Updated Tue, May 18, 2010 by Sardu
For our latest VIP outing, Ten Ton Hammer recently paid a visit to Icarus Studios to speak with the devs behind the post-apocalyptic powerhouse, Fallen Earth. Joining us for the interview were Senior Game Designer Marie Croall, Lead Environment Artist Cory Farris, Lead Scripter Michael Broadwater, Marketing Manager Jessica Orr and last but certainly not least, Media Specialist Tricia Jenkins. With an all star lineup like that, you know this is one VIP interview you won't want to miss!
Premium membership at Ten Ton Hammer is definitely packed with some awesome perks. One of the most popular among them is our exclusive VIP Interview series where we let our members strap on their interview caps and provide us with questions for the devs of their favorite MMOGs. The following interview consists of questions submitted by Ten Ton Hammer readers with additional questions provided by resident wastelander Reuben "Sardu" Waters.
By and large one of the coolest things we saw when Ten Ton Hammer made the trek to Boston for the first official PAX East was the upcoming iPhone app for Fallen Earth. Apparently we weren't the only ones impressed by what the team had to show us:
Premium Member Tregok asked: Are you any closer to releasing the apps?
Media Specialist Tricia Jenkins: The app itself is pretty much finalized, we're just working on the pricing model and what we want that to be if anything. We're still expecting [the release] to be within the next couple of months.
Premium Member Rocqu asked: I know you're in the middle of development for the iPhone app. Will you be offering other mobile versions, for instance, the mobile 6.5 or Android?
Tricia Jenkins: [AFK Interactive] is working on Android, Blackberry, Java and BREW phones, and we're still hoping for a simultaneous launch.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will the new achievement system be something that players will be able to access through the app once it's ready to unleash on the masses?
Tricia Jenkins: Not in this first launch, no, since achievements are so new.
Senior Game Designer Marie Croall: Achievements came together really quickly. They were not on the board when we started the iPhone app. Even when the iPhone development was well underway we didn't have a sense of achievements yet.
Tricia Jenkins: But we do plan to update the iPhone app so I'm sure that's something that down the line we could add.
When launched, the Fallen Earth iPhone app will offer players true mobile interaction with their in-game characters.
Ten Ton Hammer: Since achievements are one of the newest features for Fallen Earth, could you give our readers a brief overview of how that system works and the types of things players can look forward to with it?
Marie Croall: There are 5 different categories of achievements. “Crafter” is really what it sounds like. As you level up your crafting you get achievements for that.
“Explorer” is really neat. There are these little tourist telescopes like the ones at the Statue of Liberty that are actually a model and they're in the world, and you can go and click on them. Some of them are in very hard to reach places, and some of them are in towns and they're all sort of weighted differently but are really in almost every location in the game, including some that I didn't even anticipate. They're labeled for how difficult they are, and there are some that are in just crazy ridiculous locations.
Lead Environment Artist Cory Farris: It's going to take players a while to find all of these I'm pretty sure.
Marie Croall: It's really fun. The day they went in we were testing it and it was like, hey, what's this? I got an achievement!
There are also gambling achievements. Sadly I get the ones for losing chips. And then there are also some that reward people for doing story content. Really everyone is going to get achievements.
Lead Scripter Michael Broadwater: You get achievements for earning AP, for earning money, for killing things that you're already going to kill. And really, we've found that everybody likes achievements.
Ten Ton Hammer: Does the achievement system offer players any kind of tangible rewards for completing some of the more difficult ones?
Marie Croall: There will be soon. We don't have them in yet but there is a full plan for them.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will there be a way to share your overall score with other players?
Marie Croall: The score right now is one of those things that we're still in the process of identifying what it's going to mean overall. I think a lot of that comes down to seeing what players are doing and how fast they're earning them, because the score needs to be meaningful to them.
It's sort of like Deathtoll. We introduced a number and then the players went out and did stuff with it, and then we looked at things and said, oh, they’ve told us that we need to do something different. So rather than implement a system that's going to change upon player contact it's a lot smarter to hang back, and see what players do with it. Then we can say, alright, the average player has got 5,000 points, so now we know that 10,000 is awesome.
Michael Broadwater: It's like Blood Sports with the ranking and the leaderboards. We could build every potential, possible thing we want to do with it and then put that out, or we can start giving people Blood Sport arenas now and from there start giving them these new features. So we can either give you a huge meal in a year, or we can give you smaller courses over time. And we'd much rather give people that course over time so that they're not waiting and looking around for something to do.
So we can say here are achievements. Can you do anything with them yet? Well, right now you can earn them. Next time then maybe you can share achievements. Next time achievements can do X, Y and Z.
Marie Croall: The reward system will mostly likely be next. The system is built in, but we just need to see what the best way to implement it is. Fixing Deathtoll really cleared up a lot of what we can do. It's really amazing - our post-launch content is so much better because we know what players want. We learn. Whatever we come out with after Deadfall is going to be better than Deadfall. Here's the thing, Sector 1 is the worst sector we will ever do, it has to be just by default because it's the first one we did. Then there's stuff that we learned in Sector 2 that we got to implement in Sector 3. Sector 4 is going to be so awesome because Deadfall achieved this level that now we can do.