I’ve recently had the opportunity ask Scot Kinney, the founder of Dog Star VR Studios, some questions. His team is currently on track to release the first module of the AlterVerse, an inter-connected series of games driven by a Blockchain player economy and user creation. The first game, Disruption, is scheduled to launch through Steam Early Access by the end of the year.
Luke told me you were the founder and CEO of the company. How many people currently work at Dog Star VR Studios? And are you looking to expand any time soon?
We have been expanding the team over the past few months. We currently have 5 people working full-time and 8-10 more working on a part-time contract basis.
We’re in the early stages of a pre-seed round of funding. We’ll use those funds to polish and market the first game Disruption, to build out the team further and to market a Security Token Offering on StartEngine.com. We’re hoping to release Disruption before the end of the year on Steam’s Early Access.
Provided Disruption comes out this year as planned, how far will the AlterVerse go? The steam description states you plan to release a game every 2-3 months over the course of a year. So that would amount to about 6 total games, correct? Do you plan on stopping after that year of releases?
Disruption represents, in the storyline and in actuality, the first foray into the AlterVerse.
People will begin to explore Solone, the solar system first discovered, via large Disrupter ships. They will be able to raid other disrupter ships and defend their own.
Next we’ll release Sky City, which will be a free to play introduction world. It’s a city built on a large round platform above the cloud level on a planet called Aureus.
Here people will be able to socialize, race Violators around the outer race track, fly around in Sky Cars and check out and buy new games as they become available. It’ll be a central hub of activity. Soon after we’ll begin releasing the five home worlds, each in a different theme. We have a Spartan theme, Pirate theme, Mayan, Medieval and Viking. Customizable avatars are available in each theme. Then over the next year or so we’ll release 9 different Adventure Quests. Think of these as Off-World Adventures.
So with Sky City acting as the free-to-play introduction, what is the barrier of entry for the other games/modules? Will they all have a uniform price tag or will they vary in price?
We’re still mulling over the prices a bit. However, we expect the client for Home Worlds to be in the range of $20 each with at least 3 gameplay options including CTF/Raids, Adventure Quest and Battle Royale. We will most likely add a Survival mode as well. The stand-alone Adventure Quests will probably be a bit cheaper.
Once we release the world editors, people will be able to completely customize the levels from the ground up if they own a world. Buying a world/game to host will be a separate thing. Keep in mind, using the in-game token, players, creators and hosts will be able to monetize their activities.
This is a totally new concept overall. It will be fully decentralized, Blockchain-driven, VR compatible and yet have the feel of a large, highly diversified MMO. The entire AlterVerse will eventually be hosted, owned and created by the players. We’re just here to get it all started.
How flexible are the tools for asset and level creation? Would a player be able to mix and match assets and such from the differently themed games? If a player chooses to create something in Disruption, for example, are those creations confined to space/sci-fi assets even as the other games becomes available? Will the editors work differently depending on the game?
The tools will be the same basic set we use so full flexibility to edit terrains, add in skyboxes, place 3D assets, sounds, particles, forests, groundcover, water planes and water blocks, AI etc. etc.
As we initially build this out each game or homestead would be perceived to be on one of the home worlds so they’ll use assets from the pack associated with that home world.
We’ll also have an asset market place where asset creators can sell their wares at a 90/10 split. Once we have all of the home world themed packs out, if people want to mix and match to the point where it’s out of theme for a particular home world we’ll probably make it known that it’s not an in-theme level and have a separate category in the World list.
The tools will work the same across all worlds/games. Eventually creators will likely create all new home worlds and themes. We might contribute too as time goes on. It’s still too early to determine.
According to your LinkedIn profile, you worked as an IT Network Administrator for nearly 5 years and started working on your first game that same year you left. Was game design ever an avenue you wanted to explore while you were still working in IT?
I started a local online community in 1996 called CityLink. It was the first online community thing I ever tried. As part of it I delved into Active Worlds, a 3D virtual world creation platform, with the intent of making CityLink a 3D virtual space vs a flat web-based experience. So, while it wasn’t exactly a game, people would have had the ability to build and create spaces. So I guess the answer is yes. My ideas and desires have evolved as the technology has evolved.
Thank you for taking the time out to talk with me today! If you had anything in particular you wanted to say or discuss that you feel is important, now’s your chance!
Thank you David for the opportunity to talk about the game!