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More Interviews

Leonard Boyarsky On Steam and Magick
Art Director draws a picture of Arcanum just before the beta testing begins.
By Mark "Kyote" Allman

Not everyone is polite or nicely dressed.
Troika Games and Sierra are on the verge of beginning the limited public beta test of Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. To complement a preview of Arcanum at RPGPlanet, we have an interview with Leonard Boyarsky, Joint CEO and Art Director, about the current state of the game.

GameSpy: The release of Arcanum was delayed to provide more time to fine tune the game. Can you tell us about progress on the game's beta so far? What has been improved with the game compared to its condition when it was originally scheduled to ship?

Boyarsky: We have just finalized the beta selection process and are currently awaiting NDA's from the chosen participants. Beta CDs should be going out within the next week to get the beta underway. Arcanum has had tremendous improvements made to it since September. We've redone the point distribution system, making it much easier to understand and balance, revised the skills, altering some thieving skills to make them more useful, finalized several of the interface screens, making changes along the way to ensure user friendliness, and of course, lots and lots of bug fixing.

GameSpy: Some people seem to think that Arcanum takes place in the same universe as Fallout. Is this true or is Fallout merely the inspiration (and background of several team members)? If it is in the same universe, where in the timeline relative to Fallout does it take place?

Boyarsky: We enjoy reading speculation like this, but no, Arcanum is set in an entirely new world unrelated from Fallout. The Fallout name and universe is owned by Interplay, and we have nothing to do with it, (except for the fact that a lot of our team worked on the Fallout titles).

GameSpy: Can you give us more information on the recently announced deal with Wizards of the Coast, licensing your editor? What was it about your editor that impressed Wizards of the Coast to license it? Will Wizards of the Coast be making changes to your editor or have you made changes to it for their use?

Boyarsky: Wizards of the Coast licensed our editor so that Fluid Entertainment could include it in the Master Tools that they are making for Wizards. Fluid will be making changes to the editor to fit their needs, as well as creating all new art to use with it. As for why they chose our editor, I would like to believe it is because they saw how easy and versatile it was, but you'd have to ask them.

GameSpy: We're curious about some details of the editor. What are all the features of the world that you can create? Can users insert their own graphics and sounds? How much of the actual game will be available for modification by the players?

Boyarsky:The end user can create his own single or multiplayer modules using the editor. He can make cities, dungeons, lay traps, script events, etc. Basically, he will have access to all of the game building tools we are using to make the game ourselves.

End users will not be able to add their own graphics as it is too complex a process (and too easy to crash the game if they are added incorrectly). We are not officially supporting the addition of sounds, but I'm sure people will be able to figure out how to do that. As a matter of fact, one of our play testers here figured it out yesterday and changed all of his game sound to Simpson's sounds.

Until someone breaks open our .dat files (which will probably be a few days after we ship J) people will not have access to the single-player maps for modification.

Next: Game editing...

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