Ruszył blog Pathfinder Online MMO

Ryan Dancey, prezes Goblinworks na swoim blogu opublikował pierwszy z serii esejów, w których zamierza pisać o rozwoju Pathfinder Online. Początkowo blog ma być aktualizowany co dwa tygodnie w środę.
Sama idea Pathfinder Online MMO zaczyna się już dosyć ciekawie,  prezes Dancey wspominając pierwsze rozmowy z Lisą Stevens (założycielką i dyrektorem Paizo) mówił o normie w branży MMO, funkcjonującej w ciągu ostatnich 5 lat: budżet 50 milionów dolarów, czas produkcji od trzech do pięciu lat i 50 do 75 pracowników. Lisa skontrowała: Zamiast opowiadać, jak to robią inni, powiedz jak zrobić to z najmniejszym budżetem, a jednocześnie osiągnąć nasze cele.


W dalszej części eseju jest równie ciekawie - Dancey wspomina o wykorzystaniu oprogramowania middleware (rodzaj oprogramowania umożliwiający komunikację pomiędzy różnymi aplikacjami/usługami lub systemami) i o połączeniu gry w stylu sandboxa w połączeniu z Theme Park. Ten fragment jest dla mnie szczególnie ciekawy, bowiem jeśli okaże się że będziemy mieć do czynienia z grą pokroju GTA w wersji MMO, chyba zacznę grać w PO...

Sandbox vs. Theme Park We've already told you that we're making a sandbox MMO with theme park elements. That's another key to our strategy. One of the challenges standard theme park MMOs face is that they have to do two things before they can be released: They have to build a complete multiplayer virtual world, and then they have to populate it with a massive amount of playable content—the theme park. In most MMO development plans, that theme park content is where the budget is spent. Creating the assets for the graphics and sounds—and whatever custom programming is needed to make those assets do what the designers want—and then designing the levels to present the challenges that the designers have imagined soaks up lots of time. And that theme park content has to be extensively tested to ensure that it works as designed, adding further development time. And time, in the MMO business, is money, in the form of salaries and overhead. (The ultimate expression of the theme park process is coming very soon in the form of Star Wars: The Old Republic, from EA/Bioware. I have been told by people I trust within the industry that this project's budget has exceeded $300 million. It is the Avatar of this generation of MMOs.) The result of this time/cost function is that theme park MMOs must attract a huge number of players on release so that they can recoup those huge overhead costs as fast as possible. This creates a feedback loop that dooms many MMO developers: they need a big launch so that they can start covering their costs, so they have to create enough content to satisfy a huge initial spike of players, but making that content costs even more money. It's very easy to get into a trap where the cost to make the content you need to pay for your design is more than you can generate in revenue from that design. This is why many MMOs never see the light of day. This was the first critical point where our plan diverged from the norm. Sandbox MMOs have a different time/cost function. Their primary need is a robust virtual world that can challenge and engage the audience. Making a sandbox game means focusing on the creation of the multiplayer virtual world. By positioning Pathfinder Online as a sandbox with theme park elements, we can focus primarily on the content needed for players to interact with each other and avoid having to develop a huge amount of theme park content prior to launch. Focusing on the sandbox doesn't just save time and money, though—we think it's an ideal way to explore the Pathfinder world. In a sense, Paizo's own Pathfinder lines actually combine sandbox elements (by way of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting line) with theme park elements (via the Pathfinder Adventure Path and Pathfinder Module lines). Though the sandbox will be our initial focus, the Pathfinder brand is known for great stories and adventures, and over time, we'll add lots of opportunities for theme-park style adventure into the fabric of the world to give depth and richness to the Pathfinder Online experience.

Nie wiem ile czczej gadaniny i marketingu na blogu Pathfinder Online. Pewnie sporo, jednak wiem że strategia marketingowa firmy Paizo nie zawiodła w przypadku gry fabularnej i mam nadzieję że nie inaczej będzie z PO MMO. Na dzień dzisiejszy Goblinworks nie szuka jeszcze pracowników, zainteresowani Czytelnicy mogą jednak partycypować w zyskach z przyszłej produkcji. Minimalna inwestycja to nakład w wysokości $ 100.000.
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