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 Tabula Rasa Interview - Lead Designer Susan Kath

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MessageSujet: Tabula Rasa Interview - Lead Designer Susan Kath   Ven 26 Sep - 12:02

The rain beat down on the cold concrete as Susan Kath made her way home through the dark alleyway. Ahead the thick fog began to part and a blinding light broke through at an alarming rate. Susan scrambled to make her way out of the path of the approaching vehicle but just as she thought it was too late the van screeched to a halt and a dark figure emerged holding a heavy tan sack. Before Susan could react she found herself bound to a chair in the back of the van with the thick sack blinding her sight. As the van accelerated the chair was thrown into the hard steel frame of the interior and Susan slipped from consciousness.

When Susan awoke she found herself sitting at a table in the center of a small room lit only by a single lamp hanging from the ceiling over the center of the table. The room was devoid of all objects except for a box of cigars and a lighter, which sat in the corner of the table. The walls were painted black and a one-way mirror lined the wall to her left. She heard the deadbolt slide open on the single door and a thin figure made his way into the light. The stranger wore a sleeveless white shirt, stained at the neck and arms, and embroidered with the initials AFS. From his lanky neck a set of dog tags hung that Susan recognized as those that came free with the Tabula Rasa collectors edition. A voice screamed from the distance through the open door, "Did you clean your room!?!". The stranger yelled back, "NOT NOW MOM!!" clearly agitated by the voice as he slammed the door and slipped the deadbolt in place. He grabbed a cigar from the box, placed it into his mouth, and with a single stroke of a wooden match lit it's end. "Now then, it's time we talk" spoke the stranger and Susan realized for the first time she was not dealing with a typical thug, she was dealing with a fan of Tabula Rasa, the game she developed, and he wanted answers...

1. A solid storyline is an integral factor in creating an immersive world for players to adventure in. Can you please explain how the development team plans on tying in clan owned control points with the existing Tabula Rasa lore?

What, you think you can just grab me off the street and subject me to questions like this? Do you have any idea who I am? I’m the Lead Designer of Tabula Rasa. With one phone call, I can have a whole legion of Stalkers called down on your house!

Alright. We’ve made some adjustments to the PvP control point gameplay that will put the ‘clan-owned’ aspect on hold for the moment. Right now, we’re focusing building a really polished team-based PVP Control Point map and getting that out to the live servers. We’ve discussed some ideas on integrating that into the game fiction, and right now it will likely be combined with a social hub.

2. Is the creation of lore in Tabula Rasa a team effort or is there a "lore-master" in your midst?

Lore is currently a team effort but there have been periods where one designer is responsible for maintaining the overall story.

3. Social areas, like the newly implemented CELLAR, bring the community together and help drive player run events. Are there any plans for adding more social areas to the game or enhancing existing areas such as bases and taverns?

Yep! We’ve already had discussions about creating a centralized social hub. We’re in the design phase now and hope to get started building it in the next few months.

Of course, for someone so concerned about socialization you might think long and hard about how anti-social kidnapping is.

4. Community events have played an important role in the game since launch and often have the involvement of the Tabula Rasa staff. Can you please share an example of one community event that the staff particularly enjoyed?

We have fun at all the events! I’ve had a great time in the past participating in the Friday Night Fights, even though I’m terrible at them. I’ve also had lots of fun behind the scenes, orchestrating Bane attacks. And of course, playing one of many General British’s at the end of beta event was awesome because I don’t often get to dress up as General B and throw down the madness and mayhem.

5. Live events held by the Tabula Rasa staff, such as triggering large impromptu attacks on AFS bases and the frequent spotting of the in-character General British (Richard Garriott), help make the game stand out from the crowd. Will players see more live events in the future and if so can you give us any hints on what to expect?

Absolutely! I’ve always been a big fan of special events, both as a gamer and as a designer. Right now, it requires a significant amount of advance planning to put together meaningful events in the game, but one of my goals is to make it easier for our team to run events on short notice, as well as to make changes to the world reflective of those events.

As far as future events go, I can say that the recent attack on Cumbria wasn’t a freak attack. The Bane have a reason for choosing that target, and what they were looking for, they didn’t find yet…

6. Intriguing quest lines help increase the immersion of a game and are a quality often sought by roleplayers. A unique element of Tabula Rasa is the implementation of ethical parables, which provide players with moral choices when accepting quests. Are ethical parables still an important factor as you add new quest lines to the game?

They aren’t our primary focus right now, but when we do get back to making more, I really want to try to have them carry more weight in the game. Right now, some have short term ramifications, but few have any long term result. I think if we’re going to do them, we should do them right and have your choices carry real weight behind them.

7. Tabula Rasa features a compelling storyline where players can easily envision the feeling of losing their home world to enemy attack and the struggle to ensure the future of their race. How do you see the storyline progressing in the future and is there any chance players will have the opportunity to return to earth?

Oh we’ve got a plan or two up our sleeves in regards to the future storyline. Is a return to Earth in the cards? Well, you know what they say… there’s just no place like home, is there?


Susan Kath heard a fumbling at the door and as the lock slid open, a large woman peered into the smoke filled room, "Will your friend be staying for supper?"

"It depends. What’s for dinner?" asked Susan.
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