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Apb

imdaly

- Part 12
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Are people really not talking about this on here yet??:wow::huh:

GDC 2008: APB First Look
David Jones wows us with his first MMO.
by Erik Brudvig


February 21, 2008 - Known for Lemmings, Grand Theft Auto and Crackdown, David Jones has tackled a number of genres in his successful career as a game designer. Currently he's stepping outside of his comfort zone and taking on the massively multiplayer online game with APB, but of course he's doing it with his own signature. There are no orcs or elves or space aliens in this game, as has become somewhat of a tradition in the MMO. This title isn't even an RPG. It's something new and rather exciting. We got our first look at APB at a talk Jones gave at the Game Developers Conference about approaching the genre for the first time. To say we were impressed is putting it simply. In a room filled with hundreds of developers eager to see what Jones had cooked up, we sat in a sea of people who make games for a living overheard saying everything from, "Oh wow!" to, "Why didn't I think of that?"

The lecture began with Jones introducing himself and a bit of humor. After mentioning the success of his new studio RealTime Worlds and Crackdown (It won "Best Debut" from the Game Developer Choice Awards at GDC.), he went on to say, "If you didn't like it, never mind it came with a Halo 3 beta." Fair enough, though after seeing APB it looks like Crackdown was made as something of a test bed for the next project.

apb-20080221092339015-000.jpg

Our images are were taken off-screen with a handheld camera. Forgive the low quality, please.

This being the Game Developers Conference, Jones spent the first portion of his talk going through his design philosophy for APB. It begins with defining what the term MMO means. "When you say MMO now," Jones said, "immediately they think you've got to go up against World of Warcraft" The term has become almost synonymous with MMORPG and has become tainted with a stigma. Jones wants to make a multiplayer online game with dedicated servers, but wants it to be cool. As he noted, when your friends come over and you ask them to play Call of Duty or Halo, they think the idea is cool. If they come over and you start talking about your World of Warcraft character, they get turned off.

That may generalize things a bit but the point is clear: Things like AK-47s are instantly recognizable whereas their "geek" counterparts (a Braggarts Bow was cited as an example) are niche. Jones' advice is to, "Make games contemporary; make them cool, it lowers the barrier." This is why he wants to rephrase the question from, "What would you do with an MMO?" to "If you have dedicated servers behind a game, how would you embrace them?" APB is an attempt to take the games Jones likes to make and use dedicated servers to take them to the next level.

apb-20080221092341765-000.jpg

Driving in style.

Jones began showing the game by giving us a peek at the character customization tools RealTime Worlds has made. "We will not create any of the players in the game. The players will create them," said Jones before following up with, "One of the problems with user created content is that 90% of it is crap. We've all seen Second Life." To solve this problem the team has put together a character tool that is above and beyond anything I've seen before.

It looks simple to use, but the depth of what we saw was astounding. The traditional things are all customizable like skin tone, height, build, eye color and hair style. This goes much farther though. You can grow hair out all together or in pieces, scars can be added and then aged, and you can even make veins more or less pronounced. The great part about everything we saw was the freedom given without the ability to push things too far. "We don't want really strange looking characters," says Jones and as all of the sliders were moved back and forth we never saw anything that did. All of this can be done with either a male or female character.

Then things got impressive. There's a vector graphics and primitive shapes tool similar to what the Forza franchise is famous for. Tattoos can be made and applied -- and they look incredibly real when laid down on the skin. You can also put those same decals on any piece of clothing or any car you own, spray paint them on a wall, trade them with friends or sell them. The entire Forza livery tool is in APB (though we're not sure how many layers you can stack) in an expanded form and it's just a subsection of the game. "One thing you want to do in your clan is draft a good artist," says Jones.

Just how powerful is this character creation tool? Jones went on to show a "clan" he created specifically for GDC. He called them the Geek Squad. It consisted of Peter Molyneux with an "I heart Fable" shirt, Warren Specter, Richard Garriot and Miyamoto with a Mario t-shirt. Also, Miyamoto wasn't wearing any pants and had mushroom boxers. All of them were instantly recognizable and remarkable.

apb-20080221092400014-000.jpg

Miyamoto created in APB.

The idea of players creating the world goes a step further with the music. RealTime Worlds is working with Last.FM on an intriguing way to add tunes to the game. The radio in the car will play songs from your hard drive. If a friend gets in and they also have the same MP3, the game will play that song for them. If not, it will search for a song by the same artist. If that still isn't found, it will pull one from your collection that is closest in style.

Now that you have all of the toys, as Jones put it, where do you play? RealTime Worlds are building "many cities" with "all different kinds of styles." A hundred people can exist in each city at once to play. We were shown an example of one guy playing looking out at a crowd of 60 friends cheering him on.

Then Jones began to talk about the gameplay and proceeded to drink Blizzard's milkshake. There is no leveling in APB. Jones called grinding a broken gameplay concept and went on to explain why using World of Warcraft as an example of repetitive, thoughtless gaming. "It's called a grind for a reason and we have to find a way around there," says Jones as he pointed to Counterstrike as an example of an online game with infinite replayability and no repetition. The strength comes from human interaction and having a unique experience every time.

apb-20080221092331297-000.jpg

The difference between a new player and an experienced one.

The hook to APB then is not leveling your character up and increasing stats on a spreadsheet. Personalization drives characters, Jones believes, and so as you get good and progress in the game you look cooler. A starting player will have nothing more than jeans and a t-shirt and stand out as a chump. An experienced player, well let's just say the difference is completely obvious from the start.

To begin, you choose to play as either a member of law enforcement or a gang. Everything here is player driven -- you won't be running around taking quests and reading extended text stories from NPCs. To keep things from falling into anarchy, a few basic rules are in place. The enforcement side has law and order built into the rules. The gangs have to act like organized crime where permission to commit a crime must be obtained prior to the act. If you're playing as a gang, your job is to commit crimes and steal things. If you're playing as the enforcement, it's your job to stop them.

We were shown a video to demonstrate how the gameplay works. The gang, having decided upon a target of an armored car began moving into position. Without having committed a crime yet, the enforcement is oblivious. As soon as the gang commits the crime, an APB goes out.

Here is where APB is so clever. The servers automatically match a similarly skilled set of enforcement agents to deliver the APB to in a dynamic form of matchmaking. You'll never have a clue who you'll get matched up with. It's all done automatically based on stats.

After the APB was sent out to a clan of enforcement agents, we watched a chase scene unfold. Cop cars converged on the van. One gang member drove while two others hung out of the sides firing guns at the officers. A cop car tried to block off an alley at one point…another time one took a jump over a barrier to get closer to the criminals. The scene ended with the gang making it to the drop off point at the same time as the cops and a shootout began.

Since it is all driven by experience and skill, APB won't always match teams up with even numbers. We saw another example of four new criminals (in t-shirts and jeans) trying to steal a television. As soon as they smashed a car through the store window to get at it, an APB went out to a single enforcement agent. The new players feel like they have a chance since they have numbers while the experienced player can show his skills. This mission ended with the cop killing all four criminals with a rocket launcher.

apb-20080221092334156-000.jpg

This guy was stealing a TV while a car chase from another crime sped by.

The idea is that some players will build up massive reputations in the game. Perhaps one player will be known as a criminal impossible to catch, and his appearance will tell the tale in a heartbeat. The trick, though, is that like Counterstrike each mission is unique. With real people on the other side, you can't ever be sure about the outcome.

Jones closed out his talk by talking about the future and the development of the APB community. The testers at RealTime Worlds loved the customization tools so much they wanted to act out their own movies. A camera was put in the game to export films and we were treated to one where players dressed up (one looked like Cloud) and acted out a scene from a turn-based RPG complete with confused emotes and damage numbers floating on screen.

"The launch is only the beginning," said Jones.
Source

APB Trailer:


Character Cumstomization Demo:


Drive-By Gameplay


Official APB Site: www.apb.com
 
Looks amazing.


I know right, did you guys watch the character custumization vid. All I can say was when I saw him place that half chelsey grin on that character I knew I had to get this game. If you can apply face paint as well, I am going to be strolling the streets raising all kinds of hell decked out in purple, chelsey grin, red and white face paint, with a slightly theatrical demeanor, probably toting a rocket launcher and maybe a couple of knives. I cannot wait cuz it is gonna rock. :hoboj:
 
I know right, did you guys watch the character custumization vid. All I can say was when I saw him place that half chelsey grin on that character I knew I had to get this game. If you can apply face paint as well, I am going to be strolling the streets raising all kinds of hell decked out in purple, chelsey grin, red and white face paint, with a slightly theatrical demeanor, probably toting a rocket launcher and maybe a couple of knives. I cannot wait cuz it is gonna rock. :hoboj:


Holy hell dude, if you could walk around looking like the clown prince of crime himself, that would be SOOOOOO sick. Id end up on the law side tho.

This is a really interesting concept. If it works like i think it can, then wow, wev got something really special on our hands. Cant wait to hear more.
 
Hell to the YEAH... AMAZING!:wow:

is this 360 excusive???
 
APB Trailer:


Character Cumstomization Demo:
 
Let me see if I understand this

In this MMO players can be cops, gang members & just about anything ?
 
Let me see if I understand this

In this MMO players can be cops, gang members & just about anything ?

Seems to me it's basically a Cops & Robbers MMO, to put it simply.. :up:
 
Dunno...but its the abbreviation of what cops send out for like...a call on a crime in progress..

But some more nifty news...

"The idea of players creating the world goes a step further with the music. RealTime Worlds is working with Last.FM on an intriguing way to add tunes to the game. The radio in the car will play songs from your hard drive. If a friend gets in and they also have the same MP3, the game will play that song for them. If not, it will search for a song by the same artist. If that still isn't found, it will pull one from your collection that is closest in style."
 
Here's the link to the official website: www.apb.com

There's some pretty cool artwork for some characters on that site. :up:
 
That is a lame name for a game

That's a lot of rhyming...

Anyway, how so? It fits exactly into what the game's about.

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast issued from one law enforcement agency to another. It typically contains information about a wanted suspect who is to be arrested or a person of interest for whom law enforcement officers are to look. They are usually dangerous or missing persons. As used by police, the term dates to at least 1960. An all-points bulletin can also be known as a BOLO, which stands for "be on the lookout". It is sometimes called a "lookout" or "BOL" for short.
 
this looks really neat, i need to keep an eye out for this.
 
Finally a MMO that I can get excited about, this is going on my wanted list along with NG2 and GOW2.
 
The game is deff intriguing, but if there are only 2 factions wouldnt that get kind of lame. I mean everyone is either a cop or a gang member? Seems like there just wouldnt be that much to do. Chase bad guy, commit crime.
 

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