Updated Tue, Sep 17, 2013 by ricoxg
There was a time when the only games we got were the ones that guys in suits thought we wanted. Crowd-funding stood that old concept on its ear, and here to put another stick in the eye of the establishment is Jaques Rossouw and his team at NeoJac Entertainment. They just started a Kickstarter campaign for their new game Neo’s Land, and so far I really like what I’m seeing. Wanting to learn more, I put some feelers out and landed an interview with Mr. Rossouw about the new game.
Ricoxg: Mr. Rossouw, thank you for taking the time to talk to me about your new game. I’ve heard this term “crowd-design” applied to Neo’s Land. I don’t think I’ve heard of that before. What’s a crowd-designed game?
Jacques Rossouw, CEO of NeoJac Entertainment: What we mean when we say that Neo’s Land is a crowd-designed game is that we basically allow the community to design the game from the ground up. The community holds round-table discussions about components of the game’s design and we take that feedback and attempt to put it right into the game. So they decide what features they’d like to see and we try to implement them.
Ricoxg: What are some of the features want that you guys will be implementing based on what the community has said that they wanted?
Jacques: We started the round-tables about two months ago and the first thing everyone wanted was a housing system. They wanted to be able to construct houses, but not be restricted in how they build them. So we came up with a sort of grid system where you can build your house wall by wall. It’s a modular blueprint system so you can put the pieces together however you want and build your house through this grid system.
Then the community had more discussions about it and there were some concerns about people building houses just anywhere and everywhere. There was some worry that we might end up with forests full of houses and houses in bad spots, so we took that feedback and tried to find a way to act on it. What we did was to come up with a system where houses are built on these grids that you buy with in-game currency, but you have to find the grids first. That allows us to control a little where people build, but players don’t start off knowing where all that is. They have to probe for these grids, and when they find them, they can build there.
Ricoxg: How do you keep someone who finds a grid area from being greedy and just buying them all up?
Jacques: You’ll also have to pay upkeep on your house. You can buy up all the grids and build on them, but it’ll cost you a lot of money to do it. Also, it helps cut down on abandoned houses so you don’t spend half an hour running past empty house after empty house.
Ricoxg: So what about player crafting and that sort of thing? Will you be able to sell stuff out of your house?
Jacques: Oh yeah. Crafting will be a very important component of the game. One big part of that is that there will be no world auction house in the game, so you’ll have to go to someone who’s selling something if you want to buy it.
We really wanted to promote interaction in the community through trading. We want people to go look for deals. Say a certain area will have a lot of a particular resource, and that resource is relatively cheap in that area, but as you get farther away the price goes up due to the cost of transportation.
You’ll see that sort of ties into the inventory system a little as well. Items will have weight to them. That means you can’t go mine a bunch of stone and put it in your inventory because it’ll be too heavy. You’ll have to get a cart, or a wagon, or something like that and maybe you need a friend or pack animal to help you carry it.
So you might see players setting up a transportation business to move goods between cities. They’ll need places to meet each other and store shipments, maybe sell items as well. Player housing isn’t just prestige, it’s where traders might conduct meetings, house livestock, warehouse goods, setup shop to sell stuff. Things like that.