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Thrive Games is a small company from Hamilton (Ontario, Canada) that has been hard at work on a very intriguing pixelart online F2P game Dragon of Legends (DoL). There’s so much going on in DoL, that we’ve decided to talk to the game’s lead designer Nathan Dworzak (DoL) and discuss the project and it’s development.
About Thrive Games
Thrive Games was established in April 2014, and we’re currently working out of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Before transitioning into the video game industry our studio was known as Thrive! Entertainment, where we worked on several educational games, and provided creative online databasing and networking solutions for other small businesses around the area.
The basic premise for Dragon of Legends is that: Loki is imprisoned, and if he breaks free the universe ends. There is a lot of lore and backstory that explains this in more detail which will be revealed to the player throughout his/her adventure, but in the game players will be able to pick sides and work towards freeing or slaying Loki. The Norse have been deceived and are working with evil forces to spread hatred and disorder across the world, while the Celts stand strong to protect their home against the on-coming onslaught. The main conflict will be seen from two different perspectives, depending on where the player’s allegiance lies.
Action based combat and pixel art were used in DoL to separate itself from the rest of the MMORPG games currently being released on the market. A lot of the 3D MMO games that are coming out are very reminiscent of World of Warcraft and all feel strangely familiar to that same gaming experience – often resulting in their inevitable failure.
We want to present DoL in a different perspective from what people have grown accustom to, and give players a different spin on the MMO genre that harkens back to the old days of gaming. Also as an indie studio there was no way we could compete with these AAA companies with their vast amount of resources, so pixel art was a great way out for us.
One of the best tools that we have stumbled across to increase the creation time of pixel art, is Daniel Kvarfordt’s Pyxel Edit. This program streamlines the pixel art creation process for tiles as well as sprite animation, and would highly recommend using it if you’re into pixel art.
From the initial conception of DoL we wanted it to run on pretty much everything. Being able to play this kind of action RPG style game on a phone works quite well, but in other games there are barriers between devices. In order to achieve this cross-platform functionality the majority of the engine has been created from scratch.
We are currently using Java with a variety of different libraries (Such as LibGDX, and OpenGL) to make sure the game will be able to run on almost anything, but once we acquire the proper funding most of the server code will need to be rewritten in a different language to optimize efficiency. The developers are working on a blog series that will answer these more specific details at a later date.
Cross Platform and Mods
For me, multiplayer interaction is one of the most important parts of any game, so in Dragon of Legends we are going to great lengths to make an unforgettable experience. Cross platform functionality means there will no longer be device specific barriers to play with your friends. This means you could be hacking away at a monster on your PC, while your friend lounges on the couch with his tablet.
Community is also really important for any successful multiplayer title, and we want to involve as many people in the creation process as possible – so we are creating modding tools that allow you to create your own unique content such as houses, armor, weapons, levels and more, and based on community voting – the best work will be included into the main game
Testing & Planning
The best way to test the mechanics at this point is to just try them out in the game. All of our classes have been thoroughly planned out, which makes the design and implementation of their abilities easy – but the best way to iron out any mechanic is to try it out first hand. Our current build is quite stable which allows us to add new features in quickly and test them in real time.
For Dragon of Legends we are adhering to the “ethical f2p” monetization model, which means all of our cash shop items are going to be for purely cosmetic purposes. Some of the best examples of this method can be found in Guild Wars 2, and League of Legends for example. And for right now, our primary markets are going to be PC and Mobile as our game works on these devices so we would only need to track sales for those platforms. Consoles are going to be a stretch goal and based on how badly the community wants it, because rewriting everything is going to take a lot of resources to pull off.
Absolutely! We’re actually running a pre-campaign right now on Square Enix’s Indie Collective site, and could really use some more votes to help Dragon of Legends rise to the top of the charts!
Once the 28 days are up from the feedback phase, we will be heading to Kickstarter hopefully with the PR support from Square Enix. Steam Greenlight will also be launched in the upcoming months – most likely in tandem with Kickstarter. All distribution will be done digitally through the various online marketplaces such as Apple’s App-store, Google play store, etc.