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I am Derek Brinkmann, AKA Supreem, Lead Developer of Shards Online. Ask Me Anything!

Supreem

Founder, Citadel Studios
VIP
Stratics Veteran
Hey everyone! I wanted to have an official place you guys can ask me questions directly.

My name is Derek Brinkmann, many of you know me as Supreem. I've been working in the game industry since 2004 with 6+ of those years spent as the Lead Engineer of UO. I left EA to start Citadel Studios with my friend and colleague Tim Cotten, who many of you know as Draconi, former Lead Designer on UO.

Citadel Studios was created with the vision of creating deep and immersive virtual worlds. We believe in fostering communities like Stratics and giving power to the players in an effort to make our worlds live and breathe. Our first game as you all probably know is Shards Online.

Shards Online is not a spiritual successor to Ultima Online (we'll leave that to Lord British) BUT our game does re-create many of the systems and features that made Ultima Online such an amazing game. I've actually heard one of our players in-game say "I haven't had this much fun since UO beta!" To learn more about the game you can go here or here. Or you can pledge $40 or more to the project to get instant access to the 24/7 Pre-Alpha.

Anyways, you can ask me anything you'd like in this thread. You can ask me about Shards Online or anything else, like my career, my time on UO, my favorite color etc. I look forward to answering your questions.
 

Taylor

Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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Love this, Derek! I have a question that connects with this community's historical investment in UO. You mentioned Shards Online echoes some systems and features that made UO amazing. Here's my (admittedly difficult) question:

If you were forced to pick a top three, which are the top three systems/features you think UO players would find appealing in Shards Online?
 

Supreem

Founder, Citadel Studios
VIP
Stratics Veteran
Hey Logrus! You hijacked my thread damn ye! I'll answer anyways.

@Taylor - Logrus touched on it with number 2, but really what makes Ultima Online such an amazing game is the fact that it was a true persistent world. This is something that can be hard to explain but everyone who plays UO understands it. It basically comes down to a design philosophy that the simulation comes first and the game naturally flows from that. There are many examples of this, but one of the most simple ones is that every single object in the world has a physical representation and has the ability to be interacted with by other objects. Most MMOs, items you collect from killing monsters only exist as an icon in your backpack and you can't even put them on the ground. This is terrible! I don't even know how this came to be acceptable practice in MMO design. Things like this completely breaks the immersive feeling that you are living in and exploring an actual virtual world. When you design the world simply as a collection of objects and their interactions, awesome and unexpected things happen. This is what is called "emergent gameplay". Most of the stories players tell about their experiences in Ultima Online were things that the original game designers never even thought up when they created the system. This is also something we made sure we stayed true to in Shards Online and it has paid off in a big way. The other day I helped a player move when he was upgrading his house and moving to a new lot. I haven't done that in any other game besides Ultima Online and it felt so good!

Sorry I just picked one and went crazy about it. Logrus pretty much got them right.

@Elenni - Not sure when we will get that in but it's only a matter of time! I know for a fact one of the community servers was experimenting with doing it in a mod.
 

Elenni

Stratics Sr. Leadership team member
Alumni
One of the things I really like about UO is that I never HAD to be a fighter of some kind to have a full experience. The subsystems, housing customization, decorating and crafting, vendoring...I know it all sounds like "play house" but the reality is that UO supports all these playstyles and more. That's one of the things that I think engages such a broad user base who keep coming back again and again.

I'm looking forward to checking out Shards Online and seeing just what you guys have been up to!
 

kronides

Lore Keeper
Stratics Veteran
Stratics Legend
One of the things I really like about UO is that I never HAD to be a fighter of some kind to have a full experience. The subsystems, housing customization, decorating and crafting, vendoring...I know it all sounds like "play house" but the reality is that UO supports all these playstyles and more. That's one of the things that I think engages such a broad user base who keep coming back again and again.

I'm looking forward to checking out Shards Online and seeing just what you guys have been up to!
I'm sorry if this is considered a necro, but if your offer to answer questions on this forum is still in force, can we get a response as to whether the above mentioned playstyles (can I be a bartender or a merchant or a farmer if I want to, in a word, non-combat roles) will be supported in Legends of Aria at some point? I understand these aren't the first things you worked on and that's okay. But I would like to make fisherman-type characters (not just a mage with fishing tacked on) or a merchant, things of that nature...or, going way back in the day, possibly even a detective? That would be hella super cool, and viable, given the open world ruleset that UO hasn't had for a lot of years now.

I am pretty excited about this game and am thinking seriously of pledging--it looks way better to me than Shroud of the Avatar does.
 

Supreem

Founder, Citadel Studios
VIP
Stratics Veteran
I'm sorry if this is considered a necro, but if your offer to answer questions on this forum is still in force, can we get a response as to whether the above mentioned playstyles (can I be a bartender or a merchant or a farmer if I want to, in a word, non-combat roles) will be supported in Legends of Aria at some point? I understand these aren't the first things you worked on and that's okay. But I would like to make fisherman-type characters (not just a mage with fishing tacked on) or a merchant, things of that nature...or, going way back in the day, possibly even a detective? That would be hella super cool, and viable, given the open world ruleset that UO hasn't had for a lot of years now.

I am pretty excited about this game and am thinking seriously of pledging--it looks way better to me than Shroud of the Avatar does.
Hi Elenni! Yes we are big fans of non-combat professions. Fishing and cooking will be making a return to Alpha 3 as an integral part of the game. We are also adding bards / musicianship (if everything goes according to plan :))
 

Xenophen

Visitor
Hey there Supreem,

Been a few months since I've taken a look at Aria, but I've heard you've expanded the world very much so. The biggest issue I had with the game was the immense lag my wife and I received
when just walking around town or anywhere for that matter. Seemed almost as if it were bottle-necking somewhere and not utilizing all the resources my PC had. Is this an issue that has already
been addressed or is being addressed? I didn't even think to see if this was 64-bit compatible yet. That would definitely open some doors. Otherwise I'm super excited for this game. Been waiting
for a true successor to UO for a long time. This looks like it will have even more capabilities as far as the customization and modding goes. Thank you and your team for all your hard work so far. Wife and I can't wait!!


Xenophen
 

Supreem

Founder, Citadel Studios
VIP
Stratics Veteran
Yes Xenophen we have done alot to improve lag in the past few months. You should check it out again when we release Alpha 3 in a month or so.
 

Great DC

Lore Keeper
Stratics Veteran
Stratics Legend
UNLEASHED
When does this game go live? Id like to check it out once its ready.
 

Supreem

Founder, Citadel Studios
VIP
Stratics Veteran
Hey @Great DC, we are scheduled to launch on Steam (no wipes) before the end of the year. We are launching a "Final Alpha" test on September 21st for all pledges if you want to check it out pre-Steam.
 
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