Exclusive Interview with StarCraft Universe Creator
I got a chance to catch up with the creator of StarCraft Universe, Ryan Winzen. StarCraft Universe is a multi-player online RPG mod for StarCraft II. The mod is the brain child of Ryan Winzen and is now being developed by his group of developers under the company name Upheaval Arts. The group is very talented and even includes high-profile voice actors and music composers. The game has already been released as of September 2nd and they are now working towards their stretch goals and doing bug fixes.
What was the first game that you started modding?
"Technically the first game I modded was Excite Bike's level editor for Nintendo... haha. But yeah I started modding back in the mid 90s with WarCraft II, and have worked with every Blizzard RTS editor since."
When did you start modding StarCraft II?
"I started modding StarCraft II in late 2010 for this project."
What other mods have you created?
"I've created a ton of prototype mods over the years, but nothing anyone has likely ever heard of. I've created a Megaman battle system using RM2k that borrows from early Final Fantasy ATBs. I've made a StarFox/Galaga hybrid mod for StarCraft II, a Final Fantasy battle system within StarCraft II, and many other small half-complete projects."
How does it feel to have Blizzard give you the blessing of using their assets? I can't imagine a better feeling.
"It's really an honor to have them so supportive of what we're doing, but really Blizzard supports all Arcade developers because it adds cohesion to the community."
Do you still see the misconception that you are creating a StarCraft MMO rather than Multiplayer Online?
"Yeah, we've tried our best to clear it up, but some of the gaming media still gets it wrong. Glad to see you guys have it right. MMO is just one of those often misused terms."
I understand you are unable to make SCU an actual MMO because of the game infrastructure in regards to Battle.net. What would it take to create SCU into an actual MMO? Is this a goal for the distant future in any way?
"Our team is far too small and geographically spread apart to handle something of that scale. We'll have to wait until Blizzard decides to do it. :)"
Is the game still MMO like in regards to the content? How many raids(group content) are you planning to have at the moment?
"That's a difficult answer. The Acts in StarCraft Universe will be very different from what we're used to in traditional MMOs and even different from Diablo. Don't want to spoil anything. You'll see in a few months!"
I understand your class system is going to allow you to basically do whatever you want, does it still involve the trinity (tank/healer/dps)?
"As it stands, you can build characters in those directions, but SCU does not use a mathematical aggro system like other games do. It uses a custom AI which checks situations and player positioning to execute specific attacks. Many enemy abilities are avoidable, therefore a trinity is not required in most cases."
Do you have an estimate of how many hours of gameplay there is or is it MMO like in that regard as well, unending?
"Content will be designed for high replay-ability. Unending if the player desires, but you'll progress through a linear story at the same time. We'll reveal how this works in Act 1. Not certain of a specific time at this point."
Is the input lag problem still a problem or is there going to be a solution (other than the regular optimizing your internet connection)?
"Still a problem for players with high latency but anyone with a decent connection shouldn't notice it anymore. Still begging Blizz for an optimized solution."
Is this going to be completely free to play?
How do you plan to monetize outside of the marketplace (if the marketplace ever happens)?
"We're linking a paypal on our website so people can continue donating after the Kickstarter ends, receiving the same backer rewards. Other than that, the marketplace is our final bastion of hope."
Will you be able to complete the game if you don't reach the full $80,000?
"Nope, but we made it. :)"
You have some pretty extensive stretch goals with lots of cool features that I would love to see happen. Do you have a plan to reach these over time through other methods?
"Yes. The paypal on our site will go toward stretch goals and if the marketplace properly monetizes the project, we plan to work toward those goals in the future!"
Check out their website for all the extra information and to donate to help them reach their stretch goals!