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Crossfire: Raising Epic Reptiles With Hyperblue and misgav11

January 18, 2014

by JacksSmirkingRevenge



Creativity and sharing are two qualities that fuel ROBLOX, and it’s in that spirit we created Crossfire, a series where we chat with ROBLOX game developers about their game design choices. For this outing, we interviewed Hyperblue and misgav11, creators of Raise an Epic Turtle and Dragonia: The Land Beyond Fantasies 2.0, respectively. Both games give you the opportunity (or responsibility) to raise and care for virtual reptiles — a category of games you don’t often find on our platform. We saw this as an opportunity to have a very unique conversation.

ROBLOX: This is a very unique and distinct genre of game. What made you think, “I want to make a game where people can care for and raise animals?”

misgav11: The entire story happened about four years ago, when I first joined ROBLOX. Games were great in 2009, but lacked creativity — they all started to feel the same to me. That was until I met Zora560, who had begun working on a fantastic universe involving dragons. They were way too blocky, but the idea was there. In 2010 agemo4 made an alternative of that game that focused much more on realism, and that’s when I decided I wanted to create a similar version of the game with my distinct style. So I developed Raise a Dragon Version 2 and it shot to the front page over nine times. But as a scripter, I feel the constant need to expand the possibilities of my imagination, so I created Dragonia in 2013. I remember seeing Hyperblue’s turtle game, and that gave me a ton of new ideas I implemented to make Dragonia into what it is today.

There are gorgeous moments in Dragonia.

There are gorgeous moments in Dragonia.

Hyperblue: [Laughs] Copier! Just kidding.

ROBLOX: What’s your story Hyperblue?

Hyperblue: A few years ago I was introduced to the idea of scripting and coding. I have a background in designing websites, though the ones I created years ago were not nearly as structured or complex as what I can make today. ROBLOX introduced me to all these new ideas, and at the time, there were a ton of “Raise a (Blank)” games, so I decided to experiment. I started with a sphere and a mesh and called it a turtle, and that eventually turned into a game. The turtles don’t look very aesthetically pleasing to me these days, but everyone really admires their cuteness, so I never made them more realistic.

I took a break from ROBLOX for a few years and focused on website and game development — my break allowed me to become very fluent in C-based languages. I learned to write code that was more organized, structured, efficient and secure. When I returned I knew I wanted to recreate the turtle game from scratch, using the skills I had learned during my absence.

I am JacksSmirkingRevenge, and this is my turtle. There are many like it but this one is mine.

I am JacksSmirkingRevenge, and this is my turtle. There are many like it but this one is mine.

ROBLOX: I find it interesting that misgav11 found inspiration from Raise an Epic Turtle. What specific ideas did you implement in your games?

misgav11: One of the two main ideas that I found to be very creative was that he allowed you to actually talk to your turtle. I’ve implemented a basic version of this in Dragonia called Dragon Chat, where you can give simple commands to your dragon. I’m developing this to be more advanced, so eventually you’ll be able to have entire conversations with your dragon. I was also visually struck by the environment. As an artist, I really wanted to create a world that is unexplainable, unbelievable and magical.

ROBLOX: Now that we’re on the topic, let’s talk a bit about environments. They both play a huge role in the atmosphere of your games. misgav11, I really liked that there are distinct seasons in your level. The changes are dramatic.

misgav11: An open world that looks the same is plain and boring. I wanted to spice things up.

Even from far, far away, the islands of Dragonia look like art.

Even from far, far away, the islands of Dragonia look like art.

Hyperblue: When I was designing my level, the aesthetic design of the island was only an idea. I asked a good friend of mine, asimo3089, if he could build a map for me. We kicked around ideas for the overall look and what he sent me was perfect. I personally really try to focus on how things will make the player feel and act. I like to be unique and creative — when I’m developing, I always keep the players’ experience in mind. I wanted to bring a positive experience to players, and I think I achieved this.

ROBLOX: I like that you can compete with other turtles, but couldn’t tell whether you could fight other dragons.

misgav11: Dragonia isn’t just about raising dragons — there are many type of gameplay choices. PvP was added some time ago so you can fight other players with weapons and in the sky on your dragons. I’m working on an update will you will actually be able to take full control of the dragon yourself, where you’ll be able to farm, hunt and cut wood. You’ll also be able to learn new spells and generally manipulate the world around you.

ROBLOX: Was turtle fighting planned all along? It’s cool that there’s a place on the map where you can take your turtles to brawl.

Hyperblue: I methodically planned out each part of this game before I started building it. I really wanted to add as much interaction with your turtle as possible — for a lot of people, these turtles are their friends. I plan on making the fighting more in-depth, and am also working on adding racing and simple games for your turtle to play, like fetch.

We love the way asimo3089 makes trees.

We love the way asimo3089 builds trees.

ROBLOX: How important would you guys say user feedback is when developing this type of game?

misgav11: When I was developing Dragonia I created a forum post and read all the user ideas in it. Many users had some really great ideas, some of which I added.

Hyperblue: Feedback is everything to me. If even one user is unhappy I will consider changing my game. I also learned that unhappiness can often be a result of simply not knowing or understanding the basic mechanics of a game. “How do I get a turtle?” can turn into “I just can’t get a turtle, I’m done with this.”

ROBLOX: What feature or design to your game are you most excited to implement in the future?

misgav11: That’s a tough one. I’m really excited about adding the ability to actually become a dragon, but I’m kind of worried about how I’m going to implement a certain aspect of it. I want to make it so you can mate your dragons and have baby dragons that have a genetic copy from both parents.

ROBLOX: Let me know when you’re working on implementing that system and I’ll see if I can talk the mods down.

misgav11: [Laughs]

Hyperblue: I personally like to stay somewhat discrete about the future of my games, but here goes. I plan to improve turtle battling a lot — rebuilding the entire thing, in fact. There will be weapon upgrades and different types of weapons.

misgav11: Cool!


ROBLOX: We ask this every Crossfire: what is your favorite part of one another’s game?

Hyperblue: I was really impressed by the aesthetics of the map in Dragonia. I like that you can swim openly around and that you have to actually search for your egg. I guess you could say I like how realistic it looks and feels. It’s really great work.

misgav11: Well thanks, man! My answer is simple: I love those turtles. I must agree, they are truly adorable.

ROBLOX: Shedletsky always likes asking this: if you could change one thing about ROBLOX to make game development a more pleasant experience, what would you change?

Hyperblue: ROBLOX has become such an excellent platform since I left — it’s come a long way. I really wish we could adjust image transparency on GUIs, as well as the text glow spread radius. Another nice feature would be tweening transparancies for fading effects so I don’t have to create a function from scratch. It would also be helpful if you could view the ping of each player in your game. GUI rotation is a gift from God and I really thank the developers for that. I’m working on a new game currently that I think will blow a lot of people away. It’s nothing like anyone has ever created.

misgav11: The new terrain is an awesome feature, but the downside is that you can’t make your own retexture of the terrain you’re using. If you had that ability, you could create so  many games with custom terrain that fits the aesthetic of all genres. What if terrain could change depending on the season? One of the biggest bugs I have to deal with in Dragonia is that the wedge terrain sometimes interferes with dragon movements, and they get stuck.

It takes some time and patience, but climbing on board your dragon and taking off through the sky is totally worth the wait.

It takes some time and patience, but climbing on board your dragon and taking off through the sky is totally worth the wait.

ROBLOX: Final question: if you guys swapped games for a day, what’s the first thing you would change about the other’s game?

Hyperblue: [Laughs] Oh boy. All right, no hard feelings OK? Truce?

misgav11: [Laughs] Truce.

Hyperblue: The first thing that really caught my eye was the user interface. There were some grammatical errors in it that I would fix because I’m a perfectionist. I would also lower the amount of time it takes for the eggs to hatch. It’s realistic, but man, I got things to do! This is all just my personal perspective.

misgav11: As a scripter I love extending the possibilities of what can be done on ROBLOX, and I feel like I did that by animating the dragons. I think I would alter the look of the turtles to look like… Well, like real turtles. It’s entirely possible to make something look real and cute at the same time. I would also change the GUI — everything is sort of meshed together and I like things to be more organized. I would also add more items because the variety is sort of plain.

ROBLOX: You guys gave a terrific interview, thank you so much for taking the time.

Hyperblue: Thanks!

misgav11: Thank you!

[Five minutes pass…]

Hyperblue: Wait, what did you mean by “meshed-together” GUIs?

misgav11: When I look at the GUI I see stats, names — basically all the information together. It would be easier if you had titles or tabs you could click to make the information more organized.

Hyperblue: Oh, I see what you mean. It’s that way for ease of access, really. So people can look in one place quickly if they need to see their stats. But I understand what you mean. Appreciate the feedback!

ROBLOX: You guys are still talking?

Hyperblue: Hey, feedback is feedback!