News 09 May 2014

This week at Ninja Kiwi we've been playing a lot of SAS: ZA 4.

There's always a fair bit being played every day, but this week has been especially zombieful. We've been working hard at getting the game balance more or less in the right place (there's always room for tweaks later!) and now we're getting a stable build ready for open access. That means full access for anyone visiting and, more importantly for our current testers, using your real Ninja Kiwi account to play and earn that delicious AP. We've got a course locked in and an ETA just around the corner so get ready.

Those of you who have played a bit of the SAS4 beta may have run into a new character at NK who goes by the name spool.

Don't let the AP fool you, he's really a proficient zombie slayer. His staging NK account probably gives a better overview of his SAS: Zombie Assault prowess.

With limited stuff to talk about (updates and ports are well in progress, but no news just yet) I thought it would be a good idea for y'all to meet him.

Q&A with spool

Firstly, what's a spool?
Haha, well the story behind how I got the name spool is definitely an old one but sadly not a very interesting one =[  
When I first started online gaming at about the age of 7 or 8 it became apparent I needed a online persona to go with it. I struggled through many different player names until one day when I was learning more about how computers work I came across a process in windows task manager named spoolsv.exe and wondered why a process would be called something so silly, (turns out it was a windows process for spooling jobs to a printer, so that they can be printed). At the time it seemed new and different so I decided to go by Spoolsv as a gamer name in games like Quake and Unreal Tournament.
It wasn't too long after that I dropped the 'sv' at the end, and till this day I'm still known only as Spool to a few of my gamer friends from around the world.
What do you do at Ninja Kiwi?
I was hired at Ninja Kiwi for my skills in programming with languages like C, C++, C#, Java, Javascript and some dabbling in HTML, CSS and PHP.
My timing for becoming an NK employee landed me in the SAS4 team whom are nearing the end of the development cycle for the game. Which meant that they really needed me to focus on other things rather than just programming. So right now I am the acting Quality Assurance team member for SAS4, and with my experience designing and programming games I set out to find all the bugs I could so that the other programmers could crush them.
Since joining the team at the end of January I have helped find roughly 300 major and minor bugs with the game.
What game(s) have you worked on?
Since I am right out of university I have not yet worked on any commercially released games. I have about 10 games under my belt that I either developed myself or in a team environment for my education and/or personal interest.
My favourite game to date that I worked on was a 5 man team, of which I was the team leader where we made a game that I had been wanting to make for a few years. The game was called "Incursion" and was developed in Java using a 3D engine.
The game is akin to playing moba's like LoL and Dota in terms of twitch reactions and player skill being the biggest focus, with a space setting much like Eve Online but only in a top down view like LoL and Dota. It was a multiplayer game where players would fly around a universe fighting back incursions of enemy forces, players could team up with one another or go off solo and work on maxing out their skills and ships by means of trading/pirating and salvaging wrecked ships.
The game never reached the full potential it had as the scope was way too large for the 10 weeks we had to develop it, but it did earn me and my team A+ grades which made all of us and our tutors very happy.
What job did you want to have as a young lad?
I was a very different kid than most, or at least that's what my parents told me. I can remember from a very young age of around 4 & 5 where I would see these architectural pictures of houses in newspapers advertising a new house up for sale and giving you the top down view showing the layout. I became captivated by how they are drawn and soon started tracing them and then making my own house designs that I thought were more efficient. My parents ended up getting me technical drawing kits, rulers and the such to help me design my own houses.
At around the age of about 8 I learned that people actually had jobs designing houses and that were they were called architects. I followed the dream of being an architect until the age of 16 when I hit a crossroads, I was terrible at free hand drawing and sketching things but I was becoming a master at actually putting together the technical drawings and designing the houses in 3D software.
I ended up becoming more interested in the software that was helping me rapidly design these houses. This is when I first looked into programming, and how the software was actually being made. Which eventually lead me down this road to becoming a game developer.
What sort of games are the best sort of games?
The best sort of games in my opinion are multiplayer games where player skill is a core aspect of a players success. Tie this in with a game world where the player is allowed to make choices and more to the point these choices that physically effect the environment they are in.
When you boil all this down my favourite gaming genre is a Sandbox MMO, where masses of players are let loose into a world where they can claim, conqueror and destroy. To give some examples, Eve Online, Darkfall Online, Rust, DayZ, WarZ (ISS) and the list goes on.
Favourite game at the moment?
Well SAS4 obviously! But aside from that my favourite games right now are the indy games really. I've been having a lot of fun playing Don't Starve, FTL: Faster Than Light, Kerbal Space Program, Game Dev Tycoon and Prison Architect.
Favourite game ever?
My most favourite game ever is an MMO Sandbox, Eve Online! I've invested 8 years of my life into this game, although I am not currently subscribed but I go back to it every few months. That aside I still follow all the games politics, wars, economy and epic space battles day by day because it is just so interesting.
If anyone is unfamiliar with this game its a massively multiplayer online game where there is 1 server that the entire world play on, at any one time there can be between 15,000 and 50,000 other players in the universe flying around. There are over 7,000 unique solar systems to explore and around 3,000 of them are able to be claimed and owned my players. Massive wars between alliances can be sparked by anything imaginable
The most recent super battle started over one man forgetting to pay rent on a space station his alliance owned. This gave an enemy alliance the chance to strike back and take it for themselves which evolved into a battle with over 7,500 players in ONE area fighting a battle that lasted roughly 15 hours resulting in 11 trillion ISK in ships being destroyed (the in-game currency) which can be estimated at being worth $300,000-$330,000 USD (Yes that's real world american dollars).
If that doesn't get someone excited to play a game then I don't know what would. You can view a small video of the battle below but keep in mind your actually looking at 7,000 people on one screen fighting a massive battle where each ship is a different person and some ships are so small you can't even see them in this view. The fight was also slowed down 90% to help the server compute everything that was happening, so gameplay is normally a lot faster than it looks in the video,
What's your favourite lunch-time meal?
Boring I know but its a good old sandwich! Stuffed with as much meat as one person can actually fit inside it before it wouldn't be called a sandwich any more.
What's your favourite class in SAS4 and why?
Medic is definitely my favourite class in SAS4, and I think it stems from my willingness to help others! I enjoy throwing down those medkits to my other SAS friends and keeping them healthy and fighting strong with my protective auras.
Who's your favourite fellow employee at NK?
I couldn't choose just one person, NK is practically an extended family when you get to meet them. Everyone is so helpful and friendly, and I couldn't ask for a better place to work!


Questions from the Comments

Is there any chance of female versions of the soldier types in SAS4, or a female class of soldier?

It's not likely we'll introduce a gender choice for existing SAS soldiers. The differences would be minor at most, but still require a new set of models which is increased space taken up in memory. Future classes though, that's more likely.

Could you bring back the SuperRewards free offers?

At the moment it's not something we will be doing. While we didn't like taking away the choice to use them, the confusion and complaints made it a lot easier to remove the offer wall altogether when some real concerns came up.

How does the Temple of the Vengeful Monkey differ to the Temple of the Monkey God?

Well, the sacrifices don't go to the Monkey God for one. What differences that makes to the tower in game, besides the more metal temple, will take a little more research from those who study that kind of thing.

If you have any questions, about anything even remotely related to Ninja Kiwi, make sure to leave them in the comments section below.



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