Monday, May 11

HeroEngine or AwesomeEngine?

As you may know, I've been a long time admirer of the HeroEngine and Simultronics efforts at creating decent middleware which can potentiall cut the development cycle of MMO's in half, and that I'd really like to have their Hero's Journey see the light of day soon. That Bioware is using the HeroEngine for their upcoming MMO Star Wars the Old Republic is a mjor contributor to me having hopes that it may succeed and maybe break the mold.
Today I stumbled onto this interview with David Whatley, the President and CEO of Simutronics. Some excerpts:

on MUD's...

The quests, and experiences, all of these things were under control of the GameMasters. And they could provide real-time interaction with the players, through events, festivals, just appearing in the game under some guise whether it’s a creature that they’re role-playing or as a god-like being, the GameMaster could manifest themselves as anything.
And they could do these events and build the game and do all this stuff, and do it continually, so that games like GemStone and Dragon Realms, the amount of content in them is just staggering when you go in there.
We wanted to take that same concept and apply it to the graphical MMOs; the World of Warcrafts, the EverQuests. They have tools, and they have great tools, but they lack the ability to rapidly develop and apply those same tools that exist in the development process to the live environment. That’s what I wanted to do, and that’s why we created HeroEngine.
Ohhhhh.... Someone agrees with my idea on what's good to take from MUD's rather than why Richard Bartle wants us to go back to MUD's only graphical.
Well, we’ve worked really hard in our Hero’s Journey design to create a method for developing unique storylines that are personalized to your character. One of the ways we do that is first we have quests that feature elaborate branching story lines, so there are always decisions to be made.
Do I go left? Do I go right? Do I give the item, do I not give the item? That kind of thing, rather than just following what you’re told to do. And whether you do something, or don’t something, or one of three or five different choices, they’re all valid. Or as I like to say, failure is an option.

Doesn't that sound an awful lot like actually having to read the Quest dialogue again or you might up doing something you don'w really want to if you just hit 1,1,1,1 then glance at your 3rd-Party Quest Tracker Extender?

They are things that are recorded on your character that have influence later quests. One good example of that is the “nemesis quest token.” What happens is in some point of your life you’re going to come across a boss creature, and you’ll start fighting it, and there will be some randomness about it but it will decide that guy is your nemesis.
From this point on, you’re gonna be seeing him over and over again. And what’ll happen is later on there’ll be a quest that says “Insert Nemesis Here, if he has Nemesis Token” and what’ll happen is he’ll show up in that quest, and every time he’s more powerful than he was the last time, and he’ll be calling you out and stuff like that, and he’ll always make this grand escape right before you kill him.
Then, somewhere near the end of the end game you’ll get an opportunity to take him down or not in the final confrontation. That’s just one example of the things we do with the quest tokens.

That sounds familiar, except it's not The Main Selling Point Of Our Remake Game this time, but just one of many things they do with the concept.

Read the whole article here.


  1. Hero engine, and indeed the whole of Simutronics, is some of the coolest stuff to look forward too in MMO land. I was already excited way back when they worked on Heroes Journey, their orginal MMO. They are truly trying to make playing the game as I would too, a never ending story of events and consequences. It makes me really excited about the Bioware MMO too. I haven't reached your ramblings on Bartle's speech yet, but these comments are exactly what I hope my next will be. Nice find!

  2. Only worry I have is that they have been working on it for more than 5 years now. That is actually quite a long time. I hope they didn't push it into the realm of the t"heoretical great, but practical impossible" which happens quite easily with over engineered tools.

  3. On the 5 years, mid-way into the development of hero's Journey corporate focus shifted from Journey to HeroEngine itself. Probably as a means to stay afloat. Now that HeroEngine is bringing in money they can spend more time with Journey.
    Regardless, Journey is still on the backburner for now I think.

    It gives me hope that Bioware can make good on their 4th pillar promise with SWTOR, but I'm also starting to get worried that SWTOR will be more like the recent crud by George Lucas (aka episode 1-3) than the KoToR games. Look at the Republic Commando, I mean "Trooper" class brought out recently.