Our community team at LegoUni.com was recently able to sit down with the minds behind the upcoming mmo hit, Lego Universe, for some one-on-one time! Take a look at our Interview with Ryan Seabury, LEGO Universe Creative Director, and learn more about this amazing new title:
Q: What were the greatest
obstacles during the development?
The potential of LEGO Universe is both one of its greatest strengths and one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced in the game’s development. When you talk about a universe that can cover past, present and future, not to mention any genre or setting imaginable, where do you start? Deciding where to begin and what to include with such a massive array of options was the first hurdle.
Another big technical challenge is
rendering LEGO bricks in real time, to a quality level that meets LEGO’s
exacting standards so they still look “LEGO enough”. Since Players can
build models in ways we cannot predict, dealing with hidden surface removal
and model optimization is non-trivial and must also happen in (or near) real
time. Combine that with a game that must be playable on a wide range of
computers, to accommodate younger audiences who don’t always come equipped
with the latest high-end systems like hardcore gamers… Luckily, I am
fortunate to be working with some of the smartest, most creative and
passionate people in the world on the LU team and all the teams that support
Q: How much creative influence did the LEGO Group have over the development of LEGO Universe?
NetDevil has been working hand-in-hand with the LEGO Group since day one to ensure that LEGO Universe embodies the LEGO play experience, and that it offers new ways for long-time fans to interact with the LEGO brick. LEGO has been such a great partner in this regard; they have never really dictated game design and have always supported us to explore and learn what would make the best LEGO experience in an MMO context.
As I mentioned earlier, it would be impossible to include “everything LEGO” on day 1. So we’ve worked hard to carefully select the initial content available in the game to be a good starting point that sets the stage for lots of expansion over the years, both in terms of official content that NetDevil and LEGO release, as well as allowing for community content to flourish.
Having said that, LEGO Universe is a game first, a full-featured MMOG. So there will be several worlds to explore, each of which have their own local stories and events that tie into the overall fiction of the universe on a larger scale, with replayable minigames and instance scenarios branching off. There are plenty of nooks and crannies with secrets to uncover, and loads of collectibles to find along the way.
Q: Will there be a console version?
Personally, I sure hope so, as I’m a big console gamer. However, so far we can only confirm a PC version launching later this year. We are definitely exploring other platforms to make the game available to as many players as possible, and hope to have more information soon.
Q: What is the upper limit on the size of player's creations?
We’re still working that one out. J It will certainly be large enough to do plenty of cool stuff.
Q: What are some features that were considered but did not make it into the
Too many to count! When you talk about a LEGO MMO with anyone who is even mildly interested in LEGO or games, the ideas never stop coming. Suffice it to say, we’ve got a truly epic backlog of features and content we’ll be rolling out over the next 10-20 years. :P
Our general rule of thumb is- if we can’t do it great right now, postpone it to a later release. As anyone who plays MMOs knows, they are in reality an ongoing service. The nice thing about the MMO format is that nothing ever has to be truly cut, it’s just a question of how long until an idea can make it in. I will give you a specific example, though, so I don’t just answer the question in an annoyingly vague way.
We actually had a prototype running
for over a year of a really cool team based PvP scenario with time-based
objectives, where you got to either defend a pirate base or attack it on the
side of the ninjas. Despite it being pretty fun in rough form, we just
didn’t feel it would come together as polished enough for our initial
release given how ambitious the rest of the game is. Since it wasn’t really
core to the larger vision of the game, it got bumped in priority to an
undetermined future release.
Read More at Lego Uni Interviews Ryan Seabury!