Peria Chronicles: New Interview Tells Everything You Want to Know - Part 1
Back in November Thingsoft presented a playable demo at G-STAR 2016, allowing players to try the remake version of Peria Chronicles. It was a very raw demo that included terrain editing and combat, and it got mixed reactions. To address the community concern, the developer team did an interview with Korean media Thisisgame. Below is the translation of the interview.
Any community feedback of the G-STAR demo impressed you?
We didn't want feedback and comments like "good, great", and instead, we needed actual impressions after playing our demo. We heard comments like "with the combat system, my character didn't have too much freedom, it's not good." "How are we supposed to play with other players in this way?" We loved to see both negative and positive comments that players made after they played the demo.
We were worried about combining TCG style combat with player-created content inside our team. The reaction at G-STAR showed this combination was possible.
However, players who never played anything like that before still felt lost.
That's right. People thought the game was like Mabinogi after they saw the gameplay video but felt disappointed after playing the demo. The game is never advertised as an action game and the actual combat gameplay does disappoint people who expect Mabinogi style combat.
People mentioned the issue of optimization. We tried our best to attend G-STAR in order to tell the world that we were still developing the game, so we didn't have much time to optimize the demo.
There were also concerns on the progress of the game development.
Indeed, the game is still in very early phase and we hear feedback about the incompletion of the demo. People may feel weird when they see the character creation UI. The fact is the UI can be created by players themselves, including buttons and different types of windows which were composed of props.
Mobs in the game drop these props and players can collect these props to design their own UI. The G-STAR demo's UI wasn't created by our artists but built with the props in the game. That's why it looked strange to players.
That means the demo's UI isn't created by the developers?
Players can trade props and UI in the game, and some players can design beautiful UI while others can't. That's why players will have such confusion.
It seems that players can access to a lot of content which is beyond our expectation.
Peria Chronicles encourages players to create content, with a large part of content developed to allow players to learn to create things. The G-STAR demo which offered 20 minutes of gameplay didn't really show what the game is about.
G-STAR 2016 allowed us to show the terrain modification tool and combat system earlier. We wanted to get feedback and will make changes to the content if players said that's not right. TCG combat is played in real-time and players can walk into it anytime.
First time hear of we can edit the combat. So basically the game content is composed of player-created content?
This game is not focusing on combat and it's not easy thing to learn to create. Even the developers in our team made mistakes when they tried to build something. Even the fastest learners need 2-3 days to create something from the scratch. It's impossible to learn everything in a 20 minutes demo.
Peria Chronicles' instances are built by players as well. We hope players can create interesting instances. The instance in the G-STAR demo was a prototype. It looked no different to other MMOs' instances but its traps and mobs were actually from the props in the game. We offered every possible thing to players and see what instances they can make.
The G-STAR demo was more like a preview of what the future instances could look like?
Yes. How a door opens and closes, and how mobs appear are all created using the props and the tools. I'd like to clarify that the instance in that demo had a logical mistake and a door wouldn't open. Our staff had to help players to get through it via the demo's console.
About the future of the game, we want to know how the game will evolve. Because many players saw this game as Mabinogi 2, and is Peria Chronicles going to be like Mabinogi that gets new features regularly, or is it focuses on adding new stories?
It's an honor our game is compared with Mabinogi. In fact, Peria Chronicles is a very different game, and if players expect this game to be Mabinogi 2, they may be disappointed. If we have to find a game that's similar to Peria Chronicles, probably we will say Minecraft. Our goal is to allow players to constantly build the game rules and system to replace the old ones.
Then the game will have to implement social system, isn't it too complicated to players?
We planned to separate the economy, politics, and creating parts at the beginning, but as we simplified the creation logics, we believed it's easier for players to learn how to create and build in the game now.
The G-STAR demo had a mission that required players to control the panel in the instance to open a door. As long as the logic is right, the door can be opened. What is creation logic? A simple example is if you want to build a village that disallows smoking, you have 2 logical options: create a law to punish smoking or simply make smoking disable.
If you choose the former option, you have to use props work like CCTV to catch the smokers and then use props that can fine or expel the smokers. If you take the alternative option, you will use a non-smoking sign that comes with a command "disable smoking within a X meters radius". This will make smoking impossible.
Of course we don't have the behavior of smoking in the game, but we have similar things. Our G-STAR demo allows players to implement logics like disable PK, no communication with NPCs, and disable repairing villages, etc.
How do we use these props and logics to create a village's economy and politics?
First players have to build a village on a plot of land. That involves modifying terrains (flat land will make your village easy to break into), preparing for materials to build houses and facilities, and determining the rules of the village's economy, politics, and NPC behaviors.
Say you want to build a village that disallows any form of fight, you have to use the no-PK sign, or you want to charge taxes, you will use another sign. Minecraft allows you to make your own rules, and Peria Chronicles allows you to make your own systems.
Can I say the game will become more completed gradually?
We want players to take the time from simple to complication. Go back to the logic of "no-PK in the village", you can actually add another logic such as "PK is allowed for level 20+ players." We will do a lot of experiments to design a manual for players to use logics. We will offer preset logics so players know they have these options and they can make changes to the logics. For instance, a preset logic for charging taxes can be modified or improved. You can decide whether the taxes go to the village's storage or go straight into your own pocket, and you can charge specific amount of taxes to specific behaviors of the visitors.
I can't imagine how many props the game will have if everything is composed of it.
We try to simplify the logics and allow combining multiple props to work as a new prop. Players will need some program knowledge to write logics and it's fine if they don't know any. They can combine different props together to get what they want. We will monitor players behaviors in the game and if we find many players combine the similar props to make another prop or achieve a new logic, we'll add that prop or a preset logic to the game.
Looks like if a player invests enough time to the creation, they can play more contents.
We do have blueprints to tell players how to create things and what materials they need. So even a player doesn't know how to write the logic for the No-PK sign, they can purchase the blueprint for the No-PK sign and all they need to do is gathering necessary materials. Whether you can use props created by other players is still in discussion. Directly download other players creation is a easy solution but what want it happens in the game.
Would the in-game chat channel be full of contents like "where to purchase no-smoking sign?"
Right. Can't help to imagine how fun it would be.
Peria Chronicles is an MMORPG and in the game if a group of powerful players gang together there could be problems. How do you balance it?
Once a player learns how to create content or become a "game developer", the concern of "power" pops up. From setting a sign to modify the terrains, it's an act of playing god. We thought this through before we started making the game. In fact, it's impossible to build a village by one man. You can't play god without the materials needed to build the village. Let's say to produce a unit of material (the material is a general concept), it takes 10 minutes. To set up a sign or get a plot of land, it requires 100 units of materials, and if it's produced by one man, it will take over 10 hours.
One man doesn't have enough materials to build and manage a village but a large group has. Whether a single person or a community wants to manage a village, they have to rely on materials from the mass.
So if there is a mean player tries to use his power to do bad things, the mass won't let him access to their materials and that bad player won't be able to do too many things.