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Ruin Online, What is it?
Ruin Online is a Massively Multiplay Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) set in the near future, in a time that follows the apocalypse of mankind. The concept seems not too original, but let's face it, it's a great basis for a MMORPG. The game takes place somewhere in CentraL Asia and Europe following the Apocalypse of Mankind, where resources such as Duck Tape, and AK-47 are both useful, and rare.
Ruin Online is a unique game, as it runs on the Torque Engine, which has much potential, but is often shrouded away as an underpowered engine. Torque is a common engine for singleplayer or minor games, but if you want to see how it works and how friendly it is to the MMO environment, be sure to head to the developer's website, Garage Games
The developer we sat down with, Jon works for as "Manager" and "Producer" at BrokeAss Games, the company that has developed, financed, and ran Ruin Online through its four past betas, and upcoming Beta 5. He was kind enough to answer the questions I had for him today.
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The Ruin Online Interview, Part One
Thanks again for the opprotunity of the interview, Jon!
Alex Macen: For our readers who don't exactly know what Ruin Online is, and BrokeAss Games, can you give us a short sentence or two on what the game is?
Jon: We're a small indie dev team working on an mmo.
AM: What kind of team do you have for Ruin Online? In both Numbers and Skills?
Jon: Our team is made up of guys that have been working with Torque game engine, character artists and a couple of programmers who's specialties lie in physics and network architecture. There's five of us at BAG, plus a short list of online developers we've met through the RUin community who also help out.
AM: Okay, and how long have you guys been developing the game?
Jon: Its been almost 5 years now. Fortunately, the engine we've been working with has a lot of upgrades done to it over the years, and is once again looking very up-to-date.
AM: How is it progressing? What kind of features have you been working on?
Jon: Its going well. Slow, but progressing. We've mostly focused on major frameworks in the engine that we needed before we could sit down and develop the gameplay features that Ruin online needs. We've also had a lot of downtime porting up to later versions of Torque, but now we're starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
AM: We've been hearing about a new product called Ecstasy in the works at BrokeAss Games, what is it, and what does it do?
Jon: Its a character animation tool we're developing. A dynamic motion synthesis application priced for indie developers. There aren't many programs that handle traditional animations, ragdoll and other physics elements , collision and AI, and also tie into a game engine. Those that are out there are not really priced to be indie-friendly. That's where we come in...
AM: So with Ecstasy, are you going to be improving animation quality for Ruin Online?
Jon: Yeah. We hope to improve animation quality for a lot of projects, not just ours. :)
Keep Reading for the rest of our interview with Broke Ass Games' Jon!
If you cant wait, Click here to see a combat video of Ruin Online in action!
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The Ruin Online Interview, Part Two
AM: When do you project Ecstasy to be released for active usage? Also, how much will it run users?
Jon: The Early Adopter phase should launch in the beginning of May. We haven't announce the price yet, but if you can afford Torque Game Engine, you can afford Ecstasy. (A link to a demo video of the Ectasy software)
AM: Back to Ruin Online, what were some of the inspirations for the game, such as movies, video games, and other forms of pop culture?
Jon: Oh Gawd...how many can I name? Mad Max, Car Wars, Desert Punk, books by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Philip K. Dick, fighting games like Virtua Fighter, all things zombie.... MMO's like EQ1 and SWG really inspired us to write our own. Basically anything with post-apocalyptic elements really gets us horny.
AM: How far away is Ruin Online from heavy beta testing and even release?
Jon: It was live... what we like to think back to as a "playable alpha experience". Not the normal way companies roll out these mmo's, but seriously as gamers we were tired of companies hyping games 5-6 years at a time without much more than screenshots or videos for the communities to chew. We went live way early, and there was some backlash. But, we built an interesting community over the years. We're offline, porting to the latest version of Torque, which looks like a million dollar engine now. We plan to have Ruin live again for final beta test by the end of 09.
AM: Last but not least, how active and how large is the Ruin Online Community?
Jon: The community is pretty large in our little world. Its creeping up on 10k users. Activity is a bit low, but its to be expected since we've had the live server down about 6 months now. Most of the traffic is new users checking out the project, other developers checking out our products and some die-hard ruin veterans.
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Ruin Online, Interview Closure
We'd like to take the moment to take Jon from BrokeAss Games to take the time out for the interview. We understand how busy he must be developing this game with the brand new engine, along with their new software Ectasy, and the remaining publicity from the recent Game Developer's Confrence (GDC).
If you're interested in finding out more on Ruin Online, Ecstasy, or BrokeAss Games, be sure to head to their game and company website (http://www.brokeassgames.com) and ask any questions you have!