With Donna Williams and Adam Powell no longer working at Neopets, we caught up with Donna to catch up on what she has been up to. Turns out she and Adam are working on a new MMORPG called Twin Skies (now on hiatus while they release Vikings, Pirates, Ninjas).
Keep reading to find out what Donna thinks about present day Neopets and find out more about her current projects.
What was the inspiration behind Twin Skies?
Adam and I were talking about what races would be cool to play, we threw around some initial ideas for settings and backgrounds and it came from there. There wasn’t a big moment of realization or anything like that. We just got more and more excited about it as time went on so we decided to develop it further. There are some REALLY cool races planned by the way!
If there were such a thing as Jelly World on Neopets, would it theoretically have any connection to Gelatinous World on Twin Skies?
Of course not, everyone knows such places couldn’t possibly exist!
What happened to the Neopets movie?
Good question. I honestly don’t know. When I last checked IMDB I think it was still going ahead.
Can we hope for a Twin Skies movie?
We haven’t even launched the game yet! Maybe, but it’s hard to get people to believe you can go from video game to movie without being lame. The last few Hollywood efforts weren’t spectacular, who knows in many years time, maybe it will seem like the right thing for us to do. For the foreseeable future we are just going to concentrate on making the best game ever.
Neopets is obviously very different from when it was first started. What do you think of present day Neopia?
It’s not my thing, but they are obviously doing something right as Neopets is still very popular.
What can you tell our readers about what’s in the pipe for Meteor Games?
Meteor Games is focusing on developing Twin Skies at the moment. We intend this to be our main project for a long time. Coming up this month we are making our first public appearance at PAX (Seattle, Aug 29-31). Shortly after that we will be launching alpha testing of the MMO, going into beta towards the end of the year/early next year. Expect tons of new flash games, lots of blogs (some silly, some informative) and lots of behind the scenes previews.
Where do you get your inspiration for games, stories, and characters?
Everything and everything we experience. Cartoons, books, movies, friends, people we meet on the street, places we visit. Anything goes really!
How big would you like Meteor Games to grow? Is there a limit?
One billion users (just kidding). As far as I am aware we don’t have an upper limit, fortunately our system is scalable to ridiculous amounts of concurrent users. It would be nice to have enough players to support the company and grow from there. That’s our initial goal right now. I am sure people are sick of hearing how every new MMO is going to be the next big thing. For us if some people out there like what we are doing and are interested enough to keep checking back, that’s awesome!
If one of our readers wanted to create their own MMORPG, how would they start?
Play every MMORPG you can, find out what you liked and didn’t like about each one and try to figure out something that combines the best. Find friends that know 3DS Max/Maya, like pizza and late nights and are crazy enough to believe in what you are doing.
Was there any downtime between Neopets and Twin Skies? If so, what did you do during that time? Work at a McDonalds? If you were to work at a McDonalds during a Neopets promotion, would it be awkward?
Yes there was downtime between Neopets and Twin Skies. Both Adam and myself were contractually obliged to not do anything for a few years after the sale. We didn’t work at McDonalds. Instead we travelled a little bit (US, Canada, UK, France) and played way too much World of Warcraft. To be honest it was really boring and we were itching to get back into creating things by the end of it. Like being home sick in the summer holidays when all your friends are outside having fun in the sunshine.
What demographic do you hope to draw to Twin Skies?
We are loosely saying 13 – 18+. That doesn’t mean that younger players are not allowed, but we are not aiming our content at them.
What do you think of the following that Twin Skies already has?
I am amazed and impressed. We haven’t even made the official announcement that our game is called Twin Skies. We just told a couple or Neopets fan sites to try to get people to test our site and get initial feedback, but it just sort of got out. Apparently you guys like to spread the word!
What’s the workspace like at Meteor Games? Is it a fun environment? What’s your office space like?
Our office space is a grey unassuming building on a quiet street, but inside it is like the Tardis. OK it doesn’t have lots of flashy lights and cables (well it does in the server room) but its massive inside. We converted the space from a pyrotechnics and special effects studio so it has really high ceilings and lots of room to run around firing nerf weapons.
P.S. The official Twin Skies launch (where we were meant to announce the name and everyone was going to be surprised) is due to happen tomorrow. – Dave Moyer