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Anarchy Online Developer Journal #2: Your Questions Get Answered

Updated Wed, Dec 16, 2009 by Cody Bye

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 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 Online?

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 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, 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 Anarchy Online's quests designed?

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

Quests are designed in Anarchy Online after the Game Director shares his/her ideas with the content team.

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 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!


Do you have more questions for Nina? She reads our forums, so don't be afraid to ask! If you do, please post them in our forums!

Ten Ton Hammer is your unofficial source for Anarchy Online news and articles!

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