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The Interview Has Arrived!
Date: Thu 21 Jun, 2012 6:59 PM Views: 642
The fabled day has arrived, Scrolldiers... our interview with Jakob & the Scrolls team is here! You thought we made it up, didn't you? That's okay, we would've thought the same thing. Fortunately, though, we didn't make it up, and it's right below this paragraph. Don't believe me? Stop reading this intro text and start delighting in the wonderful new Scrolls info!
- Koen (kbasten) & Colt (ShdwFlm) of ScrollsGuide
Jakob Porser (@JahKob) : Lead Designer & Programmer of Scrolls
SG: As you're aware, the community is very excited to get their hands on the game! Will small segments of the community be able to test pre-Alpha? If there's nothing planned before Alpha, do you have an updated estimate on when we'll be able to explore the Alpha? We promise, we won't hold you to anything. =)
Jakob: Nothing will happen before the alpha, I'm afraid, however the alpha looks to be approaching rapidly. We have not yet set an exact date, but some time around April / May would sound reasonable at this time.
SG: You've already released two large excerpts of lore, written by the esteemed Jerry Holkins. Is there more planned before the alpha / full game? Will other authors be involved in writing lore? Some people have already expressed a desire for Scrolls-related books; even though it's very early to consider, would that possibility interest you?
Jakob: Jerry did a great job with the stories for Scrolls, and he is a treat to work with. We hope to unveil more lore as we go, and as the players start to explore the game. Exactly who will be writing this is still up in the air, but I would personally love to have Mr. Holkins write some more stories for us. The man is a genius! It's too soon to say whether we will release a book, but its definitely a fun idea!
SG: Since Minecon, people are intrigued by the looks and functionality of the board. Will the map always be in a 'boxed' format? Might there be more diverse setups available, like different sizes, asymmetrical boards, or randomly-generated maps?
Jakob: Currently, the board looks the same in all matches, but there is really nothing saying it has to stay that way. It would not surprise me if we end up playing around with the board format in the future.
SG: As confirmed by Henrik via Twitter around two months ago, the number of scrolls ready to play had been 40. Now that you've had some time to work on individual scrolls, do you have an updated estimate on the number that will likely be included in the Alpha? What kind of variety is currently available in scroll types? (e.g. Units, Siege, Equipment, Potions, Spells, etc.)
Jakob: We now have somewhere around 90 different scrolls in the game, so that number has certainly increased. We now look to slow down that production for a while though, as we want to focus on polishing the game up for alpha. During the alpha, we will probably add some more scrolls to the game.
SG: Even though there might be an emphasis on multiplayer, what kind of ideas do you have about how singleplayer campaign will progress? What type of rewards could we expect while progressing?
Jakob: We have lots of ideas for the campaign player part of the game, but the single biggest design change is that the campaign will be the place to go for obtaining new scrolls. We are still finalizing these thoughts and, I don't want to go into details, but we are currently moving away from the original plan of having micro-transactions as the number one way of obtaining new scrolls. The new focus will be on obtaining scrolls only through gameplay. We still may add the ability of buying booster packs to help the player obtain scrolls but, as it stands right now, you will not be able to purchase scrolls with real money.
Fan art of Junkboy by .sQuare_
Henrik (@carnalizer) : 2D Artist for Scrolls
Junkboy (@jnkboy) : Artist for Scrolls
SG: Scrolls has reached a seemingly 'playable' stage, as your tweets of heated battle and the demo at Minecon suggest. Do you have any good stories from internal testing you'd like to share?
Henrik: So far it's mostly been a battle of who knows how to exploit the bugs best. Once the game is stable, Jakob will lose a lot more.
SG: Who is currently the 'best' player right now in the Scrolls development team?
Henrik: Mattis (@bomuboi)
Junkboy: Right now Aron seems to be the strongest player, but I'm suspecting that he's cheating somehow since he's playing it through Unity. In any case, I am definitely the worst, but that's a fair price to pay for being the most handsome.
SG: What about outside the team?
Henrik: Leo (@xlson) is trying hard to find OP combos. With a fair bit of success, too.
SG: How long have typical Scrolls matches lasted? Have you considered any time limits or penalties for taking too long? [per turn or match]
Henrik: Currently we're thinking of ways to shorten the game length without making it too simple or random. It's a balancing act. Time limits are something we want to add as an option later.
SG: What are your favorite scrolls to play with so far?
Henrik: My favourite is a spell that randomly moves units about. Any global effects are nice, because they force you to reconsider your plans.
Junkboy: I'm a big fan of Junkyard! It's the perfect card to play if you just wanna turtle up and drag out your unavoidable demise a few rounds further...
SG: Any card combinations or themed decks you've enjoyed?
Henrik: The most fun is finding combinations that weren't designed into the game from the start; that is also the biggest challenge we have as developer. With each scroll we add, we increase the chance of introducing a game-breaking combo. But we're looking forward to start external tests. I think we will get a few fun and worrying surprises.
SG: Does each member of the team have a specific preference for a certain scroll, card combination or deck theme?
Henrik: Can't speak for the other guys, but I like when you manage to take a weak creature and buff it in the extreme. It speaks to my love for underdogs.
SG: What are the highest values you've given to a scroll so far?
Henrik: Can't say for sure, but as long as I've been here there have been cries like "We have to nerf the Iron Golem!"
Junkboy: Over 9000.
Frame of the Scrolls teaser-trailer, picturing an Iron Golem.
SG: Will there be scrolls that take up more than one tile?
Henrik: Not in the beginning, but we want to try it later.
Junkboy: Hopefully, yes! It would be awesome to make massive creatures or siege weapons that take up several tiles! The largest unit we have right now is a big and decidedly phallic cannon - made out of gold.
SG: Can you influence your opponent's turn through activating spells or reactive unit abilities?
Henrik: In a manner of speaking. You can't play spells in his turn, but your units could have effects that are triggered by opponent's actions.
Junkboy: If you're in the same room as your opponent, you can use several powerful spells such as "taunting words", "name calling" and "throw object in face" in order to disrupt their gameplay.
SG: Approximately how many music tracks have been composed for Scrolls thus far?
Henrik: 2-3 is it? I'm not sure.
Junkboy: Only a handful, but Josh and Mattias have very nice, complimentary musical styles and I can't wait to hear more from them. If gamers find the art makes them want to claw their eyes out, at least the aural experience will be soothing in Scrolls!
SG: Are you able to wager scrolls or 'credits' with an opponent?
Henrik: No. We might consider it if it is a much requested feature in the future.
Junkboy: I suggested organ wagering, but apparently that was illegal and stupid, and then they kicked me out of the meeting room.
SG: Will there be a way of interacting with scrolls that have already been destroyed?
Henrik: We don't have a discard pile at the moment. Destroyed scrolls go to the bottom of your deck. We discussed this last week. It might change in the future, because you can do interesting things with it.
SG: Will different terrain types have different music?
Henrik: Don't know.
Another frame from the Scrolls teaser-trailer.
SG: Has there been any planning regarding Scrolls tournaments or ranked matches?
Henrik: That would be one of your end goals. First we need a stable game that works well for single games.
SG: What seems to be a typical deck size so far? Any minimum or maximum size?
SG: How extensive will customisation of idols and character portraits be?
Henrik: On a scale from one to asphalt, I'd say ice cream. :p
Junkboy: Still up in the air, but you should definitely be able to convey your own identity in the game. There's a conflict between total freedom in customization and how we want to present the game, possibly, so we'll have to see!
SG: Will this customisation influence gameplay, or would it be purely cosmetic?
Henrik: This is an area where you could potentially do a lot of fun, but we're pushing the decisions to the future, since it is not integral to the core experience.
Junkboy: I'm leaning towards cosmetic, but who knows?
SG: What general themes and associations to races & lore does each resource have?
Henrik: This is not a quick question. Hehe.
Junkboy: Well, let me put it this way, we're trying to avoid the typical fantasy trappings, if we can help it, when it comes to the game's lore. For example, when we looked at the "Growth" resource and what sort of creatures and things could fit into that, we sought inspiration in Scandinavian folklore, nomadic tribes, and beloved Swedish crooners, rather than the more obvious "fantasy forest elf" crap.
I don't know about you, but we really enjoyed reading through that! Moving away from micro-transactions, and currently no discard pile? Hard to process, but solid info! Thanks again to Jakob, Henrik, and Junkboy for giving us more insight into the development of Scrolls. =) If you're not up-to-date with the history of Scrolls, you can catch up on almost everything right here in our 1 year summary. Stick around with ScrollsGuide over the next few months and prepare for the alpha!