’3079′ Interview – Fractal Philosophies
Last week, we previewed the latest Beta release of 3079, Phr00t’s block action RPG bonanza. Still not enough info for you? Here’s some more details for you, straight from the lads at Phr00t.
IGM: First thing’s first – could you provide us with a brief outline of 3079 and what sort of experience players can expect from it?
Phr00t (P): 3079 is a futuristic, open-world action role-playing game. I know that’s a bit of a mouthful, but it is a mash-up of all those things! The first thing people will likely notice is the fast paced action, with lots of guns and explosions. However, there is quite a bit more to it, because players can sneak around, practice skills, take on quests, customize items and much, much more.
IGM: Having perused quite a few comments sections on various sites, it seems evident that 3079 is drawing a significant number of comparisons with Minecraft, with some people even labelling it a rip-off of Mojang’s extraordinarily popular sandbox title. To me, though, having played through the beta version of 3079, that seems to be an unfair criticism as 3079 undoubtedly contains many characteristics game mechanics. With that in mind, what would you say to the critics who have already dismissed your game as a Minecraft clone?
P: That’s a great question. The early build of 3079 just simply looked like Minecraft, so I understand why people made the comparison. Fortunately, like yourself, many people played 3079 and realized it is fun in its own right, and nothing like Minecraft.
Unfortunately, however, many people do not go beyond the initial appearance of a game. To address 3079′s image, I’ve made the world less blocky with sloped surfaces; I’ve gotten higher resolution textures (from Deon at the Bay12 forums) and I’ve also increased the polygon count of the characters to give them a less blocky look too. To answer your question directly, I would say this: play the demo. You may like it, and at the very least, you will realize it is nothing like Minecraft. 3079 was never intended to play anything like Minecraft.
IGM: The elements of player freedom, choice and customisation are clearly extremely important components of 3079. Was this a design choice that you were aiming for from the very start of the development process, or have some of them evolved of their own accord and been introduced as new ideas sprang to mind?
P: These were specific design choices early in the game. My previous games, 3059 and 3069, also highlighted these elements. I hope to build on these elements, since many new ideas are always coming in, many from my fans.
IGM: As you’ve already stated, significant adjustments are in the pipeline as the game continues to approach its full release, the most significant of which is perhaps the upcoming texture update. Are there any other major tweaks that you’re planning to implement into 3079 in the near future?
P: The texture update is already in, and it looks pretty good. I give lots of credit to Deon from Bay12 forums! As for major tweaks, well, the next release will have an increased polygon count for characters, which will give them a less blocky look — maybe making them closer to the original Quake look. Lots of new features are also planned, like fortress building (which has been highly requested), spooky caves, military installations and more.
IGM: Now, as we’ve established, 3079 is still very much in its beta phase, meaning that there’s still plenty of time for some of the smaller issues to be ironed out. A number of users have been calling out for smoother controls, improved AI and a few slight adjustments to the inferface. Are these some of the things you’re attempting to address at the moment?
P: I hope to get to all of the smaller issues people have with 3079. I encourage people to e-mail me or post ideas they have on my forum so I can address them. All that I ask is that people are a bit more specific – just saying they want “smoother controls” is difficult to address because I need to know what they believe isn’t smooth. I do plan on introducing some AI improvements, especially things like pathfinding.
IGM: How about the free demo version of the game? Some of our readers have expressed concerns that the demo in its current state is a little too short and that it doesn’t offer a substantial insight into what the game has to offer. Do you have any plans to release an updated demo, perhaps with a multiplayer component?
P: I believe the biggest problem with the demo was how it ended. It just said, “this demo of 3079 has ended; press ESC to quit.” I have since modified that message to tell people they can start a new game when their previous one ended. This allows people to effectively play endlessly, even though you just can’t play an individual character endlessly. As far as multiplayer features in the demo are concerned, this is a key feature of the paid version, one that I worked very hard at implementing, and I’d prefer it to stay a benefit to paying customers.
IGM: Early impressions of the game have been largely positive, and that was underlined by 3079’s early success in terms of sales figures and review on Desura. How important do you feel that the growing support for indie games on such digital distribution platforms as Desura, and now Gamersgate, who have recently started selling the game, in terms of helping projects such as yours to reach out to gamers who might otherwise not hear about some of the lesser known upcoming games?
P: The difficulty in growing an indie game is making it known to gamers. Desura and GamersGate already have gamers looking to buy and play games. So, getting your game on a distribution system like Desura and GamersGate is very important. It isn’t essential, though, since using services like BMT Micro can get you up and running without any pre-approval – you just need to do your own marketing. There are also lots of forums to share your game with and get help. It is really best to hit all the potential places to get your game out there.
IGM: Can we expect to see 3079 appear on any other digital distribution services in the future?
P: Yes, I’m working on some more and news will be shared via my Twitter page!
IGM: During your time as a game developer, what would you say are the most important lessons you’ve learned? Is there anything from your experiences that you can pass on to any potential developers out there?
P: There are lots of players out there, and they all want and value different things. Have a good vision of what you want your game to be and listen to your supporters, especially those with constructive criticism.
IGM: 2011 was certainly a great year for indie games, with Indie Game Magazine’s Game of the Year Awards flooded with masses of great games. Do you feel that the rise of the indie games market can continue into 2012 and beyond?
P: Of course! Indie games are where the innovation is. So many developers now have amazing tools, like jMonkeyEngine, to see their own ideas come alive. I believe the indie market will only continue to grow!
IGM: With regards to these great indie titles released during the past year, are there any recently released games that you’ve been playing yourselves?
P: I wish I had time to play games! Not only do I spend lots of time developing 3079, but I also have a 4 month old son to take care of! I have to recommend Towns, which is on Desura, and Stellar, which is on IndieCity – two great indie games!
IGM: Thanks very much for giving us a bit more insight into your game. We wish you all the best will in the world for the game’s continued success.