by Nina "Aythem" Sund,
Content Designer/Writer for Anarchy Online
Happy holidays from the red planet!
First up, I'd like to thank everyone who read my introductory developer journal and
approached me with comments or asked questions on the href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=21779">Ten
Ton Hammer forum. It's been great to see that people are
interested to learn more about Anarchy Online and the game industry.
I'll try to cover some of the questions this time.
Do you remember the first
thing you worked on with Anarchy
style="font-style: italic;">Nina's first
assignment at Funcom was to write dialogue for a pair of characters
that hated each other.
The very first thing I did when I joined the
style="font-style: italic;">Anarchy Online team
was to learn the NPC chat tool by writing dialogue for what we call the
PvP quests. In these missions, players talk to a person who asks them
to perform a series of tasks, all concerning the demise of their enemy.
In the process of doing this, the players are flagged for PvP and risk
encountering other players who might attack them.
The dialogue was fun to write, since both NPCs are fiercely loyal to
their side in the conflict. In short, style="font-style: italic;">Anarchy Online's
rich and wonderful backstory is very much coloured by several centuries
of conflict between two sides; the hyper-corporation Omni-Tek and the
rebellious clans. The two NPCs I wrote dialogue for are both
representatives for the military might on each side – two
ladies who are very opinionated about the situation on Rubi-Ka, the
planet on which Anarchy
Online takes place. It was a very nice way of learning the
tool that I - without a doubt - work in the most.
How are style="font-style: italic;">Anarchy Online's
Mainly, quests are designed after our Game Director has
shared his ideas and wishes for future content. He gives us designers a
general overview and basic design of what to focus on and how much he
wants us to make, and for the most part, the rest is up to us.
There isn't a set way we work. Some designers prefer to sketch out all
details before finishing up each individual part of the quest series,
others prefer to make a basic design and then work as they go along. We
often brainstorm when we need to keep continuity intact
style="font-style: italic;">Quests are designed
in Anarchy Online after the Game Director shares his/her ideas with the
Personally, I usually take the design from the Game Director and start
thinking out what areas to use and how. From there, I start creating
NPCs, quests and relevant items. Once I have the fundaments in place
– for example I know the types of mechanics that I intend to
use for each stage of the quests, and how many separate parts they
break down into – then I start fleshing things out with
dialogue, the story, item description and all the other details that
make the wheels spin. This is my favourite part of the job!
In the later stages of quest creation, I decide together with Game
Director what sort of rewards the players should get from completing
the quests. If items are needed, they are made by item designers. If
graphic resources are needed, they are created by our visual designers.
Once all the assets are done and the quests are considered in a
playable state, they are sent to Quality Assurance (QA) for testing,
and then to test server before being patched out to the live servers.
So there you have it…how quests in AO are made –
in a nutshell.
I will try to cover more of the questions asked on the href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=21779">Ten
Ton Hammer forums, and will only be too happy to see more
questions from you guys!
In closing, I wish all the readers a very merry Christmas and hope you
all have lots of fun in the last days of 2007, followed by a great
introduction to 2008! See you on the flip side!
questions for Nina? She reads our forums, so don't be afraid to ask! If
you do, please href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showpost.php?p=191976&postcount=6">post
them in our forums!
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