Patric Sundström mini interview

Discussion in 'Entropia News' started by EntropiaPlanets, Mar 14, 2000.

  1. Another Project Entropia interview with MindArk's Marketing Manager Patric Sundström, by Jonric for RPG Vault:

    Patric Sundstrom
    March 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

    Further info:
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