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Meteor Games At PAX - Twin Skies Print E-mail
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Written by Matt "snorkle256" Nolan   
Wednesday, 10 September 2008

[News] [PC]

 On the first day of PAX I stopped by the Meteor Games booth to see what the founders of Neopets were cooking up this time.  You'd be surprised at what they have been working on for the last few months.

So I met up with Thomas Mannino, the Lead Cross-Media Developer for Meteor Games.  He walked and talked me through various parts of the game.  The new game, Twin skies, is what Thomas described as "...a hybrid social network, online role playing game and basically a flash mini game adventure based website. It combines all elements of three."  Thomas then went on to show me the different parts of the game and how they work together in harmony.

"So what you have here in front of us is ... basically a typical mmo character generator... ...three classes you can100_0861 choose from.  We're going to have seven entirely different races [and] twenty plus different classes. The classes themselves will have totally unique traits."  He went on and showed me a few of the different races that are currently available. "Right now you see the solider, he's sorta a melee tanking class he helps control combat and keeps the bad guys away from the healers and things.  The Corsair,which is sorta of pirate slash rouge with less stealth and more swashbuckling and fighting.  Then you've got a witch, of course its a guy, all these are witches, guys don't like being called witches but unfortunately that's what they are.   

So, now you pick a class and you go on to the character generation and one of the big things about our game is, you're not defined by your class as to what you look like.  At lot of games that come out you're like 'I'm going to be a corsair so I have to dress like a pirate all the time' Not so much in our game. 

Anyone can look like what they whatever they want, dress their character however you want.  You are going to be defined by iconographic concepts of your character. So soldiers will have giant swords and big big big weapons, Corsairs will always have a pistol and a dagger, Wizards [witches] will always have a giant caster staff.  So when you're looking at the battlefield you see like a giant sword giant sword pistol pistol caster staff not blue guy blue guy green guy red guy or whatever.  Like I said you can all wear blue dresses if you want but, you'll know, ok,  there's giant swords flying round their heads like they're soldiers, no one else can use a giant sword but soldiers."

Thomas even described some of the aspects of the game that allow unique options for individuals to stand out such as "... customizeble appearances, tons and tons of different combinations, all the clothing through the network can be dyed and changed, hair as well and even highlighted eventually, streak your hair do things like that."  Other options include a pet that some people mistook as a Neopet at the booth. "Everyone starts off with a couple different choices of pets depending on the race.  This guy right here is a baby salamander, this little plushie right here. They start out as a cute baby and they grow up to be 20 foot tall and 20 feet long I think and they jump and they bite your face off or whatever, but they're pretty cute as a baby so you can have them as a pet until they grow up."

We then took a look at some of the other stations that were showing web based flash applications. "What we have here is an example of how the website is going to be affecting the 3d world.  This is not neccessairly going to be in the game... ..., but it shows how joint realities exist of the same game...  ...We'll have the 3d gameempire and we'll [have] flash games and things that will effect the virtual world. So what we see here is an example... ...the impets are coming along and the solider is sorta just tanking the guys making sure they are not fighting the healers in the back.  What you saw is when you press the button.... The wizard [witch] is going to cast a spell that kills the impets and both are actually at the same time."  By pressing the P key on either station the witch cast a lighting spell simultaneously that killed off all the attacking impets.  This was fairly impressive and showed how the flash world could affect their 3d world and vice versa.  This was something that their are not exactly planning on having in the game, more or less they had it just to show how they can integrate the two worlds as one. 

100_0866They have taken it a step further with some flash games that are already available on their website.  "In our game we have a version of [Snake] called the very hungry junkworm. It's basically about magical garbages that manifest that turns into a snake and of course eats more and more garbage and gets longer and longer. Now when you get that thing, you get a high enough score, in the virtual world somewhere a junkworm will be created but it will have your name on it, it will say so and so's snake and it will wander around like  mob in the game.  And if kills someone it might send you a message saying 'Haha your junkworm just killed so and so, what a noob'. Right?  Maybe it will give you an achievement in the game."

My favorite kicker is their pricing plan.  "... basically we'll be a combination of free to play, so anyone will be able to log in to the game and play for free, Eventually we will have a premium subscription model and that will basically offer things that the other people wouldn't be able to access, like higher zone or more customization options different emotes, things like that, We'll also have micro transactions so you can  to buy different customizable things, characters, customizable pets, spend 2 dollars get a special monster.  Nothing that would imbalance the game."  From what Thomas said, they are planning on having the game out and playable for free in the first quarter next year and then be able to start their premium plan in the second quarter.

I've plenty more information from Thomas and let me tell you that some of the coolest parts of Twin SkiesI haven't even made mention yet.  Really for just a little over two months of work this crew has shown an amazing proof of concept.  They're using some middle-ware and that will help speed this along for the players advantage.  I can't wait until this world is alive and vibrant.  My thanks go to Thomas Mannino for giving me the scoop.

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