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Jon Van Caneghem
January 2017
JVC 2016


Regular readers will know this name well: as one of the original founders of NWC and creator of the Might & Magic games, Jon is considered the spiritual father of the franchise. As he said it himselt: "I wrote the first Might and Magic while finishing college on an Apple II, and I’ve been making games ever since." After 3DO went belly up in 2003, he moved on to other things while Ubisoft would eventually pick up the baton and continue the series. Currently, he's CEO of VC Mobile Entertainment. After the release of Creature Quest, we were able to get him to answer some questions for us.

CreatureQuest 41. What's your current job? Please outline what your work entails.
"CEO, so I oversee everything involved with running the company, but I try to spend as much time on game design as possible."

2. What's your favorite part of the job?
"Designing new games and playing new games, but working with a talented and enthusiastic team is by far the most fulfilling."

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
"Hopefully doing what I’m doing now but with multiple teams."

4. What do you like to do in your free time? Do you still race cars?
"Yes, I’m quite active with several racing organizations and I won a national championship with NASA-pro racing 4 years in row! I still play lots of games on PC and Mobile, but my hobby has always been racing cars."

5. What was your inspiration for Creature Quest?
"I was enjoying many of the current mobile games and I had the idea to bring some of the elements that made Heroes so much fun to the genre. So many people who have mobile devices have never experienced anything like this."

6. What are you most proud of?
"When making something new, it’s very difficult to create a game that’s fun and addicting. I’m very proud of how the game has evolved, the decisions we made along the way and how much fun it is to play."

7. How big is the team?
"We just past 20 people and growing."

8. What are you hoping for with the global release?
"We all hope for a big hit, but just having a large number of players try the game and enjoy playing will be awesome."

9. You're just now launching globally; why the "soft launch", why didn't you launch globally right away?
"In the mobile world, this is quite common. We have made a tremendous amount of changes and adjustments during our soft launch, which is difficult to do in the PC/console world, but it gives us a chance to iterate and polish before we go out to a large audience. Its especially important for free to play games that only generate revenue from players sticking around."

CreatureQuest 510. What are your future plans for the game?
"We have an entire roadmap for the next year and beyond. It really becomes a live service like the MMO world where we have the ability to constantly add and improve the game, and respond to consumer feedback."

11. What does Creature Quest have in common with the games in the Might & Magic franchise?
"The combat system has the same feel as the early M&M RPG’s (party of portraits, taking turns attacking waves of creatures). The adventure part of the game is like exploring maps in Heroes, find treasure, resources, battle blocking armies, completing quests."

12. How is working on a mobile game different from the PC games?
"Embracing the input differences is probably the biggest challenge; swiping and tapping is very different from keyboard / mouse / controller. The play session length also makes for very different focus and scope. This means different types of games will work better than others. The list goes on, but at the end of the day it still must be fun!"

13. Fans like to think about "the road not taken" - did you have any specific plans for the future of the M&M/Heroes series, lore-wise and gameplay-wise? Did you have any visions for Heroes V or other games?
"I really wanted to make Might and Magic Online a long time ago, this was before EQ and all the MMOs. We started on it and had a lot of great systems and ideas, unfortunately I was never able to finish it. For Heroes, I had a very cool design for V that I would still like to do and now with all the connectivity and server power available, so many new cool things could be done with the Heroes franchise… (raising and waving hands in air)"

14. Were you proud of the creature lineups of HOMM IV factions? Were you planning to do radical changes in HOMM V factions due to fan reactions?
"Yes and yes, but the most heated debate was whether or not to allow the heroes on the battlefield (H3 vs H4)"

15. Do you think there's a chance you might work on M&M/Heroes related titles in the future?
"Hmm… maybe?"

16. What do you think is the future of gaming? Will mobile games grow at the expense of PCs and consoles?
"The future of gaming is… more gaming. I think all the platforms will grow, although mobile will always reach a much larger audience."

 

That's it - big thanks to Jon for taking the time and we hope to hear more from him in the future.

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Tracy Iwata
January 2017



CreatureQuest 31. A quick bio: what's your story? How did you get into gaming and what's been your career so far?

I got hooked on video games when I was a kid. I took classes for programming and graphics, aiming to be an animator or programmer to work on a game. New World Computing was my first job, thanks to Julia Ulano who liked my fantasy art. It was fun creating 2d animated sprites for Heroes II and seeing the game box in the stores. Things shifted to 3d for Might and Magic VI. From that point on the games used 3d models. When NWC relocated to Solvang, I went around different companies and learned new skills along the way, but I still missed working on fantasy games. Then JVC sent me an email and now I’m working on his Creature Quest project. It is so exciting to be working with familiar faces that I have not seen in years.

 

2. What's your current job? Please outline what your work entails.

I create the visual effects that are used to enhance gameplay on Creature Quest. They help pop out a feature in the interface or creature - such as sparkles over a button, or flames from a creature.

 

3. What's your favorite part of the job?

Watching other people having fun playing the game.

 

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope to be working on a creative project in some form.

 

5. What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy drawing creatures, and playing video games.

 

CreatureQuest 26. How many creatures are there?

There are over 500 creatures in the game, including all the variations of evo states.

 

7. What’s your favourite aspect of the game?

The map quests, I enjoy exploring and uncovering goodies. It is also a good way to collect items that level up your creatures.

 

8. What does Creature Quest have in common with the games in the Might & Magic franchise?

It is from JVC, lol. The strategy of building a team of creatures and improving their stats is there.

 

9. How is working on a mobile game different from the PC games?

There is a smaller limit on the amount of data a mobile game can push compared to a PC. I would love to have higher particle counts for each creature. As the chipset technology improves, mobile devices will eventually play more graphic intensive games.

 

Editor's note: Thanks to Tracy for taking the time. smiley
Creature Quest launches globally in two days, on January 26th. It will be available for free download on Google Play and iTunes.

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Hi there!

As a long-time fan of the Might and Magic games, I'm delighted to announce that there will be a very special interview coming up on January 20th with one of the main level designers of Might and Magic VI; none other than Tim Lang!

He and I have known each other since 2012-2013, while I was still on Lich Labs, the team responsible for Children of the Void. Well now, he's agreed to come and be part of an interview called Developer Secrets!

This interview will focus on Might and Magic 6 in particular, as I feel it's one of the most iconic and intriguing games in the franchise. There are many secrets that Tim knows about the game itself, why things changed the way they did, and stuff most people didn't even know was a thing. In the interview, we'll be covering:

  • Some of the game's strange peculiarities and features
  • The NWC dungeon accessible via Dragonsands.
  • The beta trailer of Might and Magic 6 and a couple of pre-release screenshots
  • The secret identity of the shopkeepers and playable characters
  • Life behind the scenes as a developer
  • Exploring the possibility of pre-release content we as a community have yet to discover
  • Unveiling the mystery behind the infamous joke title "Super Goober"

Not only do I have a bunch of questions for Tim, but I'm more than certain you guys here at CH do as well. We'd love to answer some of the questions you may have about the game! I will go through the list and pick up to 10 of them and read them out to Tim and have him answer them for you. The interview, once finished, will be posted on my Youtube channel (Sibernethy).

Remember, the interview will be held on Jan 20th, so be sure to post your questions if you have any!
Thanks for reading. :)


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Bryan Farina
January 2017



1. A quick bio: what's your story? How did you get into gaming and what's been your career so far?

NWClogo"I started gaming in the late ‘70s when my tech-loving father got a PONG system for our TV.  Then  he bought a computer in 1982, a used Atari 800.  I was connecting to BBS systems and downloading and uploading games (at 300Bd!) when I was 10 years old.  We upgraded to an IBM clone in ’86 or ’87, and I’ve been upgrading every few years ever since.

My career started at New World Computing in 1995 as a QA tester. In very short order I became a Technical Writer, then a Designer, and then a Producer.  For Heroes I and II, I was the QA Lead, contributed heavily to both strategy guides, wrote the Heroes II manual, and did map building and other design work.  I became more full-time design for Might and Magic VI and VII, and then shifted into more of a Producer role for the later Heroes and Might and Magic games.

After New World, things have been a blur. I worked at NCSoft for a bit on an MMO game that never released. Then I was part of the team that founded Trion Worlds and worked on (what became) Rift. After that I went to Electronic Arts to bring Command and Conquer to the online world. When that was cancelled, I pushed JVC to start VCME."


2. What's your current job? Please outline what your work entails.

"I’m the Executive Producer for Creature Quest.  As exotic as that title sounds, in reality I coordinate all the aspects of the game to try and keep things flowing as smoothly as possible.  Beyond just art, design, and programming you have to factor in external groups (localization, first parties), create release schedules and the processes for hitting them, while also trying to develop the people working for you."


3. What's your favourite part of the job?

"Nothing beats creating something original and having it come to life—moving from paper design to implementation, going through numerous tweaks and revisions, and finally getting a full version finished that you can hand to a stranger.

And when that stranger gets their hands on it and become enthralled—that moment you realize what you dreamed up actually connects with people - that’s my favorite part."


4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

"That’s impossible to answer!  I wouldn’t see myself where I am today five years ago.  Ideally, I’ll still be here working on who-knows-what awesome, new thing.  If there’s one lesson I’ve learned, though, it’s that this industry is quite unpredictable."


5. What do you like to do in your free time?

"Primarily, I play games in my free time.  I love RPG and Strategy games the most, though I dabble a bit in other categories (FPS and action).  I prefer the PC to consoles, and I’ve been spending more and more time on mobile titles.

Outside of games I haven’t had that many other hobbies.  I’ve started to learn how to golf so that I can enjoy an ‘outdoor’ activity without requiring an organized team.  Recently, I’ve picked up reading books, primarily non-fiction, to gather up ideas and further develop my skills."

6. About Creature Quest: What devices does it play on?

"Creature Quest will be available on both iOS and Android devices through the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon.

7. How large is this world?

"We have over 20 different quests, each taking place in different regions of the world.  It’s hard to compare world sizes, and we’re not close to done building out all the different areas yet."

CreatureQuest 1

8. How do you keep the balance, is there a (battle) formula?

"Fortunately for us, JVC’s pet passion is balance.  He’s been very involved in making sure we have proper boundaries for the Creatures’ stats and abilities. Our ‘battle formula’ is actually derived from the original Heroes combat system."

9. What can you tell us about custom quest creation?

"At release, we aren’t supporting user-generated quests, though we have a lot of ideas for how to expand the guild/community features of the game."

10. Are there also Dungeons and Utopias?

"Not in the specific sense of the Heroes games. The quest maps have specific objectives, but they also have locations gating treasure and quest completion bonuses. The spirit is similar, but the specifics are different."

11. What's your target audience?

"Our primary audience are mobile gamers, and people moving into mobile games, that want games with depth and strategy. Obviously, we want to appeal to fans of JVC’s work (Heroes and Might and Magic), and in a broader sense not restrict our audience. One of the tentpoles that New World Computing had was to create games that could appeal to wide audiences - ages 8 to 80 and both genders - and we’ve tried to accomplish the same with Creature Quest.

12. How is money generated - in-app purchases?

"How to monetize a game is a question based entirely on the distribution platform for that game. Console games and traditional PC games were/are box purchase, primarily because there was no other way to easily distribute them. Modern console games have leveraged DLC more aggressively because they are now connected devices. Modern PC games (built solely for PC) are moving more and more towards free to play. Mobile games have tried both methods, and free to play has won handily. Having the widest possible audience is the smartest approach, and giving that audience the ability to enjoy the game before asking them to spend makes their purchase more considered and valuable.

Given that, our goal in crafting the game was to make sure we were consistent with certain principles: 1) that monetization does not gate progress, and 2) that the game is not filled with annoying ads. We play plenty of mobile games and know how irritating ‘pushy’ monetization can be. Our goal is that players choose to spend because they want more right now, as opposed to feeling like they have to spend to simply progress.

It is possible to play, and progress, without spending any money at all. Spending is like adding nitrous oxide to your car - it doesn’t make the car move, it makes the car go faster once it’s moving."

13. What does Creature Quest have in common with the games in the Might & Magic franchise?

"Creature Quest isn’t really a port of a Might and Magic game - it’s inspired by Might and Magic. There’s a map to explore with random encounters, humor, and combats like in Heroes. Those combats are presented and fought in manner similar to Might and Magic and there’s a wide range of Creatures to encounter and collect similar to both Heroes and Might and Magic. Creature Quest is an RPG game with some strategic elements, as opposed to a strategy game with RPG elements (like Heroes)."

14. How is working on a mobile game different from the PC games?

"For us, it’s been like turning the clock back. Our team is fewer than 20 people, which doesn’t happen much anymore in AAA console/PC development. Outside of that, it’s the interactions that are the most different - the display is much smaller than a monitor and the input mechanisms are significantly more limited - so creating UI and control schemes are pretty different than a PC game.

In addition, the monetization of modern mobile games (F2P), and the design around that, is very different from stand-alone PC development. Our goal here is to make spending in the game something you do to enhance or speed up your playing, without gating enjoyment of the game based on spending."

 

That's it - big thanks to Bryan for taking the time and we hope to hear more from him in the future.

 

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There's an interview with Mike Winterbauer at Sega-16. The veteran artist is responsible for some iconic art of classic games of the 80s and 90s. He talks about his work for Might and Magic games:

Almost always I was given minimal information about the game I was supposed to do cover art for. One of the exceptions is the Might & Magic covers and the maps I did art work for, I was well-informed about the game and characters. Typically, I was handed screen shots and a synopsis of what the game was about. The games had a low-res quality about them, so the storyline and gameplay were integral to the success of the game. This enabled me to be very creative in coming up with a cool idea for the box cover.

The Might & Magic paintings I had a lot of time to paint. I worked on each of the pieces for well over a month, as there was plenty of time to paint each of them. They were all large paintings, being 30 by 40 inches on board, and I wanted each of them to be the very best I could make them. I hoped that the paintings would one day become valuable, and that is why I painted them larger, as larger collectible paintings can be highly sought after.

You can see Mike's artwork on his Web site. His superb painting for the Land of Xeen map is certainly worth another look.
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Rob King
January 2017

 

Rob King is a name that will be familiar to fans of the Might & Magic franchise. Responsible for much of the music of previous games, his work serves to add that certain level of class needed to lift the gaming experience. It's been a while since we had our own talk with him - you can read that interview here. For now, though, let's catch up with this guy and see what he's doing:

1. First a quick bio for those who may be unfamiliar with the name Rob King: what's your story? How did you get into gaming and what's been your career so far?

"I got into gaming in the late 70’s with Pong! Then was addicted to my Atari 2600 all through the early 80’s. I had every console made through the 2000’s! Even the Magnavox Odyssey, Colecovision, Vectrex, Atari 5200 in the 80’s. My career has been working on Games, Music and Film projects since the early 90’s."

 

2. What's your current job? Please outline what your work entails.

CreatureQuest"My current job is working on different projects as I have done for years. I usually bounce between music, dialoue and sound design. Just finished a lot of VO production on Ghost Recon: Wildlands coming out March 1st. Just did a score for a really cool Augmented reality project coming out this year some time and of course we are wrapping up this cool mobile game that we have all worked really hard on this year – Creature Quest! The soundtrack will be available when the game drops."

 

3. How is making music for mobile devices different from your previous work? How is it different from the PC games?

"Absolutely no difference except for a little more memory limitations; the technical challenges. Although I think you need to make something fun that you can get in an out of quickly or be able to play at great lengths. I think people like to play between life’s tasks quite a bit. I know I do. You can be at a car wash waiting for your car and just wanna play a quick 10 min of something. You can do that with Creature Quest if you want to or you could be pretending to watch TV and be engrossed in the game for hours."

 

4. Do you personally play such games?

"Oh yeah, I play mobile games all the time. I am actually addicted to Hearthstone in a bad way.. I have been playing our Creature Quest build for over 2 years and I still enjoy it! Kinda crazy really as I rarely even play games I work on."

 

5. What's your favourite part of the job?

"Working on a team with other humans…  I spend way too much time by myself in the recording studio so whenever I can work with others it’s a pleasure."

 

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

"I have no idea. Five years ago I wouldn’t have known where I’d be today. Hopefully I will be able to continue to do creative work in some capacity."

 

7. What do you like to do in your free time?

"I love art, I go to a lot of gallery shows. I like writing pop songs and consuming good wine. Spending time with my daughter is also very important to me."

 

8. How did you enjoy your collaboration with Ubisoft?

"It was great. They always gave us creative freedom. The producer on the last HOMM games Julien was also a super nice guy."

 

9. How many tracks have you composed for HoMM in total?

"Oh god…I have no idea. I’d have to say somewhere between 200-300 over 21 years."

 

10. Can all the tracks from the H7 Tbf expansion be heard somewhere on the web?

"I have no idea, but they are sitting on my hard drive.

 

11. What does Creature Quest have in common with the games in the Might & Magic franchise?

"Obviously the sound.  Personally the score to this game is one of our best. I love exploring unique instruments and blending them with the orchestra. We did a lot of this back on the Heroes III soundtrack and this score feels similar. It is a pretty mellow score over all but has our signature sound. Paul Romero and I worked on and off for over 2 ½ years on the music score. We didn’t really have any set schedule so we got to take our time working on it which is always the best way to work.  I think the character and creature design has an M&M feel and our art director Heather Poon is an absolute talent. Another thing in this game is the adventure maps. They have mini story lines and the way you explore has a familiar feel to HOMM even though it is completely different. When you start to play this game for a good 30 min and understand your way around the game play, it starts to give you that “Just one more turn” feeling.

 

That's it - big thanks to Rob for taking the time and we hope to hear more from him in the future.

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The Call of Liriel

is an Indie open world first-person party-based free movement RPG. It is being funded on Indiegogo.

They are using MaestroMod for images, the character's portraits, items and other 2D art. Their initial funding goal is $8000 by December 12th. Like a kickstarter those who donate will receive perks as a way of saying thank you. There are later funding goals all explained at the site linked above.

Link to campaign
>>> https://igg.me/at/the-call-of-liriel <<<

 

The team consists of Diego López Bugna - Game developer, Level designer, and Software engineer, he started programming on the commodore 128. Game developer since 2015. MM7 lover.

The second team member is Gabriel Perdomo - Level designer, 3d artist, and Jack of all trades man.

 

Crowdfunding trailer:



It is being discussed in the Might and Magic Forum in this thread, which you can see pinned down, as comments.


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