Celsius Online Second Interview

Celsius Online Interview

It’s extremely rare that we interview an individual or company more than once here at MBU, but Celsius Online are a company that’s breaking new ground in terms of their digital output across phones, tablets and desktops. Celsius Heroes, their on-going Puzzle based RPG is already one of the best cross-platform games available, but it’s about to get a whole lot bigger with the impending release of Celsius Heroes Adventures, a platform for user created content within the game itself.

MBU
Firstly, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to talk to us today. Obviously we covered a lot of the more traditional interview ground in our first effort, which will allow us to really focus on your new product today. For those not in the know, can you pitch Celsius Heroes to the public.

CELSIUS
[Gary] Hey Ben! As you know, Celsius Heroes is a humorous old-school RPG with a detailed universe using Match 3 mechanics for the battles. It is available on iOS, Android and Facebook. With this game, the ambition of Celsius Online was to present a simple and intuitive game which gradually leads to a much deeper game: a true role-playing game with enthralling characters and important decisions to make, in the finest tradition of the 80-90’s RPG such as the famous Dungeon Master, Eye of the beholder II, Might and Magic IV or the Ultima series. I’m going to let Mathias, our Production Director, tell you more about it. 🙂


MBU
Now how exactly will Celsius Heroes Adventures slot into the existing app?

CELSIUS
[Mathias Latournerie, Production Director of Celsius Online] Celsius Heroes Adventures is our first big add-on to the original game. It adds a new way to play the game by taking the role of the dungeon master and creating your own adventures for the other players. It works in pairs with the game and is accessible from any desktop browser as a web app and in the game itself.

MBU
Celsius Heroes uses facebook friends as a party sharing method and for swapping items/gold, but will campaigns made in Adventures be available to a larger audience?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] Yes, you will be able to share your adventures with other players, whether they’re your friends or not. However, similar to how some game masters in classical role playing games like Dungeon & Dragons enjoy to create new stories for their friends before publishing it online, we added a way to share it with your friends, to get their feedback first, before you decide to release it to the world.

MBU
How exactly will we be able to access Adventures?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] Celsius Heroes Adventures is in fact in two parts. The first one is the adventure creator. It comes as a web application where you can log in with your game credentials and create new quests, dungeons and dialogues. The second part is a new menu that appears in the game shortly after finishing the tutorial where you can browse and filter all the quests created by other players.

MBU
Will Adventures be free? If not what is the pay model?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] Yes, this update, like the game itself, is absolutely free to play. However, the adventures created in Celsius Heroes Adventures by the players cost some action points (it’s our energy system), like their official counterparts already in the game.

cha2

Editing uses a simple interface.

MBU
Will experience and items won be carried over into the main game and if so how will this be balanced to prevent people cheating to grind?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] When we designed Celsius Heroes Adventures, it was obvious for us from the beginning that we wanted players to be able to get in game rewards like they would get from the official storyline. We do not want these adventures to be some kind of cheap energy sinks that would undervalue the work of their creators. We believe that we have a lot of talented level designers and scripts writers hiding in our community, waiting for this update. So yes, these quests will reward you with experience points and loots. However, to prevent any kind of malicious use of Celsius Heroes Adventure, we automatically compute the cost of a quest in action point depending on what monsters you have put in there, and it is slightly more expensive than the official ones to not devaluate the hours spent by our players following the original path. Furthermore, we prevented the drop of any quest item and very rarely restricted the use of some boss that should only be available in the main game for balance and creative reasons.

MBU
How expansive can a campaign be? Is there scope to tell a story here?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] As much as you like! As I explained earlier, the cost is calculated by the possible items and experience points you can get in the quest. When this cost goes above 12 action points, which is a lot by the way, we allow players to pay over this limit with gems (our hard currency). The cost is made transparent both the creators and the players. It means that if a quest requires you to spend some gems, it is a creative choice from the dungeon maker and that you can expect a lot of fights and loots.

MBU
Will there be a spotlight to shine on particularly good campaigns?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] Absolutely, that’s what we’re the most excited about! Our community managers can’t wait to push to the public eyes the best creations that we’ll get. But more importantly, at the end of a quest, players can rate it and leave a note to the creator. The most rated and popular campaigns will get more attention in the game. We also intend to add some kind of community showcase or “dungeon of the week” feature once players will have had enough time to experiment with the dungeon editor.

MBU
How in depth can editing dialogue and story in a campaign be?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] We recreated our internal tools and made them user-friendly for our players, in order to let the creators get as much features as we can. For now, you can create dialogues by combining from a list of backgrounds and characters for the illustration and choose the answer in the same way as we do ourselves when we create new quests. We plan to add more features with every updates in order to let players experiment with quest items and event timers that are, for now, not implemented.

cha3

NPC Dialogue and party responses are fully editable.

MBU
Obviously not everyone will be wanting to tell a story, some are just out to make a dungeon to challenge others. Will there be a ranking system for difficulty?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] Indeed, and dialogues are completely optional. If you want to create a giant maze or just a hard challenge, you can do it. The recommended level for a quest will be displayed to the player before he decides to enter the dungeon.

MBU
How closely will user created content be monitored?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] In order to be available to players worldwide, creators will have to submit their campaigns for approval. This way, we can ensure that adventures available to the players will be doable (as in not glitched) and will not contain illegal dialogues or copyright infringement to a 3rd party licence.

MBU
Will additional assets become available as the main game is updated with chapters?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] Yes, in fact we are already working on the first set of additional monsters, environments and dialogue assets. Most of these assets will be exclusive to Celsius Heroes Adventure and will not be seen in the main story. This way, creators will be able to release some brand new and exclusive content. We are currently trying to figure out a way to let players add some customs assets in these quests but it still requires some thinking and a lot of work.

MBU
How has the development of Adventures affected new story content for the main game, has development had to slow?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] We are a small team and while we work on an update we are entirely dedicated to this task alone. The main story will not be expanded in this update but this will be heavily compensated by the number of new stories that will be available in the game in the upcoming days after the launch. As for the speed of the development, I’d say that it has in fact been sped up as we haven’t had so many people working on Celsius Heroes since the launch. We consider this update to be more than just a regular update, this is a new game in itself. On the bright side for our players that have completed the current storyline, this update allowed us to rework a lot of code that will significantly accelerate the creation process of the next Celsius Heroes chapters.

MBU
How did this idea come about?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] At Celsius online we are, at our core, a company that grew from its community. Our first and very successful game Renaissance Kingdoms is a browser based RPG were user generated content plays a precious and immense role in the depth and success of the game. Going to mobile, we knew that it would be much harder to find ways to involve players in the game content. However, it stuck with us and it continues to be a priority in our mind as we believe that letting the players use their creativity in a fun and easy way is ultimately one of the most important thing that video games allow us to do. Celsius Heroes Adventure is one of the way we found along our discussions and we’re still thinking about how to expand it beyond its current iteration.

MBU
How excited are people at Celsius Online?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] Well, if you couldn’t tell yet, pretty much overly excited! Not only by the imminent release but as well because we have no idea of what will happens. It’s something to create and release a new story: you do not know if players will like it, or find it too easy or difficult. But letting them get their hands on a tool designed to create new content? Gosh, we can’t wait to be able to play ourselves without neither of us knowing what the quests will be like!

cha1

Within the Celsius Heroes game itself.

MBU
And when will Adventures launch?

CELSIUS
[Mathias] [on October 20] By the time you’ll release our conversation, it should be already available to everybody. Just log in or download the game to discover it!

MBU
I think I speak for all your audience when I say thank you for taking the time and effort to add such an in depth extra to an already well made and well written game. For those who want to get into Celsius Heroes it’s available on Facebook HERE, iOS HERE and Android HERE. MBU will be sure to cover Celsius Heroes Adventures in a detailed review at launch. Special thanks to Gary Laporte for taking time out from his imminent holiday to make time for this review.

Advertisements