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  • iamacyborg

    Continuing from the last Meet the FK'ers with Jordan Leithart, we've got a brief chat with Frostkeep co-founder Jeremy Wood. Check it out below.

     

    RF: What's your name and what do you do at Frostkeep?

    JW: Jeremy Wood, Co-Founder

     

    RF: Tell us a little about your backstory, where have you worked prior to joining Frostkeep, what games have you been involved in making?

    JW: I got my start as an engineer on the original World of Warcraft team back in 2001. After seven years and two expansions, I moved onto Titan, which eventually became Overwatch. In 2012, I joined Carbine to work on WildStar, until forming Frostkeep in 2016.

     

    RF: What game most influenced you? Was it something in your childhood or in later years?

    JW: I play a wide variety of games, PC and console, as many as I can get my hands on. I feel that there is something to learn from every single game, and the more I play, the better I am able to contribute to the games I work on. World of Warcraft is probably my single biggest influence, and probably the game I've sunk the most time into over the years.

     

    RF: What are you main influences in your work? Is there anything outside of the gaming world you feel has helped you become a better developer?

    Being a successful game developer is mostly about effective two-way communication. I am always looking to better myself from that standpoint, and I've been incredibly fortunate to learn from many amazing people, both professionally and personally. Understanding human psychology provides great tools for communication, as well as for game design in general. Game developers tend to focus so much on "fun", which is ultimately impossible to quantify. Really boiling down the psychological impact of content and systems is a more objective way of measuring the success of your designs.

     

    RF: There have been a lot of Early Access Survival games released over the last few years, what do you think makes Rend stand out from the rest of them?

    JW: The biggest things we've tried to do with Rend is provide social structure for those who come in alone or in small groups, and to really give strong competitive goals to all players. Most survival games rely entirely on their sandbox elements, which is obviously enough for a large section of players.  Our aim is to bring some structure to the genre and attract a wider swath of players to this rich and interesting survival community.

     

    RF: The team have been pretty fantastic at engaging with the community so far, is that something you feel is a real differentiator between Frostkeep and your competition?

    JW: One of our goals as a company has always been to be "real", cliched as that may be. We are gamers just like everyone else in our community, and we engage with them as gamers first, not as developers. We are all creating Rend together, even if Frostkeep is ultimately making the decisions and building the game. We want to be human beings, rather than faceless PR bots, and that means sharing in our failures and our successes, and ultimately being honest with the community about the realities of game development.

     

    RF: Being with such a small team, what benefits do you feel you have against working in a traditional AAA studio? What do you miss from previous work?

    JW: Our size allows us to have a highly collaborative work environment, in a way that would be difficult in a larger team setting. We all sit in one room, working together on every problem. Everyone's voice is heard and given equal objective weight. We can quickly pivot on new ideas without hours and days of meetings. The downside, of course, is limited resources. We have to be very conscious of our direction, and make sure that we have the capability of delivering on our goals.

     

    RF: What's next after Early Access, are there any extra features you'd love to implement in Rend?

    JW: We come from a MMO background, where launch is just the beginning, and Rend will be no different in that regard. During Early Access, we will be adding tons of content and features, working with the community to grow the game into a full and satisfying product. When we think we have come to a point where Rend is truly a complete game experience, we will lift the Early Access tag. After that, we will take stock and see where Rend should go, whether that be new maps, new game modes, etc.

     

    RF: And finally, which aspect of Rend are you most excited for players to get to experience?

    JW: The Reckoning, even in its early state, has been a blast. Experiencing a true war, where all sides are present attacking and defending, really epitomizes the fantasy that draws most people to the survival genre.

    NewsBot

    2 New FKers!

    By NewsBot, in Articles,

    A few exciting things happened over the past few weeks that I didn’t mention before because we were getting ready for and talking about PAX.

    The first is that we hired two more developers at Frostkeep Studios! Don’t worry, we’ll get headshots and a new team page as soon as we get a better camera. Without further ado, here are the bios of our two new FKers!

    Jake Strapko
    Jake is known for breaking game mechanics in Rend and exploiting them to his advantage, in that order. With a lifetime of experience in competitive gaming, Jake grew up in a household where LAN parties were the norm. He competed against his brother and father in popular online games like Quake, Command: Modern Air Naval Operations and Conquer Online before eventually shifting his reserves to focus on Counter-Strike. Jake is formally trained in graphic design, product branding and apparel design, and has also ventured into competitive teams with Counter-Strike 1.5 and playing on multiple tournament teams during the Overwatch Beta where he was one of the top 500 players for Seasons 1 and 2. As one of the most active players in the Rend pre-alpha, Jake can be found streaming on Twitch and helping to build game communities. His focus at Frostkeep will be on making Rend as fair and balanced as possible.

    Michele Cagle
    Known for “making lemonade” and finding the good in everything (as Bob Ross would say, “there are no mistakes, just happy accidents”), Michele Cagle is a seasoned communications executive with nearly 20 years of gaming, corporate, entertainment and consumer products experience. Michele previously led global communications efforts at Sony Online Entertainment, Daybreak Games, THQ and Mattel, including corporate communications, brand PR, internal communications, influencer relations and events. When she’s not off saving animals or channeling her inner Bruce Lee to execute awesome campaigns, Michele can be found chasing sunsets, eating mangos, and getting salty with her family at local beaches on the mainland and in Hawaii.

    The next thing that happened was that we were put on Tech Raptor’s top 10 games at PAX West! This was a huge surprise and an incredible honor, especially when looking at the other games on that list (Dead Cells is sooooo good). We’re so excited to show off the game, and can’t wait to open up the pre-alpha servers again.

    As far as happenings around the office, I’m still plugging away at the UI rework (we’ll get another UI blog later). Tyler and Ron are working on AI and Item system design. Jake is doing some super secret work as well as focus testing and balance design. James is working on new prop items. Travis and Mat are working on making the map bigger and all the cool new biomes. David is working on some performance things regarding base building.

    As always we’re here answering questions from the community on Twitter, Facebook, Steam and the community Discord! Come join us!

    read the original article

    iamacyborg

    Meet the FK'ers is our new short interview format to get to know the folks working at Frostkeep who are responsible for Rend. 

    We're opening up the series with a brief chat with community superstar @FK_JarNod

     

     

    RF: What's your name and what do you do at Frostkeep?

    JL: I'm Jordan Leithart, aka JarNod. I do anything and everything, except art... and naming things. I had my naming privileges revoked. Mostly I'm an engineer/community person. I've written almost all the UI in Rend and some of the systems. I also answer as many community questions as I can, so if you tweet at Frostkeep, I'll be the one responding.

     

    RF: Tell us a little about your backstory, where have you worked prior to joining Frostkeep, what games have you been involved in making?

    JL: I did all sorts of things before I got into the games industry, so I'll pass those by. I previously worked at Carbine on WildStar. I was a build engineer there. Then I moved over to AI, then I moved over to Combat/Spells for the F2P launch.

     

    RF: What game most influenced you? Was it something in your childhood or in later years?

    JL: Vanilla World of Warcraft had a large impact on my life, but the game that made me want to get into the games industry was actually a more recent one, Dragon Age: Origins. It was the first roleplaying game that I played through again immediately after I finished it for the first time. A year after I played that I went back to school for my Computer Science degree, and 3 years later I was working on WildStar!

     

    RF: What are you main influences in your work? Is there anything outside of the gaming world you feel has helped you become a better developer?

    JL: My whole life has been an influence on my work. In my opinion, games should reflect something about our world. I play lots of games, and I learn something from every single one, but outside experiences are how I became a better developer. Whether it's working at companies that weren't video game companies, to where I grew up and other hobbies I have. Everything I do helps me grow as a developer!

     

    RF: There have been a lot of Early Access Survival games released over the last few years, what do you think makes Rend stand out from the rest of them?

    JL: The biggest thing that separates us is our performance. We're mindful of having as performant a game as possible and that helps guide our development process. Another aspect that separates us is our focus on making a faction based survival game. We want to create a community so new players won't be lost and veterans will always have people to play with.

     

    RF: The team have been pretty fantastic at engaging with the community so far, is that something you feel is a real differentiator between Frostkeep and your competition?

    JL: I've seen many other studios engage with the community in a different but just as important way as Frostkeep. I've also been on the other side countless times, so it's important for me to treat the community how I wanted to be treated when I wasn't a developer. All I really know is that the Rend community has been amazing to work with so far. I don't think you can credit us at all when everyone has been wonderful.

     

    RF: Being with such a small team, what benefits do you feel you have against working in a traditional AAA studio? What do you miss from previous work?

    JL: Instant collaboration. If there's a problem, we can solve it quickly.

    Ownership of the product. We all own the entire game, not just one pie slice.

    Family atmosphere. We get to know each other very well.

     

    I think the biggest thing I miss from my previous work is actually the developers. I've worked with many fantastic people already in my short career and I would love to work with them again. But I know that Frostkeep is where I belong and so I don't miss much!

     

    RF: What's next after Early Access, are there any extra features you'd love to implement in Rend?

    JL: The most important thing after early access launch is getting the game out of early access to a full launch. Once we've accomplished that, we need to figure out if we're gonna work on an expansion or a second game. I have a few ideas.

     

    RF: And finally, which aspect of Rend are you most excited for players to get to experience?

    JL: With pre-alpha going dark, there are a few systems that I can't wait to talk about, but we're gonna hold off for now. Mostly, I love the faction based gameplay. I love being a part of something greater than myself. It's gonna take a lot of work for us to get it right, but it'll be worth it!

     

     

    Stay tuned for more interviews with the team behind Rend!

    iamacyborg

    contest.png

    The lovely folks at Frostkeep (thank you @FK_JarNod!) have very generously given us an additional 10 pre-alpha keys to giveaway to some lucky winners.

    We've had a lot of success with the previous two giveaways, so we'll be keeping things the same.

    We'll be running this on a pure RNG basis, with the contest ending and winners being picked by random number generator on Thursday 25th May at 8pm (UK time).

    Want a chance to win? Simple, all you need to do is register an account on the forums. Already got an account? No problem, you'll automatically be submitted for a chance to win.

     

    Rules

    • Anyone with a forum account, excepting previous forum contest winners will be eligible for entry
    • Anyone caught making multiple accounts will be banned from this and all future contests

    Winners will be notified privately upon completion of the contest via pm on the forums. 

    iamacyborg

    Taken from a post by @FK_JarNod on the official site.

    Quote

    Whenever we tell someone about Rend and we explain the faction system, they always ask us the question, “But what’s in place to protect the players?”. It’s a fair question, and one that we analyzed and discussed extensively. In fact, we had to expedite a few of the systems due to some griefers in pre-alpha, so thanks to them for discovering it early!

    ConclaveBase-768x432.jpg

    A look at the Conclave base

    The system that we designed to combat griefers in your faction is called the Reputation system. Since you’re joining a faction, unless you’re on a private server, you will end up with some random people on your team. Some of my favorite experiences in online games are meeting new people, and I’m excited to hear some amazing stories about people meeting others in Rend, but we all know that there are griefers online. It’s our job to come up with a system to protect the faction from the single person hellbent on destroying it. Obviously this system will require an amount of iteration, which our current pre-alpha testers are helping us out tremendously.

    The first aspect of the reputation system is the permissions subsystem. Your faction reputation level dictates what permissions you have. These permissions allow you to do things that directly benefit the faction. Like placing a chest or building in the mid level, or placing walls in the next tier up, or destroying walls in the top tier. The purpose is to have only the people who have top reputation to be allowed to remove walls. It would be a terrible thing if someone removed a wall in the middle of the Reckoning after all. Not currently implemented, but definitely in the works, is the player guidance system. Basically, players above a certain rep level will be allowed to flag resources that the faction needs. Other players will be able to go look at the warehouse and see which resources are needed. Depositing those flagged resources into the warehouse grants the player more rep for doing so. This will give new players guidance, as well as help the faction work together across different play times.

    RevenantBase-768x432.jpg

    I’m inside Revenant taking screenshots!

    Your faction reputation level is determined by how many things you’ve done to help your faction. In pre-alpha right now, there are only two ways to gain reputation. The first is to use your own resources to research tech for your faction. Technology is how your faction gets to the next tier of weaponry/gear/structures. Without using your resources to research, you’re liable to fall behind. But it’s clearly a balancing act because your faction will need to spend resources to build the base, craft gear for everyone, and do research. Finding the right balance is key. The other way to gain faction reputation is to deposit resources into the warehouse. While it’s still being iterated on during pre-alpha, the general idea is that anyone can deposit resources into the warehouse for reputation. Then, players who are above a certain rep level, will be allowed to craft faction beneficial items or research tech for the faction. They won’t get the reputation for doing so because they’re using the faction resources. The idea is that new players won’t be able to log in, loot the community chest and immediately log out effectively removing a significant amount of resources from the game. But the warehouse will still act as a community resource deposit so new players don’t have to hide their loot.

    OrderBase1-768x432.jpg

    I wish I could have taken a video of Order’s base. It’s awesome looking. I can’t wait for the Reckoning to blow it all up!

    At the moment, we’re iterating heavily on the reputation level subsystem. In its current state, the levels are dynamic in size. Using statistics to determine who has “done” the most for the faction over a period of time provides us a bucket. Think of it like a percentile. The top 90 percentile have permissions for everything. The next 20 percentile have permissions for most things, and so on down the list until you get to the no permissions bucket (usually reserved for people who shoot teammates or talk during movies at the theater). But, you can always raise your permissions again using the warehouse.

    This is one of those systems that has to be iterated on a lot. We’ve already changed a few things about it in the week that it’s been live in pre-alpha. This was one of those systems that we had to design on paper due to the size of our team, and I can’t stress enough just how awesome the community has been in helping us test, providing us feedback and suggestions, and just playing Rend over the last month. I know that a lot of you are chomping at the bit to get in, and we’re sending out more keys soon, go sign up!

     

    iamacyborg

    In collaboration with the folks at Frostkeep, Gamepedia have just announced three new creatures that you can expect to see in Rend.

    590a2507211db_raptilisk(1).thumb.jpg.dfda9dcdaf72d9f69c0ab068bdb8e88a.jpg

    These three are the Raptilisk (pictured) the Fangbar and the totally-not-a-Chocobo Hookbill.

    Rend features some exciting monster design, with the aim of providing a whole host of harvestable nasties to pit your faction against as you push to overcome your enemies.

    At Rend Forums we'll have a full Bestiary database in due time, but in the mean-time, why not check out some of the screenshots taken by community member @Roque Kazin in this bestiary guide.

    Click here to read the full article on Gamepedia.

    iamacyborg

    Hi Folks,

    I've been hard at work over the last few days adding some new functionality to this site for the community.

    As a first phase launch, we now have an item database that anyone can contribute to. With just a few simple fields you can add the in-game stats for an item alongside any typical content you might want to see.

    This is displayed in a format which should be immediately recognisable to anyone who's ever used a game wiki, but as it's integrated into this site there's a ton of additional features we'll be bringing to the table.

    You can check out a sample item here:

    You can access the full item database page here which allows you to easily create new items.

    I have a lot new features planned for this site, so would love to hear any feedback you might have!

    Cheers,

    iamacyborg

     

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    •     Last week, Mat and I got to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma to show off Rend at XPO Fest. When we signed up for this originally, Rend was going to be released and we were going to have the game available to play there. Because we decided to delay release to make the game better, we sadly didn’t have a playable build there. We had lots of people stop by the booth to chat and watch Mat art Mat shows off some of the art tricks he learned over the years to one of the artists on A.N.N.E up a few models for one of our new biomes. People seemed to love learning how the sausage is made, and we were able to teach anyone who wanted to listen. We had a great time there. A few of the highlights from the trip:
      1. Mat got conscripted to play in the League of Legends tournament and helped his team place 2nd! They didn’t know he used to work at Riot until he showed off every skin of every character on his account.
      2. We got some concept fanart from the best fanartist ever. I wish I had gotten a picture of Ava the awesome 3 year old who came by and drew us a Unicorn! Hopefully we can get Ava’s unicorn in game at some point.
      3. Mat was on a panel (To the Point: Industry Pros Discuss the Biggest Gaming Trends) about current gaming trends with some other devs and influencers at the festival.
      4. We met a lot of amazing devs and players who are now super excited about Rend!   A few twitch partners stopped by and couldn’t stop staring at Mat’s genius A quick update on the happenings in the office right now! Dave is working on making the combat feel much better. James has been working on weapon models (some sweet designs coming out). Nick has been concept arting some of the armor that you’ll be crafting in Rend. Solomon has been working on creature animations and helping me with UX (!!). Mat has been hard at work modeling resources for different biomes (more about these coming soon), and texturing up the biomes. Travis has been hard at work making the world and modeling some of the armor that Nick has been drawing up. Jake has been working closely with Tyler to create new talents for our class system. Ron and Tyler have been working ridiculously hard on all the other systems in the game. I’ve been working on a content plan (to have more regular blog updates) and UI (as per usual), maybe I should do another blogpost about the UI. As usual, you can find us on the community discord, Twitter, Facebook. We gearing up quickly for pre-alpha testing to start up again. So sign up! read the original article
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