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Hero's Journey

Interview with Simutronics CEO David Whatley

Hero's Journey, Interviews, MMO Industry, Star Wars: The Old Republic


The MMO Gamer have interviewed David Whatley, the President and CEO of Simutronics, who are making HeroEngine and their upcoming MMO called Hero's Journey. HeroEngine is billed as a streamlined engine for creating MMOs with development taking place inside the games themselves so that all of the development team can work together in a live environment with changes being seen by the entire team immediately. So far the highest profile game to use HeroEngine is Star Wars: The Old Republic.

The interview covers their design philosophy of bring their experience with MUDs into MMO development, how they became a middleware company after people started to want to use their engine and how they're hoping that their technology will reduce development times and costs for any games that use it. Whatley also points out that until a AAA game, he suggests Star Wars: The Old Republic, released there won't be any empirical data on how much time using their engine will save a developer but he believes that it will mean games can be developed in about half the time. This saving can either be used to produce a game twice as quickly, or to develop twice the game that you would normally be able to produce.

You can check out the full interview over at The MMO Gamer.

GDC09: How HeroEngine revolutionizes MMORPG game design

Hero's Journey, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Hands-On, Virtual Worlds

Let's be frank, MMOs are a pain in the rear to design. You have large teams working collaboratively to build huge expanses of terrain, hundreds upon thousands of objects in the world that players can interact with, server architecture to worry about, and even more in-depth things that the standard player may not even notice or consider.

But if you've been on the site recently and have been checking out our coverage of the GDC, then you may have heard us and developers talking excitedly about HeroEngine, the new MMO developing tool from Simutronics. HeroEngine is powering games like The World of Gatheryn and this funny Star Wars game from those BioWare people, as well as other companies that haven't announced their new projects as of yet.

So why is HeroEngine so amazing? Well, we got the inside scoop straight from Simutronics as we visited their booth at the GDC.

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Wired's vaporware column adds Hero's Journey next to Duke Nukem Forever

Hero's Journey, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion


And everyone at the Massively offices scratched their heads at the same time and said, "Huh?" All right, so Hero's Journey has been in production for, well, forever, but just because the game isn't coming out anytime soon doesn't exactly warrant it on the vaporware list at position number 8.

Especially as the game's engine, the now well-known HeroEngine, has been licensed by BioWare for this Star Wars game you might have heard about. The HeroEngine development has caught on like wildfire, and even Simutronics's own Neil Harris has said to Massively that the game is on the back burner while the engine development is in the forefront.

But, they still haven't left the game entirely in the dust. They've said that the game still has a long way to come in terms of content and polishing, but they're still letting people log in and play -- even when they're not around. The website even features in-game footage and screenshots, a bit more than Duke blowing some smoke at the camera and uttering a classic Duke-ism.

With all that said, Hero's Journey hasn't been pressing for release or gaining undue hype. It's a game that has been sitting in the corner, lurking, waiting for the right moment to strike. Plus, with most vaporware, we're usually left hanging -- wondering what exactly those developers have been doing with their time when they should have been developing. With Simutronics, we know exactly what they've been doing -- making a great engine. So that leaves the question, is it still vaporware if we know we shouldn't expect it?

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