Ghost in the Machine

Artix Krieger | Friday, January 12, 2018

Deep within the code of AdventureQuest 3D's servers, a ghastly clockwork of interwoven machines secretly conspire to trick, trap, and kill your hero. There are those who believe such specters are not true. But they are. And in the hands of their new masters... they are about to become far more devious.

The Machine World

As the sun sets far above Artix Entertainment's secret underground lab, Zhoom (AdventureQuest 3D's lead coder) stands before a giant white board. His audience of our game's content creators. Like an ArchWizard teaching level 1 students forbidden level 20 spells, he unlocks the mysteries of the game's incredibly deep system of machines. We have just unlocked several hundred new ways to kill you-- at least that is what my inner Grimskull voice kept whispering to me. The rest of the team watched with bright eyes as we discovered how to make our maps and world come alive.

Reading old school D&D Dungeon Modules

When I heard that more of us were going to be learning how to assemble the maps for AdventureQuest 3D I got really excited. A lot of things have changed since the last time I tried. While getting into that Dungeon Master mindset, I coincidentally stumbled on some old D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) books. Then, I started obsessively ordering ones I had never even heard of (on the cheap) off of Amazon. They are an amazing source of inspiration-- and even I was baffled by how much most of the games that you and I have played have been based on these adventures. Did you ever play D&D? Have any favorite adventures?

The Inner Clockwork of an MMO

AdventureQuest 3D's server is a monstrous collection of intricate "machines". They can spawn monsters, teleport you, make things vanish, move, transform, explode, or anything you can imagine. They can make a mountain stand up and stretch it's arms while yawning... or fill a dungeon with water and make you start to drown. From levers, trap doors, spike traps, to fire breathing statues the machines can be set on timers, triggers, or trapped floor plates. They are smart... can identify who or what you are and what you have done. Ex: "This trap only springs on warriors!" These machines can even be cleverly constructed to work alongside a chain of other machines creating any puzzle you can imagine.

The Price of Magic

Actually, it does not cost anything to use these. It just takes time to build. Often you hear me talking about how we need to "improve our tools". This is so true, for currently it takes just as long to build a simple thing than it does to build something complex. Mostly because we need to build collections of the "most used machines" and make it so we can simply drag and drop it. Right now, the process is pretty manually intensive. A most recent example includes Darkovia II which still took a few days of coding time to build-- and this is something we intend to get down to a single day. Before today we only had 2 team members who could construct maps and one of them spends 99.9% of their time building the assets that go into the maps. As of today we now have 5. After a little practice... you better be ready :D

Question: What are your favorite dungeon tricks & traps?

One of the favorite releases I made for AQWorlds was "Grimskull's Vault of Endless Doom". Featuring Binky the Man Eating Unicorn, the Princess Angler, and a host of 100% pure evil traps, it was only appreciated by the most seasoned dungeon diver. (Translated "A lot of players were very very mad/frustrated about dying over and over in embarrassing and horrifying ways while Grimskull laughed at them from his rocking throne.") What are some of your favorite tricks and traps from dungeons?




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