With the Beta release of the Mossms, I thought it was time to get to know the Mossms team a little better. I hope you enjoy learning more about the creative team behind these playful critters as much as I did…..
– What brought you to SL and how did you discover breedables?
We have been in SL since 2006. Like many in the breedable community we discovered the breeding phenomenon for the first time when one of us – not naming names but it starts with a P – accidentally killed a friend’s chicken and was shamed into buying a first aid kit to bring their beloved chicken back to life.
– If this is a “Resident” account, what made you decide to create a new account for this project?
Having been in SL for so many years we have made some amazing friendships. When we login on our older accounts our friends want to hang out. Unfortunately, we cannot hang out as much as we’d like and still work as hard as we need to in order to make this game great. So, we made new accounts to help us keep a clear separation of our personal time and our work time.
Also, we’ve done a lot of work for a lot of people over the years, and we’re creating a lot of valuable intellectual property here. It’s very important that we are able to keep everything separate and fresh.
– What inspired you to create a breedable and how did you choose what to create?
Progenitor has had a long-standing love affair with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Asymmetrical is an animal lover, and is a skilled dog trainer. COOLBRAIN is an amazing artist, and also enjoys every aspect of back rubs. When the three got together and started brainstorming what we might do together, Mossms was the natural result. We wanted creatures that are kind of large, so they could interact with humans better. We wanted them to have hands, and we wanted them be from space because there are all kinds of zany and fun things we needed them to be able to do that normal animals really can’t.
– Could you please list the members of your team and their positions?
The Mossms team currently consists of only three people. Being such a small team we’ve all contributed far more to the project than what our titles suggest. We’ve all been heavily involved in game design, creature animations, and activities. But for purposes of answering this question our “official” roles are as follows:
Asymmetrical – Community & Support Management, Executive Producer
COOLBRAIN – Lead Designer, Modelling, Animation
Progenitor – AI, Software, Scripting, Servers, Systems
– For the interest of SL Jobseekers out there, do you have any job positions that need filling?
At this time we are not hiring; however, we fully expect that we will have a need for both community and support specialists. We will announce such positions as they become available and candidates will be required to participate in an offline voice interview to be considered.
– What have you found to be the biggest challenges and greatest rewards of bringing a new Breedable to SL? (so far)
The single biggest challenge for us so far is reaching the breedable communities to let them know we are here. Another challenge has been one of game design: figuring out ways to make gameplay that’s easy to understand, original, and fun. There are technical challenges, too, as this is some fairly complex software implemented in a limited environment, where it’s not easy to make complex software. But the communities in Second Life make it an uniquely awesome place to create a product, and we’re very much enjoying the experience.
– What would you like to see more on in the breedables community?
We’d like to see more of people having fun, and enjoying themselves. Nothing delights us more than when we hear people laughing while watching or interacting with our creatures. We’d love to see more creatures that are designed from the very beginning to bring people joy, give people fun things to do, and that can be one of the highlights of their SL experience. That’s it, we’d like to see more fun, joy and wonder in the community.
– How has the excitement of and suggestions from customers influenced your creations?
The excitement that our community has expressed is infectious. It helps keep us motivated, focused and working hard.
We’ve really just started hearing suggestions from people over the last several days. People are really excited though, and they have been giving us plenty of accolades in addition to great ideas. So, feedback from people is definitely influencing what we have planned for the future in a positive way.
– Does a particular experience in the Second Life Community inspire you to keep going when you are discouraged?
Our people have been so good to us since we started beta that we haven’t had opportunity to get discouraged . The people in beta have been excited, encouraging, and supportive. It’s really been more than we dared to hope for.
– What Gameplay is included and will this be developed further in the future?
Right now, there are three main areas of gameplay. First, there’s breeding. We have an original DNA system involving planetary travel, with an amazing variety of breeds.
Second, there’s getting environments for your Mossms. That’s done by putting the Mossms to work in environments, and using the resources they produce to get more environments. This makes for a natural progression that’s fun to go through.
The third kind of gameplay taps into the user’s creativity by providing the user with a variety of building opportunities. There is tons of fun involved in arranging a living space for the Mossms, for example. Using the pathfinding tools to build ramps, mazes, bridges and other complex scenarios that Mossms can travel through is really very fun! But, just building a nice house or garden for them to work in is also very appealing to others. No two players are going to have the same Mossm setup and we’re already seeing a great deal of excitement surrounding the creativity aspect of it.
We also plan to build upon Mossms to make a variety of other kinds of gameplay possible. Sports, for example, is one of the first things we plan to tackle after launch. We’re also looking at a number of other simple, casual, fun gameplay options. Of course, right now our primary goal is to get features we’ve promised completed so we can move from beta to launch.
– What do you think makes your breedable stand out from the crowd?
Our creatures make people laugh, smile, and feel good. Mossms live their lives in a very real way and we believe it may be one of the most unique and fun things to see and experience in Second Life. Mossms are very active, they do lots of things like farming, keyboard playing, dancing, and even some yoga. We’re very proud of how busy they keep themselves. The feeling that they are alive is a huge part of what endears them to people.
– What interactions are possible and do you consider it to be a Pet Game, Breedable or a combination?
At this time there are too many interactions to list and we will continue to make new ones but for purposes of this interview we will name a few. Mossms know when avatars are near and are delighted to greet them and pay attention to them. In addition to avatars, Mossms interact with a variety of environments doing everything from planting flowers, reading books, practicing yoga, taking a shower, giving back rubs, and operating powerful equipment.
Mossms is a combination of both a Pet Game and a Breedable. The pet game comes in the form of having a great time playing and interacting with your Mossms, and working with them to build out a cool and fun setup. A player can’t just go buy an awesome setup. Their Mossms need to work for it, and the player does too. It’s a fun progression. Meanwhile there are a vast array of possible breeds to be discovered which will keep breeders entertained for a long time.
– If someone was undecided about your Breedable, what would you say to convince them to give it a try?
Generally we believe that it’s hard for people to resist Mossms when they see them working their little hands in the soil planting plants, or taking showers, or chatting with each other in the locker room. So, instead of talking, we’d invite them over to Cyclonium, and take them on a tour of the sim. Mossms are amazing at convincing people to take them home. Obviously, the answer to this would vary depending on what might be causing someone to feel undecided but, we believe that seeing all they can do in person is one of our finest selling points.
– What are your plans for the future?
We believe that Second Life is ready for some new kinds of gameplay and fun things to do with friends. We have a platform that can do a tremendous variety of things and can go in any number of directions. We plan to explore a few of those directions with our customers and branch this out in ways that will surprise people.
– How long do you expect to be committing to this project and with your breeders in mind, do you have a legacy plan?
You’re raising an interesting question. Right now, we’re completely focused on our people and bringing this to market and accordingly had not really given this much thought. That said, we are fully committed to this project and plan to support it for as long and as far as it can go. In the unlikely event that none of us are able to continue we will make sure that the Mossms and the community can live on without us.