Playmyth.net Past And Future...

The folks at Playmyth.net are working real hard to improve the Myth franchise, and I think they are doing a great job at it. I had a chance to ask Blades (also known as Michael R. Bagnall) about how they got started, and what is to come. Go a head and read it!


R.net: What got you involved in Myth?

Michael: I started playing Myth like most folks shortly after the demo came out in 1997. Like most, I immediately went out and bought the boxed game the next day! I also have one of the original pre-order Myth II CD's... the one that erases your hard drive if you try to uninstall from it! Smiling I've played all of the games off an on the last 5 years... but have really been a lot more involved since shortly before Myth III was released in 2001.

R.net: What did you have to do to get Take 2 to listen to you? What sort of advice would you give otherpeople if they wanted to support a game them self.

Michael: Take-Two gets a lot of people every day calling their offices and saying "Hey! Listen to my great idea for a game." Most of these requests get no answer at all just due to the enormous volume of people wanting their attention. We actually have gone through some other developers to establish our contact with Take-Two. At the time Myth III was completed, Take-Two was pretty much done with the Myth series. We made contact with some of the original Myth III developers and they have been a big help in getting us the materials we've needed to make things happen. They helped us out with the introductions and getting us the clearance to make things happen. We took the ball and ran from there.

As far as advice, all I can really say is that everyone tries the front door. While persistance does pay eventually, knowing someone who can help you is always beneficial. What we've been able to do is really rare, and it would have been almost impossible without help from some friends along the way. Be on the look out for a side door and don't assume that the front desk will have all your answers.

R.net: What is next in store for Myth, will you keep updating it?

Michael: Yes, we absolutely plan to continue the development of all three Myth games. As of this writing we have one more update for The Fallen Lords to do and are pending release of the 1.4.1 update of Soulblighter. Once this is complete the concentration now is going to shift back to making improvements to Myth III. This includes development of the Vengeance tool and a couple of other tool's we're developing. As with Myth II, having a tool that can be used on a Macintosh is critical to the longevity of the game. We do have some plans for future Myth TFL and Myth II development, but those are still in the preliminary stages and it would be premature to really talk about them yet. To make a long story short, we're going to have something pretty big to show folks very soon.

R.net: Is there a possibility of "upgrading" Myth to create a new game?

Michael: Anything is possible. We have some really solid plans for the future of this style of game play and are actively pursuing avenues in which to make it happen.

R.net: How much support do you get from Take 2 or Bungie? When you got involved, were you expecting help from Bungie or Take 2?

Michael: We're definitely self-sufficient in terms of coding and developing. Our game server is based on the source code for the bungie.net metaserver which we have made some extreme modifications and expansions to. They've also helped us out by posting Myth related press releases on their web site. Neither Bungie nor Take-Two have done anything with us code-wise or creatively. We've really had to fend for ourselves in terms of finding people to help us update things.

R.net: I saw that Playmth.net takes donations, do you get many? Do donations really help you out?

Michael: We've had several and some of those have been rather large! Donations help us pay for upgrades to our hardware and to pay for development software. We've used donations to upgrade the processors in our game and web servers, purchase software such as CodeWarrior, Visual Studio, and Intel's Compiler so that we can be using the latest tools to produce builds, and we've also used them to pay bandwidth-overage charges to our ISP for times when we release patches and updates that push up our bandwidth. So in those regards, it's been INSTRUMENTAL. We're preparing to launch a fundraising effort shortly to help pay for some other expenses we've incurred of late. My personal belief is that PlayMyth should be free of banners and subscriptions. Fans of the game shouldn't have to be forced to look at that kind of thing either while playing or browsing your web site and all it does is clutter things up. The same applies for any kind of subscription or membership fees. We just want people to play the game without having to worry about looking at banners or getting out their wallet. If they want to donate and help us out, then we have a vehicle for that, but we'll never require any kind of payment for access to our game servers or web site. We do, however have the green light to do some special promotional type of fundraising that you'll hear more about here soon.

R.net: What is the current relationship with Take 2 and Playmyth.net, does it matter to them what you are doing?

Michael: We have a really good relationship with them as well as their subsidiaries at Gathering and Gotham that has really come a long way especially in the last several weeks. One thing I've learned while in this process is that it's a lot more difficult to get a product to market than I had previously thought. We thought it would be relatively easy to get Take-Two to re-release an updated version of Myth III as a "second edition" or some such in that they would just start using our version as opposed to the 1.0 version. What we learned is that there's an entire step dedicated to testing and quality control they need to go through just to guarantee support for an item. They spent tens of thousands of dollars in testing of finished builds so that they know what problems exist and what kinds of support issues they're likely to face so that their staff can be trained to deal with it. To get a 1.1 version of Myth III re-released would have likely cost Take-Two more money than could be justified on a two-year old title. While they've been very supportive in terms of giving us the creative freedom to fix and repair the game, all of the work we've done is still considered an "unsupported third party modification" because of the lack of this testing stage. I would classify our relationship being like Myth III is the grown son who has moved out of the house that is doing his own thing, but can still call on mom and dad for advice and guidance.
Thanks a lot Michael!
-Kevin

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Matty From Playmyth.net

Matty wrote on Thu, 01/01/1970 - 00:00:

Nice article. It really brought the home out in the series of myth. To bad we couldnt give take 2 playmyth's version of myth 3 so that they could sell it with playmyth server functions. In other words I'll find a million ca-billion dollars(after one of my 4 bands gets famous)and buy the rights and then re-sell on the market, the myth trilogy all in one package with all the new updates from playmyth.net.
All we need to do now is start advertising one of my extremely awsome bands and well be all set! Smiling
Uncontrolably yours,
Matty

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