Oort Online Developer Interview

Q). What are the major differences between Oort and the other voxel-sandbox games that are on the market today?
A). One of the major differences is the fact that the game has been built from the ground up with multiplayer and persistence in mind. While players can go off by themselves, we always want them to have the opportunity to interact with the larger world and universe when they choose to. We’re hoping to really add to this in the future with Guilds and community features.
We also have what we think is one of the best looking voxel games out there. We made a deliberate decision to stick with a partial ‘blocky’ look to make building and mining simpler to fathom. But we’ve implemented sloping blocks and deformation to give things a more natural look. We’ve also done a lot of work on lighting and other effects to make the environment a beautiful place for players to live and make a home.
We’re also adding RPG mechanics to add progression and levels to a character’s journey, more variety in the creatures and loot that can be found and features to encourage players to band together to fight the Titans.
There are many other features where we’re trying to change things that other games have done before. You can find more details on the website or look out for future updates.
Q). You’re calling Oort an MMORPG, what are the RPG elements that will be implemented in the game?
A). We’ll be starting off by including some RPG staples like focusing on the player avatar and character development. So, your character will be able to progress and become better at using various tools, crafting or fighting as you continue your journey through the game. We’re also putting more time into the creation of the NPC creatures, their lairs and the loot that you can be rewarded by defeating them. Due to they way we’re working with the community we will almost certainly end up adding more RPG features after we have implemented more of the core. We’ve already received lots of feedback from players suggesting ideas for quests.
Q). Is there going to be structured questing or raids?  Or will that all be player created?
A). We’re not focusing on adding quests right now. There is a huge amount of work in designing, writing, scripting and testing quests and there are lots of features that quests depend on that we need to implement first. Currently, quests are not planned before stretch goals and so they will all be player created and imagined. However, we have already had quite a lot of suggestions and ideas about questing in player feedback.
Q). What are the limits of the beacons that players place in the world?
A). There is a limit in total maximum size that the beacon protects and there is a hard limit on the total number of beacons that a player may have active at one time. Player’s can pick up their beacon and move it somewhere else if they decide to change location.
Q). What were your influences in the art design and style?
A). For the character concepts we are big fans of anthropomorphic animals and felt that this fitted in well with the story of the massively connected worlds of the Oort universe. We also wanted to allow the player to have a higher fidelity character than some other sandbox games while maintaining the simplicity of the environments. 
The environment art was influenced by us loving to explore in games. We wanted a mix of the familiar so that players would want to make their homes and live on worlds; and alien to give players something different and fun to see. We also wanted to give the player a feeling of the epic scale of the worlds and so we worked hard on pushing out the distance that you can see and implemented a Level of Detail system to allow players to see mountains and structures from far, far away.
In both cases the art in the prototype is still early and being experimented with. But you can see from the concept art the direction that Oort Online is headed.
Q). Do you think modding with play an important role in Oort?
A). I would love to have a system that allows modding in Oort Online. We are still really early in the development process and so if this is something we decide to do I don’t see it happening for a while. We have already put some thought into how a potential modding system might work in the future.
Q). Will there be a limit on the number of worlds?
A). In theory there is no limit to the number of worlds we can have. If we want to open a new world/server hosted by us we can just generate a new world, set the rules and make it live. The same applies if a player wants us to host a new world for them.
Q). Tell us about the sizes of each world?  How deep will we be able to go?
A). The sizes of each world can vary. At the moment we have worlds that are 256 square kilometres which should give players a lot to explore on their home world. When you then consider that there will be a ton of other worlds that players can visit you’ll realise that you will never get to see everything. The current depth from sky ceiling height to the bottom of the caverns is 256 blocks.
Q). Sunset, sunrises and weather look beautiful right now, what’s up with the brown characters?!
A). LOL. The brown characters are just some of the concept art and sketches that we have done so far. If you go here:  
You can see a couple of the more detailed character concepts that have been completed (much more colourful!)
Q). What type of combat will Oort have?
A). The combat in Oort Online is played from the first person perspective much like Minecraft or Skyrim can be. We want to add some more depth in the system using additional weapons and 
Q). Will players be able to opt out of PvP if you just want to build and enjoy the game?
There will be lots of other players in the game but we don’t want to make it incredibly hostile for you. If you want to partake in PvP we will start with offering a simple toggle to be able to switch on and off when you want to fight other players. Later on we’ll add entire worlds where PvP is on all the time (if you like that kind of challenge), and when we implement Guilds we will consider adding ‘warring’ type mechanics where your Guild can be flagged as PvP against certain others.
Q). How will you deal with griefing?
A). No matter how hard you try and deal with griefing, players will always find a way of trying to ‘spoil’ others fun for their enjoyment. Firstly, any PvP on the majority of the worlds will be by choice and so you won’t have the problem of being ganked everywhere you go. We’re also currently implementing the Beacon mechanic which will allow you to place a special block that claims a section of land as your own. Each player will have a limited number of these to place in the worlds for areas to build homes, shops and other structures or to claim rich resources.
Q). Will player-feedback play an important role in the development of Oort?
A). Player feedback is a super important part of the development process that we have begun. We want to try involve the players at every stage so that we’re making the game that they want to play. We’ve implemented a backer voting system where people who have helped fund the game can help to decide which feature we fund and implement next. We’re active on the forums, website updates, Twitch streams, Twitter and Facebook. We’re online in the game with the players as well! We play the game and wander through the live worlds, testing things, talking to players on our live feed and building with the rest of the community.


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