Questions by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Answers Michael Lynch, Project Manager & Game Designer of MyDream
I had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with Project Manager/Game Designer of MyDream, Michael Lynch. I had as I described a “small pile of questions” to ask, and he was kind enough to put up with it. Without any further ado, my interview on what to expect from the MyDream title and their developers! There is also a stream to take a look at, as well as a link to their early access on Steam; the MyDream community is very good at listening to the players in the early access, so if you are interested, now is definitely the time!
Ragachak: What can you tell me about MyDream that will help someone that has never seen the product/title before?
Michael: It is an online world building sandbox game, players can create worlds, and in these worlds they can terraform with organic voxel terrain, build off of a grid, similar to other building games, can create quests/adventures for other players. All of the worlds are connected, sort of like an online service and you have access to every world that has been created [through portals].
Ragachak: There are a few fairly popular world building/multiplayer titles going right now. In what way would you say that MyDream will make it stand out among the crowd, and draw players in?
Michael: I think we are more tailored to online play, like it’s not sort of attached to the game. The entire game is fundamentally built on being an online game. A lot of features we will be adding in early access will sort of will help in proving our intentions with the online, one of the things we’re going to add, is crafting and research, learn to create new items, and improve them by researching further. It’s going to be set up in such a way that it’s going to be hard to learn everything. It is set up here that you’ll have to sort of specialize, and there will be incentive to come into contact with players that have other specializations.
Ragachak: Now I personally am not too familiar with these voxel style sandbox games, so I have to ask: When creating structures and buildings on your world, do you have to mine materials first, or are you simply given access to all the tools you will need right out of the gate?
Michael: In the early access you have everything and you can just build since crafting is still in the works. You will have to find materials though, once crafting is in play. There may be a free-build added level, but that is still in discussion. There is also a leveling system in the works, where crafting/mining will give you experience, and if there is a free-build mode, it would not be connected to the leveling system, as that would be pretty unbalanced.
Ragachak: On the subject of structures, how is the crafting system? Do you use recipes, and if so, are they discovered or found? Or is it more like Minecraft where you piece things together and see what works?
Michael: Recipe/research, you will start with a subset of items, and based on what material you are using, you will be able to research more items that use that material, or improve what you already (reduce cost, taking more damage before they are destroyed). Crafting with that material will get research, and you can use that improve or research.
Ragachak: One thing I’m certainly interested in that I have seen is the ability to build adventures or quests into your world for other players to explore. Can you expand on that a little bit?
Michael: Right now it’s a very basic implementation, it’s simply an A to B system: you put in a starting marker, give it a name, add a story, and some basic parameters that you can set such as, “Can someone edit during this quest?”, “Will you empty their inventory when they take it [the quest]?”, “Will there be a lives/time limit? Then you put the ending marker wherever you want, and tie it to that beginning quest markers. You are given a list of quest markers on the world, and you pick the one you want to associate with. Any player who walks into the quest maker will be given the option to take the quest. Though A-B is very simple, the items in the game will make it more interesting. Jumping puzzles, explore this castle, hints and puzzles to solve along the way. There is a lot to do, but it will be expanded. Traps, interval spikes, dragon turrets that track and shoot players. Dart shooters, and just basic spikes, and then we have quest helper items, checkpoint blocks, regeneration stands, and we’re constantly adding more. There’s a lot of tools to make your quest come alive.
Ragachak: What about the idea of taming/breeding monsters to be added to these worlds/dungeons? Is this something you guys are looking at?
Michael: This is something that will come along eventually at some point. Maybe not taming, but we are looking into the best way to acquire monsters, such as maybe taming or raising. This has not been decided quite yet. We’re very serious about early access and listening to what players are into.
Ragachak: What are the odds of say, creating campaigns or tying quests together to make quest chains/longer adventures?
Michael: You can already tie quests together, and there are no limits to how many quests you can put on a world. Quest chains are definitely possible, and an example of this is “Masochistopia”, created by the development team. It features a jumping puzzle that is a part of a quest chain and shows off a good deal of what the game can do. It is also incredibly challenging! Since all the worlds are all connected, we can have portals from world to world. Say you have a quest on a mountain world, and you need to portal to a world where you’d need to get lava (still being implemented) and you would have to travel worlds to acquire it.
Ragachak: Can you tell me something about the Geocaches I’ve heard about? I’m familiar with the concept of them, but they are definitely unique to your game.
Michael: They aren’t really being utilized much right now, but we are trying to show them off to get use of them! They are items you can hide in the world for people to find. They can be used as collectibles or hidden items rewards for exploration. We want to have a checklist, to show you what is possible to be found on the world: EG: There are 8 geocaches on this world, you have 6, keep exploring!
Ragachak: I see in the current patch that you are updating some of the visuals, for players and the world, as well as working on water test worlds. Can you expand some on water worlds? Are players going to be able to create (or are already able to) structures underwater?
Michael: We have been working on dynamic liquid and it was just added. This is the first public viewing of it in the current patch, it’s nice to see the ability to make dynamic liquid, it has a long way to go, right now they are treating the ice blocks like a water source, you can drop down a water source, and it will be less blocky as the game progresses. You can create water in the world, and as you dig under, the water will continue to flow and fill the area. But it’s in the water test worlds, if anyone wants to test it. Underwater structures would function very much like a terrain, not attached to the grid. We have an actual organic terrain system that is not attached to the grid, and you can attach items that intersect with the terrain, including Underwater Palaces. They are really open to letting players have total control to the world owner as possible and I really like this idea.
Ragachak: What direction do you see the game moving in the future?
Michael: One challenge we have on the team is the sheer amount of things we can work on. Right now we’re sort of focusing on a building/creation game, with tools and features to expand that. But if the player consensus was that they are looking for more than an adventure-centric game, there’s a lot of cool things to do with that avenue. So we’re kind of leaning more towards building and creation, but we are listening to what our players want and are definitely willing to transition to something. We are open to let it evolve wherever it will organically. We are in a position here they not only they can listen, they should. In essence, the players are creating the game. We are providing the tools to do that.