Ten Ton Hammer:
How difficult has it been working with several thousand users while
trying to create a game? You’ve mentioned that clarity has
been your biggest issue…wouldn’t it just be easier
to have hired a team to work in an office, rather than doing this all
via telecommunication?

style="font-weight: bold;">Russel: Yes, the
difficulty is twofold, at least. First, we are a big, diverse team, not
hand-picked, but picked, you might say, by passion – the
passion for making a game – and ambition – the
ambition to become a professional in the game industry. So, clarity,
when communicating with such a diverse group, with diverse expectations
and experience backgrounds – even language issues, because we
have a very international membership – is definitely an
issue. We have adapted our process over time to improve our progress
and our communication. Even now, we always have a lot of questions to
answer, but more and more often the community itself is starting to
answer their own questions.     

it have been easier to hire a team and work in an office? Absolutely!
But anyone of David Perry’s stature and experience could do
that. This is visionary and exciting. It’s something that, in
fact, I have been thinking of since about 1997, so when DP proposed it,
I was with him in a heartbeat. I really believe there’s tons
of creativity and talent, new ideas, and untapped resources out there
in the gaming world, and that’s what this is about.
We’re not taking the easy way. We’re taking the
dangerous, uncharted and risky way. What fun!

href="http://tth.tentonhammer.com/modules.php?set_albumName=album320&id=3D_render&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_photo.php"> src="http://media.tentonhammer.com/tth/gallery/albums/album320/3D_render.thumb.jpg"
alt="3D Render by Kasker" title="3D Render by Kasker"
name="photo_j" border="0" height="113" width="150">
3D Render by Kasker

Ten Ton Hammer:
Are you at all worried that any of the team members are going to lead
the entire group into wild tangents? Perhaps try to explore an area of
gaming that just isn’t entirely doable at the moment, or with
the target budget that’s been set for the game?

style="font-weight: bold;">Rusel: Well, I think
I already answered that. David Perry is the Director of the project. I
am the Assistant Director. We both have a lot of experience in the
industry from different points of view. It happens, however, that we
share common vision and understanding of game design principles and
practices, and I’ve worked with DP for several years now,
initially in researching and helping write his Game Design Reference
book, which is currently published in wiki form. So, the answer is, no,
we will not let the game become something our partner, Acclaim, cannot
fund or market successfully.

Ten Ton Hammer:
In many ways, this sort of contest seems to be very freeing from what
normal MMO developers have to deal with. There are no licensing issues
involved with Top Secret, no large publishers that they have to look
out for, none of that! How do you think that sort of freedom is going
to effect the development of the game, and what kind of success will
that “open IP” once it hits the market?

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">Rusel style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">: Creating completely new IP
is always risky. The rewards are great. The failures are numerous.
However, we really believe in this project, or we would not have
started it, and would not continue to support it every step of the way.
I’ve sometimes been able to predict a project’s
success before it hit the market, but I don’t know anyone who
is clairvoyant enough to guarantee the success of any product, unless
maybe it’s Blizzard. But what we do have is DP’s
long industry experience as a developer to guide us, and I put in my 2
cents when I think it will help.

Ten Ton Hammer:
What kind of developer interest has there been on the game so far? What
kind of development team are you looking for? Do you foresee any issues
cropping up between the community and whatever developer you decide to
hire for the project?

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alt="Catwoman by mjuricek77" title="Catwoman by mjuricek77"
name="photo_j" border="0" height="150" width="80">
Sexy catwoman - mjuricek77

style="font-weight: bold;">Rusel: We
don’t foresee any problems because we haven’t
chosen developers, and we will make sure community is involved in that

Ten Ton Hammer:
In general, how do you feel about the Top Secret project thus far? Is
it something you might want to try again in the future, or is this the
only time we’ll ever see a Top Secret project?

style="font-weight: bold;">Rusel: We are
learning a lot from Top Secret. We clearly made mistakes at the start,
and remarkably the community has stuck with us, helped us improve our
process and kept working diligently on the tasks we have given them.
This is a very fluid process, like game play itself, where we are
constantly testing, assessing results and feedback, adjusting, and
testing again… You could say, refining the process we use at
the same time we are refining the design itself. Nobody knew how to
conduct a mass design project on forums before Top Secret, so we are
the pioneers, and perhaps, at the end of the project, we can write the
manual. ? Will we do it again? Stay tuned.

Ten Ton Hammer:
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers of this

style="font-weight: bold;">Rusel: Going
forward, we will try to think of as many ways as possible to get the
community to be involved in all our games.  It's where we see
the future going.

Ten Ton Hammer is your
unofficial source for Project Top Secret news and articles!

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016