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Hero's Journey: Dev Journal Debut and Screens

Stephanie Shavner is a former GM on Hero's Journey and currently a Designer/Webmaster with Simutronics. Today, she debuts our new developer journal series with a look at what goes into being a GM. This feature also includes three exclusive images from their development tools.

image Those of you who have played tabletop RPGs like Vampire: the Masquerade, D&D, or GURPS know what a GameMaster (or DungeonMaster) is. For you newcomers who've never experienced the thrill of sitting around for eight hours while your character sat in a "charmed" state and ran around the map slaughtering the rest of your party members, allow me to explain.

A GameMaster, in the purest sense, is the person who builds the scenarios, monsters, non-player characters, world, and mechanics that their players must grapple with. Now, for those who have the money or friends with money, there are shortcuts. Nearly every GameMaster uses an already-established gaming system (though they may mod it to their own tastes). Some GameMasters build their own world using popsicle sticks and bits of twine, and some use a well-known world like Faerun or the Rifts universe to set their campaign in.

You can read the entire developer journal and see the images here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

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Comments

  • CholaynaCholayna Member Posts: 1,604

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  • HJ-AirienHJ-Airien Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 8

    I wanted to say Hello and elaborate on this Journal.

    I am one of the team of GM's that is helping to create this wonderful world.  This is for me a dream job and it is certianly a very fun job for me.  To work with all of these talented individuals, to create a world of fun and mystery and adventure. Our imaginations are endless!

    It is impossible to put into words how much fun this game will be. It is the little things, the details, the care and heart and soul we put into building and shaping this world.  This is not just slapping down a terrain and tossing in random trees.  We go at it, piece by piece with a vision in mind. We work with a team and we all look at the area from different angles.  When we take a small terrain from a brown rocky looking shoreline piece and turn it into a Oceanside village, it is truly an amazing thing to see the result of our efforts.  You can see some of the results with the screenshots, but I can tell you the real thing is so much better :)

    We cant wait for people to come in and run around!

     

     

     

  • kspadakspada Member Posts: 22
    Sounds like alot of fun for everyone, can't wait to run around in your world! :)

    Aspire to Inspire before you Expire...

  • HJ-SevHJ-Sev Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 5

    Heya peoples!

    I just intro'ed myself elsewhere on these forums, but this is far too ripe an opportunity for redundancy... Not to mention there are visual aids now!

    So in that bottom screenshot, I am the boxer-faced guy on the left wearing the hood.  I'll go by GM Sev or Agro, and occasionally Erik.  And despite what the title says, I am not a codeninja, I actually work with the amazing folks on the Quests team!

    Look up my other post for more, or future ones image

    Sev

  • HJ-XadrianHJ-Xadrian Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 9

    Greetings!

    Thought I'd chime in and introduce myself. I'm one of those super-secret ninja-coder GMs working on the nuts and bolts of Hero's Journey. It's been fun being a part of HJ and seeing new and *interesting* things every day. I try to work on a lot of integral systems, some of which are behind the scenes and some that you'll use everyday in the course of playing the game, whether you know it or not.

    I have a long background in programming, starting with an Atari 800 and a BASIC cartridge when I was a wee 7 years old. ::::02:: I have been programming for a small company for the better part of a decade, and recently decided college was probably a Good Thing(tm), so I'm currently studying operating systems design and interactive graphics programming.

    Since I have my nose buried in code all day, I am constantly surprised (or even shocked) at the level of quality and artistry the world builders put out. When I need a break, sometimes I just hop over to see what they're working on, and it's always amazing. Moreso to someone like me who can *almost* draw a stick-figure. ::::39::

    Anyway, that's probably more than enough about me. Nice to meet everyone!

    HJ-Xadrian
    Hero's Journey GameMaster - Fighting for the rights of badgers everywhere.
    www.play.net/hj/

  • GobboKnightGobboKnight Member UncommonPosts: 40

    Argh, my previous post attempt is wiped out by the system again, sigh.

    Anyway, it's cool to see all these GMs here talking about what they do, and I look forward to trying out the game on release. As a veteran of tabletop gaming myself, it's good to see some of the magic being brought into the MMO world, it's been sorely lacking.

    -Gobbo Knight

    "Tie two birds together...they have four wings, but cannot fly." -Blind man, Circle of Iron

  • HJ-ZeeHJ-Zee Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 47

    GM Zee reporting for duty!

    I'll tell you that comming aboard here with Hero's Journey is a dream come true! I must say though that when I applied (the first few times image) I didn't think I had a snowballs chance in hell of getting accepted. Well... perhaps I'm being rewarded for that one time I took out the trash without my mom having to beat me with a broom. Who knows... but I'm loving it!

    I'm currently working with Sev on the Quest Team and I too am awaiting the time when I can drop anvils onto your head (In game that is.)

     

    Zee

    ________________________

    Zee
    Simutronics GameMaster
    Hero's Journey - Quests Team
    http://www.herosjourney.net

  • icecrossicecross Member Posts: 78


    Originally posted by HJ-Zee
    I'm currently working with Sev on the Quest Team and I too am awaiting the time when I can drop anvils onto your head (In game that is.)
    Zee

    Great, now we have to worry about cranial fractures too!

    But seriously, I really appreciate that we get to go "under the skin" of this game, if only just a little. Great to see you are making progress and that the game seemingly is evolving into something deep and beautiful, not just a graphical grindfest of loot and numbers. Are the characters we see on the screenshot straight from the character editor? I heard it's possible to customize your character there but *damn*, I just had to ask ::::35::


    ::::20::

  • HJ-AirienHJ-Airien Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 8



    Originally posted by icecross




    Originally posted by HJ-Zee
    I'm currently working with Sev on the Quest Team and I too am awaiting the time when I can drop anvils onto your head (In game that is.)
    Zee


    Great, now we have to worry about cranial fractures too!

    But seriously, I really appreciate that we get to go "under the skin" of this game, if only just a little. Great to see you are making progress and that the game seemingly is evolving into something deep and beautiful, not just a graphical grindfest of loot and numbers. And with that said, I move on to the questions:


    Are the characters we see on the screenshot straight from the character editor? I heard it's possible to customize your character there but *damn*, I just had to ask ::::35::

    Will HeroBlade be able to alter the world environment real-time or do we have to wait for patches or updates to see changes? An example: a brave adventurer finds a chest in a dungeon, but he cannot open it due to some flaw in the code. He contacts a GM and tells him about the problem. The GM immediately... a: makes the chest work as intended or b: takes a note of it for the to-do list for the next update.


    ::::20::



    I can answer the first question: The charcters you see in the shot comes right from the character creation. That is just the tip of the ice-burg as far as customization.

    I dont know the answer to your second question, that would pertain to the GM's that will be working on player customer service issues. (Jim! I'm a world builder not a treasure chest locksmith!) 

     

  • BrynnBrynn Member Posts: 345

    image  I am sincerely in awe! Never have I looked so forward to a game. I do wish the GMs a ton of fun because then I know I will have fun too. If this all works out as planned, I will bow down and worship.

  • MrBootsMrBoots Member UncommonPosts: 289

    - Too much instancing in this game. These instanced games are hurting the genre.

    - Same old auto-attack special sequencing (ASS) combat system seen in almost every other MMO.

    - Another MMO where player interaction will be limited by artificial restrictions. Sounds like another game of cooperative virtual whack-a-mole to me. PVP is obviously an afterthought so it will most likely be pointless.

    - The graphics look good (Slightly too realistic looking in my opinion. I wish it was more stylized like asian games.). Character creation seems better than most games. It's still limited in one way though. Everyone has to be well endowed 20 something year old stud/hottie. Why cant you be a grizzled geezer, or a vertically challenged brat?

    I give it:
    2 out of 10

  • hj-sylveriahj-sylveria Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 23

    Now, now.  Worship is not necessary.  Gifts, on the other hand...<g>

    Sylveria here, also an HJ GM and formerly (with Stephanie) in DragonRealms.  I've been involved in nearly every Simutronics game at one time or another and have been excited about Hero's Journey since the idea was first presented to us.

    I'm looking forward to participating in this forum and meeting our prospective player community!

    Zee...I think I'm going to call you GM Anvil from now on :)

     

    image

  • HJ-AirienHJ-Airien Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 8



    Originally posted by MrBoots

    - Too much instancing in this game. These instanced games are hurting the genre.
    - Same old auto-attack special sequencing (ASS) combat system seen in almost every other MMO.
    - Another MMO where player interaction will be limited by artificial restrictions. Sounds like another game of cooperative virtual whack-a-mole to me. PVP is obviously an afterthought so it will most likely be pointless.
    - The graphics look good (Slightly too realistic looking in my opinion. I wish it was more stylized like asian games.). Character creation seems better than most games. It's still limited in one way though. Everyone has to be well endowed 20 something year old stud/hottie. Why cant you be a grizzled geezer, or a vertically challenged brat?
    I give it:
    2 out of 10



    MrBoots: I don't know where you got your information, but it is inaccurate to say the least.  Perhaps you were referring to a different game? What  source did you get your information from?

     

  • HJ-MitraHJ-Mitra Hero's Journey<BR>Quest ManagerMember Posts: 10

    I'd like to say hello as well. I'm Mitra, and I run the Quests team (the most fun group there is, in my not-in-the-least-bit-biased opinion!). I came to Hero's Journey from another Simutronics product, GemStone, where I was last seen in charge of the World team. I am incredibly excited about working with the world-building tools and the Journey system to create the most personalized, immersive, and downright enthralling quests possible. I've got a fantastic group of GMs working with me, and I hope we keep getting more (check out the application on our website if you might be interested)! It's also fun to have this chance to chat with potential players before release and get some early ideas of what everyone is searching for in an online RPG.

  • MrBootsMrBoots Member UncommonPosts: 289

    The official site and unofficial FAQ mostly.

    Feel free to tell me which parts are wrong.

  • AndragonAndragon Member Posts: 3

    - Too much instancing in this game. These instanced games are hurting the genre.

    There will be lots of instances...true. BUt as far as I know there will be lots of common areas. Here is a quote from the warcry devchat (june '05):


    <DelmarWynn> Will quests be instance based?

    <David> Much of HJ play is in common areas, like say EQ. But quests take place in instances. This pattern is most similar to City of Heroes. There is a good balance of both. You can avoid instance areas in large part if you like though I wouldn't recommend it personally. I know that there is some trepidation related to instancing by some... maybe brought about by games that pushed instancing so far that it ruined the ability to be with other people. We're not going to make that mistake... it'll be done right.



    - Same old auto-attack special sequencing (ASS) combat system seen in almost every other MMO.

    There will be no "Real time combat" like in DDO or Age of Conan. The combat system is still different from those we know from other MMOs though.


    <Morneblade> Could you give us a idea on what kind of combat system you will be using? Typical autoattack/specials or something different?

    <SimuJhyrryl> We'll have auto-attacking on some level, but our combat is very tactically oriented. It's all about paying attention to what's going on around you, the creatures, your group, the environment, and making the best you can out of it dynamically. So your abilities reflect that. Sure you'll be auto-attacking, but you'll also be making important choices that will impact the outcome of the combat.

    <David> Auto-attacking is reserved for your most basic combat moves. But the real skill of the fight is in everything else you do. Position and maneuver play a much bigger role in HJ. With things like multiplayer combat moves, you need to be very conscious of what is going on around you and making split-second decisions. The one thing I really want to avoid is combat just being that you walk up to a critter, turn on auto-attack, and sit there waiting to see who's bar hits zero first. Instead, it's a lot of moving for position, take advantage of terrain and opportunities...and if you are with a group, working together.


    THey didnt say something about the tactical possibilities of magic...you can draw a line where a wall of fire should appear...there is a video from E3 last year...take a look at it and you will see that its a little more advanced than the usual combat system we know.


    - Another MMO where player interaction will be limited by artificial restrictions. Sounds like another game of cooperative virtual whack-a-mole to me. PVP is obviously an afterthought so it will most likely be pointless.

    Cant say anything about that...there isnt much information about pvp out there...

    - The graphics look good (Slightly too realistic looking in my opinion. I wish it was more stylized like asian games.). Character creation seems better than most games. It's still limited in one way though. Everyone has to be well endowed 20 something year old stud/hottie. Why cant you be a grizzled geezer, or a vertically challenged brat?

    I wont comment on the graphic style...there is no point in discussing tastes. I cant find a screenshot but Im pretty sure that you can customize your character to look old...fat...whatever you like. From what I have seen its the most advanced character customization engine ever implemented in a MMO.

    I still dont like the look of the character models despite all the customization possibilities...the faces and the skin just doesnt look "real"...more like puppets. But maybe thats because its just a screenshot.

    If you want to read about HJ take a look at our article list: http://hj.mystics.de/?content=125
    Its a german site but the articles are in english...

  • HJ-JorgenHJ-Jorgen Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 7



    Originally posted by MrBoots

    - Too much instancing in this game. These instanced games are hurting the genre.
    - Same old auto-attack special sequencing (ASS) combat system seen in almost every other MMO.
    - Another MMO where player interaction will be limited by artificial restrictions. Sounds like another game of cooperative virtual whack-a-mole to me. PVP is obviously an afterthought so it will most likely be pointless.
    - The graphics look good (Slightly too realistic looking in my opinion. I wish it was more stylized like asian games.). Character creation seems better than most games. It's still limited in one way though. Everyone has to be well endowed 20 something year old stud/hottie. Why cant you be a grizzled geezer, or a vertically challenged brat?
    I give it:
    2 out of 10



    1) Hero's Journey will not have more or less instancing than any other major MMO out there. Like AO and WoW, some quests and adventures will be instanced, but there's also a huge, open, non-instanced world for you and your friends to explore. Our game will be nothing like, for example, Guild Wars. image

    2) HJ will have some auto-attacks, but it'll also have some very special attacks and combos that's never been seen before in an MMO. Seeing is believing, so I'll direct you to a video captured at E3 2005. It's a bit choppy and low-quality, but it's still worth a look. And it gives you a short glimpse of the amazing attacks that will be possible in Hero's Journey.
    http://files.filefront.com/heroes_journey_e3_2005_presentationzip/;4336667;;/fileinfo.html

    3) PVP is something we haven't commented on yet, so I won't either.

    4) Graphics are, as the poster above me said, a matter of taste. Hero's Journey uses the latest technology to give gamers the most beautiful MMO ever seen. I hope you'll give it a try when we're going Live. It'll be worth your effort. image

     

    HJ-Jorgen
    Hero's Journey
    World Builder GM
    www.HerosJourney.net

  • HJ-AirienHJ-Airien Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 8

    "I cant find a screenshot but Im pretty sure that you can customize your character to look old...fat...whatever you like"

    Yes this is true as well. There might not be a lot of screenshots but it has been said many times that character customization has a lot of choices. You can see some screenshots at www.play.net/hj where they show just the nose part alone where the whole screen shows sliders. This is just for the nose! Imagine what else you can do ;)

     

     

     

  • xDivianaDRxxDivianaDRx Member Posts: 239
    It is shown in the video, that they can change the age..

    HJ-Diviana
    Hero's Journey GM
    Hero's Journey Official Site
    Hero's Hall

  • pirrgpirrg Member Posts: 1,443

    Oh for the love of god just release it already, i cant wait anymore. ::::21::

    _____________________
    I am the flipside of the coin on which the troll and the fanboy are but one side.

  • NobulaNobula Member UncommonPosts: 7

    I had applied for a DevGM position when the call went out many moons ago. There was a second request for applicants and I signed up again...

    Sadly, I have not been chosen to help populate the world with adventure and mystery....yet ;)

    What should I do to catch the eye of those who choose GMs?

     

    —So desperately interested in creating stories for others to live...

     

    -n

    do it by yourself and it's weird. . .
    do it with others and it's a club.

  • HJ-XadrianHJ-Xadrian Hero's Journey GMMember Posts: 9


    Originally posted by MrBoots
    - The graphics look good (Slightly too realistic looking in my opinion. I wish it was more stylized like asian games.). Character creation seems better than most games. It's still limited in one way though. Everyone has to be well endowed 20 something year old stud/hottie. Why cant you be a grizzled geezer, or a vertically challenged brat?

    I think the others have covered your first 3 points sufficiently, and this as well, but I wanted to add that I currently have a grizzled old geezer as one of my characters. It's very easy to customize your appearance to the extent that you can usually start with a specific person in mind and get a decent resemblence through character creation. The first day I joined up with the team, there was someone who had figured out how to make a character look exactly like Jean-Luc Picard (from Star Trek).

    I think the reason you usually see beautiful people in the screen shots is that it's often world or quest team members that are involved, and they're great at making things look good. I have some downright scary lookin' characters right now (none of which has ever been in a screenshot), but I tend to go for the weird end of the spectrum. Seems to be a trend with the development team. ::::39::

    HJ-Xadrian
    Hero's Journey GameMaster - Fighting for the rights of badgers everywhere.
    www.play.net/hj/

  • TailgunnerTailgunner Member Posts: 7

    Great article, all I can say is... meep!

    Ah well, a few more tantalizing tidbits thrown out to us and once again your lap dance has left me breathless with desire.. man, I haven't felt like this since I was a teenager, lol.. now, let me in already!! image

    I've been with y'all for a long time now and from the moment I heard about this venture I believed it would be an incredible game. The more I see of it the more it meets and surpasses my already high expectations. It's not just the environment and mechanics either. Having teethed many years ago (on the then new 8K TRS-80, writing code in BASIC to display a little ASCII starship that actually moved) I'm really impressed by power and simplicity of the tools available for GMs to create new stuff... I want a copy of HeroBlade for myself!

    For those new to Simutronics games, let me tell ya - the (largely volunteer) staff are truly outstanding in both the passion they bring to the work they do and the skill with which they continually enhace the game world. Even the volunteers are of considerable talent and work so much harder than you might expect. With what I have seen of the resources that will be available to them, I am anticipating many many great things. Most of the team, whether paid or not, contribute simply because they love the game. More importantly, they love the community... which is what really breathes life into the realm that would otherwise be a dull and empty shell.

    Taking into consideration what I know of the capabilities and devotion of Simu staff (across all their games), the amazing tools they have to work with, and a world populated with a vibrant, close-knit community of thousands (with a surprisingly low snert count for this genre)... damn, this is gonna be good. Trust me, this will be one game any (MMO)RPG enthusiast won't want to miss.

    So lets give a big hooah to the real unsung heroes behind the curtain of HJ for all their effort that made possible the sandbox that will help others make the new Elanthia a dynamic, stunningly beautiful and FUN place to play. 

    Here's looking forward to meeting old friends and new over there as the road goes ever on...

    ~Kyrrian

  • DirtySteveDirtySteve Member Posts: 88

    Man I can't wait for this game! it looks like it'll be the RPers dream we have been waiting for!!!

    So far the only bad thing I can see about this game is the addition of Furries. But hey we need someone to hate right? ::::40::::::01::

  • gagaliyagagaliya Member Posts: 54

    It's great to see so many GMs and developers to take the time and talk with the public. thank you guys!

    I played DragonRealms for 6 years from 7th grade until the end of high school (when everquest came out), I still consider DR the PINNACLE of all mmorpg design to this day. Its various systems working together created a world that's light years more sophisticated, serious, and exciting than anything that followed. 

    After getting over the graphics of everquest, it became quickly apparent the game mechnics could not EVEN compare to what dragonrealms had.  All the mmorpg that followed was one disappointment after another (basically same game design with different graphic and bells/whistles)

    Anyway what i am trying to say is PLEASE recapture the magic of dragonrealms in Hero's Journey. 

    - combat where a good part is spent circling each other to gain tactical advantage and balance for that single blow. I truely hope HJ is not another  x hits y for z damage spam.

    The description said there will be special attack/combo etc, but the bottomline is, is the combat system closer to dragonrealms than the wack a mole approach?  You can have all the combo you want (x hits z for a giant super hot fireball etc etc), that's just a rewording of the x hits y for z damage system.  NOT a true combat system like in dr, where armor/weapon/weight/balance/body part health/offensive vs defensive techniques all come into play. I consider DR's combat and magic system to be perfection.

    - a town that's alive where there are people sitting in their guilds teaching and socializing

    - little details like put in prison for thefting, special festivals, etc...

    I am not sure how to express it, but dragonrealms was just so different than all the other graphic mmorpg that followed. It had heart and feels alive where other mmorpgs just do not.

    I will buy HJ no matter what, just because it is made by simu. But to keep me paying for the subscription, it needs to be (or at least somewhat close) to a graphical version of DR.

    ok done! image

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