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Champions Online Powers Interview #1 - Gadgeteering, Munitions, and Archery - Page 2

Posted Sun, May 31, 2009 by Cody Bye

Ten Ton Hammer: Out of the three, I was going to mention that Gadgeteering seemed the least focused of the odd man out. Are you planning on splitting off additional powers from this power set similar to what you did with Archery?

Roper: Probably not, because in the Champions pen-and-paper game, Gadgeteering is really a giant pool of powers. In the tabletop version, anything that your hero constructs it’s dubbed a “gadget.” Even something like Iron Man’s armor would have been considered a “gadget,” so the depth of the power set was enormous. The pen-and-paper game is much more complex in that players actually have to build their powers from scratch; it’d be like us giving players the dev power tool.

But that required a lot of number crunching and was too complex for our game. So instead of having everything fall under Gadgeteering, we pulled out some of the more thematic parts of the set – like power armor and Archery – but we stil wanted to have that large pool of powers for players to draw from. The things we left in were pretty broad based and didn’t really have a separate theme that we wanted to flesh out.

Ten Ton Hammer: Will players focusing on Munitions powers be able to get bigger guns through power replacements or something like that?

Roper: There are power replacers that fall in the Munitions set, there’s actually a large number of them. What happens is that you keep the same power that you have, but you’re augmenting that power based on the item that you’ve found or crafted. And sometimes this means that you’re actually replacing a particular item with the geometry of another item.

So for example, you might normally have a Munitions power that looks like you’re wielding a 9mm Beretta, but you can get a power replacer that looks like a six-shooter. In fact, there may be a whole set of power replacements that have a Western or “cowboy” theme around them. Or you might have a high-end special ops set or a street thug set.

The cool part about this segment is that you will always be able to choose the look of your character, despite the items that may drop. So even if you find something with terrific bonuses, you can still use the look you had before. You may be a modern gunslinger – like something from the Matrix – but an item drops that makes your guns look like a six-shooter. So you can equip that six-shooter, but we won’t force you to make a cosmetic change. You’ll still get all of the bonuses associated with that item you found without changing your look. And once you’ve unlocked a particular look, you’ll always have access to it, even if you don’t have a particular item anymore.

The only time that we ever “force” a look is if there’s something in the storyline or scenario that would require a player to disguise themselves or wield particular weapons.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are the power replacements easy to come by in the game? Will players be able to make a particular look easily?

Roper: There are some that you can get initially, but then there are others that are part of special rewards and still others are crafted. These tend to be rarer items, but the “best looking” or “super coolest” items are the ones that you obviously have to do the most work for.

But you can definitely collect them all.

Ten Ton Hammer: We haven’t talked much about Archery yet. Since this power set was really fleshed out from existing powers in the Gadgeteering power set, is there really enough powers in the set to create a fully fleshed out, thematic archer?

I mean, when you think about Hawkeye or Green Arrow, their powers are pretty limited. They have a variety of different arrows, and that’s it. Did you really have enough there to work with?

Roper: There’s definitely a lot of different types of arrows that are used in Archery. There are also different ways that the bow is fired.  For one attack you might fire one arrow while another attack you’ll fire a volley that does an area effect.

That said, even if you were building a particularly thematic character, you’d probably dip into some other power sets.

Ten Ton Hammer: Like if a person was developing a samurai sort of archer, they might fire arrows until the enemy gets close and then pull out a sword.

Roper: Right. Or players might give them hand-to-hand combat powers. Or anything else that they think fits with their theme.

Ten Ton Hammer: Finally, are you ever going to entertain player-generated powers in the game? Maybe have a contest with the players and have them put together a particular power that you can implement in the game?

Roper: I think that most of the powers we’ve implemented that come from players have been due to feedback we’ve received from the beta test. Mostly these are suggestions on powers that are already there or wanting to add a particular type of effect to a power that we then flesh out.

The area that we’ve seen this the most is really in the travel powers. Swinging was something that players wanted to see for a long, long time, and we put in a lot of effort to make that work.

That said, I think the way we could implement something like this is through players creating an overarching idea rather than actually trying to figure out the mechanics of particular powers. The mechanics system in Champions is amazingly complex, and it blows me away on what the programmers and the designers can get the powers to do. It’s amazing.
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