Looking for old beta CDs / data files (2000/2001)

Discussion in 'General Entropia Universe Discussion' started by McCormick, Dec 28, 2012.

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    Project Entropia Intelligence ReportDecember 11, 2000

    [​IMG]The human race has entered a new era of interstellar exploration and colonization. For the last century or so, sophisticated robotic space vessels called Odysseus Probes have been sent far across the galaxy to locate planets suited to human life and to prepare them for the arrival of settlers by creating outposts and supply facilities. Far beyond the Colonial Frontier, one of these Probes discovered the Earth-like planet of Calypso and created a vast robot community to await the arrival of the first pioneers. But something went wrong. The robots refused to give up control, and the ensuing Robot Revolt very nearly wiped out all the settlers. Now, the colonists face a new robotic threat as well as mutant humans and the world's native creatures as they work to build the future.

    The above is a very brief summary of the backstory forProject Entropia, an extremely intriguing persistent online world project being developed by MindArk, a studio located in Göteborg, Sweden. This fall, the company revealed a potentially revolutionary Internet-based revenue model that will allow the game to be made available at no initial cost and with no subscription fees. With development reportedly moving forward toward initial beta testing in the early part of next year, it seemed a very appropriate time to look over what's know about the game at this time in this new Project Entropia Intelligence Report.
    Developer: MindArk AB is based in Göteborg, Sweden and reportedly numbers about 30 employees. The team's visibility has been fairly low to date; the usual spokesman for the game is Marketing Manager Patric Sundström.
    Publisher: The game will not have a publisher in the usual sense of the word since it will be distributed at no cost and have no subscription fee. Development is being funded privately, and the company expects the ongoing operating costs to be covered by an integrated commercial component.
    Type: Project Entropia is a 3D persistent online world with a science fiction theme.
    Beta Testing: Closed beta testing is expected to begin as soon as January of 2001, with open testing presently slated for late spring.
    Projected Release Date: The developer's current projection is an autumn, 2001 release.
    Setting & Backstory: The game takes place in a future wherein Mankind has explored deep into space, colonizing the imaginary planet of Calypso, which serves as its setting. Physically, it is similar to Earth, but with its own native life forms. There is a main settlement, the city of New Haven, plus lots of wilderness with creatures, both friendly and not so friendly. Calypso is also being slowly invaded by renegade robots from the planetary system of Akbal-Cimi, their intent being the extermination of human life on the planet.
    Gameworld: The zone-free world of Calypso will include a range of familiar natural environments such as forests, deserts, swamps, mountains, caves, lakes and oceans. There will also be various cities and towns, which will have apartments, bars, shops, factories sewers, churches, red light districts and more to explore. Weather will vary, including sunshine, overcast, rain, etc. The official site notes that the planet will be dynamic, with players being actively involved in shaping its development and in finding new land areas. It has also been stated that new worlds will be discovered during the course of the game. The size of the gameworld has not been stated, but since the plan is eventually to accommodate a million or more players online at one time, it will obviously be very expansive.
    Player Characters: All player characters will be human. Players will be able to select a character's gender plus other visible characteristics such as height, body type, and skin, hair and eye color. While only a limited amount is known about the character system, it is stated on the official site that there will be no character classes. In addition, Project Entropia will allow for a variety of different playing styles ranging from those with a focus on socially-oriented activities within the safe urban environments to exploring the wilderness, fighting the planet's creatures and the invading robot forces, and even building new settlements. Players will also be able to own houses as well as ground and air vehicles. The number of characters per player has not been finalized, but is projected to be between five and eight.
    Character Advancement System: Only a relatively small amount of rather general information has been revealed to this point in time, such as its being skill-based. It will be of course, be possible for characters to increase their skills and abilities and to develop their attributes, but details as to how practice, maintenance and specialization will work are basically unknown. The advancement system is apparently open-ended so that neither characters nor their skills and abilities can be maxed out.
    Skill System: The game is expected to offer a selection of about 50 skills, with all of them being available to all characters. Details are sparse to date, but some categories mentioned up to now are combat, survival, and dancing. In place of magic, there will be a type of skill called MindForce, which is based on the concept of the brain being developed to use more of its capacity, aided by surgical implants that increase specific powers.
    Quests: Project Entropia is expected to feature numerous quests, including both individual tasks as well as some that will affect the entire world. Certain quests are expected to be group-oriented, requiring co-operation since they will be too difficult or even impossible for individual characters.
    Combat: Combat will include both melee and ranged attacks as well as the use of certain MindForce powers. Success will be based on factors such as characters' abilities, attributes and weapons.
    Player vs Player Combat: Project Entropia will include player versus player combat. The cities and possibly other areas will be safe zones, with arenas where combat skills can be practiced in safety prior to venturing into the wilderness.
    Death: Death will result in losing everything your character is carrying unless you have purchased insurance, which will be available in various coverage levels. As a deterrent measure, player killers will not be able to obtain insurance for a period after killing another player character.
    Weapons & Armor: Although only a few types of each have been specifically named, the game will offer different types of weaponry ranging from bare hands to simple knives and laser, shock and plasma weapons as well as heavy energy cannons. Similarly, the selection of protective armors will encompass a variety from basic clothing to light armor and energy shields.
    Opponents: Project Entropia's opponents will include the aforementioned robots from Akbal-Cimi, mutants and Calypso's indigenous fauna. In all cases, there will be numerous types providing diverse levels of challenge. The screenshots released so far have shown several different types of opponents including at least one flying creature. Creatures named so far include the small harmless Gazonk, the large four-legged Katang that will hunt anything that moves and has an enormous appetite for meat, and the Molisk, a comparatively safe stone-eating creature.
    Technology: For gameplay, Project Entropia uses its own proprietary engine. Graphics are rendered by the NetImmerse engine from NDL Inc, which has a full range of competitive features such as 3D accelerated graphics, detachable camera, first and third person views et al. As noted above, MindArk plans on a single gameworld for as many as a million simultaneous players, although probably not immediately upon launch. Details of the server technology that will support this number are not known.
    Interaction with Fans: Aside from occasional interviews including a couple with RPG Vault, the team has maintained a relatively low level of visibility to date. Members do make occasional appearances on the official site's message boards. Considering it is almost ready to enter beta and that it will be available at no cost, the level of media attention seems low, although this may be at least partly intentional on the part of MindArk. The company being located in Sweden may also be a factor.
    Positives: MindArk's plan to offer Project Entropia at no cost and with no subscription fee makes it a potentially ground-breaking title that could have broad implications for the entire online worlds genre. The concept is an interesting one with lots of room for expansion, the visuals shown so far have looked good, and there seems to be a fairly strong emphasis on allowing non-combat oriented playing styles.
    Questions Marks: While it is potentially revolutionary, MindArk's revenue model is also untried, and the company has understandably been quiet as to the details of how it will work. In addition, the low-key approach in terms of publicity to this time has led to comparatively low awareness about the game in general, and also about how various game elements will work.
    Outlook: Since information has been somewhat sparse, it's still pretty pre-mature to form opinions about what the game will be like, how it will play or how well the revenue model will work.
    System Requirements: Specific system requirements have not been announced. Since the game uses a licensed graphics engine, it seems likely that they will be comparable with other 3D titles of the coming generation.
    Links: Project Entropia Interview #2 (September, 2000)
    Project Entropia Mini-Interview (March, 2000)
    Project Entropia Interview (July, 1999)
    Project Entropia Wallpaper (April, 2000)

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    Richard Aihoshi - "Jonric"

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    Project Entropia Interview #2September 12, 2000

    [​IMG]Long ago, the human race embarked upon a new era of wide-ranging interstellar exploration and colonization. For the last century, robotic space vessels called Odysseus Probes have been sent far across the galaxy to find and prepare suitable planets by creating outposts and supply facilities. In the depths of space, far beyond the Colonial Frontier, one such Probe discovered the planet Calypso and built up a vast robot community to await the arrival of the first human settlers. After they landed, however, the robots refused to give up control as they were supposed to, and the ensuing Robot Revolt nearly wiped out all the pioneers. Now, the colonists face a new robotic threat, mutant humans and the world's native creatures as they struggle to build their future.

    [​IMG]This is the backdrop to Project Entropia, the ambitious massively multiplayer persistent online world being developed by Swedish studio MindArk. A few days ago, the company announced an innovative Internet-based strategy that will allow the game to be made available at no cost, then followed up earlier today with the re-launch of its official site containing lots of new information, screenshots and more. We've been keeping close track of Project Entropia for a long time; indeed, the name was revealed on our site. With the current flurry of activity, we were very fortunate to get hold of MindArk Communications Manager Patric Sundström who graciously gave us the time for this informative second Project Entropia Interview with help from Game Designer Anders Berg and Engine Development Coordinator Patrik Holmsten.
    Jonric: The first question is pretty straightforward. In your own words, how would you summarize Project Entropia?
    Patric Sundström: I see Project Entropia as more than just a new online game. Even if the actual playing is a large part of it, Project Entropia will offer much more. We offer everyone the possibility to start a new life in a future world and to be present during the construction of a civilisation in a four-dimensional world without any borders. When I say four dimensions, people often wonder what I mean; after all, there are only three. In Project Entropia however, we have included a time axis as the fourth dimension, one that follows the total development of Project Entropia.
    [​IMG]As a player of Project Entropia you will find a world in constant development, a world continuously growing in player numbers as well as area, a dynamic world that will allow players themselves to discover new land areas.
    Jonric: Cool. Please introduce MindArk. When and how did the company get started? How many people are working on the game, and who are the core team members? What backgrounds do you have making games?
    Patric Sundström: MindArk has existed since spring 1999. The production of Project Entropia however, has been going on for about three and a half years. MindArk is located in Gothenburg, Sweden, and currently employs 26 people in the development of Project Entropia. I couldn´t name any core members directly as I see Project Entropia as a well chosen group of people working together to reach the same goal, that being the construction of the world's best virtual world, Project Entropia. Project Entropia is the first game developed by MindArk. Several of the people at MindArk however, have worked in game development before.
    Jonric: Please describe the game universe. Was its design affected in any significant ways by other persistent online worlds?
    Patric Sundström: When we started working on Project Entropia, we sat down together to consider what we didn't like about other online games. One of these problems was that all of the servers could not take very many players. The fact that you must stay at the same server you began your character with and stay there. We responded to this by taking the decision that all players would be able to live in the same virtual world. This doesn't mean that Calypso will be the only planet, in the future it may well be possible that new worlds would be discovered.
    [​IMG]Jonric: Given that there will only be one gameworld, what is your target player capacity? Will the game world be zoned, and will there be any situations that require load times?
    Patrik Holmsten: A fundamental point with Project Entropia is that everybody should be able to communicate with each other. Thus, we will definitely not have shards. Our target player capacity is "unlimited". As the number of players grows, we will scale up the server farm while expanding the geographical extent of the game world. The world is seamless, so you can walk across a stretch of land or through buildings with only "glitches" for loading. There are enclosed "dungeons" that are not reached seamlessly. If you teleport to a place on the surface or in a dungeon, there is some load time.
    Jonric: How large will the game universe be? Will there be forms of travel aside from just walking and running; for example, will there be portals, transporters, ground vehicles, etc?
    Patric Sundström: Our goal is to have more than one million players online at the same time. As to how large the world will be in square meters, that is difficult to say now. The world will, however, be dynamic, meaning that new areas will be added as the game progresses. The players will be involved closely in this process. The players themselves will be able to buy new platforms in different sizes, which they can then place permanently on the map.
    When it comes to transport, it will of course be possible to walk over the entire world. This would take too long on a world the size of Calypso, as not many would have the stamina to just walk for five to ten hours to cross from one side to the other. There will be transport - portals, ground and air vehicles.
    Jonric: What is the backstory leading up to the start of the game? And what is the storyline within the game itself?
    [​IMG]Patric Sundström: We have a complete backround story on the Project Entropia website. It would be far too long to go into here, but a summary would be like this. Mankind has sent out probes into space to find new planets to colonize. After a few years of searching, a planet called Calypso was found and deemed suitable for Man. The probe was designed to prepare the planet for human colonisation, which meant it started to build an infrastructure, and began terra forming the planet to make it as adaptable as possible. When the probe had completed this mission, it was programmed to search for a new planet and begin the same process. When the first people would arrive on Calypso, it would be ready for them. They even discover new animals and plants, which are not always so friendly to humans.
    After the probe had done its job on Calypso, it continued to a planet it found called Akbal-Cimi, where it began to build a robot community. For some reason something went wrong and these robots rebelled against their human creators. These robots developed a mission to destroy Mankind, and the nearest place to do that was Calypso.
    This is the world that will be met when you come to Calypso. A new planet that has almost everything you could wish for. Spectacular nature. Interesting cities. Oceans, mountains, etc. Everything can be experienced here from the concrete jungle to the open wilderness.
    Jonric: Please describe the player characters. What starting choices will players have in regard to customizing things like abilities, race, class, sex, clothing, physical features et al?
    Patric Sundström: You will only be able to play as a human, but you will be allowed to decide your appearance to a degree. Skin color, hair and eye color as well as sex and other aspects will be available for the player to decide. There will be opportunities to alter your appearance during the game with the help of surgery; lets call it a kind of character redefinition.
    Jonric: How will the character development system work? Will all skills and abilities be available to a given character, or will there be some that are exclusive to particular classes or professions?
    Patric Sundström: Project Entropia is skill based. You must accumulate knowledge. This means you must have a complete knowledge and that this knowledge needs to be renewed to be able to advance through the levels of skill. We will not be using classes or trades in this area, which means that it is possible for everybody to learn everything. Just like reality. The players themselves can decide what skills they want to train depending on what they want to do.
    [​IMG]Jonric: Will weapons play a major role in Project Entropia? What are you willing to reveal about them at this time?
    Patric Sundström: Weapons will play an important role if you want to live out in the wilderness. You would need something to defend yourself if you came across some monster, robot or mutant. There will be different types of weapons, like, traditional close combat weapons, laser, shock and plasma weapons as well as electric and projectile versions. Then there will be a number of different weapons of each sort. There will also be a couple of not some common weapons as well as even a few totally unique weapons on Calypso. Details about weapons will be posted on the Project Entropia website this autumn.
    Weapons are not essential for playing Project Entropia as certain players may decide to never leave the cities and choose to develop their characters in the weapon free cities.
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    Project Entropia Interview #2September 12, 2000


    Jonric: Okay, then can you talk a bit about other types of items such as ammunition and armor? And what about money or some form of currency?
    Patric Sundström: Concerning the ammunition for the weapons, there will also be variations. Certain weapons will be able to take different types of ammunition according to different needs and situations. The target is the deciding factor.
    Armour is strongly recommended when entering combat. Humans are quite vulnerable when compared to the hardened steel of a robot. Armour of all sorts from simple devices to very heavy equipment will be available.
    Players will discover that there are loads of other elements to Project Entropia. Certain things may not have any direct use but could make nice decorations or maybe a present to somebody Other things will have a direct impact on your game such as the training of skills and the development of MindForce.
    There will be a currency. This is part of our economy system, and important. We want to give the user a possibility to earn and spend money on making or buying, and to gain and lose money. The currency in Project Entropia will be convertible to major real world currencies, so that money can be entered from the real world, or withdrawn to the real world.
    Jonric: Please tell us about the monsters and opponents in your game. Will there be many different types, and what can you tell us about some of them?
    Patric Sundström: In Project Entropia there will be three types of monsters or opponents. For one, there will be robots from the planet Akbal-Cimi - robots bent on taking over Calypso and ridding it of its human population. To achieve this, they try to build bases on Calypso, which the humans must destroy. There will be different types of robots on Calypso and new ones being developed back on Akbal-Cimi.
    There will also be four to five different types of mutants. They have varying strengths and characteristics according to their sort. Some are small helpless creatures that will help you just for not killing them, while others will be so dangerous as to be avoided until you're really sure you can deal with them.
    Calypso even has a wide variety of wildlife that have lived there a long time before humans arrived. There is still a lot to discover in this area and new discoveries are made all the time. There are examples like the Gazonk, a small harmless animal, or the Katang, a large four-legged monster that will hunt anything that moves and has an enormous appetite for meat. Then there is the Molisk, a comparatively safe stone-eating creature. These are just some of the animals that can be met on Calypso.
    Jonric: Since it's an issue related to specific opponents, do you have plans to address the practice of camping?
    Anders Berg: The main reason why people camp is to be able to find out where creatures respawn. This can be easily avoided by allowing a respawn engine to analyse the area. If there were no players in the area, we would find it unnecessary to send a load of creatures there that nobody is going to meet. If there are a number of players in an area, the engine will respawn a creature depending on the skill and number of players. On the other hand, the engine will not continue to send in more creatures if other players were to arrive. This would lead to certain areas becoming overpopulated and others becoming under populated of both players and creatures. The respawn engine's objective will simply be to find a balance between action for the players as well as avoiding overpopulation of an area.
    Jonric: What will happen when your character dies? Will you suffer any penalties such as loss of items or decreased experience points?
    Patric Sundström: When you die, it will not affect your character. You can, however, lose the things that you were carrying with you. To avoid this happening, you can take out certain insurance in the city. There will be different types that cover weapons and equipment available there. You may also choose to sign a full insurance. The prices will be just like real life, depending on how much you want to be insured for.
    Jonric: What thought have you given to handling disruptive behaviors such as harassment?
    Anders Berg: You cannot decide that people will be friendly to each other. A player may decide that his character is nasty and therefore act nastily to the other players. There is not a lot we can do about this when it is a role playing game. When a player begins to harass others for whatever reasons, it will be considered as in real life as a crime.
    And crime will not be tolerated. Project Entropia will contain a lot of rules like the law in the real world. Harassment, forbidden in the real world, is forbidden also on Calypso. There will be different zones; in some zones the use of weapons will not be allowed. This is like in the real world. In areas already civilized, the laws of society govern; in not yet civilized areas, weapons may be used.
    Jonric: Please describe the major features of your game engine, both on the server side and the client. Will it allow high character and environmental detail?
    Patric Sundström: The real workhorse of the engine is the server. It is designed to scale really well with growing numbers of players, items, NPCs, events and playable area. Because of the economy aspects of Project Entropia, the security of the databases and integrity of the users are vital. For those who are hoping, unsolicited duplication of objects will not be possible.
    As for the client, we will be using NDL's 3D engine, NetImmerse, which allows the so-called continuous level of detail that reduces the number of poly counts depending on the distance from the camera, the number of objects on the screen as well as the client computers capacity. This gives us the opportunity to make characters with high poly counts. A character can have a poly count of between two and three thousand with full equipment and fully zoomed in. The reason we have made such an effort with the characters is because we know this is a deciding factor in role playing games and a unique presentation does a lot for the overall reception of the game. What is the reason in giving a character twelve different attributes when it's just going to look like everybody else anyway?
    Jonric: What sound format are you using? Will you support 3D sound? Are you planning on or considering voice communication?
    Patrik Holmsten: Sound will definitely play an important part, in more ways than one. First, sound is a very important component when creating the atmosphere and immersion for the player. The sound system uses 3D positioning and effects. Second, our engine supports "hearing" for NPCs, which means that they can respond to sounds your character makes. As for music, you can expect it where it adds to the atmosphere; eg. in a bar, but not as muzak (!) when adventuring in the forest.
    We are currently evaluating voice technologies for speech synthesis, speech recognition and voice tunnelling. Due to our modular engine design, neither is very difficult to include. We are not sure yet whether the technologies are mature enough to heighten the user experience in proportion to the effort and resources involved.
    Jonric: When did the idea for Project Entropia first arise, and when did you actually begin work on it? What is the current status of development?
    Patric Sundström: The idea to create a massive multi-user game was born in 1995. The technology was not available at that time to achieve this practically without building a MUD. The vision has always been to create a real 3D game.
    Production began about three and a half years ago. It began with a little team that started sketching ideas. More people gradually joined the project, and as I mentioned, there are now twenty-six people working at MindArk.
    We know today that Project Entropia works and are working to fill this world with interesting things.
    Jonric: Before we end, please tell us and our readers a bit more about your plan not to charge for the game.
    Patric Sundström: Access to Project Entropia will be free, downloaded over the Internet or as freely distributed CDs via magazines, journals and through game-sites. In Project Entropia, we will have a completely developed economic system that will allow players themselves to construct things, create shops to buy and sell different products or possessions. To provide this service we will take a percentage commission. About the same amount that credit card companies take to avail of their services.
    Jonric: That certainly seems to be a very innovative approach tied to an interesting and ambitious game. Along with thousands of other gamers, we'll look forward to learning more over the coming months as Project Entropia moves forward. For now, our thanks to Patric Sundström and friends for giving us their time and all this information, especially during an extremely busy period.
    Richard Aihoshi - "Jonric"

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    Patric SundstromMarch 14, 2000


    Project Entropia is an online world being developed by Swedish studio MindArk that promises an on-line journey into the future, to the dawn of a new human era on the planet Calypso where you can enjoy life as a tourist, a settler or an adventurous pioneer. However, all is not idyllic. Renegade robots have begun to be found. Their mission is to exterminate the human race on Calypso, and then perhaps all of mankind.
    Since Project Entropia is still in a relatively early stage of development, there hasn't been a huge amount of news or information about it available yet. Accordingly, we thought it that it would be of interest to try to find out more, and to this end, we arranged this Project Entropia mini-interview with Patric Sundstrom, the Marketing Manager of MindArk.
    Jonric: Please tell our readers about MindArk and the Project Entropia team. How did you arrive at the decision to undertake a very ambitious project like a persistent online world?
    Patric Sundstrom: MindArk has been in existence for about one year now but work on Project Entropia has been going two and a half years. At the moment twenty people are working full-time on Project Entropia. We are always looking for new talented people to work with us. For a long time there has been a dream about making the ultimate on-line game or MMORPG. The most restraining factor for us was the technology, which was not as advanced enough for a project of this size. Technology did however develop enough and about two to three years ago will felt circumstances were right to begin work.
    Jonric: What are the main concept and storyline of Project Entropia?
    Patric Sundstrom: The main concept is man's natural instinct to explore other places and planets, and how it drives us further and further out into space. To achieve this, man has sent probes out into space to search for a planet that would suit its own needs. So, after many years searching, one of the probes finds a planet, Calypso, and with the help of terra-forming the planet becomes a home for human settlers. To help run this planet man uses self-teaching robots. However these robots develop their own consciousness and revolt against their own rulers, man.
    One begins playing in New Eden, the largest city on Calypso. New Eden is a free zone where no robots exist that can attack you. Once outside the city, however, you may find things are not quite as peaceful. Out there are a variety of strange creatures that are not so pleasant to deal with, and that's apart from the deadly robots. There is also a spectacular landscape and wide reaching ocean to explore.
    Jonric: How and why did you choose this concept and storyline?
    Patric Sundstrom: When we sat down together and tried to figure out which sort of MMORPG game we wanted to created, it came naturally to us to choose a future setting. Most of the people at MindArk are dedicated sci-fi fans. We also felt that another fantasy game wasn't very relevant at the moment. Within the fantasy genre one feels very locked, whereas a sci-fi game would give us the freedom to do things that haven't been done before. Fantasies can become real in a totally different way.
    Jonric: What kinds of characters will players be able to choose? How much initial customization will be possible? Will there be different classes or professions, and how will they differ? How will character development work?
    Patric Sundstrom: In Project Entropia, one may only play as a human. However this human's skin color, height, sex, and general appearance can be chosen by the player. Everybody then begins at the same level. You cannot choose to specialise in something from the beginning but during the game this will be possible. There will be access to many different skills, some of which are grouped in different classes.
    When it comes to the development of characters we will be using a skill-based system where one increases skills the more they are used. We won't set a limit on how many skills you can be good at, rather we will leave it to each player to decide whether they want to specialise on a couple of skills or compose a character with a broad knowledge.
    Jonric: What will the game world be like? Will it be one continuous world or will it have zones? How will your world differ from those in other online games? And what game engine are you using?
    Patric Sundstrom: The world is all continuous, without any zones. Indoors, outdoors and underground scenes mix seamlessly. The scenery includes vast plains, dense forests and rocky mountains. The vegetation ranges from common grass and trees to very strange creations, sometimes *huge* in size. In some places, you can see across very long distances, while in others you can barely see your hand. Our engine - and story - permits us to modify and expand the game world very dynamically. Also we aim to once and for all end the preconception that a game of this scale must have "shards".
    We have designed the entire game engine and are implementing most of it ourselves. For the 3D rendering part, we have licensed the NetImmerse engine from Numerical Design Ltd. It is very well documented and simple to use, enabling us to spend our time on the more novel parts of the game engine.
    Jonric: How will Project Entropia handle player vs player combat? How do you intend to deal with the newbie killing and random player killing that are problems in other games?
    Patric Sundstrom: One will be able to play as a player killer or a non-player killer as one wishes. I agree that it's very irritating when all new players get killed as soon as they go out into wilder areas. However, as you already know Project Entropia is set in a future world that is controlled in a reasonable way. I'm afraid I can't go into further details at the moment, even if we have set the rules for this issue.
    Jonric: What are your plans for beta testing? Do you have a target date to begin beta? And what is a realistic target date for commercial release?
    Patric Sundstrom: We will begin with a closed beta test as soon as we see that everything is working as it should. After that we will have an open beta test before we release it to the market. As for the exact dates for the beta tests on Project Entropia, it is hard to give a definitive date; first everything has to work properly as well as correcting the bugs that we find. A realistic date for the release of Project Entropia is very hard to say at the moment. A lot is depending on how the beta testing goes.
    Jonric: We wouldn't want it any other way, and we'll certainly be watching Project Entropia's progress as development moves forward towards the time when you are ready for beta. In the meantime, thanks very much for the information and update.
    Jonric - Richard Aihoshi
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    Project Entropia InterviewJuly 21, 1999

    If you've paid much attention at all in the past few months, you know that game fans can't seem to get enough of online worlds. It seems that everyone is addicted to Ultima Online or EverQuest, where thousands of users meet in a virtual world. While swords and sorcery reign supreme, at least one company has set its sights on the future - the far future. MindArk is a startup Swedish company preparing its flagship product, Project Entropia. Our guest writer Zak Arntson had opportnity to conduct an interview with MindArk's Patric Sundström to see what will place Project Entropia apart from the rest.

    Zak: First, some real-life background. Where are you located? How large is the company?
    Patric Sundström: We are located in Göteborg, Sweden. Last time I counted, we were 13 people in the office, but we are growing rapidly so perhaps it is time to count again. We also have a network of freelance associates. The company was formed very recently, but we have been working on the game for slightly more than two years now. This game is the only product of the company at the moment.
    Zak: Who are the core members of your team?
    Patric Sundström: With a team of this relatively small size, everybody is a core member. Presently, we are seven game designers/artists and three programmers/technicians. Some of us have a history of game development while some others have a professional artist record. Some are hardcore gamers while others don't have a gaming background at all. We quickly turned one of the latter into an Ultima Online junkie.
    Zak: Can you offer a short description of your game?
    Patric Sundström: We are building a massively multi-user 3D RPG which takes place in a far, far future of mankind. Men have conquered a new planet as earth once became overexploited and overpopulated. However, in their technical development they went too far in constructing intelligent robots, which revolted. Since the revolt, they persistently try to destroy the human colonies in their urge for power. Mankind has in spite of these facts located peaceful colonies on the new planet.
    Zak: On your website, your game is just called Project. Do you have any names under consideration?
    Patric Sundström: The name has just been determined: Project Entropia. We have a lot to thank the press for this. Somehow, people got the impression that we called the game Project when in fact it had no name at all, it was just the only project we had. After laughing at this for a little while, we thought that the name was actually quite proper in the context of the game. As you will find out, so is the other part of the name.
    Zak: How did you arrive at the decision to create this kind of game?
    Patric Sundström: Those of us that started the project were game addicts already back then. Gamers tend to collect good ideas - and a blacklist of bad ones. It began as loose talk about this kind of game. The topic grew more and more serious until it finally turned into a decision: Let's gather a development team and do it.
    Zak: What are the major differences between your Project Entropia and other online worlds?
    Patric Sundström: For one, we don't force characters to actually play the game. It will be perfectly safe and fun to just live in a community, meet other characters and develop relations to them. This will be possible as we have peaceful game functions to this, and will make sure that many interests will be met in the off-game community.
    Zak: What similarities are there?
    Patric Sundström: Of course, we have all the traditional elements of the RPG genre. You will find plenty of quests, battle and individual character skill development, all set within a background story.
    Zak: What major lessons have you learned from other online worlds?
    Patric Sundström: One thing is to make the basic game rules good from the beginning, and not try to update them in such a way that players will experience too big changes when they are used to a certain rule system. Another thing is that we want freedom for player initiatives to construct their own communities with their own rules in the game environment. We have also learned that people are extremely inventive when it comes to finding ways to cheat.
    Zak: What influenced your decision to use a science fiction world as your setting?
    Patric Sundström: Pretty much like in movies and literature, if your basic idea is good, it doesn't really matter what kind of world you put it in. Since many of us working here are heavily addicted to science fiction, the future of mankind and technology in general, it was a natural choice. It feels great to be completely free to invent new items, technologies and environments without the legacy of traditional fantasy.
    Zak: What prior games have influenced the making of your project?
    Patric Sundström: I'd rather rephrase that. What prior games have not influenced us? Of course, a lot of influence comes from the multi-player genre where social behavior meets questing and monster- bashing: MUDs, The Realm, Meridian 59, Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds and the big ones, Ultima Online and EverQuest. But then I'd guess that almost every game any one of us has ever played affects what we see as good game play. Syndicate and Blade Runner, both the movie and the book, could be said to influence the mood of the game.
    Then of course we have the real treasure trove of science fiction: books.
    Who doesn't immediately think "Asimov" when they hear the word "robot"?
    Zak: What kind of character choices will players have? Will there be different character classes? Different skills? What kind of character development system will you be using?
    Patric Sundström: We believe that every character should have exactly the same position in the beginning. As we only have the option for players to play humans, the skill inventory initially available to every character will be the same. A character will have more than 50 skills to choose from, some in classes of course. The skills will in many ways be dependent on other things that I can't reveal here, but we know that our skill system will render new material to the traditional way of using them in games.
    The development of the character is shown in many ways according to four or five different status scales we will use. We know that players are interested in having visible signs of play progress and we will reward players in different ways, at least players that show good behavior. But that doesn't mean that we will punish other players.
    Zak: What role will technology play in the game? How important will it be?
    Patric Sundström: Technology will have effect on different levels of the game. First of all it's an environment that we build with exciting effects and functions. Secondly, the characters have the challenge to learn about new technologies for their skills and actions. However, a character will find many things from our human history and many features that he'll recognize from our present world. That's how societies work today - you will always find traces from past history in any place you come too in the world, so we are just following human tradition.
    Zak: Will there be magic, and if so, how important will it be?
    Patric Sundström: The people in the future have developed strong mental forces. These mental forces will be much a like the magic you'll find in other games. The importance in developing these mental abilities will be great. You don't need to develop your mental forces to be a survivor in the world, but it will help you.
    Zak: How important will combat be? What kind of combat system are you planning?
    Patric Sundström: Combat is very important in the wild zones. We are developing a system where skill ability, character attributes and the standard of the weapons have a significant impact on how you prove yourself in combat. However, the combat system is also made to ensure that the player's own abilities like reaction time and tactical thinking plays a great importance for the success in fighting. It won't be static, were you sit and wait for the fight to be over. Instead you'll have to be very observant on your opponent to stand a chance in a fight.
    Zak: What kind of opponents will you be fighting?
    Patric Sundström: Except for player versus player we have a lot of dangerous monsters and threats in the game. The main threats against humans are the robots. The robots have different missions in their desire for taking over the planet. In their interventions with the human colonies they pose the greatest danger for characters. It is necessary for characters to cooperate against robots in fights. This will be one of different quests for characters to meet and solve on the planet. However there are other kinds of creatures on the planet, which will in some cases be dangerous to meet, and in some cases be peaceful and/or helpful to characters.
    Zak: What is your position on player killing? On player versus player combat?
    Patric Sundström: Our experience tells us that some of the most exciting moments are when you meet a real person in combat in a game. Strong emotions like revenge and victory adds to the desire to continue your career in a game with player versus player.
    We choose to not only tolerate player versus player, but actually embrace it in the game play. While we don't want everybody running around killing each other indiscriminately, two gangs fighting for an attractive clubhouse could be interesting.
    I can say that we will prevent newbie murderers in our design. You can play safe from player killers as long as you want to. However, you need a factor of risking something to gain something.
    Zak: What will be the experience of a new player?
    Patric Sundström: The first thing to do is create a character. The visual appearance of this human character can be customized by many parameters, enabling the player to construct a character as beautiful, ugly or just strange, as she wants.
    After that, she is born in a special area on the planet, an area that is designed especially for new players. This transit zone will help players move around in the environment, test their character abilities and gradually make them familiar with the environment and controls. When she is comfortable with her new life, she can move on to the real world.
    Zak: How will you draw players to choose your world over other online worlds?
    Patric Sundström: Step by step we announce our game substance and release exciting things from the intrigue and the things that are happening inside of it. We will also let players bring their ideas to the game. I mean, why not ask the real experts about their ideas regarding their ultimate game? Then there will be a massive marketing campaign for the game, which will hopefully make people aware of us.
    Zak: With the increase of online multi-player worlds, what will make Project Entropia shine above the rest?
    Patric Sundström: Other than optimizing things like environments, combat, sophisticated details and NPCs, we'll put much of the emphasis on interactions between players and the freedom for them to form the environment as they wish. We aim for instance to have a plural society where you will find sports clubs, bars, fashion shops and many enjoyments from our real today society. But the best parts I can't reveal here yet, its still very sensitive information.
    Zak: How much progress has been made?
    Patric Sundström: The system specifications are more or less set in stone and the content design is commencing steadily. The hardest part is to limit the scope of the game and throw away great ideas just because we would never finish if we implemented them all.
    Zak: What completion date are you pushing for?
    Patric Sundström: We have the beta test planned for spring 2000. I'm afraid we can't reveal our plans after that.
    Zak: Thanks very much for the interview. Do you have any last words?
    Patric Sundström: Hmm, that was the most difficult question of this interview. Get any of us started talking and you wouldn't be able to stop us. Just keep an eye on our web site for further information and progress report. I hope you people at the Vault Network will have reason to come back to us.
    Zak: Project Entropia certainly seems to be an intriguing online world. I'm sure fans of the genre will want to visit their website athttp://www.mindark.com for some great background information and tons of concept art.
    - Thanks very much to Patric and to guest interviewer Zak Arntson for this informative early look at Project Entropia. - Jonric

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  7. ====



    Project Entropia InterviewWe dig into MindArk's sc-fi flavored MMORPG with the help of Marketing Manager Patric Sundström.Tuesday November 20, 2001 | Prophet

    MindArk is in a unique position with their massively multiplayer online game,Project Entropia. They hope to deliver a game that doesn't charge a monthly fee and provides a unique sci-fi gameworld with lots of interesting locations, flora and fauna. We're not sure if they are capable of realizing their vision or not, but we decided to dig a little deeper into the mechanics of this game with the help of MindArk's Marketing Manager, Patric Sundström. There's a lot you don't know about Project Entropia, so we're going to take you to school now:

    GameSpyDaily: For those folks that don't know anything about Project Entropia, give us a quick primer on what the game is all about?

    Patric: Project Entropia is the future of interactive entertainment. It will give you access, through the Internet, to an enormous, fantastic 3D environment where we expect millions of users to interact with each other. The Project Entropia client software will be available at no cost, and there won't be any monthly subscription charges payable to MindArk.

    The goal is to create the first complete virtual universe, a world where you as a participant have the possibility to live the life you've always dreamed of, and to realise the fantasies and dreams of a life that suits you.

    Upon entering Project Entropia as a citizen, you'll be able to create your very own 3D persona. As a user you'll be given great scope in this area, you can create an individual appearance, that either represents your true self, who you would want to be, or a complete figment of your imagination.

    You'll enter a fantastic planet called Calypso that is rich in breath-taking flora, fauna and landscapes, a brave new world where humanity has settled and attempted to make a home. It is a place where every pioneer is crucial to the colony's survival - traitorous robots are attacking the planet and trying to rid it of humans.

    We plan to create a universe that is constantly evolving, both from MindArk's influence as well as from the activities of our users in Project Entropia. We want everybody that takes part in Project Entropia to feel that they are participating in the evolution of this universe.

    GameSpyDaily: What are the most important things you've accomplished in Beta Phase Two?

    Patric: Beta Phase II has demonstrated several points for us at MindArk and the beta testers involved.

    One of the great features of Project Entropia is the size of the actual world itself. Phase II has shown that the technology we have developed for it is sound, and that we can implement a single world using distributed servers without loading times when passing across server boundaries, removing the need for several shards. In Project Entropia everyone and everything will exist on one huge world.

    The AI of the NPCs is getting better and better for each new patch that is issued. We are seeing NPC's that are really outthinking players, some of them will come to the aid of others, and while you are fighting one; the others will flank you and attack you from behind.

    The UI is really starting to take shape now, both in its appearance and functionality. It is designed to have a low learning curve, using graphics that are clear and easy to understand. Users will be able to customize the UI in many ways; this increases the user friendliness of the entire system and adapts it to personal preferences.

    As Phase II has progressed, we have improved our server stability and decreased server lag dramatically.

    The graphics are also improving for every new patch we release. At the moment we have gone from version 1.0 to 1.5 and version 1.6 is on its way with more new features and improvements.

    GameSpyDaily: What do you plan on testing in Beta Phase 3, and what comes after that?

    Patric: The most important feature to be examined in the beginning of Phase III will be the economy system, making sure that all the connections between the real world and Project Entropia are working correctly i.e. that it is possible to carry out real transactions in Project Entropia. The trade system inside Project Entropia will be another major focus of testing.

    After that we will continue to expand the size of the world, at the moment we have a small test world of around 100 square kilometers.

    We will also continue to add new objects, creatures, NPDs, and fauna etc. during this period.

    GameSpyDaily: How much progress have you made on the game to date?

    Patric: We have made considerable progress in all areas, the infrastructure is largely ready, objects and NPC's are being completed and the databases are close to launch status.

    The economy servers have undergone extensive in-house tests and will be included in a commercial test version mid December, this commercial test is commonly referred to as Beta 3. After this, more users will be added to the virtual universe as we move into open beta.

    It is important to remember that MindArk is providing a skeleton world, colonists have recently arrived and the development of the virtual world will depend on the actions of our users. We are trying to provide a canvas for the users to paint on. As time progresses the world will take on a distinctively different feel.

    GameSpyDaily: Dark Age of Camelot has proven that you can launch a persistent world online game with relatively few problems. A few other entries into the genre have not. Looking at both sides of the coin, what are you guys going to do to ensure that Project Entropia will be a stable launch?

    Patric: It has been an interesting year, watching the online world launches. We are following them closely and learn as much as possible from their achievements and their problems.

    Our aim is to release a product that is as good as it can possibly be. Of course there will be a few minor bugs but given that Project Entropia has a unique economic system, we don't plan to release until it's working flawlessly.

    If some creature should reveal a bug at a later stage, this would be a lesser problem and something that we could fix as we move along.

    It may also be worth bearing in mind that most developers move on to new projects after release, leaving maintenance and on-going development in the hands of a much smaller team. With Project Entropia, there are no plans to develop a sequel or any other product. All current employees, as well as those to come, will continue to develop Project Entropia for many years to come, solely concentrating on its improvement so we can remain at the forefront of interactive entertainment.

    GameSpyDaily: You guys made a decision early on in development to not allow stealing in the game. Tell us why and tell us what other roguish pursuits will be available to players?

    Patric: The basic reason we will not allow theft in the game is because almost every object in Project Entropia will have a real value that can be exchanged for real currency.

    In the real world, if your wallet happens to be stolen, you would report it to the police. You could also get some compensation from you insurance company. In Project Entropia, which is a virtual universe incorporating real money, theft would present great problems. What would you do if you found out that somebody stole something from you worth 100 Project Entropia Dollars? There wouldn't be a lot else you could do except turn to MindArk with your complaint.

    By prohibiting such acts, we feel that even if they should occur, we can and will take legal measures against the offender, in the country where the act was committed.

    Other than this, life on Calypso will be adventurous for those who wish it to be so, and calm and relaxing for those who have a more laid back view on what life ought to be all about. You could go out looking for a fight, hoping your victim doesn't have any insurance so you can loot their possessions. Of course, you will lose your own insurance in this situation and be classed as an outlaw for X hours, meaning other players can kill you and loot your body without being penalized. Or maybe an adventurous person wishes to practice an extreme sport.

    A more relaxed person could spend the day shopping, spending time in a café or restaurant talking to friends or sitting at home watching the news. These are only some of the things that will be possible.

    GameSpyDaily: Tell us a bit more about this whole currency exchange thing? How will it work?

    Patric: PED (Project Entropia Dollars) and PEC (Project Entropia Cents) are the official names of the currency used in Project Entropia. The exchange rates are 1 US dollar = 10 PED and 1 PED = 100 PEC.

    If you would like to buy something in Project Entropia and haven't managed to accumulate funds through any other means, you can use your credit card to transfer money to Project Entropia. We have a few other money transfer methods, such as money orders, available for those that don't wish to use their credit card or don't have one. Money received will be transferred directly to the users account in Project Entropia.

    If you decide to exchange your PED for real money it will work in the same way as when you transfer money into the game except in reverse. You can have money credited to your credit card, have a check sent to you or simply have the money transferred to your bank account.

    GameSpyDaily: Okay onto some specifics. Besides teleportation & walking, what are some other methods of transport you plan on implementing?

    Patric: Running of course:) There will be different types of vehicles that can be bought as well as a form of public transport.

    Vehicles will include everything from huge flying freight ships to small one-man aircraft. Passenger ships will exist in large and small models. There will be land vehicles, air transports as well as special vehicles for traveling over water. We will release more information about these in the near future together with some great screen shots.

    Project Entropia will offer about 50 skills when it launches. Most will be divided into classes of specialization (for instance, trade, combat, etc) Tell us about some other classifications?

    Actual skill titles may differ in the final release but here are some general examples:

    Evaluation: used to find out the true value of an item. Quite handy when trading with others…

    Prospecting: for finding and excavating mineral ore in the environment.

    Refining: for refining mineral ore into metal, which can be used for constructing your own items.

    Construction: for creating your own items, such as armor, tools and weapons.

    Repair: for repairing deteriorated items, such as armor, tools and weapons.

    Butchering: used to successfully extract meat from dead animals.

    Fishing: an optional food source, for those who get bored with or feel bad about blowing away poor defenseless animals.

    Farming: For growing food and other plants, an additional source of food, a very useful skill if you choose to live as a vegetarian. :)

    There are of course many more skills, but those are some that we haven't mentioned before.

    There's no cap on skill points (like there is in UO), but what's the highest level you can bring a particular skill?

    Given that there isn't any skill cap whatsoever, you can practically continue training a skill indefinitely. You could draw similarities to the real world where scientists try to find the origins of the universe. They're doing better and better but they still haven't found the answer.

    Project Entropia can be viewed in a similar manner. You can train a certain skill year after year; the result being that the more you know the more difficult it becomes to increase your knowledge. There still is no limit however, to how far you can go.

    GameSpyDaily: Will some skills require prerequisite skills like in UO (for instance for healing to be effective in UO you'd need anatomy) last bit on skills - what sets your skill system apart from the rest of that pack?

    Patric: Our skill system is based on knowledge, which characters must learn. We believe that knowledge will be an interesting feature, not only as a skill factor, but moreover as a trade feature.

    It's not easy to point out any huge differences, although we will be very modern in the way a character uses his/her skill abilities through the different (and cool) tools a character will need to perform a certain skill. The interface for the skills will also be an exciting part for people to see and try out.

    GameSpyDaily: Tell us about Mindforce. How many different types are these forces do you plan on having in the final game? And will the be divided into schools?

    Patric: Our plan is to release approximately 80 MindForce aspects to begin with. These aspects will be thrilling for a player to test and experience their results. MindForce categories will include offensive, defensive and neutral aspects.

    GameSpyDaily: Tell us about Cybernetic Implants. What do they do and how many different kinds do you have planned for launch?

    Patric: Cybernetic implants will be used to increase certain abilities (for example strength or agility), provide built in tools or to apply other bonuses to the character. For example, when you reach a certain level in MindForce you will have to upgrade your implant to get access to more powerful Aspects (i.e. mental powers).

    The NECI computer implant is initially only an in-game explanation to why the player has a HUD with radar, health level and chat window for communication. This will be upgradeable as well, like getting better radar with longer range, etc.

    GameSpyDaily: Will players be able to design implants using a trade skill?

    Patric: That is part of the development plan. You are already able to create armor, tools and weapons using specific skills. Implants will be no different.

    GameSpyDaily: What kind of stats will players have and will their be a cap on the number of points available as you progress through the game (i.e. strength intelligence, etc)?

    Patric: The same rules apply here as for the skills: we won't be using any 'cap' system. Each individual can train as much as they like without 'maxing out' their character.

    The following stats will be included:

    Strength: Your own strength (how much you can lift etc.).

    Agility: Coordination and suppleness. Useful in combat amongst other areas.

    Stamina: Your physical endurance level (how far you could run for example).

    Psyche: Your psychological endurance level (used in connection with MindForce)

    Intelligence: Connected to your skills, this is a measure of how and what you can teach yourself.

    GameSpyDaily: Tell us a little bit more about housing. How large a structure can players own? Give us the an idea of the range of structure sizes that players will have access to and the relative costs..

    Patric: With regard to buildings, there will be a wide variety present, from simple one-room cabins to the largest imaginable skyscrapers, shopping malls, etc. The variety of buildings that it will be possible to own will be very large. Exact prices have not been determined yet but a one-room cabin will be a lot cheaper than a 100-story skyscraper:)

    Thanks to Patric over at MindArk for some thoughtful and honest answers about this game. Could Project Entropia be a contender against the well-funded massively multiplayer online games heading for the finish line in 2002? We think so. Keep your on the prize and be surprised.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    • Like Like x 1
  8. ok... those screenies didn't show up... try again..
  9. Just...in case...bump
  10. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    oooh thanks! Some good updates from way back when there! Interesting stuff!
  11. Im still looking for the old beta CDs / data files

    beta 1 = VU 1.0 (11 May 2000)
    beta 2 = VU 1.5 to VU 1.6 (17 august 2001)
    beta 3 = VU 1.6

    or if you got, VU 4.2 or VU 5.0 setup.

    I pay well !​
    • Hussked Hussked x 1
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