot debate over here for the last little while. Will HJ be sanctioning this with something similar to the "Station Exchange"?
Eric Slick:

This is a divisive issue in the US, but in some cultures, such as Asia, it’s expected and is considered normal for players to purchase items with real world money. As game designers we are forced to treat this issue as a fate accompli and assume this activity will take place, sanctioned by us or not. When we put Hero’s Journey in Asia, we’ll even have to consider how to facilitate this activity in order to please our customers there.

Our current inclination is to try and protect both the customers who do not engage in this activity and protect those who are likely to engage in it. As such, our game design assumes players ARE engaging in this activity but also attempts to reduce the opportunity and need for out-of-game sales.
[Jon Wood]:
Where are you currently in terms of your development timeline, and when can we expect to see a call put out for testers?
Eric Slick:

On the technical side, we’re working on the final features in support of Hero’s Journey (engine, GameMaster Tools, etc.) As for gamplay -- that’s a hard question to quantify at this point in time, and mostly any anything we’d say would turn out to be inaccurate. We continue to hire GameMasters rapidly and so have been, and will continue to see our development accelerate. The progress we’ve made so far is significant but we have a long way yet to go. As soon as we have rock-solid dates, we’ll be making them known.

A big thanks to Eric for taking the time to answer our questions.

As usual, we hope you leave them your comments in this thread and on their hype meter.