August 17th 2009 a date a few of you will remember. For those who don't, it is the date Entropia Universe went from VU 9.4.4 to VU 10.0 and brought us upgraded visuals with CryEngine 2. Some say it is the best thing even happened to EU and some, especially the old players think it is the worst thing even happened to EU. At the end of 2011 two friends started their own project to create a game and now almost 2 years later they have a working game in the early stages of development that looks and feels a lot like the Project Entropia we all knew and loved all those years ago. After discovering this project, giving it a go and liking it, the developers agreed to a little interview about their project so we can get to know it a little and maybe get more people to give it a go. What made you want to build a game looking and feeling very similar to EU? This just happened. We love games and thought about the things we liked and disliked from our experience. Applying the ideas we had about what felt was missing to stitch everything together. There were more games influencing our development like Face of Mankind and Fallen Earth. What will be very similar to Entropia Universe and what will be very different? The way our world is currently setup already looks and feels very similar to Project Entropia. It's often the first impression mentioned by new participants that are familiar with PE/EU. We got most inspiration from the "old" EU and the features we enjoyed back then. This is reflected in our PVP area where free pickups are spawned occasionally to make things more exciting. A lot of things changed with the transition to EU, so that's probably where you'll find the most differences. Basically, our project tries to extrapolate past and current real world events into a more or less realistic future. Flying carpets or brooms are unlikely ;). Graphics quality is a big difference but not our main concern since we're limited by the Unity free license anyway. How much time have you spent with development already? We don't actually keep track of hours spent or anything like that, but we have been testing and working on the project since late 2011/early 2012. We started with a very basic single player setup based on examples and tutorials provided by Unity and the community. What engine you are using? We are currently using the free version of the Unity engine. Mostly because it's perfectly suited for starting game developers. Decent documentation and a nice community has proven to be a big help figuring things out. Did you have any experience in game development before starting the project? Not really. Besides experimenting with the Unity engine we didn't have any professional programming experience. Working as an IT Test consultant was really helpful though. What costs are involved in development and who's paying? Up until now we have only invested our spare time. The costs of living are the only real expenses at the moment, but those would have applied even if we didn't decide to build a game. We are now at a point in time where we could really use some of the advanced features from the Unity Pro version, so we hope people like what we have to offer and chip-in to acquire a Unity Pro license. What are the short term/long term plans? For the short term we are working on game mechanics and content. At the moment we have three new (donated) mobs ready for release and we are beta testing a new asset for Unity called UMA (Unity Multipurpose Avatar). It's difficult to go into specifics for the long term but in general it will be about optimizing for sustainable growth and more eye-candy. How many people are working on Project Ion and what are their jobs when it comes to the game? Just the two of us. John is focused on managing the Unity project, (re)writing code and importing new assets. He knows how to work with Blender, GIMP and Audacity and used these to create assets that are currently in-game. Eddie has also created some assets, but his main objective is a smooth running website, database and (IRC) support. As the official spokesperson for the project he is also responsible for announcing (and packaging) the new releases and responding to interview requests. There are other people contributing in their own way with feedback, support and assets. If anyone wants to help with the game, are you open of people joining the team? There are already people helping the game forward and we regard every participant as part of the team. Their feedback is weighed heavily in our future development since we're players ourselves. We just have a bit more weight ;) What are you looking for? We appreciate everyone offering assets. Their names are part of our (developing) storyline and mentioned on our site. Cash donations to acquire a Unity Pro license, although we still need to implement a reward for these. Plans to go Real Cash Economy? What is the value of Real Cash these days? We are working on a resource based economy and a trading currency will be introduced in the near future. We are not planning a withdraw system for players to cash out. This is not even possible when we spend donations to improve the game. When we get a lot of donations we will look for ways to have some cool (real life) rewards. I hear you are very limited to the amount of people that can play at the same time (40) what are the plans for the future having an articles on a well-known EU website might get you a lot of people, will we see more server capacity anytime soon? The limit of 40 simultaneous players is a hard coded maximum but we haven't reached that amount yet. We received a donation in the form of a server upgrade that just needs some hard drives. The connection is probably the next bottleneck and there has been an offer to host from another location with more bandwidth. All these options are in consideration while we keep improving our network efficiency and developing skills. Project Ion is a 'working name/code name' I think, what will be the final name of the game? The word ion comes from the Greek word for "going" or ongoing. This describes the projects status rather well. This will be the final name unless we get a better final name. ;) On your website you mention there is now storyline yet, are there any idea on what it should be? The storyline is developing organically. Feedback and ideas from participants are appreciated. Every iteration of development adds new creatures, objects and items, possibly carrying clues in their descriptions... When can we expect the next planet ? When this one is used up and uninhabitable. So far the 3 main professions are in game, hunting, mining and crafting. Below is a short explanation on the 3 professions. Hunting From what I have seen there are 2 types of long range weapons in game, a pistol and a rifle and 2 melee weapons. At least the rifle has a few variations, being an adjusted and a prototype one. Shooting the guns is pretty much the same as in EU. Equip it from your inventory or make it a shortcut and place it under a key on your keyboard (0-9). The big difference between PION and EU is that you need to reload your gun after the ammo in the magazine runs out. This adds another dimension to hunting according to the developers and once you get used to it is indeed a nice addition. Once you have killed a creature you just have to walk over it to loot it. The loot consists of all sorts of things, from hemp leaves used in crafting, to ammo, to weapons. Mining Basically the same as in EU, you get a finder, an extractor and some bombs and you are set to go. Equip the finder, drop a bomb and hope to find something. Once you do equip the extractor aim at the deed and extract the ore. As far as I have seen there are 8 types of ores right now ranging from Titanium to Lead. Crafting Crafting is a 3-way activity. First you'll need to refine you raw materials at the alchemist, those refined materials will have to be crafted into components and those components you can craft into tools or weapons. So far there is a very limited amount of items you can craft, but I hear that in the next update new items will come. So, a game in it's very early stages of development, but with a nice glimpse into the past of Entropia Universe. I'm very excited to see where these guys will take this game. The current version of can be download there: https://sites.google.com/site/testbuilt/project-ion-info The official website of Project Ion can be found there: https://sites.google.com/site/gameprojection/home .