Bungie’s new MMO announcement was a joke

Posted on March 07, 2011

Last week at GDC Bungie network engineer David Aldrige seemed to announce that Bungie’s next project would be an MMO, apparently confirming that recent rumours of such a project were true. According to a new post on Bungie.net, the mention of a Bungie MMO was intended as a joke lol.

Bungie representative Urk wrote that “in rehearsal Aldridge was convinced that everybody got the joke. It was all in the delivery, he assured us, and he was certain it was clear that he was playfully riffing off of the recent rumors.” In a published internal email, spotted by Kotaku, Aldrige says “the tape will exonerate me, but I’m sorry anyway.” Bungie haven’t explicitly denied that they’re working on an MMO, but it looks as though last week’s confirmation was bogus.


Go to Source (PC Gamer)

Zombie MMO From Undead Labs Coming To Xbox Live Arcade

Posted on February 05, 2011

Zombie MMO From Undead Labs Coming To Xbox Live Arcade

Massively-multiplayer online game developer Undead Labs has announced that its long ago revealed zombie MMO, now codenamed Class3, is coming to Xbox Live Arcade and will be published by Microsoft Game Studios.


“Undead Labs is thrilled to work directly with Microsoft to bring Xbox 360 players an outstanding zombie-survival franchise,” Undead Labs  founder Jeff Strain said in a statement today. “Our mission is to create original online games that truly feel at home on the console platform, and Xbox 360 is a fantastic platform for online console gaming. We plan to create an ambitious open world XBLA game and use its gameplay, setting, and technology as the foundation for a full online world game.”

Class3 will give players the chance to live out a zombie apocalypse in the virtual comfort of an MMO setting, complete with “sweet guns, fast cars, hand-to-hand combat, and copious amounts of zombie gore.” Players will also have to join together to design and build settlements, embarking on raids to secure food and ammunition, and rescuing other survivors.

One of the most compelling elements is that the game world changes in real-time and content becomes available depending on what players are doing. I’m not really sure exactly what this means in terms of gameplay, but I love the idea of a constantly evolving, zombie-filled open-world to explore and inhabit. Don’t you?

Hopefully, we’ll hear more about Class3 in the coming months.

Should the need arise, feel free to E-Mail me your tips, suggestions, and/or personal philosophies, or follow me on Twitter.


Go to Source (G4TV.com)

A history of DC Comics & superhero MMOs

Posted on February 02, 2011

From Superman’s debut to Aquaman’s comeback, we recap the history of DC Comics and 10 years of superhero MMOs.
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Go to Source (GamePro)

Massively Speaking Episode 132: An interview with Champions Online’s Poz

Posted on January 29, 2011

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Massively Speaking Episode 132 returns this week with Shawn and Rubi dishing out the usual news and views, but there’s an added bonus. In the second half of the show, Champions Online Executive Producer Shannon “Poz” Posniewski joins Shawn and CO columnist Patrick Mackey for an interview about the recent F2P relaunch of the super-hero game.

Have a comment for the podcasters? Shoot an email to shawn@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to Massively Speaking directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Listen here on the page:

Read below the cut for the full show notes.

Massively Speaking is the official podcast of Massively.com. Hosted by Editor-in-Chief Shawn Schuster and Community Manager Rubi Bayer, Massively Speaking takes on the week’s biggest news and dev interviews with plenty of opinion, rants, and laughs thrown in for good measure. Join us every Wednesday afternoon to listen in and see what we’ll say next!

Continue reading Massively Speaking Episode 132: An interview with Champions Online’s Poz

MassivelyMassively Speaking Episode 132: An interview with Champions Online’s Poz originally appeared on Massively on Wed, 26 Jan 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Preview: Watch Your Back in Salem

Posted on January 29, 2011

Mashing permanent death with cute little Pilgrims is Salem‘s lot.

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Go to Source (The Escapist – EscapistMagazine.com)

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World of Starcraft Exists! Sort of…

Posted on January 23, 2011
Fan made Starcraft MMO off to an amazing start as long as Blizzard doesn’t ruin it.

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World of Starcraft has been a dream of MMO and RTS players alike for quite some time. This week a crap-storm of drama has swirled up around a fan made SC2 mod called World of Starcraft. What started out as an innocent and awesome project by a sole developer, Ryan Winzen, has turned into a story worthy of your eyes and ears.


read more (Shogun Gamer)

Exclusive Video: Tera’s Dynamic MMO Action

Posted on January 15, 2011

This gorgeous high-definition video look at one of the game’s small-group dungeons shows off what sets Tera’s action apart from the rest of the MMO genre.

The Vampir Mansion is home to big bad monsters of many kinds, but none are bigger or badder than the weird crab-lookin’ thing at the end. I got to try my hand at fighting him myself, though the squishy mage I was playing may have faceplanted from pulling threat three or four times in the process.

Look for an extensive hands-on report on Tera in an upcoming issue of GI. In the meantime, check this sweet video and know that it’s all legit – the game does indeed look this good, and the action is, if anything, faster than what you see in the video when you’re playing it yourself.

(Please visit the site to view this media)


Go to Source (Game Informer)

Massively Speaking Episode 130: Talking RIFT with Scott Hartsman

Posted on January 13, 2011

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Massively Speaking Episode 130 brings you the week’s latest MMO news with Shawn and Rubi, as well as an interview with Scott Hartsman and Cindy “Abigale” Bowens from Trion Worlds. New RIFT columnists Karen Bryan and Justin Olivetti join in on the questioning, for what turns out to be a fun conversation.

We also have a new place for our WURM Online villagers to interact, over at MMO Voices. Join up to talk shop with your fellow villagers. If you’d like to join our WURM Online village, check out this map, make your way up to a town on the northeastern shore called Shipyard of Poland, and PM “Shaughn” in game for a ride to the island. We also now have a Twitter for the village, if you’d like to keep up on the latest village news!

Next week will be a live show at 11a.m. EST on Tuesday, January 18th. We’ll still release the video and audio later, if you can’t make this one.

Have a comment for the podcasters? Shoot an email to shawn@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to Massively Speaking directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Listen here on the page:

Read below the cut for the full show notes.

Massively Speaking is the official podcast of Massively.com. Hosted by Editor-in-Chief Shawn Schuster and Community Manager Rubi Bayer, Massively Speaking takes on the week’s biggest news and dev interviews with plenty of opinion, rants, and laughs thrown in for good measure. Join us every Wednesday afternoon to listen in and see what we’ll say next!

Continue reading Massively Speaking Episode 130: Talking RIFT with Scott Hartsman

MassivelyMassively Speaking Episode 130: Talking RIFT with Scott Hartsman originally appeared on Massively on Wed, 12 Jan 2011 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MMO The Secret World to be co-published by EA (The Secret World)

Posted on January 11, 2011

MMOs are a risky business venture, but developer Funcom has managed to beat the odds, and is gaining EA as a publishing partner for its latest venture…

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Go to Source (GamesRadar)

Rift to launch in March, preorders now available

Posted on January 07, 2011

The intriguing fantasy MMO, Rift, is edging closer to completion. The game has recently been running a few closed beta weekends, and now has a release date. The game will be out on March 1st in North America, and March 4th in Europe. Pre-orders are already available. Purchasing the game ahead of release will give you an in game pet, access to all betas before release and a week long head start on players buying on release day.

Pre-orders can now be bought from the official Rift site, and come in two flavours. The standard edition (£39.99/$49.99) grants players extra game time, full beta access and entry to the head start period that kicks off on February 24th. The package also comes with one of three in game pets and a stat-buffing runestone.

The collector’s edition (£39.99/$59.99) includes all of the bonuses that the standard edition does, but also offers increased in game storage, a two headed turtle mount and an exclusive Bogling Wastrel pet. Players pre-ordering the game, or buying after the first two weeks of release will have access to discounted ‘Founder’s subscription’ rates. Head over to the Rift subscriptions page for more details.

Rift’s most unusual features include randomly appearing portals that spew legions of enemies into the world, and a class system that lets players combine three disciplines into unique builds and then switch between them at will. For more information on the game, check out the Rift website, or take a look at the latest trailer, embedded below.


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Go to Source (PC Gamer)

Massively Speaking Episode 129

Posted on January 06, 2011

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Massively Speaking Episode 129 returns this week as Shawn, Rubi and Beau interview Rolf Jansson from the Wurm Online team. As the CEO and co-creator of the game, Rolf speaks candidly with the podcast crew about the past, present and future of the MMO.

If you’d like to join our WURM Online village, check out this map, make your way up to a town on the northeastern shore called Shipyard of Poland, and PM “Shaughn” in game for a ride to the island.

Have a comment for the podcasters? Shoot an email to shawn@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to Massively Speaking directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Listen here on the page:

Read below the cut for the full show notes.

Massively Speaking is the official podcast of Massively.com. Hosted by Editor-in-Chief Shawn Schuster and Community Manager Rubi Bayer, Massively Speaking takes on the week’s biggest news and dev interviews with plenty of opinion, rants, and laughs thrown in for good measure. Join us every Wednesday afternoon to listen in and see what we’ll say next!

Continue reading Massively Speaking Episode 129

MassivelyMassively Speaking Episode 129 originally appeared on Massively on Wed, 05 Jan 2011 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rift opening on PCs March 1

Posted on January 05, 2011

Trion Worlds’ terraforming fantasy MMORPG dated for early 2011, digital and retail preorder incentives now available.

Trion Worlds entered the gaming scene in 2006 and in short order began working on a trio of projects. Now, the first of those games is ready for primetime, as the California-based developer announced today that its “dyanmic” fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game Rift will launch for the PC in North America on March 1. The game’s European rollout will follow on March 4.

As its title might suggest, the game’s premise is that of “rifts” in space-time that are playing havoc with the land of Telara and threatening to tear the fabric of the universe. Trion noted that the world will be highly malleable, as these rifts can be triggered by players or the development team, and they can also occur spontaneously. Their arrival will apparently alter the landscape, as well as open up new areas for exploration.

Interested gamers looking to get a head-start in the game can do so by preordering the digital or retail edition of the game, beginning today. Those who prepurchase the game will be able to access Rift’s servers beginning February 24, and they’ll also be offered a choice of in-game pets. Preorderers will also be eligible to participate in all remaining closed-beta testing events, a schedule for which is available on Rift’s Web site.

Rift is available in three different configurations: Standard ($50), Digital Collector’s Edition ($60), and Retail Collector’s Edition ($80). The game also carries a $15 monthly subscription charge, with the first month being included in the game’s purchase price. For a limited time, Trion is offering promotional $10-a-month pricing as part of the “Founder’s Pricing” plan.

For more on Rift, check out GameSpot’s previous coverage.


Read and Post Comments | Get the full article at GameSpot


Rift opening on PCs March 1” was posted by Tom Magrino on Tue, 04 Jan 2011 17:43:25 -0800

Cataclysm Wins MMO Of The Year; Plus The MMOs of 2010 – The MMO Report

Posted on December 17, 2010

2010 is winding down, and that means everyone is doing their “Best Of 2010″ lists, including us. Click the video below to learn which game is X-Play‘s MMO of the year!

Because The MMO Report likes to do things a bit differently, instead of just telling you what we thought were the best MMOs of 2010, we’re highlighting some of the larger releases of the year and predicting if they’ll be a safe bet for the future. So prepare to take notes; the advice you are about to receive may just save your 2011 gaming portfolio.

For some more expansive coverage on the past 12 months of MMOs, check out our friends at Massively. They’re allowing you to vote for the Player’s Choice Awards for Best MMO of 2010 and Best of the Decade, which is the past 10 years just in case you weren’t sure.

Subscribe to G4’s WEB SHOWS Video Podcast:


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(G4TV.com)

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Special – The MMO Report

Posted on December 10, 2010

This week’s MMO Report is all about one thing, Cataclysm. Yes we’ve dedicated the entire episode to the biggest World of Warcraft expansion to date, and I’m sure you can understand why. The wonderful Morgan Webb sat down with WoW’s Game Director Alex Chilton to discuss what went into this enormous overhaul of Azeroth, what players can expect from the two new races, and where the game will be going from here. Oh, and just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, make sure to check out StormyLilac93‘s infamous Ca-tackle-ism video. It’s required reading for this week’s episode.

Subscribe to G4’s WEB SHOWS Video Podcast:

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Go to Source
(G4TV.com)

New DC Universe Online video and screens show Batman taking on Joker

Posted on November 26, 2010

The latest screens for DC Universe Online show the Dark Knight battling it out with the Joker in the Batcave. There’s also a spooky fly through video of Gotham City, showing of many recognisable landmarks like Arkham Asylum, Crime Alley and the Joker’s favourite deserted fairground, Amusement Mile. You’ll find all of the new images and the video embedded below.
We were pretty excited by DC Universe Online’s showing at E3 this year. The superhero MMO’s physics driven environments and roster of much loved superheroes makes DC Universe Online a promising prospect. For more information, check out the DC Universe Online site. Scroll down to the bottom to find the Gotham fly through video. The game’s out early next year.

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Go to Source (PC Gamer)

New World of Warcraft Patch – The MMO Report

Posted on November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day everyone! We have much to give thanks for, and The MMO Report is one of those things. This week Casey shows off the teaser trailer for Lord of the Rings Online‘s next expansion, World of Warcraft patch 4.0.3A, and of course, an extra holiday edition of Uncle Casey’s Mail Bag. So fill up on stuffing, press play, and let Casey’s gentle tones ease you into a post Thanksgiving nap

Subscribe to G4’s WEB SHOWS Video Podcast:
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Go to Source (G4TV.com)

Guild Leader Plays MMO On Asia's Largest Screen

Posted on November 25, 2010

Nearly every gamer has dreamed of hooking up their home consoles to a movie theater screen, but maybe we’ve all been dreaming small. Over the weekend, one lucky MMO player hooked his computer up to a 7,500 square meters LED display in the center of Beijing.

According to MMOsite, on the evening of November 21st, 2010, a guild leader from a Chinese MMO, called Magic World Online 2, hooked his notebook PC up to the largest LED screen in Asia. The screen, which is located in a Beijing square called The Place, measures 250 meters across and sits 30 meters tall – making it larger than a football field. Check out some pictures of The Place’s giant screen on an average day below, and watch the event in action here.

Rumors have speculated that just 10 minutes of play on this screen would have cost this guy $15,000.

Totally worth it.

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Go to Source (Game Informer)

Interview: GamersFirst on bringing back APB

Posted on November 17, 2010

As reported last week, cops and robbers MMO APB has been bought by GamersFirst, who have announced that the game will return as a free-to-play game in the first half of next year. We’ve had a chat with GamersFirst CTO and COO, Bjorn Book-Larsson about the next chapter for the troubled MMO, discussing the game’s potential, the new features GamersFirst will be working on, and the reasons why APB failed in the first place.

PC Gamer: Why did you decide to buy APB?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: From our side we initially thought it was a really good concept. So from a distance we had said “hey, this seems like an interesting new title, it seems like there’s a lot of customisation and user generated content features”, and we were interested in the game, on a professional level, from the outside. Then what happened was, we picked up the game because, from our point of view we think that it has a lot of really good critical components that can make a good foundation for a long term free-to-play project. The huge difference between free-to-play and retail sales is that with retail sales you have to make your numbers in the first 30 days, and in the free-to-play model you have the expectation and/or luxury of putting the game out there, and modifying it to match what people actually do in the game. For us we think that the game has a lot of really good features. It has a lot of customisation parts, and it has various innovative ideas and ways to expand the traditional shooter genre. The things that were problems, like the balancing, and the weird monetization methods are things that we feel pretty confident we can address, especially because we have about seven years of publishing experience in the free-to-play space. Drawing on all that experience, we’re taking all the things we learned from all those other games and incorporating them into APB.

PC Gamer: What is it about APB that makes it suitable for a free to play model?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: Well, it already has a lot of components that we want in free-to-play. It already had an in game trading system so you can trade things back and forth, which is usually an important component to free-to-play experiences. It has very a evolved concept of “choose this side”. We have a game called Knight Online where we have two nations fighting, it has a lot of elements that we have seen be successful in free to play games. We don’t think it’s there yet, because one of the key things in a free-to-play game is that you actually have to make it fun and engaging for the free player, and then for those who do microtransactions and/or become premium members, or premium players by making a purchase, they have to have some slight benefit or advantage in the game, but you also still have to maintain the balance throughout the game so that the two types of players continue having fun, so there’s a lot of that type of balancing that we have to work on to make it work, but we feel like it has the bones, the skeleton of a potentially really good free-to-play title, and we have to get there in the next six months or so, and then we can release it as a free-to-play title.

PC Gamer: You mentioned microtransactions and a premium service, what kind of items will players be buying in APB, and what would the premium service involve?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: There’s many different models for the free-to-play games We have another game called War Rock. War Rock was a game made in Korea back in 2006, we launched it in the US and the world in 2007, so it’s sort of a last generation game, but it has a lot of innovative ideas. Basically we’re going to borrow some things from those types of titles, other games like Combat Arms, which we don’t publish, but there’s other games like that out there. One of the easiest things to do with this game would be to add leased weapons, so for thirty days you lease certain weapon types. Then for premium access you would essentially allow certain expanded features or complexities of customisation for those who are premium players, and those who are free players get less complex things included in the basic membership level. Beyond that, there’s multiple ways to monetize free-to-play shooter games. The leasing method is probably the simplest and most straightforward. There’s another method called the ‘wear method’ where you pay because your guns wear out, you have to repair them. There’s another one that we generally refer to as the ‘grinding and trading’ method, which is more common in RPGs, and then there’s another one called the ‘insurance model’ where you get to build stuff, but they blow up, and if they blow up you can have insurance to cover your losses, if you will. What’s interesting about free to play is that there are a lot of financial models behind it that actually mimic real world systems, so you drive on the same real world motivations. The reason you buy insurance for your car is because you don’t want to lose the whole thing. You don’t necessarily pay subscription fee to have a car, you might have car payments for it, but you’ll have insurance, so there’s models like that which work in other games. What we’re going to do is, initially, we won’t go there across all those models. We’re starting very simple, just adding the two core components that have worked well in our other shooters players, and that would be just leased weapons and premium accounts or premium services.

PC Gamer: Apart from putting in the new payment model, will you be making any changes to the mechanics of the game itself?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: Some. There’s more balancing issues. One of the key issues the game seemed to have when it came out, what happened was, first of all you had to pay for game time, which was sort of weird. The second thing was, if you showed up in a game, because of their version of progression, if you got shot when you turned up in a match, you might be shot by a gun that you had no access to, because you hadn’t gotten murdered for nine hours yet, so you didn’t have the gun. I think that a lot of those things will remain, but now make more sense. If you’re a free player and you don’t want to buy the premium weapons then you can grind and eventually earn it, but you don’t have to necessarily pay for that painful grinding process. I think they accidentally created was, in this game, you had to actually pay to grind, which is unheard of in the free-to-play space. Those kind of balances are the ones we’ll focus on the most. There’s a few other balances too, such as, for instance, individual gun balances, which we do want to modify, so things like gun ranges and the disparity between weapons actually has to be much less. We’ve found from other games that you want to have just a couple of percentage points of balance difference between weapons, otherwise it becomes essentially a slaughterfest one way or another. So there’s various balance fixes like that, and then there’s various small annoying things, and this may not be in the first re-release, but when you run up to a car you often accidentally end up in the back seat, which is a little surprising! There are rare situations where you would probably want to be in the back seat, but 80 or 90 percent of the time you want to be drivers seat because the car’s empty. I think the original designers were very concerned with some purity of design which may have gotten in the way of the gameplay.

PC Gamer: Why do you think APB failed on its first release?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: I think part of it of course was that it was such a huge investment. I mean, the expectations were huge, and therefore when it didn’t start paying off in the first month or so it was almost doomed on its own expectations. I think it actually had the potential in the long term to potentially work, and obviously we believe it’ll work in the long term, but I think the hybrid retail subscription model that they had tried, for the mechanic they designed I don’t think it was going to work, ever. In order to succeed with that mechanic you would have to really polish some of the core components in order to convince enough players to be a subscriber. If you look at other games like Eve Online, Eve Online started as a modest, much smaller game, and over time they grew it, it got more and more of a devoted fanbase, and it really took several years before it got to the level where it is today. I think that’s the kind of game development structure they would have to keep in mind, like they should probably have considered going out with some sort of live beta, be in a live beta for a year or more, preferably with thousands of players participating in order to polish the game, in order to make it something that was sustainable. I don’t think they had planned that in, it was more planned as a retail release with EA pushing a bunch of boxes everywhere. I think the issue there is that the traditional publishers haven’t really yet – EA has experimented quite a bit with the digital distribution sales type stuff, but I think the free-to-play model is very hard for traditional publishers to predict, and if you don’t do a straight retail or console title it’s a very very long term, nefarious, difficult to predict process. I just don’t think they had the stomach to go all out, which I actually think would have worked for them.

PC Gamer: Then the advantage of the free to play model is that you can have the game out there for a long time, have a lot of people playing it, and then update it as it goes on.

Bjorn Book-Larsson: Yeah. I mean, in fact, we’d say about 80 percent of the work may happen after the game goes live, so to some extent not a lot of work goes in initially, but we have games today that have really existed as games for as much ten years, and then they have as many as 50,000 simultaneous players even ten years after they initially were launched, so these are pretty substantial MMOs. I guess the concept is surprisingly simple, which is: in a free to play game, no-one will pay for it unless they have fun. Surprise! So the net results is that you have to spend all your efforts following users around, figuring out what it is they do that is fun, and then effectively focus on giving them more stuff in the areas where they spend most of their time, around the things that they prefer to do. Often we’re surprised at what users actually do. We might design something because we think “hey, this’ll be great”, and they don’t even do it, but they find an alternate use of something we did, and they go off on a complete tangent and do stuff. I think being humble about the fact that as a designer you can’t so much predict what users will do so much as throw out a lot of good ideas and hope that users latch on to some of them, and then you have to measure and measure and measure what people do.

PC Gamer: So player feedback will play an important part in APB’s development?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: Yeah, I mean, as a company we’re called GamersFirst, and the reason is our goal is to follow what gamers do and give them that. We’ve existed as a company for seven years and it’s funny because we’re not especially huge or well known, we’re somewhat known, but it’s one of those things where the velocity of this type of release cycle is that the game should last, and almost be a platform from which you launch a lot of different experiences. With War Rock for instance, we just launched a collaborative mode where you play with team members as opposed to trying to kill everyone else, and it was huge, it turned out there was a huge demand for that type of gameplay mode, so we’re continuously doing that kind of work, and those are the kinds of things that we have to bring to APB as well.

PC Gamer: What new experiences do you want to add to APB as it develops?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: In the short term, obviously, a lot of things. It would be great if there was a way for clans or teams to have more collaboration, because right now you get thrown out in to a big city and it’s a little bit tricky or difficult to pick encounters against other teams. If you think of things like the e-sports leagues that are out there in Europe, in War Rock for instance we have a lot of clan versus clan fights, so we do want to set up a method for those smaller groupings to stay coherent, because that kind of social dynamic will actually perpetuate the game much longer than an individual experience. I think if you look at the design of the game, it was very tailored towards an online individual experience to some extent, because you were thrown into a large group of people, but there wasn’t really a direct mode for clans to take on another clan and be ranked against them, or there wasn’t an easy way to do it, it wasn’t central. I think that’s one of the first things we’ll do. We might accomplish that by adding some session based gameplay. There are a couple of maps that the original had already finished, so we might bring those out and let people join those smaller maps in some form of clan mode. There’s other changes as well, there were some interesting concepts around the cars, there was some potential racing components that existed in the original code, so there are various experiences like that which are close at hand. I think, three to five years out, the goal would be to take advantage of the really cool customisation tools, and potentially build several different game experiences like this around the game. Because it already has a really solid social district, there’s nothing really stopping us from allowing you to enter different worlds of engagement from that social district, not necessarily just the large scale San Paro financial districts, but you could go do collaborative gameplay, or a session based game, or some other kind of interactions using that same character that you’ve built.

PC Gamer: It sounds like you’re taking hold of some ideas that were already in the code that Realtime worlds didn’t implement, and using that as a jumping off point?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: Yeah, we’re sort of trying to reuse what they had started with, but I think there are a lot of things that weren’t even built in code which we’re going to have to add, but obviously the first few months is really focused on consolidating on the things that are there. In the real long term, we’re trying to envision: what if we wanted to launch multiple game experiences based on different user types? One of the things to keep in mind is that as a company we have about 30 million registered users, out of which about half are registered to play shooter games, so those users, quite a large audience, are ready, and we have a pretty good idea of how they behave and what they play. So we can tell you how many of those have signed up to play collaboratively as opposed to competitively within the shooter groups, so based on that we can tailor game changes to what it is that they want to do.

PC Gamer: So obviously there’s a lot to be added to the game, is there anything you’re taking out?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: Possibly we will try to reduce parts of the game. One of the issues is that the game client is quite large, so what we might look to do is try to create two versions of the client, one which is a smaller version, and one which is an improved version. Those are details to be worked out after the first batch of changes. We might have a starter pack, and then an enthusiast version for those who have the latest and greatest hardware.

PC Gamer: When the game comes out, are there any plans to gift items or services to players who have already paid for APB?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: We will try to accommodate those former players if we can. The issue is that of course the former players were distributed to by EA, and I know that EA has been giving refunds, and we’re not really engaged with that process. It’s a tricky question that we don’t have an answer to yet, if there’s a technical or even operational way to recognise all the former players then we will. If there’s not, then some of them may have to start over, but at least we hope they can reclaim the characters that they created, but they’ll have to create new accounts on our services in order to do so.

PC Gamer: So you do plan to let people take through characters they’ve already created?

Bjorn Book-Larsson: If possible, that’s a huge caveat. Obviously, as you can imagine, since EA has been doing the distribution there has been a lot of somewhat unanswered questions around that. Once that gets worked out, which I actually think will take a little bit of time, we would probably have a solid answer at the end of this year.

PC Gamer: Thanks for your time.

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Go to Source (PC Gamer)

APB acquired by GamersFirst, relaunching as APB: Reloaded in the first half of 2011

Posted on November 16, 2010

The earlier reports are true: Reloaded Productions Inc., a subsidiary of GamersFirst — which is, in turn, part of K2 Network — has purchased the presumed-deceased MMO, APB, from its creator Realtime Worlds. The publisher plans to relaunch the game sometime in the first half of 2011 as APB: Reloaded, a free-to-play iteration utilizing the micro-transaction model.

Come back later today for an interview with GamersFirst’s COO and CTO, Bjorn Book-Larsson, for an answer to the most crucial question: Why?

Continue reading APB acquired by GamersFirst, relaunching as APB: Reloaded in the first half of 2011

JoystiqAPB acquired by GamersFirst, relaunching as APB: Reloaded in the first half of 2011 originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 16 Nov 2010 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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LOVE creator gives away full animation tool for free

Posted on November 11, 2010

Eskil Steenberg not only built the gorgeous MMO LOVE by himself, he built all of the tools that he used to build the game as well. And now he’s giving those tools away to anyone and everyone, for absolutely nothing. Last Friday, he released the animator program he built to ease the process of designing animations for his game. Source code is included and there’s absolutely no restrictions on how you modify the code or use the tool. We sat down with Eskil to find out more about the tool, how indie developers can use it to easily improve their game’s animations, and why he decided to give it away.

During our time spent with Steenberg at the PC Gamer compound and conventions during the past year, we’ve gotten to see just how slick all of the tools he’s build (including the animator) really are–as an artist, Eskil’s crafted programs are as elegant in their simplistic design as they are easy to use. You can always download the latest version of the animator tool here, and be sure to follow Eskil Steenberg on Twitter to get the latest updates on when the tool, and LOVE, are updated.

PCG: What can players do with the animator tool you’re giving away?

Eskil Steenberg: First of all, it’s a fun toy to play around with, and it gives you an idea of how the animation in LOVE works. But it’s also a tool for other game developers–who don’t have access to a lot of animators or motion capture tools [like large, corporate developer studios do]–to create fully-animated characters in their games.

PCG: How many hours have you put into designing and tweaking the animator tool?

Steenberg: I wrote the majority of it while traveling in California (and visiting PC Gamer) earlier this year. And after that I took another week to clean it up, so all in all about 2 – 3 weeks of work.

PCG: Did you make all of LOVE’s animations with this tool?

Steenberg: LOVE’s animation system is based on a library called “Confuse” that handles all animation [in the game]. It is specialized for games because it can do most of the animation automatically, such as finding places to plant a character’s feet when it’s walking dynamically, depending on terrain. It can also take a simple pose like aiming a gun and then modify that pose if you’re aiming in another direction. It also handles things like picking up and putting back weapons and tools that you carry on different parts of the body. In games, characters often need to be able to do many things at once–like walking, aiming a gun and pressing a button all at the same time–and this animation system can figure out how to blend the different animations to do [all of those actions at the same time without designing multiple specific animations].
The animation editor was built to edit the data of this animation system so that you can do more advanced animations more easily than typing in numbers by hand.

PCG: Is the animator tool that’s being released a stripped down version of the one you use, or the full version?

Steenberg:It’s the full vesion. And the release even includes source code for the tool and the Confuse library, so that you can modify or port it, or use it in your own projects license-free.

PCG: After making such a useful animator tool, what made you decide to give it away for free?

Steenberg: This year at the graphics conference Siggraph [link] someone asked Ed Catmull–who is the President of Pixar and the inventor of texture mapping among other things–how Pixar decides what to show publicly and what they keep secret for competitive advantage. Ed answered that most of the things they don’t show publicly, they keep secret not for competitive advantage, but because they are so embarrased about them. Giving something to the public is a very good way to ensure that you don’t do a hack job. If you know that others will see or use [the tool you’re making] then you will fix more bugs then you otherwise would, and in the long run, that turns out to be very good for you too. I have given away almost all tools I’ve made and it has proven to be very good.

PCG: While we have you, can you share any plans you have for animations in LOVE in the near future?

Steenberg: In the past, the tribes [camps of NPCs located around the world] in LOVE have mostly only fought you, and that required them to be able to aim a gun and not much more. But now I’m writing a much more advanced version of the AI that you can become friends with. The AI can now befriend you, help you, follow you, show you things, sell stuff and much more, and that requires the AI to be far more expressive then it has been before. Some of the friendly AI behavior is already in the game but the players still usually end up shooting the AI, simply because the AI are unable to express its intentions.

You can always download the latest version of the animator tool here, and be sure to follow Eskil Steenberg on Twitter to get the latest updates on when the tool, and LOVE, are updated.

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Go to Source (PC Gamer)


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