Clan DLAN
18 de Abril de 2014
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The Broken Hourglass y Plane Walker Games

Planewalker Games | En Español | Comment the interview


Palafoxx and Immortality - Hi, Jason, I think we know you from someplace... ;)
Jason Compton - Yes indeed, we've known each other for quite a while. It's interesting how some of the individuals and groups (largely) associated with Infinity modding have evolved over the past few years.

P and I - You and Westley Weimer are modders for the Baldur's Gate Series, also, Wes created WeiDU, the tool everyone uses to mod the game. You have a very successful site and projects. Why did you feel the need to create a whole new game?
JC - Because nobody else really seemed to want to make this kind of game anymore, but that lack of interest didn't seem to be because players didn't want to buy- on the contrary, they've practically been clamoring for more since they saw the closing movie of Throne of Bhaal five years ago! All else being equal, if A-list publishers and developers continued to deliver strong, story-focused, single player RPG experiences to players in variety and numbers, we very likely wouldn't be having this conversation about a game we're making--it just wouldn't seem very necessary.

But the fact is that the industry has moved away from this type of game--or at the very least, they have failed in my view to capitalize on what seemed like a lot of momentum which had been created around plot-and-character focused RPGs. And as more and more people asked modders if they would consider making a new game, the more I started wondering if, under the right circumstances, it really might not be such a bad idea after all.

And another important fact is that, at least speaking for myself, modding can only be so rewarding for so long. Even before Wes and I started seriously discussing "could we really make a game?" almost two years ago, I had begun to question what to do with the creative time and energy that had been going into mods. Working on The Broken Hourglass, a brand-new, original CRPG suits me very well.

P and I - How big is the developing team right now?
JC - We have worked with over 20 contractors on content, technical development, and artwork. Most are still involved on an ongoing basis.

P and I - Which are your goals in matters of release dates and attracting players?
JC - I have stopped kidding myself that I can accurately set or properly enforce a release date, although I do hope to make that happen in the next calendar year. As for players, since most of us are actively and visibly involved in large communities of CRPG enthusiasts, it is our hope that we will be able to attract many of the people who have lamented that "they don't make them like they used to." As with the conversation we are having here, we are doing what we can to communicate clearly and openly with players and show them that we are making progress towards delivering a game that, hopefully, they will want to play. The ultimate goal is to sell enough games to happy customers and justify making more.

P and I - It seems the plot of the game develops inside a single city. Can this make the game monotone?
JC - I don't really see why it must be. We made a conscious decision to focus on depth rather than breadth. Rather than offer a game where many different geographic destinations all looked very much the same, we wanted to use our resources to create a deep and detailed city environment. I don't regret that decision in the least.

P and I - We understand that The Broken Hourglass will be based in PC-NPC interaction as opposed of fighting against monsters. What is your goal by this?
JC - To be clear, both dialogue and combat are important aspects of the game--you will have to fight to survive and triumph in this game, make no mistake. But we are focusing a great deal of attention on story and character interaction, particularly between the PC and joinable NPCs, yes. Relationships, whether friendly, romantic, or antagonistic, between two or more people working in a group are a great storytelling resource.

Having strong characters with strong personalities is a huge opportunity--and frankly it is an area of game development where having the shiniest technology does not make you the winner, providing us a nice level playing field to compete with the "AAA titles" on.

So if I had to state a "goal" for character interaction, it would be that we want to create a game that makes players care as much about _who_ is involved with the plot as they do about _what_ those characters do to advance the plot.



P and I - You created a very peculiar magic system. What is the difference between this new system and the traditional one?
JC - The magic system Wes Weimer devised is indeed getting a lot of attention in these interviews. We have described it as the "garden hose", the "budget", the "mana potential" system... whatever you want to call it, the most important characteristic of the system is that _when the effect ceases to be, the caster (usually) stops paying the price associated with casting it._

You don't "level up" in magic in quite the same way you would in a D&D-type game. Instead, you buy up points in Precision for each of the elemental magic disciplines (Water Precision, for instance, to become a stronger Water mage.) Precision makes your spells more effective--more likely to hit and harm your enemies, harder to resist, more beneficial to your party members, etc. Then you may also buy mana points, which give you a larger "budget" or "more water in the garden hose" to spend on magical enchantments.

The upshot of all this is that a caster can "use up" all of his magical potential maintaining a shield on himself and the party, but unlike other systems where that caster would be useless for the rest of the day, in our system he can drop the shield and then switch that energy to some other type of enchantment. That's what we mean by the "garden hose" example--when your hose is on, you'll always get water out of it. The question is, how are you going to direct that water?

Our system means you basically never have to feel bashful about casting a spell--you won't "ruin" the mage for the day. There are some types of enchantments which do tie up mana over the long term, such as until the target dies or until the party rests. But most enchantments are either instantaneous and have no standing mana cost, or can be dropped interactively.

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Gracias a todos nuestros entrevistados.
©2006 Clan DLAN