It appears voxels are in this season. California-based indie developers MyDream Interactive have recently finished their successfully funded Kickstarter campaign for MyDream, a co-operative world building game that takes inspiration from the likes of Minecraft and LittleBigPlanet.
We talked to CEO Allison Huynh to find out more about MyDream.
Where did your inspiration for MyDream come from?
The founding team all had an amazing childhood exploring open world environments in Alaska or living in national parks. They wanted to create such a sandbox world, very expansive, with some traditional elements of RPG.
At first glance MyDream seems to build upon Minecraft, ramping up the co-operative and social elements. Aside from the world building, what other features are you planning to differentiate MyDream from Minecraft?
Our main differentiator is the ability to do questing and make quests for other people. We have caches and various items and treasures players can use to design their own virtual geocache.
Our kickstarter stretch goal is to add unique elemental creatures to the worlds. You can collect them, harvest them, even combine them to make new elements. At the bewitching hour, they turn into troublemakers. Players need to keep them happy or havoc may ensue. These monsters have dynamic properties and are not one-dimensional baddies.
We were very much inspired by the Gargoyles in Ultima 6.
The game seems to be largely based around player-created worlds, but will there be any narrative or main quests before easing players into the sandbox mode?
Yes, we will have the main quest, very much inspired by Myst. We stand on the shoulders of giants and we love that game. Players will go from world to world solving mysteries and clues and glue it all together. Our real measure of success, unlike Myst, is not if they solve all the main quests but how many narratives they make on the way.
You’re giving players amazing powers to shape the game world, are there any plans for player-made characters and items?
In the long term, there will be the ability to potentially evolve animals and plants from an initial configuration into something complex and unpredictable. These plants can be harvested to create dyes and paints for blocks. The plants can be pressed to make special oils to power interesting machines and tools.
With the game hosted on your servers, are you planning to use a subscription model, freemium, or something else? F2P (free to play) seems to be all the rage these days.
F2P can be very effective but may require a substantial upfront capital. We have considered F2P but I don’t know if it makes sense for an indie game with a multiuser component. We have fixed costs since we provide the hosting — albeit it is a very low cost. But, for example, if we times that by 100,000 users per month, it can add up substantially.
We plan to stay in business for a long time and whatever the costs per user, we will need to cover those costs, whether it is paid by each individual or a “whale.”
What do you see as the single most interesting element of MyDream?
We always look forward to the sunsets every evening! Thankfully, it happens every 40 minutes!
All the indies seem to be developing games with Unity nowadays – what makes it so great to use for your project?
They have great tools that are accessible so ordinary programmers without OpenGL can be productive. Also, they have great widgets and art assets in the Unity Asset store that are quite useful.
Lord British (Richard Garriott) has prominently backed your Kickstarter. Has he given you any good advice and will he be getting involved with the game’s design? (Surely he pledged for a Game Designer reward?)
LOL! He basically invented the freedom of the sandbox, MMO RPG and avatars in a digital space. He has actually come into the office once before and gave some nice feedback and we are looking forward to engaging him after our campaign.
Do you have any advice or ‘wise words’ for other start-up indie developers?
Perseverance is key. Start-up indies are very time intensive. Try to save time and see if a widget you want is already in the Unity Asset store for $20.
Finally, given the choice between fighting five hundred tiny rock creatures or one huge rock monster, which would you choose and why?
We love the idea of the one huge rock monster. Once they suffer and their health has deteriorated to 25%, they turn into 500 tiny rock creatures.
Thanks to the MyDream folks for answering our questions!
MyDream is due for release on Mac and PC later this year. You can find out more on the Kickstarter page.