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#IWOCon Dev Talk: Naïca



Create your character, play from home or on the go, fight alongside other players and save the crystal-world! Naïca is a free-to-play 2D MMORPG being developed by French indie dev team Fridge Games. In development for over two years, the team is excited to announce that open Beta begins November 10th 2020. Visit the Naïca website for details!



Q: What (indie?) games have acted as a source of inspiration for your project? The first one is Slayers Online, it’s the origin of everything. It’s an old french 2D MMORPG of 2002 that had quite an interesting success in France. Around 2016, our Lead Dev was creating a remake of SO called Slayers World. He had the ambition of making it available on mobile and to add new features to the game. In 2017, the project evolved and he started to work on Naïca instead, with the same ambitions: game on mobile, more features for the players. Since then, some other games have carried the torch of inspiration for us, like Moonlighter (our sound designer, Alex Benet, worked on Moonlighter), Dofus and Laurum Online. Earlier, you’ve got some teasing about the brazilian community. The funny thing is, a lot of brazilians joining our community were asking us on Instagram and Discord if this was Tibia or inspired by Tibia. But we didn’t know a thing about this game at all. So after a look at the game, we uncovered it was a 2D MMORPG created in 1997 (almost as old as some members of the team) and is still quite a hit in Brazil! Some brazilians are still playing it, and they represent an important community of the game. I’ve looked at some streamers playing Tibia, and the biggest ones had between 300 to 1 000 viewers which is quite huge for a game that old! So no, Naïca was not inspired by Tibia but we are grateful for the comparison made by our brazilian community. We hope we can have the same success, or even a better one!

Q: What is something that makes your game unique?

Nowadays, it's more and more common for games to allow players from different universes and platforms to connect, and we want that for Naïca. In addition to character and armor customization (which is quite rare for a 2D MMORPG), we also give players cross-play and cross-save. This means you can start your adventure on PC and keep playing it on mobile while you're in the metro. Also, you can play with your friends on iOS while you play on your PC master race. There's no limitations and we want to bring players together as much as we can. This is why we provide support for french, english, spanish and portuguese, knowing that right now, the brazilian community is the biggest of Naïca. We'll explain one of the reason for this result a bit later!



Q: Looking back, how has your project changed/evolved since the idea was first conceived?

At first, the game was pretty rigid. Back in early 2019, almost a year after we started the project, Naïca was opened to a broader audience. In 2018, we did some testing on a specific day. In 2019, we needed to have a larger testing phase, throughout multiple days. That's when we hit one of our biggest issue at the time: the game wasn't easy to understand or to play. We needed more information for the players, more feedback and adapt our map to the players’ reflexes. One thing we remember, is from the DreamHack Tours 2019. A few seconds after they spawned on the island of the map, almost all of the players were going on the right, directly into a "wall" (e.g. the border of the island). So, since players wanted to rush to the right, we decided to allow them to go there. We expanded the walkable land and made it possible for players to walk through that side of the island into the rest of the map. Our learning experience? Players will make your game evolve, one way or the other. Sometimes, players do things they don't even know why but it seems natural to them so you gotta give them some space to do so. And that’s what we are trying to do.

Q: How do you deal with negative feedback about your game?

Well, it depends of the negative feedback from the players. We’ve got some negative feedback with a good insight that can help us improve our game, which we are ready to do 100% of the time, and some negative feedback that brings nothing new to the equation. Like, okay we get it, you think our game is trash or you think you can do all of animations in less than a day, but it doesn’t bring anything new to us, it’s just noise. While developing your game, you need to be able to separate noise from insightful feedback. One thing we got, related to what we said before during our tests in 2019, is that players didn’t understand what to do in Naïca. They didn’t know who to talk to, what they needed to do, which items to interact with, etc... So, this is an interesting feedback. Ok, you’ve got zero idea about what to do in our game, let’s fix that together. And that’s when we brought in icons above character’s head and lootable items. If you’ve got a quest in which you need to gather items, the said items will have a Bag icon just above themselves. Now, you do know what to do and you’re not lost anymore. We know we still have more room to improve a lot of other things, but we are confident in our capacities to do so! And that’s why we are counting on you for November 10, the release of our open Beta!



Q: When was the defining moment that made you decide to become a developer?


[This question was answered by Lead Dev, Justin.]

Making games is hard and takes a lot of dedication, concentration and effort from the developers. Things might not always go as fast as you had hoped or as well as you had planned. So it's not that hard to lose motivation. Everyone has to find their own way to work around that but for me what works best is going outside and visiting inspiring places (cities, museums, awesome buildings, forests, etc ) not per se for direct inspiration but just for the mood and feeling that they can give you. And of course playing some video games. Although that last one can also work demotivating at times, especially when things are feeling as if they are going in the wrong direction. Playing video games can rekindle your fire and remind you what you love about the medium and spark new motivation and ideas to propel you forward.

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