Local Copy: Q&A with SEE Digital Studios – PART 1

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SDS: Q&A (Part 1)

Q&A with SEE Digital Studios 

PART 1


Hello colonists!

We have taken a look at the many questions you shared with us regarding the recent acquisition of First Planet Company, and have responded to all Planet Calypso and Entropia-related questions. We greatly appreciate your interest and look forward to continuing to respond to your queries as we continue under our new structure as SEE Digital Studios. More great things to come!

*Please note that all questions pertaining to Planet Michael will be answered as additional information is made available.

Thank you for your patience! 
Hanne

So, let’s start!

General 
Q: How many full time staff will there be working on Planet Calypso? 
The staff at First Planet Company has been retained and is now at SEE Digital Studios where they will continue to enhance Planet Calypso. Currently, the Planet Calypso team is focusing on continued post-launch development and updates.

Q: What can we expect in 2011? Can we have a roadmap?
We are not at liberty to disclose this information at the time, but we assure you that there will be many exciting new developments in 2011.

Q: When will we be able to sit down and lay down again?
This functionality is provided by the platform supplier MindArk, and will return.

Q: Have you given any thought to competitions for ideas, storylines, and new products for the players to help with development?
Yes, we plan on integrating in-game competitions that will involve the community in our efforts to continue rolling out new content in Planet Calypso.

Q: Where are the power fists? I am a level 43 Brawler (hit) without a power fist available to hunt or skill with.
SEE Digital Studios will continue to add new items throughout the planet, including new power fists.

Q: How much time does the design team have available to fix things like texture issues, bugs like when you canQ:t place items on pedestals, shop bugs etc.
SEE Digital Studios is working with the AGILE software development model, which segments each SDS content release into a number of sprints and milestones. The total development time is usually between 1 Q: 2 months depending on the release content. Due to the separation of platform and content, bugs are allocated to either MindArk or SDS. Depending on when SDS receives a bug report within our sphere of influence, its fix will be added to the current or next release plan.

Q: Is MindForce going to be Calypso-exclusive or are we going to SEE that on other planets as well? Like… Moonwalk Chip II (L)?
MindForce is an activity available throughout the Entropia Universe, and therefore can be used by all colonists on other planets. However, while the underlying system is generic, colonists may individually express themselves through MindForce. For example, magic can be used on a medieval planet.

Q: 
Is removing/adding event content always going to take weeks/months to change?
Adding new content and events takes time to plan, create, execute and finalize. Therefore it is difficult to put a time-frame on the process.

Q: 
Is it currently possible for things to happen in real time on the servers? Or must patches be applied?
Even though SEE Digital Studios has some access to real time parameters, most changes require a patch.

Q: Does SEE have plans to upgrade the Beacon system, providing different types of Beacons maybe, which yield different types of missions, in different types of location, against different creatures, etc.?
MindArk is continuing to develop the underlying Beacon system. They are enhancing the old systems and reintroducing them to give colonists new and improved quests.

Q: Will corporations be introduced into the game?
As we have stated in the past, we would like to develop the idea of corporations along the lines of factions.

Q: Any plans for new storage containers that aren’t so restrictive? Weight reducing containers that arenQ:t so rare?
This suggestion is being taken into consideration.

Q: Are the equipment, weapons, etc., going to be added too? Will any new gear be released and looted?
Yes, we currently have plans to add new equipment, weapons and gear.

Q: Will the additional funds now available allow for one or more additional developers working on community requests only?
Increasing communication with the community is one of our top priorities for 2011. We are working at establishing a stronger relationship between the community and SDS.

Q: Will there be more vehicles released?
Yes, we have plans to release many more vehicles, starting with the spaceship, which goes with the hangar system.

Q: Where are Simon and Emma?
Simon and Emma are still very much involved, but are now focusing their efforts toward in-game events and item parameterization.

Forum and Communication

Q: Will there be more communication with the end user (via forums, bulletin or email) to keep them updated on the future of development of both planets, due to the increased number of staff working on both?

Increasing communication with the community is one of our top priorities for 2011. We are working at establishing a stronger relationship between the community and SDS.

Q: Will this be the official Michael Jackson Forum?
No, Planet Michael will have its own forum at planetmichael.com.

Q: With new staff can we get frequent updates about what is happening both In-game and development status?
Yes, as mentioned, SEE Digital Studios is working toward increasing our relationship with the community. With that said, communicating in-game content updates and development status is at the top of our list.

Q: Is this the beginning of a new and sustained dialogue with the community?
Yes, as mentioned, we are currently exploring different methods of ongoing community satisfaction within the areas of communication and overall development.

Q: Do you have the feeling, the communication between you and the player base is good or bad?
Following requests by the community we have certainly increased communication by hiring Hanne as our dedicated community manager, and taking over the Entropia Forum, rebranding it as the official Planet Calypso forum. We now we have a forum dedicated to Planet Calypso and a community manager with strong ties. With that said, we plan to continue enhancing our interaction with the community by becoming even more involved and listening to feedback.

Q: Are you concerned by all the hate topics in the forum, or do you think most of the players are happy?
User feedback is always encouraged as it helps us understand the wants and needs of the community. We pay close attention to the negative comments in order to make improvements and ensure that weQ:re responding to loyal players with the big changes theyQ:d like to see implemented wherever possible. This is a game for the community after all.

Q: What will change about these forums with this take over?
Initially there will be no major changes, however, over time we will improve the overall experience and connect more with the game and our player base.

Q: Will you be the official community manager regarding the MJ forum?
We are not at liberty to disclose this information at this time, but we assure you that HanneQ:s focus will continue to be on Planet Calypso.

Q: Will you (SDS) listen to what your community is telling you?
Absolutely, user feedback is constantly encouraged as it helps us understand the wants and needs of the community.

Q: How long before this latest spurt of interest in the player base wanes and it’s back to the normal wall of silence and no communication from anyone other than Hanne?
Hanne is the official community manager so the majority of SEE Digital Studios communication currently comes from her, however we are working at establishing a stronger relationship between the community and all of SDS.

Q: There is a wish list here on the forum that in quite a number of cases contains a huge number of great, and seemingly easy to implement, enhancements and ideas. Is there a staff member in your company thatQ:s responsible for actually checking this thread and passing the ideas on for further analysis?
The forum threads are closely monitored and both SEE Digital Studios and MindArk are very well aware of the wish list.

Q: Can we get quarterly ‘state of the game’ posts, about which direction you are taking the game.
The suggestion will be taken into consideration.

Economy

Q: What will be done to the current sweat crisis as there is only one use for ME on this planet and that is Teleport Chips?
WeQ:re taking a hard look at this situation to see what we can do in the near future.
Q:
With the constant introduction of more land without an equivalent growth in the player base the value of each plot keeps dropping. What are your policies on this? Can SEE/SDS release as much new land as they please or are there restrictions? If so, what are these?
SEE Virtual Worlds and SEE Digital Studios will continue to implement the platform restriction ratio of land areas to active users.

Q: What will be done to the Planet Calypso economy to ensure better return rates?
Return rates are a part of platform balancing, which is managed by MindArk. However, SEE Digital Studios is currently in discussions with MindArk about balancing matters in order to enhance the end user experience.

Q: Is it guaranteed that big yearly sales like Medusa will happen going forward?
No, like most in-game transactions, some years there will have larger yearly sales than others.

Q: 
Will there be more DNA dropping including new ones?
Yes.

Q: What steps will you take to correct the turmoil caused by VU 10.0 conversions of land areas and the introduction of iron missions for some mobs and not for others? Some of these changes were so drastic they reduced the value of some land areas by up to 80%. When if ever will you attempt to correct the remaining conversion issues, and at what point will you introduce iron missions for the remaining mobs to balance out the current imbalance?
We have been adjusting land areas since VU 10. It is our long-term goal to eventually have iron missions on all mobs.

Q: 
Will any land investment opportunities be added for smaller budgets? For example Land share market.
Yes, we are constantly looking at ways of expanding the economy for all budget sizes.

Q: 
What are your plans to address Squatters, in reference to Empty LA’s, Shops, etc., managed by inactive players?
SEE Digital Studios will continue to follow the terms set out in the Account Inactivity Policy, which will deem any account inactive if it has not been logged in to for a period of three hundred consecutive days.

Marketing

Q: Does this mean you now have a budget for some serious advertising?
We are not at liberty to disclose this information.
Concrete plan to attract a growing stream of new participants into the universe – is there one and if so what is it?
In very general terms, we intend to address retention and customer service, as well as acquisition.

Q: Are there any plans to have a more traditional marketing campaign, specifically television advertisements, on the scale of other major studios such as Blizzard, EA, and Ubisoft? Or do you not consider yourselves in the same league?
Several media campaigns are being considered to increase exposure of Planet Calypso.

Planet Calypso Specific
Q: Will the storyline of Calypso be actively developed?
Yes.

Q: Are you going to tie up all the loose ends from previous stories? Using what functions?
Yes, we will be providing answers to any unsolved stories that will be sure to satisfy on all levels. For example, a major focus this year will be the resolution of the infamous Q:Egg StoryQ:.

Q: What is your vision for the future of Calypso?
Our main vision for the future of Planet Calypso includes streamlining, adding new opportunities and content, introducing events, and focusing our efforts on the overall colonist experience.

Q: When will the rest of Planet Calypso be developed? Server remakes and the rest of Amethera?
The development of Planet Calypso will be ongoing. Gradually weQ:ll address more of the servers and the development status.

Q: Will the Hangar system still be back next VU?
Yes, we plan on bringing the hangers back later this year.

Q: Where are Kerberos and Umbranoids?
Rest assured, Kerberos and Umbranoids will also return later this year once technical issues have been remedied.

Q: What about big story events for all professions instead of just hunters?
We have already included miners and crafters, but part of our long-term plan includes involving all player groups.

Q: When are we going to actually be able to travel to Akbal and/or Cimi?
We think this is a great idea and will take this into consideration. Thanks!

Q: What will SEE do differently to make me want to stay on Planet Calypso?
Some of the many changes will include increased product quality and communication, as well as better customer service.

Q: LandGrab?
We have no information at this time.

Q: Are we at war with the robots still or did we win?
As you know machines never give up but at times they need rebooting. This being said, the war is not over!

Q: And will the migration of Eomon be an actual migration or will they teleport from one location to the next every few hours?
We do want to get back to an actual migration feel and have received a few basic tools from MindArk that should allow us to achieve this.

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