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D&D Online - Interview with Ken Troop

Posted Sep 12, 2004 by Reed Hubbard

D&D Online - Interview with Ken TroopGameBanshee has done as fine a job as just about any site with their attention to Dungeons and Dragons Online, the upcoming game from Turbine Entertainment.  They have recently posted a new interview with Ken Troop, Lead Designer of D&D Online:

GB: You've previously said that the game's quests will not be similar to one another with some randomness to make them unique, but instead will be non-linear and more thought out. Can you expand on this and give us a specific example of a quest players might encounter in the game?

Ken: Overall, our focus for content and quests is to help the player answer the question, "Why is what I'm doing meaningful?" Some of that is taking old standards such as kill or fetch quests and imbuing them with a sense of purpose that colors and shapes your interaction with the story and NPCs.

Eberron is a fantastic setting for this purpose. It's very story-rich and has a big "pulp-noir" feel -- with lots of believable motivations for the wide variety of different power and interest groups in the world. And yet it also still has plenty of "high fantasy" elements that tie the setting more into what players expect and want out of their fantasy. As a content designer, Eberron is one of the best gaming settings to tell good stories in that I've come across.

Another part of our process to create fantastic content is expanding the repertoire of what players can do. We've spent a lot of time on our quest system so that we can track the state of pretty much every single interactive object in a dungeon, and we can tie that state (or collection of states) into a quest success or quest failure metric. For example, anything from breaking (or preventing them from being broken) barrels to disarming traps to putting out lights can all form the base "goal" of a quest...really, anything out of which a content designer can fashion a good story can serve as that basis.

Finally, we've worked a lot on NPC A.I. for these new styles of quests, ranging from avoiding enemy detection, to having to rescue and escort kidnapped citizens from the dungeon depths to the town above.

Also, they've posted a good number of screenshots, concept drawings, and in-game footage.  Visit their D&D Online page to read the interview and see the other goodies.

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