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TOPIC: Tabula Rasa - Richard Garriot

Tabula Rasa - Richard Garriot 11 Σεπ 2007 00:46 #17143

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Η συνέντευξη που θα διαβάσετε (όσοι ενδιαφέρεστε) μου ήρθε από το amazon.com, ωστόσο, επειδή δεν είμαι φίλος των MMO δεν θα ασχοληθώ μαζί του. Όλη δική σας λοιπόν!

The Game

Amazon.com: From what sources did you draw the inspiration for this game's storyline, characters, and universe? How influenced are you by other games?

Richard Garriott: We very specifically tried to not draw from any obviously identifiable sources. We wanted to invent a new reality both from a fictional standpoint as well as from a gameplay standpoint. The name Tabula Rasa means clean slate in Latin and in some ways that’s what we wanted to do. We do, however, have a very extensive research library for each subject that we choose to tackle for the game. For example when you look at the language that is in the game we did a lot of research on everything from Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Chinese calligraphy to languages used to communicate with the mentally handicapped. So we did a lot of research, but it is pretty difficult to pinpoint specific sources for Tabula Rasa.

Amazon: I’ve read elsewhere you referring to Tabula Rasa as a second or next-generation MMO. What to you defines what has come before, and what does Tabula Rasa bring to the genre that makes it evolutionary?

Garriott: I believe the structural model for how MMO games operate and how the games are played has remained relatively unchanged since Ultima Online and Everquest. Some of the features of TR that break that mold include the combat system, the dynamic world, the way we used instanced spaces, and our character class tree.

In the combat system in most MMOs you highlight the opponent and just trade blows with that specific opponent while you wait to see which weapon does more damage over time. Players end up simply managing their interface without caring much what the monster is and what he’s doing. In TR we created a more tactical combat system where the player can use the environment to affect combat. For example if I am hiding behind sandbags and I can see the enemy from head to toe I increase my hit probability, whereas the monster who cannot see my entire body now has a diminished probability to do damage. Creatures will sometimes maneuver for position and range to maximize their damage opportunities rather than just engaging in the static whack-a-mole style of combat.

The second key feature is the dynamic world that we’ve created. In today’s MMOs, if you are out farming XP and you take a step back and wait a few seconds you will see the creature re-appear so that the next player can kill it. In TR creatures are actively seeking to take ownership of the control points in the battlefields and are not just sitting around waiting for you to kill them. Taking over control points affects gameplay as it changes what is available to the player. Mission giving NPCs, shopkeepers, hospital resurrection locations, and waypoint teleporters can all come and go based on who owns a given control point. So when players come back to TR, there is a probability that the environment they come back to has changed.

Many MMOs use instanced spaces to give players a private opportunity to kill that “big monster” and get rare drops instead of making players queue up for these “limited resources”. We think we can push instanced spaces further. We do story based interactions, where the party that goes to an instance goes through interesting puzzles and mission criteria that will lead them to a story that will climax to a grand audio visual conclusion. Other games will simply lead players to the next phase in the level grind, in TR we hope to give the player a greater sense of accomplishment.

Another evolutionary feature is the way TR implements the character class tree. In most MMOs the player has to make a decision on which character class to choose before they have any of the information about the class they are choosing. In TR everybody starts as a recruit class and over time the player makes the decisions as to what class they want to branch out to. We also allow players to clone their characters at any time so that they can go back and explore those other class branches without having to start a new character.

Amazon: MMOs have traditionally stayed relevant by feeding their players new, fresh content on a regular basis. Aside from the more dynamic and ebbing game play you've touted, will Tabula Rasa rely on software expansion packs to keep gamers engaged and playing?

Garriott: Absolutely! TR will expand its universe with regular free updates that include new missions and new features, and lots more. We will also release entire new planets. More of those details will be announced later.

Amazon: Could you pinpoint on particular aspect of Tabula Rasa that you're especially proud of?

Garriott: My favorite personal contribution to the game has been development of the symbolic language that we call Logos. This was an activity that my girlfriend, Kelly, and I worked on together, not only in the office, but at home and during our vacations. When I first set out to create a universally readable symbolic language I wasn’t sure it was something that could work such that it would be equally easy to read regardless of the language you speak. In the end I think it worked out extremely well and we expanded it within the game where you can collect these symbols to unlock powers along with certain areas of the map.

Amazon: Somewhere out in the world of Tabula Rasa is there a "Lord British" character lurking in a cave?

Garriott: Yes, my alter ego does make an appearance, the details however you’ll have to get from playing the game.

Development

Amazon:Tabula Rasa is Latin for "clean slate." There is the obvious in-game tie-in to that title, with the Logos language that the gamer learns as they play, but is there any deeper reference to your thought process or development on this game. Did you indeed start with a clean slate for Tabula Rasa?

Garriott:Tabula Rasa was actually written as our working title because of the philosophy that we weren’t going to be building on any game that we have worked on before and we weren’t going to be creating a derivative of any other computer game or Intellectual Property So that was our mantra throughout the development of the game. Since the working title leaked out to the public, we decided to incorporate more elements of it into the game, such as your Logos tablet which starts out blank in the game, so hence it being a Tabula Rasa, a central piece of your character in the game.

Amazon: The phenomenal success of World of Warcraft arguably means that the MMO genre has gone mainstream in this country, and for the foreseeable future all comers will be compared to it. (i.e. - Does is have equal features? Will it be able to take capture gamers away from WoW? Etc...) What are your own measures for success though with Tabula Rasa, and with your games in general? How do you know when you've succeeded in making a great game?

Garriott: Corporately and individually we are big fans of Blizzard and World of Warcraft. We believe that the game is another clear sign of the growth of the online games market. Early in the history of online games it was thought that the total market for these games was only a few thousand people. Well, after Ultima Online it became a few hundred thousand people, after EverQuest it became half a million people, after WoW its now a few million people, and if you look at Lineage I and II it is many, many million people, mostly playing in Asian countries. The market penetration here in the US is still small compared to the genre in Asia, so there is tremendous room for growth. We have a base level metric of success that I would measure in the many hundreds of thousands for that game, because if you measure in the hundreds of thousands, then you start having a hundreds of millions of dollars business, and if we’re lucky enough to start tapping into the millions, that is just icing on the cake.

Amazon: The game went into open beta just a few weeks ago to the tune of over 100,000 sign-ups. First, congratulations, and second, what has been some of the most prominent feedback you've received from gamers?

Garriott: We are very fortunate that the early response in the beta boards has been very positive If you look at the mood of the beta testers, they are very enthusiastic about our game. Their posts to me clearly indicate that people are receiving and interpreting the game as we intended them to. My key example of this paraphrases one of the first posts made on our boards. This particular player had made it through the first few missions and made some wealth and bought some new equipment and as they were sorting through their inventory they heard sirens. After a moment they heard gunfire and surely enough the area was under attack. They saw the NPCs going to battle and they quickly put everything away to join this battle, and once they had defended the attack they realized they had gained some XP, which was a nice thing, but the reason they had gone into battle was to defend this town that they had just been in and helping defend the NPCs that had been so helpful to them. The poster remarked that it was refreshing to be in a game where they were fighting enemies and defending NPCs that they actually cared about, and the point of the game wasn’t necessarily just the advancement of their character. This was exactly the type of feeling that we wanted to create for this game.

Career

Amazon: You've had a long and successful career in the video game industry. Can you name a few favorite memories or especially notable moments?

Garriott: Some of my best memories have come during that simultaneous ‘best and worst of times’ moments when you are finishing a game. When deadlines are rapidly approaching and you are working around the clock. The mood is simultaneously exciting and stressful. Because people are working so hard we are doing things around the building to try to relieve stress such as cook-outs and going into the audio rooms to make recordings that make fun of and celebrate each other. Those are definitely some of my favorite times.

Amazon: The video game business is bigger than ever and more and more people are choosing game design, development and production as a career. What advice would you offer somebody looking to get their start in this field?

Garriott: Twenty years ago I would just tell kids to get a computer and hack around with it and write some programs. It wasn’t quite that simple, but that was very much the spirit of things. Now to even be employed at a game company you had better have a degree, and nowadays you had better have a relevant degree. Not many places offer class programs specifically in game development, but there are places like SMU and Carnegie Mellon that do, and it is a far, far better way to get into this industry than attending elsewhere.

Amazon: Are there any of your legacy titles that you still fire up for old time's sake? As their creator, how do you see them today--do they hold up in your eyes?

Garriott: Yes! In fact I have my original Apple II that I developed Akalabeth and Ultima on. I booted that up after I heard Dave Sterling speak at a games conference about how it’s sad that even some of the greatest games ever written disappear rather quickly because the hardware needed to play them also disappears rather quickly. I found that to be a tragically true statement, so I work hard to keep my Apple II working so that I can go back and look at those games from a time when things were much simpler.
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Μέσα από στράτα απόμονη και απόσκια
με αγγέλους του Άδη μόνο στοιχειωμένη
που κει θεά μ' όνομα νύχτα βασιλεύει
κάτω, στα μέρη αυτά έχω φτάσει, τώρα...
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Tabula Rasa - Richard Garriot 11 Σεπ 2007 15:21 #17149

Ο Garriot είναι απλά ΘΕΟΣ. Μακάρι το νέο του δημιούργημα να έχει την επιτυχία και την αναγνώριση που του αξίζει.
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Tabula Rasa - Richard Garriot 11 Σεπ 2007 16:30 #17150

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Από ότι έχω δει σίγουρα κάνει κάτι πολύ όμορφο, και δεν φταίει αυτός που δεν θα ασχοληθώ, απλά προτιμώ την ηρεμία και τον προσωπικό ρυθμό που επιβάλουμε παίζοντας τα παιχνίδια σε single player. Σεναριακά είναι δύσκολο να αναπτύξεις ιστορία σε δικτιακό παιχνίδι, δυστυχώς.
Μέσα από στράτα απόμονη και απόσκια
με αγγέλους του Άδη μόνο στοιχειωμένη
που κει θεά μ' όνομα νύχτα βασιλεύει
κάτω, στα μέρη αυτά έχω φτάσει, τώρα...
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Tabula Rasa - Richard Garriot 11 Σεπ 2007 17:27 #17151

Ναι, και εγώ αν ήταν single player σίγουρα θα το έπαιζα - δεν βρίσκω καμμία γοητεία στα on-line...
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