An Interview with Henrik

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An Interview with Henrik


Hello Folks,

So, I sat down with our CEO, Henrik the other day to talk about The Awakening. I tried my hardest to get some new information and ask some questions that I thought the community would be interested in. I got a lot more than I was expecting. Enjoy.

Hi Henrik, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions, I know that our community are starting to get very excited about The Awakening release, what excites you about the upcoming expansion?
Hi Theia, not a problem. Well I guess it’s around so many features that we envisioned a long time ago now finally arriving. It has been a long time but we feel that The Awakening will start to close the circle in terms of PVE, which has been lacking, not all players want to PvP so this is a very important update for this part of our community. Of course more PVE will still help the PvP side as we are expecting a lot of action and that will drive much more activity out in the world.

OK can we hear some more detail please? I know that you are planning on bringing significant numbers of new mobs into the game, can you elucidate on what we are going to be seeing? I know you don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but can we a have a bit of information about the new mobs we’ll see with the new AI, please?
The AI has been totally re-written. From scratch. It now fully enables the original vision we had for the flexibility of AI and the game. You surely remember the old prototype we had running years ago; the troll picking up players, the aggressive minotaur? After a huge effort we are now able to deliver those functions in the game, a dynamic AI action system opens up totally new abilities with our mobs, we just need to come up with new cool and interesting actions they can do. Included in this new AI we also get two elements that we have been waiting for, water and air support. This gives us a lot of new content and we can finally start to make use of diving skills and add underwater content, to be honest, we do not have much underwater content yet since we didn’t expect to solve the water functions this early, but more of that will come.

In fact just to show you how different the new AI is I would like to share a story from the testing forum. I hope ACHILLES won’t mind.

Discussion in 'Feed Back' started by ACHILLES, Wednesday at 9:03 AM.
I just wanted to share tonight, before I went to bed, a fucking AWESOME experience I had with 3 bears outside Meduli. Arfette and I were testing weapons and stuff, and he had run off to tame more bears. When I told him I was back to our spot, he came running back, but some of the bears followed him from their spawn. When I glanced over to see the bears following him, one gave up and ran back to the spawn slowly. The 2nd followed a little further, stopped, trotted a little further after him, and then decided to turn back and run. The last bear did something that was so damn awesome, that it got me all excited in game. Arfette will tell you.

To elaborate on why this experience excited me so, I want to share a quick experience I had in real life with a bear. I went caribou hunting and salmon fishing with my dad in Alaska when I was 16 y/o. Off in the frontier of Alaska on the tundra in the middle of nowhere, there are major grizzly bears, and I'm talking the big ass mama bears that will eat your shit alive if you aren't careful with what you're doing. Being the amazingly prepared and intelligent man my father is, he was always ready for a bear while we were out hunting, and we had special ammunition for our rifles if we indeed spotted a bear and needed to defend ourselves. Even before going with him on the trip, he gave me books to read on the game we'd spot, and especially bears, so that I knew what to expect if we encountered one. Now, to get to the point:

I had shot a caribou from about a mile out and it was hiiiiiigh up on this mountain. We trekked up to the mountain, and it took us a good 30-45 minutes to get up there to where the caribou fell. When we got there, we had to skin it there on the spot because we couldn't carry the entire damn carcass all the way back to the camp that was at least 10 miles away or so. So my dad told me to just watch around us for anything and to keep a look out while he skinned the caribou at our feet. I did so, and he started to do his job. Fifteen to twenty minutes went by and I was talking to him about stuff. I had glanced down watching him skin the caribou, and the next time I lifted my head up I saw off in the distance a fucking brown bear walking parallel to us and staring STRAIGHT at us. He obviously wanted that kill, because he wanted the food, but he was debating in his head whether or not he should actually try and take it from us or not. I don't know if that bear knew what we were or not, but the only reason I think that it did NOT come after us was because it was a younger bear, maybe a teenager, and it didn't have the chops or the courage just yet to actually try and fight us for that kill. As soon as I said "Oh SHIT Dad..." he loaded his gun with the ammunition and we watched like hawks. The bear slowly ran off, and we immediately finished what we could with the kill, and left for camp.

This experience is EXACTLY what happened today in game with Arfette, except the bear actually attacked us!!! Was so awesome. I was standing next to Arfette, and when he got next to me he said, "I think one of the bears is still gonna come after me." Having played MO so much, my 2nd nature reaction to any of the bears in the game is always the same, but this time I looked up and saw something completely different than I've ever seen before, and it was just..... COOL. The bear that was following Arfette stopped at the rocks and stared at us a second. I watched him and waited to see what exactly was going on, and then the bear turned and walked parellel to us, JUST LIKE the bear did in real life that I had experienced. He walked for a few feet turning his head and staring at us like we were a fucking threat and/or prey. To me it looked like he was debating in his head whether or not he really wanted to come after us. Eventually he stopped again, turned to us, he let out a roar, and charged. It was so fucking epic. Arfette and I then battled the bear and killed him.

Now, I'm not sure whether or not this is part of the new AI system with animals, or if it was just some happy mistake with bugs and coincidences, BUT if this kind of thing can be reproduced, then that would just be fucking amazing. When I say reproduced, I mean if animals can actually react this way to their surroundings and it's intended, then I'm saying well done Starvault. You guys are doing the right things and please keep it up. Looking forward to more in the future!!!

HENRIK: To give a short explanation of how this works (it was not a bug) the new AI did actually interface with ACHILLES and Arfette as described. The AI runs a number of steps when it spots a creature or player. It starts by discovering it and depending on a few different factors it can continue to watch the players or it can try to flee or attack. It measures the threat by numbers, size and some other things. This gives room for the players to actually sneak up on a creature and if it spots you, you had better stand absolutely still, if it is prey or hunter you want to get closer to or risk getting attacked. If it doesn’t feel too threatened and you stand absolutely still it may continue what it was doing and ignore you for the time being. Experiencing this makes it feels very alive and exciting it feels like it is watching you as it moves. As you can see a lot of work has been put into the new AI while it’s also massively optimized for a crowd system, which you also can see on some of the screen shots previously released, we have tested ~2200 guards in a small area without fully loading nodes/server or clients, which is very impressive. This will allow us to add really interesting, massive events in the game world. Taming as a profession has got a lot of new things as well. There are new skills for those who are interested in in taming animals; we also have a new “skill/spell” under a magic school that allows the players to dominate some specific mobs that you can’t tame. You will notice there is a lot of new depth in taming and controlling pets. All creatures in the world are now dynamic in terms of their stats, size and other things too. This means you will be able to find infant bears for instance which are easier to tame than adults. At a certain age they can no longer be tamed so you will have to find a younger one and look after it. Each creature costs a certain amount of creature control points, it’s up to you to find the mix that suits your need. If you want a few young bears or one big old nasty bear that has learned new actions depending upon your skills, it’s up to you. You will with the right skills be able to see its age, condition and stats. Some creatures are known to grow and become stronger in captivity with correct training and feeding. This means you can make them stronger than those found in the wilderness.
The new AI also allows us to open up some of the more ancient dungeons, filled with lore that we have been waiting for a long time to share with you, years even. All pre-patch creatures in the world will be remade with the new AI and you will see many changes as a result of this. This of course includes mounts, too. The lore skills for each creature does now play an important role as it helps you defeat the creature you are specialised in. Gear is now connected to the taming profession, which allows you to push the creature limit even further, some will require this as well to be tamed in the first place, the same goes for domination.

Everyone wants to know when The Awakening is going to be released. The Community are holding out for an April release date. Are we going to see The Awakening in April?
So our main goal is to deliver the most amazing experience possible at launch. We are so close now it’s painful having to wait, which I promise you we are very aware of, but there are now so many complete modules that are ready for integration it would be a real shame to wait for the next large release and we want all of it in for this release. Having said that we started working on Awakenings in earnest immediately after the TC release, so it has been many months of hard work, that we are so very close to releasing at this point is extremely gratifying, we won’t make April, but it really won’t be very long now, weeks not months.

Can you tell us what the status of Tindrem is please?
Almost complete, with just one building left to go, that building is very advanced and should be finished early next week. Tindrem is a big thing for us. I think it will be for the community too. The AI Guard testing has gone better than expected we are still tweaking some of the animations here but new AI means a more active city with very interesting possibilities.

Can Players own houses in Tindrem?
Not at this time.

Can you tell us about any of the new pets that are entering the game?
Well a combination of new AI and 64B allows us to do this... when I took this screen, there was virtually no drop in frame rate for me from when the sky was empty...

Bug fixing Round - is there one included in The Awakening and what are your general plans for dealing with some of the longer term bugs that we have?
Yes, we have fixed several important bugs in this build. But that was not our main objective, it was new content, and lots of it. We have achieved that and if there is any time left over we will try to squeeze a few more fixes in, but the priority is to test, validate and then release. We are planning to do a bug fixing round after Awakening, although knowing us we will possibly add more content as well in that round. Work has started on the next release as some members of the team have finished everything they needed to do for this release.

Will the new GUI/UI make it in?
Yes, it’s in now, not fully complete, it’s amazing how many windows / interfaces we have built up. We added the new spell book which has some very nice animations and work is well advanced. This spell book is also something we wanted from launch but we couldn’t implement due to GUI restrictions within UE. Now the first step is complete and we can continue developing the other magic schools. You will now buy, learn and discover spells via scrolls, which you scribe into your spell book, after that you can cast the spell when you wish. There will be spells located only at a specific place and at a given time, which means it is the player that will discover these spells and choose what happens with the spell, will you share the spell or keep it to yourself? We are also improving a lot of the old windows; we will finally get a fully fledged GUI. Better performance and better control in all of the aspects that can be expected from leading MMO.

Many players are looking forward to the Broker system, in-game trading tools will spur on the economy and cause more movement of goods and players across the world, how is that coming along?
The broker system is something we really need in our game, a powerful tool to help get the economy going and trading between the players. The players will be able to sell their goods via this service and others can buy, without having to be online at the same time finding the buyer/sellers. We think this will help a lot, especially for some players that aren’t on during peak EU and US times.

Thank you for being so generous with your time, is there anything else you would like to add?
We are not only adding new AI and GUI, but we had the time to also add new skills, new gear and some important new professions. Alchemy is going to get a boost for several reasons; we are going to remove the potions sold by the NPCs in game. We note that players have started to get further into the alchemy system; they have clearly been experimenting and found powerful potions. To those that have managed this, well done! We will help the profession at the start by adding in-game lore explaining how to make the first, very basic potion, the rest is up to the players to discover and establish the profession and markets around that. Right now Tailoring is on the edge of being finalized as well, this gives players a new profession - crafting clothes. This means we are adding new types of gear, perfect for players that wish to be fashionably dressed; in addition that profession will be able to flex elements such as protection and weight. Of course they won’t compete with medium or heavy armour, those will always be best for the melee fighter. We also hope to be able to put in pottery and glass blowing since we really want to remove the empty bottles from the NPCs. We hope to do the same thing when it comes to crafting arrows, the arrows are actually part of a very advanced crafting system which allows you to hand craft arrows, you can use them in specific situations, you can pick the kind of attack you want to do through the use of different types of arrow head. If all goes as planned we will be able to add this into The Awakening as well, if not, it should come very shortly after. We are also working on a remake of the player models, they were fine a few years ago, but today we feel they could be much better looking, in several ways, it is after all the most important model in the game and there is a lot of room for improvement. Along with some other areas that are getting a face lift, we are focusing on the world too, water now moves and is affected by the wind and weather, waves move in the direction of the wind. Things have also changed on weapon traces and the prediction system. The latest feedback from the focus group is excellent, there is new accuracy, and it is more fun to PvP!
Something is heading for Myrland, that will affect every player in the world, it will be up to you to decide how that fate will unfold and how Myrland will change during The Awakening…..

Thank you very much Henrik, hope we can do this again soon.
Thank you, yes, let’s do that. Oh and I hope everyone enjoys the Loading Screen Competition!!

Anzahl der Beiträge : 4924
Anmeldedatum : 06.02.10
Alter : 37
Ort : Heidelberg

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An Interview with Henrik :: Kommentare


Beitrag am Sa 28 Apr 2012, 11:37  Ragnar


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Beitrag am Sa 28 Apr 2012, 11:39  Rafner

Henriks Worte sind wie Gift, traut ihnen nicht!

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Beitrag am Sa 28 Apr 2012, 11:41  Rhonan

can't resist!!!!

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Beitrag am Sa 28 Apr 2012, 11:55  Rafner

Awww me too, hypeyhypehype!!!

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Beitrag am Sa 28 Apr 2012, 12:35  Rhonan

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