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Interview

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Skyven aka David Vincent of KnightSoft
By: OMGN | 6:19pm, January 25, 2005
Codemasters Generic UK Eshop Pop up
Following is an interview that was done by this writer with Skyven/David Vincent of KnightSoft , the company that is responsible for such games as Star Knights & Metal Knights .

OMGN: Let's start with a self-introduction of yourself.



My name is David Vincent, mostly known as Skyven in the cyber world.
I've been in the game industry professionally since 1997 as a game
designer and programmer. I've worked on Metal Knights and StarKnights
as both designer and programmer. I've also worked on a few
PlayStation 2 / Gamecube / Advanced Gameboy titles as designer or
programmer.

OMGN: What was your experience as a gamer before you became involved with KnightSoft?

I've never been such a gamer per se. I try several games and play
only a few. The few games I play however, I play them through. And
once I'm finished, I play it again to get more out of it by trying
various other ways of winning it. I've always been a big fan of
strategy games, of course. Oddly enough, making games was more fun
than playing them.

OMGN: How has your involvement with KnightSoft enhanced
your gaming enjoyment?


Oh yes ! When we created KnightSoft, it was a relatively new
concept on the market: multiplayer strategy games. Metal Knights had
been one of the first 256-colors game natively playable with other
people online. The first release (1992) included VGA display and Door
support so that the game was playable on a BBS. A few years later,
when the Internet replaced the BBS, Metal Knights 95 was released.
This is how KnightSoft Technologies Inc was born, to push these
concepts even further.

This is how I see enjoyment, I was creating the games I always wanted
to play ! Nowadays, we see many more online strategy games, but back
then, you had to create one to play one.

OMGN: Why are both games science fictionally oriented?

I wouldn't say Metal Knights has a fiction theme, perhaps you could
say it plays in a parallel universe. But I do prefer fiction themes,
I allows me to keep away from the simulation genre. I prefer a
gameplay that is fun rather than a game accurate with the reality.

OMGN: What gave you the ideas for both games?

Good question. I must have been influenced by a lot of games, fiction
books and movies. I also read many books on strategy. While creating
the games, I was making sure the players could use the strategies
discussed on the books. One of these books was Sun Tzu's Art of War.
General Tzu discuss of 13 principles, all of which I tried to turn
into a feature in the game.

OMGN: What has the response to KnightSoft's games been like?

One thing I should point out is that there are a lot of players on
the servers right now who signed up 8 years ago ! That's something !
Metal Knights had been cited as a "cult shareware game" in a few
paper magazines. That was fun.

OMGN: KnightSoft is unique for the sheer number of websites it has for its games in various languages such as Greek, Swedish & Portuguese. Why do you have this policy and has it paid off in increased business?

I don't know if it generates more sales. Perhaps so. But it serves
another purpose, it brings more players together, it helps building a
stronger community, it causes more people working on the games and
that's why I encourage such things.

OMGN: How far are both games from completion?

Metal Knights had been completed several years ago. And StarKnights
should have been completed years ago. StarKnights, even though it is
still in Beta, is complete. I need to fix a few minor issues before
the official release but you won't notice any difference in the
gameplay or in the visuals.

OMGN: Once both games are completed, what plans do you have for creating new games? If so, what kinds of games are you thinking of?

Oh yes, we would very much like to release Metal Knights 2.0. The
design is well under way.

OMGN: What was the LuGenKar Tournament?
What is the MKC and why are there elections?


The MKC is the Metal Knights Committee. It's a committee that is in
charge of establishing rules of play, an etiquette, and to enforce
these rules. The committee has the power to enforce the rules, they
can ban a player or restrict his/her privileges. The election of the
members itself is organized by the players. There is a process for
nominating other players. The nominees can get themselves known. And
then there is the vote!

The MKC had been very efficient in the last years to keep the game
fun for everyone. It plays a central roles in keeping the cheaters at
bay.


According to the KnightSoft website, Metal Knights began in 1992, before
there was such a thing as the World Wide Web. What was MK originally
envisioned as?

Yes, it started as a way to play with friends on a BBS (Bulletin
Board System). But then the game was best played with more players
and so it grew! And then, with the Web becoming popular a few years
later came the opportunity to make it know on a wider scale.


OMGN: How active is the Metal Knights & Star Knights communities in helping to promote the games, creating fansites for the games and making good suggestions?

Oh ! They are very helpful !! They help find bugs, tweak the
gameplay, list all alternatives to a given problem and more. Many
players have been playing the games daily for several years, they
know what works and what doesn't. Over the years, the best strategies
would be debated on the fansites and make the games evolve. Many
features were dropped with this feedback while many more were added.
It gives the last twist that makes the players come back and play
again.

The different clans (alliances) sites are also a great place to
start. Clans are always looking for new members to play with. To
attract new members, they create websites with tricks and some extra
war stories. These sites become a great place to start to learn all
the latest tricks of the games.

OMGN: Where do you see KnightSoft a year from now?

I don't foresee any changes. We'll still be tweaking the games, busy
keeping cheaters in check and perhaps even testing Metal Knights II.

OMGN: Currently, online gaming specialist websites do not seem as interested in KnightSoft's games as they are in other games. To what would you attribute this?

Well, I don't know. I guess they are more interested in games
requiring the latest video cards than in game with good gameplay and
replayability.

OMGN: There are some who believe that innovation has disappeared from online gaming. In what ways does KnightSoft's games break the mold?

Both Metal Knights and StarKnights were very innovative when they
were first introduced! Metal Knights was one of the very first game
fully integrated with a free online game server.

StarKnights too introduced a major new concept. As far as I know, the
game was the first turn-based/RTS hybrid. This means that you don't
need to leave the game to let another player in while he plays his
turn. And at the same time, you may leave the game anytime and resume
only later your online game without losing precious time.

Written by Charles Rector
Views Today: 0 | Total Views: 3,758

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