had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Peter (Calistas)
Tyson, Community Liaison Manager for Dragon Empires. In this
interview Peter provides us with some very informative
answers as well as giving us some special hints on what is to come. Dragon
Empires is an online RPG currently in development and should be available
for beta testing in May 2003. Read on to find out about many of the unique
and interesting developments that are occurring with Dragon Empires
and why it looks to potentially become a winner when it is released.
EMPIRES INTERVIEW WITH PETER TYSON
1) THE STORY
BEHIND THE GAME
Piers Anthony has created the back story and pre-history to the world
of Dragon Empires. What do you think of his contribution to the game
and will the story have a major impact with events in the game? What
can you reveal to us at this time about the story within Dragon Empires?
has had a unique contribution to the game in that his own style of storytelling
has come through distinctly. His work has been mostly focused on setting
up a starting point in the world’s history which we are working
from. The back story isn't something we have released yet but I can tell
you it involves a titanic struggle that occurred eons ago and the only
other hint I can give you is that the Dragons did not always look as they
do now. Can't tell you any more just yet, hehe.
2) THE GOALS
BEHIND THE GAME
seems to be full of creativity and talent not very often seen in the
world of online roleplaying games. I have gotten tired of so many other
online roleplaying games because they never brought anything new and
kept using the same dull and unimaginative gameplay. What are some of
the major goals in the design of Dragon Empires and what will make players
like this game over others in this genre?
of the major goals is to allow players to log in and spend as much or
as little time in the world as they like and yet for the player to still
feel that they are able to do something useful. From hunting monster,
fighting for town ownership, organizing your manufacturing (which runs
whether you are online or not) or hunting outlaws (or being one) there
is a lot to do and different ways to focus your character. What's more,
it's easy to switch between game objectives and to explore new tasks and
to why players would like our game over others I think the first reason
is that it is dead gorgeous! Of course, the impact of the game look wears
off after a time and you're left with the meat of the game and there we
still think we are ahead. We have PvP arenas, city capture (and enhancement
with tax take), worldwide PvP between clans and individuals for those
who chose to do that and some interesting ways of advancing your character
other than just leveling. There's also our manufacturing and economics
system which is responsive to players and removes much of the tedium by
automating a lot of the processes.
3) THE ART
IN DRAGON EMPIRES
is described as one of the most beautiful worlds that has ever graced
a computer screen. It is readily apparent from seeing screenshots that
much attention and care has been given to all facets within the game
world, from detailed terrains, character and monster models to a detailed
weather system. What goals are the artists trying to accomplish within
Dragon Empires and what do you hope players will enjoy about the unique
look within this game?
art team is trying to create a unique and distinctive world, one that
is different from those that have come before it and leads the genre in
terms of style, originality and beauty. The goal is also to create an
aesthetically pleasing environment rather than just a functional world.
We want you to go 'wow' as you cross each mountain, enter each new town
or dungeon or explore a new area.
Often a major
criticism against online roleplaying games is that they have a very
confusing and complex interface. How is the interface being handled
within the game and is it an easy one to understand and use?
we hope players will be playing the game for a long time we have made
the user interface very flexible and customizable. It should also be quite
intuitive. There's also the possibility of future player customization,
but we'll have to wait and see on that one!
5) MANY UNIQUE
offers an excellent amount of diverse playing options in the form of
joining small groups, player verses player combat, clans, trading, and
a crafting system.
Please tell us about the benefits of each of these playing styles and
what players will find the most unique out of each of them that they
may not have seen before.
think we want to offer every player a niche they are comfortable with
as well as giving them the option of trying something new. We hope to
never be 'just' a PvP game or 'just' a quest/monster bashing game or a
game with 'just' a cool economy. By offering all three (amongst other)
play options players can dabble in different game play elements depending
on their mood. If you're really busy just log in and fiddle with you Aurachrome
manufacturing unit, got some time, org anise a dungeon raid or go hunt
also believe that different play styles lead to a diverse community. A
world 100% full of crafters is no fun (who will they sell their wares
too?!), likewise, a world packed full of PKs would get pretty boring after
a while as you'd see nothing but the same old killing and being killed.
By supporting a variety of play styles we think we'll end up with a much
more colorful and compelling world.
FROM THE COMMUNITY
I must first
compliment the continual release of newsletters to the public in which
you continue to discuss the progress that is occurring with the game.
Most interesting is a recent newsletter in which you mention the addition
of new features based on feedback from the community. It is rare to
find this level of support from a developer to its community and it
is most welcomed. Why do you think it is important to use feedback from
it's their wallets we want to get into! Seriously, we accept that the
combined gaming experience of our fans is always going to be greater than
ours. There are people in our community who have been playing multiplayer
games since the late 70s when I was still working out how to put legos
together. Thus, where appropriate, we have sought community feedback and
incorporated it. One area where this has come to the fore most recently
has been in feedback about PvP and quests.
have always wanted a strong PvP system but some of our community pointed
out that they really only enjoyed PvP where there was some tangible reward
or loss involved to make it meaningful, which they felt our system didn't
have. After much discussion we agreed and now we have a limited loot system
between outlaws and bounty hunters and traders. With quests we originally
thought we'd leave them out because our audience wouldn't be that interested,
(this being more about Guild v Guild than story telling). However, after
chats with the community we discovered that this was still important to
the players so we're building a quest system now.
the end we let players get involved where possible. However, we do have
our own strong vision of how the game is shaped and structured which means
not everything the fans would like will go in. It's all about balance
and I think we have a good balance of input from the community right now.
7) THE QUESTING
In a recent
newsletter is the mention of a questing system which was not originally
planned for Dragon Empires. I think this will prove to be a very popular
feature within this online roleplaying game. Why was this feature added
and how will it benefit Dragon Empires?
was added because the fans wanted it! However, this doesn't mean we'll
just throw in a standard boring system. As with everything we look at
we'll try to come up with our own unique spin on it. While planning is
still being done for this system what I've heard so far about how it will
work sounds pretty good.
8) USING A
MOTION CAPTURE STUDIO
I find the use
of a motion capture studio for Dragon Empires appealing. What are some
of the benefits you hope to achieve with this system and why have you
decided to do this?
capture helps provide natural and fluid movement and I think this will
compliment the overall style of the world very well. One of the biggest
reasons for doing this was as a time-saving measure. A couple of days
in a motion capture studio can give you a lot of animation that might
otherwise take weeks to produce.
ADDITIONS AND THE BETA
The beta is
scheduled to appear in May 2003. You almost have your initial goal of
100,000 signed up beta testers. This is indeed very impressive as it
shows the amount of enthusiasm from players all across the world. What
other possible features are you planning to add to Dragon Empires that
you can reveal to us now as well as what you hope players will experience
in the beta?
features? Well, I can't really say without getting it from the boss can
I? Perhaps I can hint, the final game should see cities that are more
customizable than we have previously indicated. That's enough to get me
shot I am sure! As for what players will experience in the beta? A lot
of bug finding experience I hope! We want launch to be as stable as possible
and we'll make sure this happens through thorough beta testing.
December 2, 2002