38 Studios: An Interview with Brett Close on the BigWorld License

by Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor

by Cody
“Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor

All over the world, gamers are anxiously awaiting any tidbit of news
about an as-of-yet unannounced game being developed by the
“super band” of development studios. 38 Studios has been deathly quiet about the
intricate details of their game, and everyone on the company's staff has
probably been hounded for information, yet they’ve revealed

With the recent announcement concerning 38 Studios’ licensing
of BigWorld, the rabid masses can again latch on to the tidbit of
information and examine what this might mean for the development of
the super-secret MMOG project code-named Copernicus.  

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alt="BigWorld Technology Suite demo image"
title="Click to Enlarge"

style="font-style: italic;">38 Studios will use
the BigWorld Technology Suite as the foundation of their upcoming

For starters it’s important to know a bit about the
background of the BigWorld technology. Not having to create or modify a
graphics engine or other tools allows game developers to get into the
meat of making a game world much faster. “[The BigWorld
Suite] can virtually cut the development time in half,” said
Gavin Longhurst. Director of Business Development for BigWorld in a href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/7811">past interview
he did with Ten Ton Hammer. “Developers can jump in
and start designing a game right away. They can concentrate on making
the game instead of making the technology to make the game.”

While that may be the basic reason developers license BigWorld, there
are many more, and Longhurst talks about them all in our href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/7811">past interview.
Since Ten Ton Hammer published that past interview, however, BigWorld
has increased the number of studios that are employing the technology
to include Stargate Worlds, Kwari, and as-of-yet unannounced projects
from Sierra Online, Slipgate Ironworks, and Interzone. To find out more
about the reasons behind 38 Studios’ licensing of BigWorld, I
caught up with Brett Close, President of 38 Studios, to get a few more
details from him.

To start, I asked Close why 38 Studios chose BigWorld out of all the technologies currently available on the market. According to Close, BigWorld has exceptional server-side technology and great MMO-specific tools. "They’re highly licensed and have delivered products," he added. "When it comes down to the type of technology we need in terms of load balance and robust server-side capability for an MMO platform and backbone, BigWorld is peerless... and they're great guys.”

While that may have been Close’s first reason he talked
about, he also wanted to include the sentiment that Longhurst expressed
earlier in the article. For current game developers, it’s
critical to get the game up and running as fast as possible, and
BigWorld certainly helps the developers achieve that goals.
“One of my biggest development philosophies – and I
have a lot of them – is to get your game up and running as
quickly as possible,” Close stated. “Let people get
their hands on it so they can tell you if something is fun or not fun,
and BigWorld will definitely aid in that aspect of our
development.” It’s obvious that the 38 Studios team
wants to be able to get their hands on the game and truly discover
whether what they are doing is fun or not.

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alt="BigWorld Technology Suite demo image"
title="Click to enlarge"

style="font-style: italic;">BigWorld gives 38 Studios a plethora of options concerning the development of their MMOG.

For many gamers, it may seem strange to hear about a MMO company
licensing out third-part software to help build their game. Many
companies have been eager to try to produce their own tech, yet the
licensing of technology suites like BigWorld seem to have become more
common. When I asked Close about this choice for 38 Studios, his answer
was fairly short and informative. “We’ve been very
clear about that from the very beginning,” he said.
“We’re not a tech studio. We have great engineers
that will be able to utilize this technology, but we’re not
going out to reinvent the wheel or solve problems that have already
been solved. There’s still a lot of work involved in game

Through the entirety of our conversation, Close wanted to end on this
statement – one that showcases his trust and eagerness to
work with the BigWorld technology. “BigWorld is the framework
for our development,” Close said. “It is the
backbone and foundation for our online platform. Our engineers
exhaustively looked at every single piece of technology. It was a very
in-depth and comprehensive search, but BigWorld really stood out
because of its options and back-end, server-side capability.”

In the end, all the talk about technology really means nothing when the
game is released. Gamers may gape and drool over pretty screenshots or
epic poses, but it will truly be up to the 38 Studios team to make the
game fun. Thankfully, the BigWorld engine can help produce a pretty
product and help to insure a game meets the requirements of
today’s audiences. The quicker a game can be played, the more
time the studio has to insure that the game is a joy to play. The
BigWorld technology can help 38 Studios achieve that goal.

Do you think licensing
technology helps 38 Studios in the long run? Why or why not? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?p=211761#post211761">Let
us know on the forums!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Copernicus Game Page.

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