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Not So Massively Extra: An interview with Vorp! developer END Games


When we were first introduced to the sci-fi Asteroids-esque shooter Vorp!, we didn't really know what to make of it. It's a Facebook game, but it has action-based gameplay and shiny graphics. It has a singleplayer survival mode but also has multiplayer components and uses Facebook's social tools. As the game is still in the alpha stage, gameplay is also still under development, and details of how the multiplayer components work are thin on the ground. We contacted the game's developer END Games to get the details on the upcoming title, its multiplayer aspects, and what the future holds for Vorp!'s development.

Massively: Does survival mode contain any multiplayer?

END Games: Survival mode is singleplayer-only currently, but we have been toying around with cooperative game modes. In the meantime, we're about to add some new AI variety to survival mode, and of course you can always compete with your friends on the leaderboards for most kills in the time limit.

Skip past the cut to read the rest of this interview and find out more about Vorp! and its development.

Can you play multiplayer deathmatch games?

Yes, deathmatch mode is now live! It's a blast, especially when there are a lot of different ships flying. You can play with up to 10 other players in deathmatch at the moment. We're looking into adding voice chat to the game client as well, although Skype works for now. We're also discussing ways of making it easier to connect with other concurrent players for deathmatch. Right now we're seeing people peek into that mode and hop back into survival when they don't see anyone else. Even though there are usually enough people online to play a good deathmatch, it's tricky getting everyone into a match at the same time. That's what alpha testing is for, though.

Is it possible to play with people who aren't on your Facebook friends list?

Yep. Right now it's wide open so you can play with anyone else that's currently online. We'll be looking at ways to start private games too, so you'll be able to play with just your friends if you want.

What kinds of things can players buy for B!, and how is it obtained in-game other than through direct purchase with Facebook credits?

The main things B! will be able to unlock for you are new pilots, ships, and skins for your favorite ships. During the alpha testing phase, we've made all the ships free to play so we can generate metrics for game balance. When we hit a v1.0 release stage, we'll likely rotate a few ships to be free every week and have the rest earned with B!. On the roadmap are also time-limited stat boosts/collection buffs (for example, collect ATOMs at a higher rate, regenerate energy faster, etc.) that would last for a day or a week or so.

The website mentions you can use B! to hire pilots. Can you tell us more about this?

For now that's just the fictional spin to purchasing/unlocking new pilots/ships. Pilots are tied to specific ships at the moment, but an idea we've talked about in our roadmap is possibly allowing pilots to be swapped between ships, with slightly different stats on the pilots themselves.

What's the core idea behind Vorp!, and why has it been based on Facebook?

The vision behind Vorp! is to create a full-fledged multiplayer online game that's free to play, that's released a bit at a time so that it can grow with the audience, and that's got a community that helps guide the game's evolution. The game design is intended to reach a sort of hybrid between League of Legends/Defense of the Ancients/other MOBAs and games like Subspace and Star Control. Think DotA in space with shorter play times, singleplayer and co-op content, leaderboards, achievements, and your existing friends built in.

We know most gamers have Facebook accounts. We also know most gamers loathe the kind of experience that's being very generously labeled as "gaming" on Facebook. So we thought we'd bring a real game to the party. We're also considering expanding beyond Facebook to other social/gaming platforms if it makes sense.

As Vorp! is in the early alpha stages, can you tell us a bit about plans for future development?

In the short term, we're developing a lot more single player content. We'll have campaign modes that take you through a series of zones with widely varying gameplay, objectives, and environments. I was just saying to our designers working on those that we want every environment to be totally badass and exciting. For example, I prototyped a hyperspace chase boss fight recently in which you are pursuing a big capital ship that's pouring drones out at you while tearing through space at near plaid warp speeds! One of our artists also built a moon level with violent storms tearing up the surface.

Since we're small indie team, we can take risks. We're just basically going to have a ton of fun coming up with crazy ideas and then putting them out there for the players. We also want to add some cooperative modes to the levels and some ways to play with your friends in more traditional social game ways like non-realtime social support on your friends' missions.

We want to have a steady stream of new pilots and ships hitting the game, each one totally disrupting to the "established" multiplayer strategies and tactics. This will also add new replayability to all the existing single player and co-op content. For multiplayer, we want to introduce additional game modes with team objective play. Team deathmatch will likely be first up since it's the easiest and will allow us to build team features, but from there we are roadmapping prototypes of base defense scenarios, attack and defend, outpost control, and maybe even a fox-vs.-hounds mode.

Thanks for chatting with us!

Join us every Saturday for Not So Massively, our roundup of the top news from popular online games that aren't quite MMOs. If you think there's a game we should be covering in Not So Massively or you've found some interesting news you think deserves attention in the next roundup, please mail the details to

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