THE SAGA OF RYZOM - Interview
Hi David! Thank you for the interview. Can you please introduce yourself? What is your job at the Ryzom team? Why did you join the game industry?

I am the founder, CEO and Creative Director of NEVRAX. My job on our

MMORPG 'The Saga of Ryzom' consisted in creating the world design and writing the story and the background. Now that the game is launched, I mostly deal with development of the story and the game world to prepare the new episodes for the game. I also take part in our discussions about the evolution of the game, our new game

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features, the websites. But I am not a technology person, I really stick to the game experience, the immersion and the contents of the game. I wanted to work in this industry because it is a passion. I am very happy to have this chance, in particular to be working on MMORPG, which is by far my preferred type of games.

What was your first game? And which onlineworld beside Saga of Ryzom is your favourite?

When I was a kid, I loved 'Moon Stone' on Amiga. It was about a quest to gather the moon stones in a medieval fantasy world. I was multiplayer too (4 players max). Today, it's more difficult to say. I can't say that I have a preferred game. Since I work in games now, I see them from a different angle no matter what. But I love WipeOut and I enjoy flight sims on consoles. I never play a game for more than a couple of days usually, and I don't have much time to play too.

As far as MMORPG are concerned, I have the problem of not having much

time to play, so it is difficult to explore the games, not possible to have a guild, etc. That aside, I enjoy watching other people play. I can easily spend a couple of hours watching my friends play (they have much better characters than mine). I like different games for different reasons. One would have a great looking world, another have excellent interfaces, yet others have very cool game systems. But I can't say that any satisfied me in every respect yet.

When and where you had the idea to create the Saga of Ryzom? Why is Atys called Atys? What is your favourite book and movie?

It's a progressive desire to have immersive game experiences in a persistent world that pushed me in that direction. When I was playing 'pen & paper' RPGs, I was mastering most of the time, and I enjoy creating stories very much. Later on, with video games, I always was frustrated to be stuck with linear scenarios and maps, and that really motivated me to do my own stuff. And later on, when the internet arrived (that's 1994 for me) I

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really felt that this would be the way to go. I was playing some MUDs and I was very excited when Ultima Online came out. In parallel to that, I am a Nature person. I just love to travel in the wilderness, and I am a sad person when I see the damage that our planet's ecosystem is taking. I wanted to make a real saga in a living world where players would be able to impact the world and the story. In 1999, since no publisher was willing to take the risks to make such MMORPG, I decided to create Nevrax, and do it without them.

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Atys is a name I like. It sounds and looks good, plus has the same pronunciation in all languages. But beside these 'features', Atys is thename of an opera composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully. A tragedy in 5 acts created in 1676 for the sole entertainment of "the best of all Heros", Louis XIV.

As far as books are concerned, I like Lovecraft stories, Asimov novels, mangas, comics. I don't have a preferred book in fact. I have a hard time reading because I have a huge dyslexia. As for movies, well again I don't have a preferred one. But I like a lot of movie types, even if what I prefer is adventure, and good Sci-Fi (which doesn't amount to many).

The Saga of Ryzom caught our attention more then two years ago. After the release last year, you guys

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always bring new content in a world beside elves and orcs. Where do you see the game in the future?

The game will develop many faces. The large main story will continue to drive the introduction of new game features and game contents, but it will also generate a lot of opportunities and purpose for the players actions. What is unique and very innovative about SoR is that it makes a lot of room for the players to take an active part in the story and the development of the world. The game features are means, but the true purposes for playing the game is to truly become an important force who can change things. With the Ryzom Ring (R²), the players get to make their own

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scenarios (connected or not to the rest of the game). It is incredible to say, but the 'Saga of Ryzom' is the only MMORPG today that will allow this. It is the only MMORPG to really be an RPG. The computer games industry today is cheating on the players when they call their games RPG, without offering them ability to create their own scenario in the game world. The term RPG comes from the "pen & paper" concepts, where you can create your scenario to have fun with your friends in the game world using the background and a set of rules. This is what the future of SoR is about. We understand what MMORPG players want and we are working to deliver just that. R² will be available in Q1 next year by the way.Episode II launched a few days ago and the fans love the new storyline! Can you give us a small presentation of the next Chapter?

Nope, I can't. I can't because we have to wait and see what the players do with this episode. SoR is about the players' actions in the development of the story. Of course we still handle the NPC's agendas and organization. And we create the events with our live team in advance. But the next Chapter's presentation depends a lot on what the players will have done, server per server.

This episode is about the construction of temples. Each faction has asked each civilization in game to help them. Of course it is only possible to help one or the other, and players now have to make up their mind regarding who they want to help and fight for. There is some new PvP, new harvest and new crafting. New missions, and new rewards too. In the end it is a competition between the factions in each civilization. The next steps are going to release more surprises in the development of the

story. We (the NPCs) know where we are going, the players choose the road they want to follow. With R² it'll be soon possible for the players to develop their own sub-stories around each new episode and chapter! Isn't that great?!

The first Expansion "Ryzom Ring" is knocking on the door! What can you tell us about the Add-on? Players seem to be able to build their own quest, that's really amazing! How does that work?

We always said that the "Saga of Ryzom" is not a conventional 'theme park' MMORPG. In our game, it is not just about collecting xp and items. These are means. The purpose of the game is to play a part in the evolution of the story and in the transformation of the world as it evolves thanks to the player's actions. With the first extension we wanted to violently breach the limits of today's existing model of massively online RPG in which players are just consumers in large theme parks. We wanted to get what all RPG players want: the ability to make their own

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scenario within the game world and game story.

The Ryzom Ring, R² as we call it, is a fun and easy to use tool that players will enjoy to create their own adventures. In a nutshell, this is what you do with R² :

>> first you select a map you like (size, type of ecosystem, etc.)

>> then you populate it like a level designer would (input creatures, NPCs, their dialogues, etc.)

>> once you are satisfied with your creation, you open it for test to your player friends

>> final step, you press a button to put it online

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,R² is a very comfortable tool to use. You basically are in your map like you would play. The only difference is in the interface. When you are editing a scenario in R², your don't have the player interface, but the designer interface. And you can swap from editing mode to test mode (player mode) back and forth with no need of relaunching the game.

The players' creations are hosted on our servers to make it simple and comfortable. R² creations are connected to the rest of the game world or not depending on their designer's intension. R² scenarios can be private (restricted access) or public (to all the SoR players). Players can also use R² to create their ownevents according to the evolution of the in-game story, and they can also over ride their scenario settings live if they want to 'customize' the experience according to the profile of the visiting players in their R² adventure.

It really is a huge improvement for MMORPGs as a genre of entertainment. Players now get to express their creativity, share it on a never seen scale, and the only thing I can say about it is 'it's about time !'.

I mean the online computer world is about interactivity, creativity and community right ? So how come the gaming industry doesn't lead the trend there ? We are a privately owned company and we are going to lead the MMROPG genre in that direction, and R² is our ride. Whoever feels like living the future now is more than welcome to hop in.

Where do you see the main differences of Ryzom compared to other MMORPGS ? What is the most important feature in a onlineworld?

There are a load of differences between SoR and the rest of the online worlds. But in short, SoR has a real story that really develops like a Saga over time, SoR has truly unique and fascinating new type of world away from the overused marketing IPs, and SoR has a flexibility that no other can offer : R².

I see more and more players complaining about their MMORPG in which they have maxed out and are left with nothing more than collecting items. But why progress? Why collect items? In the other games ,there are no stories to live, no cause to defend, no identity and role to play. Other games are theme parks. SoR is a real alternative dimension in which the players' actions are about achievements with consequences on the world and the story.

I don't think there is one single most important feature in an online world (besides being massively online, but this is a mere technical feature). The world, the story and the game systems feed on each other.

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Talking about one unique most important feature doesn't make sense. People have many faces, different cultures, different tastes and

experience a variety of emotions. MMORPGs should feature just as many flavours of entertainment to match the entertainment needs of today's players.Thank you,

De nada. thank you !