Q&A about Visions
Questions from actual players and fans.
What is the difference between Alpha, Beta, and Live?
Different companies have different definitions of these development stages. For our purposes, the Alpha is the early stage of development before all the core systems are in place, but it is somewhat playable. For example, right now it’s possible to make a character, enter the game, do tradeskills, fight enemies, and interact with friends, but the quests and professions skills are not working yet.
The Beta will start when all the core systems are in place, though perhaps not all the content. We are planning a five stage Beta, where in the first stage the basic skills and quests are available and all core features are working and being tested. Stage 2 beta will be when we implement Novice level professions. Stage 3 beta will be Journeyman professions. Stage 4 beta will be the implementation of Master professions. The 5th and final stage of Beta will be when we implement and test the Grandmaster level professions skills and quests.
The live launch will happen when all systems are stable and the game is complete as intended. This stage is usually a major event for most games because it’s the first time players are allowed into the game world. It is different for us, because we are allowing players in to watch the progression of our work starting in the Alpha. We depend on player contributions for our development because we have no corporate funding to support us, so offering game access is one way we can give back and say, “THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING US!”
What you do in Visions the game?
This is a multi-part question. When I first started developing Visions 15 years ago, I would have said “Players will do this, and this and this.” But the challenge of building a MMORPG with an entirely volunteer team has proven far more difficult and lengthy than any of us ever wanted it to be. So the end result is that there are two or three answers to this question that end up looking more like this series of questions:
“What can you do right now in the Alpha?”
1. Right now players can explore the island of Cyprus which comprises 6 zones (Bigworld calls them Spaces) that are each 6 quare kilometers and include the following cities or placeholders for cities: Kourion, Paphos, Tamassos, Marion, Soloi, Lapithos, Ledrai, Chytroi, Salamis, Kition, Idalion, Amathus.
2. Players can gather materials to craft a variety of recipes using the tradeskill tools we have provided. Cooking, Mining, Blacksmithing, Pottery, Brewing, Carpentry, and [very soon] Artizan professions are represented in the crafting recipes available right now.
3. Players can meet up with friends online for private in-game events or activities, like Bible Study, parties, business meetings, player-led quests, role playing, online church services, escape to peaceful rest & relaxation, and probably a lot of other creative uses of the game world that I can’t think of right now.
4. Players can ride dolphins, horses, and eagles (that still have the hoverbike physics, so they operate kind of weird).
5. Players can ride the boat between Pahphos and Kourion.
“What will you be able to do in the Beta?”
In the Beta the quests and professions skills will be working. Players will be able to do quests to learn new skills, and then use those skills to accomplish goals in the game.
Currently avatars do not experience “hunger” they only use food for healing up after a battle. But in the Beta the characters will start to experience hunger and have a need for food, regardless of whether they are fighting enemies or not. So there will be a genuine need to learn cooking and make food to eat. Certain foods will be required for particular or seasonal quests, like unleavened bread for Passover. There will be a need to learn basic mining and blacksmithing and other tradeskills to be able to make cook pots, tables, containers and things. There will be a need for other people to be able to help each other and support each other, because there will be too much for one person to do alone.
“What is the end goal of things to do in the full version of the game?”
We have a nearly 300 page document outlining all the things that we want players to be able to do in the end game. Far too much to list in a short Q&A like this one. But we do have a lot of ideas and plans for the game. We want players to be able to experience history in the ancient Roman empire during the time of the formation of the early Christian church. We want to have players do quests to learn new skills, to collect the scriptures from around the world to compile their own Bible, and to be able to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem or follow the foosteps of one of Paul’s missions. We want players to experience “Visions” in game which take them back in time to witness the earlier events of the Bible, and even participate in those events to some degree. We want to implement flavor quests, like chasing butterflies, that are purely for fun. We want the professions skills to actually teach the rudimentary concepts of how to actually do those things, like cooking will teach real recipes that can be duplicated in a modern kitchen. We have so much we want to do, to take online gaming to the next level, but we need more funding and more programmers helping us get to that point.
What is the purpose of crafting in Visions?
Right now, the purpose of crafting is just to have something to do while you are in the game.
Ultimately the purpose of crafting will be to complete quests, keep your character alive, and participate in the player economy.
What is the structure of the quests?
I’m a little unclear what you’re asking here, but I think you mean “What kind of quests will there be to do in the game when the quest tool is ready?” There will be three primary types of quests: Professions quests, History quests, and Flavor quests. The Professions quests will lead the player into discovering new skills and recipes they can learn. The History quests will walk the player through the local historical events as they play out, often due to an over-arching storyline. The Flavor quests will be “just for fun” quests that don’t tie in to any storyline, they are just amusing things to do, like chase butterflies, collect pets, or climb on things. We also intend to implement a mechanism to facilitate player-made quests, so players can offer crafted items as rewards to other players for completing tasks.
Will there be fighting in Visions?
Yes, there will be fighting in Visions. Wild animals, bandits, mercenaries, soldiers, and even gladiator fights are all part of Roman history. We are attempting to make an historical game, so fighting is part of that history.
Why does my avatar have a magic staff?
The staff is an “out of the box” default weapon that came with the Bigworld engine. We are using the staff in the Alpha because it works and helps us test other things. If we use a newly implemented weapon for testing we might not know if the new bug (problem) we are experiencing is from the weapon or something else. By using a weapon we know for sure works, we are able to reduce the variables while troubleshooting.
How come my avatar doesn’t look Roman?
Again, these are the “out of the box” avatars that came with the Bigworld game engine. We did modify the texture on the the female avatar so that the clothing covers her body more modestly, but the armor and avatar itself are the default models for testing purposes. We have been working on custom avatars and custom armor & equipment, but when testing them we were not able to implement the animations properly and created several new bugs in the process so those avatars have been disabled for player use until we can work out the problems with them. Please try to understand we’re doing our best to give you the most enjoyable experience possible within our means.
I’m not a programmer, how can I help?
There are at least seven ways you can help. I’ve written about them before. You can read more about that over here on this archived page. Two of the best ways to help are to pray for us, and become a financial supporter. Both are really important to our survival and advancement. It’s also important to play the game, and bring a friend! Sometimes people complain that they don’t play because they never see anyone else in the game world. But the more people opt to “wait until someone else is online” the less likely they are to actually see someone online. You are someone! Be the online person you want to meet. If you are in a position where you can support our work financially please consider signing up for a monthly contribution either through Patreon or directly to us through PayPal (we prefer PayPal because more of the money comes to us this way). Thank you for asking! We love that you want to help us!
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