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Planet Calypso: Introducing: Joakim Antonsson - Game Designer

Discussion in 'Entropia News' started by narfi, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. narfi

    narfi Lost

    I am as curious as anyone when a new face becomes visible behind Mind Ark and their Planet Partners veil of secrecy. So when Joakim started posting on the Calypso forums last month I sent him a message asking if he would be willing to answer some questions for our readers here at EntropiaPlanets.

    He willingly obliged, and took time out of his hectic schedule for us.

    slider.


    < < < J O A K I M

    Q. You have been registered on the Calypso forums for most of this year, but just started making your presence known this week. Who are you, what do you do for MindArk or Planet Calypso? (some people would like to know if you are a MA employee or a Calypso employee)

    A. I work for Planet Calypso, but before that I was employed as a software tester at Mindark.​

    Q. Are you working out of Sweden or Mexico?

    A. I am working in Sweden​

    Q. Do you have any family?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Dog or Cat person?

    A. None, I had both dog and a cat when I was younger

    Q. iPhone or Android?

    A. iPhone.​

    < < < G A M E S


    Q. Favorite game from the 90s? Why?

    A. This is a very hard question since I have a lot of great childhood memories of games. I will just go with the first things which comes up in my mind:​

      • Super Metroid
      • Megaman X
      • Secret of Mana
      • Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana 2)
      • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the past
      • Quake
      • Diablo
      • etc...


    Q. Favorite single player game? why?

    A. Same as above and there is a lot more, well back in the days my family and friends had a lot of single player games but we played them together. I remember when playing the first Metroid (NES) I was painting and memorizing the map while my older brother were progressing through the game.

    Q. Favorite multiplayer game? Why?

    A.​

      • Golden Eye 007
      • Time Splitters
      • Super Smash Bros
      • Diablo 2
      • Unreal Tournament
      • Super Mario Kart
    Q. Favorite MMO (not counting Entropia Universe)? Why?
    A. World Of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic​

    World Of Warcraft provided me with endgame challenges, and to overcome these challenges with a team of great players and personalities has been one of the greatest experience I had in gaming.

    I really enjoyed Star Wars: The Old Republic, I love the star wars universe and everything related to that but when hit the max level there were not much fun to do, and the things that was fun were very buggy which made me lose interest. I thought that they would fix these issues rather quickly however that was not the case, in the end I was bored.


    [​IMG]
    Star Wars: The Old Republic - A group of elite Imperials ready to storm across a light bridge. (Source: http://www.swtor.com/info/media/)


    Q. How often do you go 'undercover' and play in Entropia?

    A. As often as I can :)
    Q. Have you ever flown on one of my ships (EntropiaTransport.com)? And if so how was your experience with the crew?


    A. Nope​

    < < < M I N D A R K

    Q. A little research shows that you have worked as a tester for MindArk in the past. What is that like, and how does the testing process work?

    A. It’s a challenge but a fun one as well. The testing method we are using are Agile Testing with daily scrum meetings.​

    Q. What is the difference between working for MA and working for Calypso? Or is there really no difference at all?

    A. Of course it is very different, not only by having a new role from software tester to a game designer. I think this was the right step to take, all the experience from testing is making me a better game designer both in planning and execution.
    Q. Do MA guys get put on Calypso projects or Calypso guys on platform projects? How does that work?

    A. Yes, sometimes cooperation is needed.


    [​IMG]

    Q. Do you have any involvement with Space development or Monria?

    A. Space development, no. Monria, i did the initial quest progression implementation requested by Mindark, nothing more.

    Q. If so what can you share about the future they will have?

    A. No​

    Q. What are your thoughts about the PR approach MA has had in the past and what their plans are for the future.

    A. I think the past was not so great, but we can see great improvements today.

    Q. A statistic that people like to throw around is that MA hasn't had a profit year since 2009. How much of that is creative book keeping, and how much of that is that they are really suffering bad losses through this growing stage?

    A. I can’t answer that since i’m not the financial guy, however I know that we do not suffer from bad losses in this growing stage.
    < < < C A L Y P S O


    Q. Calypso has already a long history with several dramatic changes of the environment and story-line branches that are perceived unfinished by many players. Are there plans to add more 'historic' landmarks to the current Calypso? Are there plans to continue those old storyline branches or are they considered being finished?

    A. We will add more historic landmarks and we will pick up and continue with old storyline branches.​


    "Our team has great
    ideas and a lot of these
    ideas can never be
    implemented due to the
    RCE, there are so many
    factors which plays a
    role in this virtual world."


    Q. I am sure that you know the players are thirsty for any form of communication with the devs they can get. Your recent posts have promoted an impromptu Joakim for President campaign, what would your vote be?

    A. I vote blank :)​


    Q. One of the big changes/issues with this recent VU was the new hitboxes on mobs. What will these be used for?

    A. Hit and collision detection.​


    Q. For issues like there were with the VU last month, (constant crashes, people unable to log in, and those that could log in unable to hunt due to the buggy hit boxes) what percent of the staff comes in during the night or weekend to work on it?

    A. A designated team.

    < < < G A M E D E S I G N


    Q. From a game design perspective, is the RCE setting a blessing or a burden? why?

    A. Our team has great ideas and a lot of these ideas can never be implemented due to the RCE, there are so many factors which plays a role in this virtual world. If we want to implement something fun and different we will have to calculate everything we can in order to make some sort of balance, after all this is a RCE MMO.

    Q. What is the biggest challenge in designing EU? What is your personal favorite part of EU?

    A. The greatest challenge is to satisfy all the players inside Planet Calypso. My personal favorite is the great community this game have.​


    Q. What do you personally think is the most worthwhile project to address in EU development in the near future?

    A. As for Calypso development we will continue to revamp servers on Eudoria, re-creating and improving the feel that we all know was lost many years ago.
    As for Mindark development it’s all about the players, I think that creating something around our amazing community should be highly prioritized. Fixing all the social tools and aspect of the game is crucial and should have been done several years ago in my opinion, BUT the most important thing right now is to fix the client stability for players.


    [​IMG]

    Q. In the end, is 'popular demand' from the current player base paramount over consistency of settings and a designers mindset? What decides when the demands of the current player base seem to conflict with features potentially attracting new players?

    A. There is always conflicts when designing content for current players and new players, but we do our best to make both sides happy.​


    < < < F U T U R E


    Q. Is there any chance we will ever get a 'xxxx avatars currently online at Planet xxxx' at the login screen or website?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Any chance we can get some teasers or more firm timelines about taming?

    A. Nope.​


    Q. Any hints or teasers on how the melee amps will work or when they will be released?

    A. I believe Kim wrote some information about this on the Planet Calypso forums.​


    Q. Two of the new features this VU were the Progress Window and the 'random' skill gain timed bonus. Are they related in some way? How or when is the bonus triggered?

    A. No, they are not related. I don’t know how or when the bonus is triggered.​


    [​IMG]


    Q. Are there any plans for features (or in depth instances) to indulge players competitive spirits that are not hunting/crafting/mining related?
    Mini games or puzzles, with daily/all time leader-boards, golfing(the old golf course from when VU10 first came out) billiards(on the Motherships), racing? boxing? Darts? chess/checkers/board/strategy games/etc....? There are a lot of possibilities for things like this to add a layer of 'reality' to our virtuality.


    A. I don’t know, features are on MindArk table, however I would love to see some of this features implemented :)​


    Q. Anything you would like to add or comment on?

    A. People claiming Planet Calypso and Mindark is the same thing are wrong, we are very different teams with different incentives, people seems to forget that. Calypso is NOT MindArk.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2013
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  2. RAZER

    RAZER Custom title ... uh ...

    Promised Narfi to post this in my first post, so here it is :)

    forpresident.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. sissi

    sissi sissi

    Great scoop and gratz on being there first. Keep up the good work Narfi and Joakim!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. Jamira

    Jamira Samurai Girl

    Well, a very dry guy ... he said nothing.

    I wouldn't vote for him.
     
  5. Tass

    Tass Administrator

    Tyvm Joakim!

    Featuring a Calypso guy is a premiere on EP, although we've been trying hard for years, so it means a lot.
     
  6. Great interview and a really fascinating insight into Calypso development. Also very interesting that Joakim says that Calypso is not MindArk, so not the same development team. At least we now all know.
     
  7. RAZER

    RAZER Custom title ... uh ...

    see, this images proves that:
    C is not M.
     
  8. EwoK

    EwoK Southern Fortress Engineering

    Some good answers, some a bit too vague for my liking but understandable. Well done for getting a response.
     
  9. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    Oh I don't know... I kinda liked that interview. He did say stuff that interested me at least. I'd have like to have seem some in detail questions about testing through perhaps with some specific examples for him to comment on. For instance:

    "Could you talk about the testing procedure carried out in preparation for the Avatar update initial release? Can you comment on what caused the deformations bug for example and how this was missed in the context of the existing testing procedure? Additionally were there any changes to the testing/release procedure in light of MindArk's experiences with this release?"

    haha I should never be an interviewer. They'd hate my questions ;)

    Wistrel
     
  10. "Our team has great ideas and a lot of these ideas can never be implemented due to the RCE..."
    For example "love of detail" cant be implemented because of the Real Ca$h Economy ?

    A. We will add more historic landmarks and we will pick up and continue with old storyline branches.
    Choose your words carefully. They may come back to destroy you. Sooner or later there will be noone left to remember the story of 2000/2001/2002/2003/2004/2005/2006/2007/2008/2009, no matter which of these years you choose.

    Btw., feel free to click my blog, so I wont have to drown this post into broken promises and lies. (MA and Calypso wise) :p

    The link can be found in my signature.


    Just a little deeper...
     
  11. MindStar9

    MindStar9 Floating in Space

    Sorry to bring this up Narfi, because I know you worked hard on this interview and did a good job of getting it done and published, so bravo to you for real, but truth is truth and I find myself compelled to become vocal again about stuff that some in this community just take for granted and don't think about.

    This is what comes to my mind when the topic of Calypso isn't MA and vice versa comes up.

    On paper? ... no they are not, they are two separate entities, but they're in the same office except for the part farmed out to Mexico (Kim gets a nice vacation now and then), and Kim Welter, who is on the Calypso development team, is also the son of the Chairman of the Board.

    Based on the following questions and answers, Joakim clearly states that the two teams work together on different projects, whether it's platform-related, Calypso, and now Monria. Joakim is a Calypso employee by his own admission, yet he did work on a competitive entity within the platform (Monria). There is no way in hell you can blame the Monria Team for anything that went wrong, it was the MA and Calypso developers who put this new planetoid together with input from the Monria Team, and they were just as surprised as everyone else when all hell broke loose.

    I don't know about you, but that sends red flags up for me, and ... I find it interesting that this interview was done just by Narfi connecting with Joakim a couple of months ago, because ... I was told flat out in an email from David Simmonds that no journalist is allowed to approach an MA or Calypso employee for an interview without going through him, unless you got approval from him and didn't mention it, but just the same, good job Narfi.

    I understand that MA had to buy back Calypso because of the SEE situation, and continue to say that the MA and Calypso entities are different and not one in the same, but based again on the following, I beg to differ with that line of information since it's been made clear and public that they definitely work together, and they also work on competitor entities, so ... the following got me a bit revved up.

    ==========================================================

    You have been registered on the Calypso forums for most of this year, but just started making your presence known this week. Who are you, what do you do for Mind Ark or Planet Calypso. (some people would like to know if you are a MA employee or a Calypso employee)
    • I work for Planet Calypso, but before that I was employed as a software tester at Mindark.
    Do MA guys get put on Calypso projects or Calypso guys on platform projects? How does that work?
    • Yes, sometimes cooperation is needed.
    Do you have any involvement with Space development or Monria?
    • Space development, no
    • Monria, i did the initial quest progression implementation requested by Mindark, nothing more.
    Anything you would like to add or comment on?

      • People claiming Planet Calypso and Mindark is the same thing are wrong, we are very different teams with different incentives, people seems to forget that. Calypso is NOT Mindark.

      [​IMG]

    ====================================================

    I fully anticipate that there will be those who will justify what it is that MA and Calypso do, so it won't surprise me, but it does intrigue me though that so many can complain and post their frustrations about their experiences and the mess that MA makes of things, yet they continue to blindly defend.

    I really feel bad for Monria and what some have posted on their FB page, because they absolutely don't deserve it, and I feel bad for those who were going to Monria for the experience and got locked out for as long as they did. They talk about testing (Joakim said he was a tester with MA before becoming a game designer with Calypso), but I'm with Wistrel and the questions that were posed, because I sure as hell would like to know what kind of testing was done with Monria - I'm sure they would too.

    I'm done, it just makes me sad in too many ways to continue, but I could, and will just apologize to the rest of the staff members if I spoiled an article that was long-awaited for by MA or Calypso at EP, so will just say good job Narfi, and I hope that they will continue to give the credit to EP that it deserves.

    Oh, and btw ... nothing personal toward Joakim at all, he's doing a good job of communicating at PCF, and genuinely seems to be rather popular with the community.
     
    • Hussked Hussked x 1
  12. I've always been a big fan of the software testing that MA does.

    And I mean like from day one 7 years ago, up to today, just love the software testers and all the good works they have accomplished for me. Best fun ever!

    :thumbup:


    -Obie slips ya a fiver-
    :nunchucks::nunchucks::nunchucks:
     
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  13. I came on to post a blog entry then saw this and read everything... I gasped and laughed out loud when I read this:

    I was blogging about this very same thing that I was working on in my head all last week. And finally came got around to it.

    Should take the least amount of effort to implement since its mostly adding more functionality to event terminals:
    http://www.entropiaplanets.com/xfa-...additions-to-event-options-and-variables.205/
     
  14. sissi

    sissi sissi

    Wish I had the permission to read your blog :)

    EntropiaPlanets.com - Entropia Universe forum, wiki, media, tools - Error
    You do not have permission to view this page or perform this action.
     
  15. sorry, I left it for website members only. Should be viewable now that your registered(I think).
    I like giving these guys first dibs when it comes to possible concepts for future content.

    Well its generally the same game engine, right? Just used differently, with its own stylized content separate from one planet to the next. It makes perfect sense to me that they would share or swap code back and forth. As someone who has privately edited a great number of mods coded/scripted in C++ for the Armed Assault series (Arma 1&2 etc), the whole community benefits when they help each other squash bugs and so forth [https://dev-heaven.net/] even amongst competing mod types. Like ACE and SLX which changed many of the same features and had to be manually edited piece by piece to work together.
    As I had done on my own with arma1 (with mixed but worth while results) and what someone publicly did for Arma 2 (and well! Even mad it more customizable and removed bugs.).

    In other words:
    I don't see them as competitors as you put it. Planet partners is a much more suitable description.
    Since they all benefit from drawing in more players from other online games out there, especially subscription based pay to play ones.
    That should be their top targeted demographic: Players from cash cows like world of warcraft.
    For someone like myself who was never impressed with it's formula or its many clones with different flavors,
    EU wins up my cash input. It's RCE provides me that incentive. And is a small price to input when you not only can earn more back or break even, but it helps go back into content creation.

    You can't say the same of WOW which makes has you paying monthly fees that seem to go to server costs and bug fixes than expanded content as originally promised from the outset. Instead they have you pay separately for expansions. Which were supposed to be worked into to justify the high monthly fees in the first place. SOE did the same with the original Final Fantasy online. Those are players not looking to cash out, but find a more compelling and immerse experience. They will get that with EU at a more comfortable price of whatever amount they wish to put in at their own pace.

    To reply to this in full, I'm going to splinter the more delicate aspects of this conversation off into its own blog post. As I go into greater depth and don't want to flood this topic even with useful info for the developer(s). Found here:
    http://www.entropiaplanets.com/xfa-blog-entry/eu-ma-and-more-means-to-draw-in-generate-their-profits-at-lower-costs.206/

    Should prove to be very useful to them.

    btw, WOW is a great game if you adapt your play style to how its meant to be played.
    But from a stand point of how it ruined what MMORPGs were meant to be like more like Persistent (usually player driven) Virtual Worlds, they turned it into more into a money generator.
    I mean, profits are good, but I wish they had delivered on the original goals of the product's conception.
    I've talked major fans of Blizzard including some who work in the game development industry be disenchanted by that. but in the end, a game is as enjoyable as one is willing to perceive it.
    Even if you have to dumb down your expectations. (I usually skip that part and more on to something else)
    I mean 40 or so years ago people were getting thrills and laughs from playing pong.
    (And still probably do for nostalgic late night stupors amongst friends, I'm sure. Curtsy of PC emulation or ipad remakes or similar.)
     
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  16. EwoK

    EwoK Southern Fortress Engineering

    The problem though I-o-I is that the current team works across both platform and planet related projects.

    MA still owns Planet Calypso regardless of how the paperwork is shuffled and the perception is that they guard their players like Smaug guards his gold (in regards to events being run etc).

    Also, as long as Calypso seems to get first pick on any new systems coming out, the players will continue to perceive a conflict of interest against the other planets, regardless of what the reality may be.

    The ONLY way this is EVER going to change is if someone completely independent and non-Sweden based buys Calypso and moves its offices out of Sweden completely.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
    • Agree Agree x 3
  17. Tass

    Tass Administrator



    Let's face it - most other current MMOs have better systems when it comes to combat, quests/missions, instances, teaming, etc etc etc. But RCE is a rather exclusive feature of Entropia Universe and imo MindArk are far away from completely exploiting its capabilities. More or less it all revolves around a really pretty interface for what is basically g******* <censored, aah the g word>. So wouldn't it be worth to not just half-heartedly implement the features that are cool in other games but maybe rather completely exploit the opportunites of the Real Cash Economy system? Well, after all true creativity only shows up where it's really challenged...



    * see also:
     
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