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Interview

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Knight of War creator Danny Crum
By: Blair Morris | Game Data | 8:37pm, November 9, 2005
Codemasters Generic UK Eshop Pop up
On November 1, Knight of War, which OMGN introduced to our readers back in September, officially launched. After months of setbacks, coding, and testing for the text base RPG's creator, Danny Crum, a "crazy experience" has finally reached an important milestone in it's official launch. In his first interview since the Knight of War launch, Crum takes a few moments of his time to talk with OMGN about Knight of War and more.


How about giving us a brief introduction of yourself for our readers.

My name is Danny Crum. I graduated from college in May of 2000 with a bachelors degree in information systems. I've been working with computers and the internet since my first year of high school in 1992.


What would be your first online gaming experience?

My first online gaming experience was probably Everquest. I remember one of my Dungeons and Dragons buddies mentioning the game to me. He told me I had to play it, it's the most addictive game he had experienced.


Along with Everquest, what other background do you have with MMO's?

Though I've been an active internet junkie for years, my background in MMO's didn't get serious until about two or three years ago. I played Everquest for a while and then got hooked on the card game, Magic the Gathering. When the game launched online I had to try it out. That phase faded quick though because the in person game was much more fun. Just when I thought my online gaming days were about over, one day I stumbled on "Kings of Chaos", which at the time had over 150,000 players worldwide. I got so addicted to the game I would wake up in the middle of the night just to make sure my stash of gold would stay safe. It was the simplest text based browser game but for some reason I couldn't put it down. That's when I decided to create my own internet based strategy, RPG game.


Talk about what lead up to, and beginning the work on Knight of War.

I've created a few personal websites and opened my first real internet business in 2001 called Paidlinks Advertising. The site is still in operation today. Since then I bought professional scripts to run the site because I created it originally with ASP. After playing "Kings of Chaos" I decided to give the online gaming programming a try. About six months ago I began creating the code in my spare time at work. It's my first attempt at programming with PHP, so things went pretty slow at first. After about two months of hacking together code Knight of War was born. A few guys from my work signed up for an account and started helping me test the game code. The beta phase opened about a month later and I started doing some advertising for the game. Players trickled in very, very slow so I became frustrated. I probably should have been more patient but instead decided to take the game offline and totally change the layout, remove some of the original features and add in some new features. Now the game has had over 100 sign-ups and last month received 4,000 plus unique visitors.


What's the story about taking Knight of War off-line for a month?

As I mentioned, the first release of Knight of War wasn't meeting my expectations. There were only about five or six people playing the game and three of them I knew personally. I was getting traffic to the site and a few sign-ups but then the players never came back. I decided that I needed to take the game offline and do a complete game makeover. I worked with the site design and the game code and brought the game back online about a month later.


What has the experience been like in creating Knight of War?

I have had some crazy experiences with creating the code for Knight of War. It's amazing how willing some people are to help you get the game started without bugs, but I'm also amazed at how some people are out to win at any cost!
One morning I woke up to check my own personal account to find that there were three people at the top of the rankings with billions and billions of gold and experience. They had found a bug in the middle of the night that let them sell negative weapons in the pawn shop. Once they did this someone attacked them taking billions of their gold. Luckily this happened just as I was checking the game so I temporarily took the game offline and fixed the four accounts and the bug!
I've learned that the testing phase of game development if very important!


With developing any game, certain obstacles arise. What were some of the toughest obstacles you've experienced?

The toughest obstacle was getting all the bugs out of the game during the beta phase. Some of the bugs were so bad that the game got out of control for a few hours.


Is there any certain thing that you wish you knew before you started developing Knight of War?

I wish I would have take things a little slower. The testing phase of the game should have lasted longer and I should have actually created test cases for the code. Many of the bugs were found in the beta phase of the game instead of the testing phase.


So what is Knight of War all about?

Knight of War is all about fun! I had so much fun with other online games I wanted to bring that same fun to life for myself. I have met so many unique people on the internet playing MMOG's and made many friendships. I hope Knight of War can not only create friendships, but also provide hours of addictive fun!


What is it about Knight of war that you think will set it apart from other games of it's kind?

The personal time I put into the game. I want the game to be a huge success so I'm willing to listen to any suggestions players have about the game. I never take more than a day to respond to players questions. It's an all around great experience!


From the different features and actually game play, what are some of the things people can expect to experience when they sign-up and play Knight of War?

A continuing challenge to get to the top. As one of my members said in the forum, "I enjoy Knight of War because it's extremely diverse and challenging. For whatever area you're building your attack in, someone is building their defense in. I'll probably upgrade in the future, but for now, I'm just enjoying the game."
You can't drop your guard for one minute or someone will move in for the attack! Also because the game is so simple to learn and play, it doesn't take hours of studying and reading through instruction pages to figure out. You can probably just sign up and start playing without even looking at the rule book.

Is there a certain feature or experience within Knight of War that you enjoy more than some of the others?

Well, other than the cash prize and gift cards players can win, I also enjoy the fact that you are never safe from attack. There are many aspects of the game and it's impossible to master them all. That's a great aspect, in that new players can concentrate in one area and still move up the rankings. Since I can see all the stats I know that the top players can easily be beaten in certain areas. It's up to you to find those weaknesses.


So far, what has been some of the feedback about Knight of War you've received from people since beta testing of the game?

A great example of feedback is my coworker. When I was first telling him about the game he thought it would be stupid. He's an avid World of Warcraft player and couldn't understand why anyone would want to play a text based browser game. I finally got him to help me with the Beta testing and now he's in second place on the game. He plays everyday and plans to win this months $20 prize! Actually the other three people that I work with all have been hooked into the action.


If you had to set certain expectations in which you'd like Knight of War to reach, what would they be?

Well, naturally I would love to have 150,000 players sign up for Knight of War, but practically I would like to see Knight of War have 500 active players in the next few months. From the traffic I am getting I don't that's too unattainable.


Do you have any plans to add any new updates, or features, for Knight of War that we can look forward to in the future?

Yes, in my head there are hundreds of ideas running around. Like any other game my main concern right now is bringing in some income to support the hosting cost. I'm trying to think of creative ways to get support so the game can stay online. However, I also want to give back to the players. I've thought of having not only the prize money for the top player but also players winning real cash for completing quests and killing monsters. The cash can be used to purchase extra turns or when enough is accumulated I will send them a check or send it the their PayPal account. These updates could come as early as next month!


Has there been any consideration on your part in possibly starting a new project within the gaming community aside from Knight of War?

I would love to start another game. I already have ideas in my head of what I want it to be like. I've just got to make sure Knight of War is off to a running start and it can support itself.


OMGN would like to thank Danny Crum for taking the time and talk to us about Knight of War. You can visit the Knight of War website by clicking here.
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