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Face Of Mankind

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Developer: Duplex

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'Face of Mankind' Marko Dieckmann Interview

by Thomas on July 15, 2002 @ 10:54 a.m. PDT

A sophisticated, story-rich online role-playing game set in the 24th century; Face of Mankind combines action and social elements to create a unique online experience where the battle of good and evil is depicted in shades of grey. Set in a living, breathing world full of complex interactions, players are required to call upon their real-life skills such as guile and diplomacy.

WP. Any slated time line until the game goes live?

The plans are to start beta testing in Q4/2003, a release is planned for January 2004.


WP. Will there be regular servers (where you can not kill each other, except for specifically designated PvP arenas) as opposed to all player vs. player servers (where you can kill anybody, anywhere)? This to protect new players from being slaughtered by long time players.

We won´t set up 2 different servers to differ between senseless slaughtering and serious roleplaying. The reasons are our complete new MMORPG game design. Let me go a little in detail now.

The by far most important topic is the NOT existing skill system in FoM. Your skills will depend on your real gaming abilities. You won´t be more mighty in the sense of skills just because you are already playing one year. In other MMORPG´s you are earning experience points by practicing your skills and so your skills increase. So your true abilities of reacting and gameplay are not really important in these games. Your weapon is just more powerful than the one from the beginner, so the newbie has no chance at all.

Face of Mankind includes a comprehensive ranking structure with seven rank stages. Players still have to earn experience points to climb up in ranks. Players in higher ranks have more responsibility than the lower ones. They have to care about the players below them and forward missions to them.

Also, once being a Colonel doesn´t you will stay there for all times. It´s also possible to loose your rank again. There is a constant competition which makes it fun to defeat your honor.

WP. Are you planning any sort of race system? Or will it be all human players to choose from?

First of all, we have no different races to choose, but the player may choose from ten different organisations.

These organisations are:

Government institutions

Freedom Defence Corps [F.D.C.]
Global Intelligence Service [G.I.S.]
Law Enforcement Department [L.E.D.]

Multinational companies

Colonization and Mining Guild [C.M.G.]
American Enterprises [A.E.]
Eurocore (also known as The Core)
Asian Coalition [A.C.]

Clans

Brotherhood of the shadows (aka the Brotherhood)
Guardians of mankind (aka the Guardians)
Mercenaries of the blood (aka the Mercenaries)

Our dynamic story content includes all these organisation in the campaigns, and each organisation has its own destinations and rules. So, first of all, finding the right one for you is the first big task in roleplaying. You are totally implemented into the ranking structure of your organisation. There are very much opportunities for roleplaying in this structure. Everything is bound together, roleplaying in Face of Mankind is not a simple "explore and fight", but more being immersed into the deep background story.

More details about these organisations can be found on our official homepage.


WP. I am assuming this will be subscription based. Have you any rough estimates on the monthly fee the player will have to pay?

No, I´m sorry, not yet. The only estimation is that it won´t be more than the other MMORPG at the release time.


WP. Since it’s an ongoing story will you be introducing new elements at certain times? Such as new zones, items, and tech?

No comments here, this would take your suspense. :)


WP. How many different types of enemies will there be? Or will it be just human vs. human vs. alien?

Just is good. There are 10 competing organisations, two secret organisations and the alien species consisting of 3 different races. This could create 10 different enemies for each.


WP. “Players who joined one of the companies will have control over it” How many people can control one company? The more people you have, the higher the chance a disagreement will arise. How do you plan on dealing with this?

There will be less players in those companies than in the other organisations. That´s because people like playing in fighting organisations more than controlling a complex economic system. There will be a balancing system that always tries to balance the organisation member counts on the current situation. How this works in detail I can´t disclose here. Actually, a MMORPG works better with higher player counts.


WP. If you don’t join one of the organizations. How hard will it be to raise money and make a living?

Players must join one of the organisations. But there is a lot of gaming opportunities beside your organisation membership. You can do everything, even working against your own organisation.


WP. Are you planning to limit the amount of people being able to reach a certain rank? Because the thought of 3000 presidents or Field Marshals seems a bit odd.

There will only be one Field Marshal. This is described in detail on the page "The ranking system in Face of Mankind" of our homepage. Listing it here would bomb the limits of this interview. The structure of each organisation is described there, the minimums and maximums of each rank stage. When the game starts not every rank will be filled. This changes with the increasing player count.


WP. Also with your rank system such as “Field Marshal”, do you control NPC, Players, or both?

You don´t control NPC´s, but players. You control the groups of players in ranks below your own. Also, the organisation highest leaders plan the main missions for the next week. These ranks will be played by gamemasters at the beginning.


WP. It is a fact of life that not everybody will get along with other players. How will you prevent total anarchy from breaking out if players do not like the ones in power, controlling the company (such as the people with the higher ranks)?

You´re right, that´s a fact of life. But do we have anarchy in our world? What keeps it together?

The rules. If you don´t get along with other people in real life you try to avoid conflicts and try to get along with them. You always have bosses, except you are your own. But most people are employed, just because they wouldn´t have anything without. We have this system on earth because it works, it keeps everything together.

It´s similar in the game. The fact that you don´t like your boss just creates more exciting conflicts inside an organisation to solve. Bosses, who are not able to do this job or aren´t worth it, won´t keep the rank over a long time.


WP. If you die will you lose experience/rank?

Actually, we are still thinking about the character death. We had very comprehensive thoughts about the death of a character. Our goal is to make death an experience to avoid. We want to increase suspense in missions and thus death should be feared by everyone, just like in real life. The actual status is the following:
If your character dies you will loose everything that you carried in your bag. Your bag-size is limited, so you will not loose everything you possess. Also we are planning to let players fix one or two items in their bags, that won´t be lost when they died.

Re-spawning is only possible if a gene image was taken from your body before. How this will be done is not yet fixed exactly. This gene image reflects the status of your installed implants, health and protection power, but not your experience and rank stage. So you´ll stay in your rank. If you die you will be re-spawned in your flat after a recreation time. Within this time it is not possible for the player to enter the world. We are still thinking about the recreation time and will keep this topic for beta-testing.


WP. How will you deal with item harvesting or “Farming”? How are you planning to deal with camping?

There are no static item spawns. As I told in the question before, players can fix rare or very expensive items in their inventory. Your bag size is limited. So, players might keep very important items in their flats. But they still loose items when they die. But remember, there are no skill levels in Face of Mankind. So attackers risk their lives with every attack. Our combat system reduces item hunting to a minimum.

Camping? You won´t gain experience points for killing players outside a mission. You will be noticed as murderer. If you want to risk this just for getting an item, do it and wait for the next L.E.D. patrol. J


WP. Do you have any ideas on the system specs required to run this game at an acceptable level?

The game runs well on standard computers nowadays. An 800 MHz system combined with a good 3D accelerator like a GeForce 2 and an ISDN or DSL internet line should provide a great game feeling, but it will also work with 56K modems.


WP. How are you planning to deal with Lag?

We will distinguish between players in different distances from your own position. Also the players mode (fighting or just standing) will be taken in consideration. So we are able to limit the bandwith needed for each player to a minimum.


WP. How will the currency be broken down? Will each city have its own currency? And will all the currency be equal or will one be worth more or less than the other?

There will be one currency, as there is only one global government, the Global Dominion. The currency will be officially called "Credits". If you want to know how much it will approximately be to pay for a weapon, I can´t tell you yet. That´s not yet fixed.


WP. What sort of items will be able to be bought or sold? Or will it be governed by the way the organizations are run?

Items will be:
- 9 different kind of weapons and their ammunitions
- medical items to offer healing
- implants of different kinds
- biocells
- drugs with different effects

All these must be produced by the companies. So they finally decide how much products will be available. Behind all this there is the economic system with a huge variety of raw materials or raw material groups. With raw material groups it´s possible to create the same group out of different materials. For example conductors, they can be made out of aluminium, copper or iron.


WP. Seeing the break down of the weapons available, how many variants will be available for each? Or will it be limitless since the companies will make them?

Weapons can be modified. These modifications can be seen as implants for weapons, like the implant for players. They will improve the performance in different ways, for example accuracy, loudness etc. We will include the possibility to produce modifications of different stages, but it won´t be limitless.


WorthPlaying
would like to thank Marko Dieckmann from Duplex Systems.


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