Exclusive Angels Online Developer Journal #2

Joyce Zhou over at IGG has completed the second entry to her ongoing Developer Journal series that she's writing exclusively for Allakhazam. In this installment, Joyce talks about the struggles that the team had during development on The Lost Atlantis. Aside from the initial challenges, he writes about the design process that was eventually adopted and of course, the end result.

At the very beginning of most MMORPGs, players take on the role of an adventurer and fight against evil forces. They have to earn a certain amount of experience before they can seek their fortune with Mages or other comrades. As a result, players slowly begin to lose their passion for the unchanging scenes in game.

Before we began to design Lost Atlantis, we collected many suggestions and good ideas from the players’ forum. We found that most players are sick of all of the repetitive scenes and monsters that currently existed within the game. We decided that we should find something new if we wanted to attract our players.

At first, we came up with several great ideas, but none were uniquely fabulous. Most of the scenes in Eden pay a lot of attention to describing evil monsters. Even the light and dark tones formed a sharp contrast, in much the same way as many other MMORPGs.

After hundreds of tests, we were still uninspired. One day, a colleague pointed out that underwater scenes were very rare in current MMORPGs. And so a brand-new design plan came into being the focus for the Lost Atlantis expansion.

The Blue Sea was the first ocean scene that we designed. It took over three weeks to capture the design of the first draft. Then we went back over and over it, perfecting every last inch, resulting in highly detailed scenes with scattered shells, ancient ship wrecks and other realistic items. After we had colored the first draft, we found the effect that we had created was perfect. In order to add more ocean elements, we used blue tones to enhance the whole scene. Then corals, seaweeds and other underwater creatures were liberally added to the scene as well. The combination of their bright colors and the blue background gives players a charming and amazingly realistic adventure.

Of the whole design process, creating the underwater monsters proved most difficult. We designed more than 10 monsters before settling on the final 3. Of course, we will continue to add more and enhance the existing monsters throughout the life of the game.  The Jellyfish, Angel Fish and Mermaid were added into the Blue Sea. The Jellyfish is already familiar to most players and is seen as being somewhat cute, with its ball-like head and long delicate tendrils.  But don’t be deceived. Its powerful attack abilities can easily threaten players. As for the Angel Fish, we created it by closely following its natural design.  It is so beautiful and elegant but, yet again, this angel can be a devil when it wants.  The legendary mermaid was enchanting and sublime, able to ensnare sailors with her hypnotic song.  Our Mermaid is the leader of this scene. Its captivating figure, green clothes and the long enticing hair are very attractive, perhaps too attractive…

The final versions of these monsters have been out after nearly two weeks now. We strived to create a natural and realistic landform for players so that they can experience the differences between the underwater world and the field first hand.

The inspiration comes from the real life, and even our players. We always do our best to depart from conventional patterns and add more innovative elements to our games. The development process is laborious but it can be exciting as well. As long as our work is accepted by our players, we feel happy.


Joyce Zhou
AO Product Assistant


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