While it may not always be public knowledge, there
are dozens of MMOs in development around the world. However, most of
these titles are still in their “quiet” stages,
with development teams putting together the game without much fanfare
or public attention. One of these companies happens to be NCsoft
West’s Carbine Studios, a development team that has been
working on a “WoW-sized” MMO for the last several
Recently, Ten Ton Hammer’s Cody Bye had a chat with
producer Eric DeMilt on his role in the Carbine Studios’
project and where everything stands with the upcoming triple-A MMO.
Eric talks in-depth about his previous work at Interplay, how working
on an MMO compares to single player titles, and Carbine’s
focus on quality. Enjoy!
Ten Ton Hammer:
What’s your responsibility as the producer of the Carbine
The Carbine Studios Logo
I manage the day-to-day operations of the studio. The nice thing about
the way we’re set up here is that we’re purely a
dev studio. All of Carbine Studios works on just this one game, a lot
of the normal operation stuff is handled by our parent organization,
NCsoft West so most of what I focus on is the day-to-day management of
the project. Things like; making sure that all the department
heads have the resources that they need, ensuring that people are
talking, dealing with the small minutiae that people need covered,
keeping the content pipeline flowing, relaying the latest build
information to the right people to make sure its tested and people are
getting the feedback they need. All of that is my
It’s very hands-on, which I like a lot.
Ten Ton Hammer:
You’ve been working on games a long time, and you were at
Interplay when they were putting out games like Baldur’s Gate,
Fallout, Stonekeep, and
other notable titles. How does working at Carbine compare to your
previous work at Interplay?
on an MMO is way bigger than anything I’ve ever done before.
The scope of the project, the resources we’re being given,
the size and caliber of the team; everything is just much, much larger
than anything I worked on over at Interplay.
The problems that we ran into while working on a single player RPG were
big. Fallout 2
was definitely a really big project, and we had to worry about getting
people through a test run of the entire game by a certain date so you
can get it off to manufacturing and things like that. It was still
orders of magnitude smaller than an MMO.
In an MMO, you’re going to find people that are playing solo,
grouped, in their guilds, as
tradeskillers….there’s just a zillion games inside
of one MMO. On the other hand, it is still similar to single player
games. There are just things that are the basic tenets of an MMORPG
that aren’t any different than making quests for games like Fallout
are things that engage the player and develop the player over time. I
mean, the reward systems and that sort of thing are exactly the same.
It’s kind of weirdly different and similar at the same time.
We have a really powerful scripting system on this game, and it reminds
me a lot of when I first worked on the original Stonekeep
. We had a
bunch of junior programmers that were the content guys and could do
CRAZY stuff that we never imagined. I mean we had one guy in Stonekeep
down a couple orcs so you had one normal orc come out then three mini
orcs come out and stand on the heads of the others. It was a really
funny thing that no one ever expected.
Now we’ve got the same sort of thing, except it’s
in an MMO. Our scripters are doing crazy stuff that you
wouldn’t even expect. There’s a lot of power there.