Questions by Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor
Answers by Mark Tucker, Lead Designer for Dungeon Runners
It wasn’t long ago that NCsoft released a relatively
unheralded free-to-play massively multiplayer game into the
marketplace, wishing it the best of luck to succeed with a skeleton
crew of developers to keep it afloat. Whether they expected it or not,
style="font-style: italic;">Dungeon Runners
has become the “under-the-radar”
success of the company, acting as the catalyst for their in-game ad
campaigns and basically proving that a small team with a big heart can
One of the biggest perks to being on the style="font-style: italic;">Dungeon Runners
crew is their freedom to think outside of the box. With weapons that
from your kitchen drawer and armor that is apparently made of baby
seals, the Dungeon
Runners team rarely puts away an idea if it would
work in their game. So when Cody “Micajah” Bye
mentioned that “having a Ten Ton Hammer in style="font-style: italic;">Dungeon Runners
would be cool”, the game’s lead designer, Mark
Tucker, took him seriously. Now that the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/21198">Ten Ton Hammer
is built and
currently in QA, Cody and Mark sat down to talk about the
building a weapon and how cool the Ten Ton Hammer will be.
The processes for
making new weapons and monsters in Dungeon Runners are fairly similar.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can you
describe the process that you go through when making a new weapon for
It’s similar to making a monster in some ways. We go through
a concept phase where we send our ideas to our artist and he works up
some quick sketches. There’s certainly a variety of weapons
and armors that get tossed around when we’re coming up with
ideas, and, believe it or not, we actually try to find a happy medium
between the ludicrous and serious type ideas.
We want to have all the “normal” sort of weapons
(axes, swords, bows, etc.), but we also want to include items like the
“electric guitar” that acts as an axe. Then we have
the sort of equipment seem like modified household items. For example,
there’s the pizza slicer that’s been incorporated
into the game as an axe.
Between the development team and the concept artist, we usually end up
with pages and pages of thumbnail sketches of weapons. Eventually we
start to hone in on those weapons that we believe will be the most
successful for the game. Once we get those few selected,
we’ll iterate on them, do some more defined sketches, then
complete some renderings and throw them into the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do you
typically do like little roundtable sessions with the team to come up
with the new items?
Although I’ve been “driving” this area of
the game that certainly doesn’t mean that I come up with all
the ideas. Our team is unique in the fact that we are very open and
accepting of ideas from anyone on the team and even people outside of
the team. We’ve gotten great concepts from the QA department,
customer service, and others.
So if you have something that you think is a really good idea, it
doesn’t matter who it comes from.
Ten Ton Hammer: When do
you typically put new weapons and armor into the game? How many do you
usually introduce at a time?
put new items in every build of the game that we introduce. In our
latest build that’s coming up we have two new
Fighter-oriented armor sets going in and there are a bunch of new
rifles – eight I believe – for the Ranger class.
It really varies from one build to the next, and it really depends on
the areas of the game we’ve been focusing on. For example,
Chunk #2 didn’t really have any new items to speak of,
because we were really focused on major features. It’s really
just a crap-shoot I guess. *laughs*
We used to have such a small design team, and now we’re
finally getting big enough to include more items and content in every
build we do from here on out.
Ten Ton Hammer: What size
is the team up to now?
We’re currently at thirteen, but a few more additions are on
the way and we should be up to sixteen team members very shortly.
Percentage wise, we’re doing some major growing. Originally
we were only running with ten people.
With the growth, we’re hoping to bring some tighter focus to
certain areas of the game, especially on the design side of things.
We’re going to be able to crank out a lot more quests, have a
larger focus on items, and throw some new monsters in there as well.
Hopefully in a build or two it’ll be noticeable from the
The Dungeon Runners
team is expanding to increase their ability to make more cool weapons
like the Ten Ton Hammer.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do you
think the team might ever get large enough to actually lose some of its
current level of effectiveness?
wouldn’t lose that efficiency. That’s certainly a
conversation that Steve Nichols (Producer) and I have quite a bit. He
and I have been talking about that more lately, just because
we’ve been growing the team and it’s definitely one
of our goals to keep our development process the way it is, because we
think it works and the people currently on the team like it.
That said, I think there’s a fine line between team size and
productivity. I don’t know if we’ll ever need to
grow the team to a huge size, so I think we can continue to stay lean
and mean and keep or effectiveness.
Ten Ton Hammer: So,
let’s cut to the chase. We’re here to talk about
style="font-style: italic;">THE Ten
wondering when this was going to come up! *laughs*
Ten Ton Hammer: I wanted
to preface the whole things first! *laughs* Really, what’s
the Ten Ton Hammer like? Everyone (hopefully) has seen the screenshots,
and it’s time to hear what this hammer is really all about!
start off by saying this: It kicks ass. I’ve been running
with it on my internal test server characters and going through all the
new encounters with it. Honestly, I’ve been using it simply
because it does kick ass.
It is the hardest hitting weapon in the game if you’re
looking at damage-per-hit. It’s still balanced, but it just
hits REALLY hard. That said, it is quite a bit slower than something
like a katana, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that
it lays down the law when it smacks you.
Along with the damage, it does some attribute increasing statistic on
it along with an increased chance to stun your opponent. To top it off,
the hammer also has a mana stealing component, so as a Fighter I found
it to be quite useful because I didn’t have to think about
managing my mana because it hit so hard and stole so much mana that I
was always at full mana. It makes you really more concerned with
cooldown issues rather than mana conservation.
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