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Interview - Rick Priestley on the Gates of Antares

Our coverage on Dark Space Corp's Kickstarter Beyond the Gates of Antares continues. Today we have an interview with Rick Priestley. Read on after the jump.

Here is our discussion:

1)      Why did you choose a Sci Fi setting over a Fantasy one?

I think Sci-Fi is commercially stronger – but I’m a great fan of both genres – Sci-Fi does gives you more scope for variety and is way easier to build on too. I do have ideas for a new fantasy setting too thoughJ

2)      What inspiration would you cite for Sci Fi maybe a favourite movie, novel or perhaps table top game?

For Sci-Fi? I guess all the books I read years ago established a lot of my preferences – and we go way back to EE Doc Smith, Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Harry Harrison, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Heinlein… don’t know about movies or games… books really.

3)      You have a Video Game designer on board. What do you think videogames have been doing that table top games should be taking note of?

I’m more interested in using the video games methodology to realise ideas about running world campaigns that have actually existed in the wargames hobby for years, but have never been possible to run with large numbers of people or consistently for any length of time. So, yes, assets that can be allocated according to control of war zones, group decision making by factions, and continuous narrative whether you wish to participate or even just watch and utilise the online resources that result.

4)      Do you have any ideas for allowing communities such as Stores or Clubs to work together to drive Episodes?

We were only talking about that over lunch – one way of doing that would be to allow the formation of the equivalent of ‘guilds’ in MMORPGs – but I’m aiming for a system that allows the community to build and run episodes in the long run – that might be a way ahead as we’d need to develop the online tool set to allow for that – but it’s certainly an ambition yes.

5) How do you plan to mitigate issues created by users over playing one or two factions? If two factions are prevalent in the community over a third how would you keep this balanced?

There are any number of ways of retaining balance even if some factions are more populated that others – and I expect they will be. Partly that’s down to episode design, partly it’s down to how we apply the data during each episode, and partly it’s down to common sense. The balance we’re aiming at is in the tabletop game play anyway – the metagame doesn’t have territory in a literal sense – episodes will run and deliver a one time benefit – so I don’t have any worries about retaining balance within the metagame – that can be managed reactively. There will be a bit of jockeying between the factions – but I don’t mind that – but we won’t let it develop into a one horse race.

6) As the game progresses and more players are involved will the later adopters still have as much of an input in shaping the background with their own characters etc? If so how will you keep the early adopters input relevant in the future?

To a large extent the fun is simply taking part – remember the metagame drives the tabletop game anyway – and regardless of when you sign up you should be able to join up and play and contribute to the universe. The early guys will get the chance to be included in the background right from the start though – I mean written up into the backstory early on – and there has to be a lot of kudos there! We will also be picking out characters from amongst the players’ forces to make as models – so the sooner you pitch in the more likely you are to be one of the lucky few.

7) What most excites you about the Gates of Antares? The dynamic world or the game mechanics?

It’s hard to say isn’t it – some days it’s one some days it’s the other – I get excited about whatever I’m working on that the time!

8) When did you first, as a group decide you had a great concept and how did that concept first come about?

Probably not until four or five months before we started the kickstarter when Rik came to talk to use about combining our respective skills from the wargames industry and video games industry – and it kinda clicked!

9) Are there any plans for tournament support? Would such a thing be put on by yourselves or would you look to the community and help them to develop a thriving community?

Ambitions rather than plans at the moment – we do see it as an important aspect of play, but you can’t start to do that in any meaningful way until you have staff to provide all the back-up needed for something like that. But we would primarily look to the community to provide the energy behind that, but it still needs to be worked into the web site and actively supported.

10) If all goes to plan how do you imagine the business and the game in 5 years time? Developing into multiple game worlds or for the game are Video Games, RPGs, CCGs on your minds or is this Tabletop through and through?

5 years? The major TV series will be into its third season by then – Peter Jackson is starting work on the first movie –TV advertising for the video games is pretty much non-stop – I modestly accept the OBE from her majesty (still going strong and more popular than ever since the dissolution of parliament and installation of Jeremy Clarkson as Dictator for life).

I hope you enjoyed this discussion and I would like to personally thank the guys at Dark Space Corp for taking the time to answer my questions.

Here is the current status of the Kickstarter:

762 backers
£85,804 pledged of £300,000 goal

41 days to go

Head over to their Kickstarter and start pledging for this great project!

- Martok

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