Mark's Comments: Galaxies was the most impressive
game at E3, though we really were mostly seeing a glorious graphics
engine at work. It's an immense game in just about every way you
can imagine. In size, the one world Verant has finished is 35% bigger
than all of EverQuest, and they plan on having many worlds in Galaxies.
In ambition, Galaxies is being designed to be so open-ended players
can have careers as hairdressers if they want, or possibly rise
through the ranks to become the captain of a Star Destroyer. In
execution, Galaxies' graphic engine already looks a couple of generations
ahead of anything out there. The game looked almost as good as a
movie during the demo we watched. Raph Koster, one of the Ultima
Online designers who's now working for Verant on this game calls
it a second generation massively multiplayer game. Translated, that
means they're hoping to eliminate many of the design problems found
in UO and EQ while at the same time trying to realize design goals
they had to leave out of those games. The biggest obstacle they
face is not tripping over their ambition.
Tom's Comments: Let me be the first to distance myself from all the praise being heaped on this tech demo. Becasue that's all that was showing at E3: a tech demo with the sound of developers in the background making promises. Among their promises were minimizing the problems other MMORPGs have with downtime during corpse retrieval and spawn camping; integrating space and planetside gameplay so they don't feel like separate and unrelated games; creating an economy that doesn't favor people who play 30 hours a week; and making a MMORPG with a wide enough appeal that it will work as a combat-free experience or an engine for role-playing or an economic sim or a chat program with a graphical interface. Support for use as a dessert topping and floor wax will be added six months after the space portion of the game is added. Sure, Galaxies looked great, as most tech demos are wont to do. With huge AT-AT and Krayt Dragon models, the developers were able to capture a sense of scale that's been missing from Star Wars games since Jedi Knight. But Verant has a long way to go before they've got an actual game.
May 22, 2001