Recently our own Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle got a chance to sit down and interview Real Time Worlds Founder and the creator of Grand Theft Auto, David Jones, about the current state of APB (All Points Bulletin) and what he has in store for the future of the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: Keys to the City event has been going on recently, how has that gone?
Killem all and let the cops sort it out!
David Jones: Really well, obviously we wanted to get as many people as possible to come and try the game while they are deciding about buying it. I think we pretty much succeeded in doing that. It's ran really well all week, we made a couple of small changes with a small patch mid week in order to address a couple of small issues we found. We even awarded everyone an extra 5 hours to make sure everyone got enough time to try the game out, figure out what the game is, and help them make a decision about buying APB.
Ten Ton Hammer: You have recently added the looking for group prompts when you first join the game. What other plans do you have in order to help people with grouping and getting their friends involved.
David Jones: We are obviously looking at things like trial keys, refer a friend, those kinds of programs. Obviously this is vital for the game, we want friends inviting their friends, getting them to play and try it out. We will looking at as many ways as possible to make sure that everyone who wants to try it out, has a chance too.
Ten Ton Hammer: We had some questions from our community about the two types of currency in game and how exactly that works. What can you buy with each type.
David Jones: The real reason we wanted the currency was to allow the players to dabble with it more than us. So at launch all you can buy with RTW points is different types of game time, and I believe we have one other premium service which is Vivox. That's all you can buy with RTW points at launch. The big thing we want to see is what players do with the points. Perhaps someone doesn't have much time in game to make things, and would rather pay another player to make something for them.
Ten Ton Hammer: One of the things you have said, is that real avid player could end up making enough money in game they would not have to pay themselves for the game. Is it really as simple as that? How does the point conversion work?
David Jones: We think it's that simple. It's one of those things that obviously we haven't been able to test yet. Until it's real money from paying customers, we have made a lot of assumptions on that, but honestly it's the one system we have not been able to test at all. The good thing is that it's optional, we aren't sure how it's going to work. If players take to it than great, but honestly your guess is as good as ours as to how well it will work. We are seeing already in beta where players are taking commissions to do work like art and music.
Ten Ton Hammer: Are you planning on setting up systems to manage commissions or are you leaving it up to the players to sort out?
David Jones: Right now we don't have anything to manage that, but we are watching it closely. Lets face it, right now there is a lot of trust you have to have with other players to do commissions. Do I pay him before he does the work? Do I do the work before I get paid? So it's something we are watching and talking about making a system to help manage this.
Ten Ton Hammer: What surprises have there been in beta that you might not have expected to see from the community?
David Jones: The biggest thing has to be customization. We were shocked at just how creative people got with all the customization options. That and how close the community was in beta. They really became very close, I actually felt really bad when I had to do the wipe for beta. Here I was killing all these characters that has spent so much time in the game.
That and just how good some of the players have gotten at the game. We always said that we designed the game to allow players to use different strategies, but some of the players are just amazing at it. The way they work in teams, laying covering fire each other, it's quite impressive.
Ten Ton Hammer: One of the things I love and hate about the gameplay is the non stop action. There is really almost no break while in the action districts. You get missions offers and calls for back up constantly. Is there anything you are planning on doing to either incentive players to go to the social district, or build in a break in the action?
It is all about strategy!
David Jones: We agree the game is pretty intense and is always go go go. We have just added a command line option that will allow players to turn mission offers off. I admit it sometimes feels like you are constantly getting spammed with mission offers. A lot of people, myself included, just like call for back up, and dispatch offers. So now players can turn off the mission offers if they want. We will be adding it to the UI soon, and until then you can use the command line option. I believe we will be looking into expanding that as well. Give players more options to control what type of missions they are offered.
Ten Ton Hammer: There has been some confusion in the community about the different types of progression in the game. With no levels in the game, can you explain the way progression works?
David Jones: We have weapon and vehicle progression. We also have a character based progression which was recently removed from roles because some roles were very hard to achieve. Things like cop level and car thief, so we moved some of those back into the regular contact progression. We wanted more of a balance where some people go for weapons, and some people going for more character based upgrades to try and counteract some of the weapons. So right now you can progress in contacts, organizations, weapons, vehicle, and character.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do you see yourself doing large scale leader boards for the game? Things like U.S. and E.U. boards?
David Jones: We have world leader boards for the top 100,000 in the world. We have them for both clans and individual. We also have district based ones as well. With all the combinations of daily, weekly, monthly and many other combinations.
Ten Ton Hammer: So is there anything you feel hasn't gotten the attention it deserves or anything else you have planned in the future that you would like to share with our readers?
David Jones: One of the big things we are focused on in the future is Turf Wars. Giving players the ability to fight over certain parts of districts. That is something we are definitely working on. Our match making system we just keep tuning and tuning. It is frustrating when we see call for back up going out and no one answering them. We know that frustrates players as well. So we are constantly trying to find ways to get people to except those when they are available. We are looking at things like, instead of offering a call for back up to a player and waiting for them to accept or decline it before offering it to another player, we want to offer it to everyone, and the first player that clicks accept gets it. So the calls should get answered much faster.
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