This is why we’ve created The Dual Universe Community Spotlight! Our intention is to interview our most interesting and influential players and share their insight with the Dual Universe Community. We hope that you look forward to hearing their stories as much as we do!
This time, we’re chatting with Yamamushi.
Novaquark: To start things off, could you briefly introduce yourself?
Yamamushi: Hi, I'm Yamamushi! I've been involved with the Dual Universe community for many years now in many ways, but most people will know me from putting together the Dual Universe Discord. Some might call me Dual Universe's biggest fan, but I just see myself as someone who wants to grow the community and continue building a place where people can always feel comfortable and welcome.
Novaquark: How and when did you discover Dual Universe? What was it that brought you into the community?
Yamamushi: I discovered Dual Universe during E3 of 2016. I've been an avid MMO gamer since Ultima Online and Everquest, what some might call the golden era of MMO's. What drew me into those games was being able to explore new places and feel that sense of awe and wonder together with others around the world.
Over the years I felt I had seen a reverse trend in MMO's focusing on players actually interacting with one another, something people might call the "theme park" era of MMO's. Aside from the obvious outliers in the genre, for the most part, I had been looking for a true sandbox multiplayer game to fill the niche that others had left wide open. Games like DayZ, Minecraft, and EVE Online all had pieces of the puzzle, but I was still left wanting something on a much larger scale that could bring the parts I loved about all of them together. So when I first saw the Dual Universe trailer that was presented at E3 2016, within the first 15 seconds I knew I was watching something special. By the end of that video, I knew I had to get involved in any way I could as soon as possible, and the rest is history.
Novaquark: It certainly sounds like that video made an impression with people.
Yamamushi: I think the timing of the release was serendipitous when put up against the frame of other games that were canceled around the same time, and others that either hadn't been released yet or had been released and weren't offering the emergent gameplay experience that Dual Universe was focused on.
Novaquark: Since becoming a fan of Dual Universe and playing it so extensively, what is it that you find so enticing about it?
Yamamushi: At the moment, it's being able to be part and shape a game's future from so early in its development. Novaquark has been more open and engaging than almost any other company out there, and from the beginning, they've been engaging with their fans in a way that was much more transparent than I've seen anyone else willing to be. It's a common sentiment that what was impressive is that Novaquark was willing to say "No, won't/can't do that" from very early on, as opposed to promising everything at risk of underdelivering.
As for the long term... In other games when I visit a massive city or fly around a giant space station, I have to rely on the game's lore to think about the history of those places. The actual work involved in what it would take to make those places is glossed over, and you just have to rely on your imagination to think about it. In Dual Universe, when you come across a giant space station you have to consider all of the thousands of hours of player-work that went into it. Mining all of those resources, refining them, hauling them up to space, building those haulers, building those refineries, it really can be mind-boggling to really think about the real scale of any sufficiently large project. It's not going to be something that was just designed by an artist and dropped into the game, it will be a real project that will take real work to accomplish by the players. Most importantly, it will have a real history behind it.
Novaquark: Indeed, that's the whole point. A gigantic sandbox with minimal lore and backstory is what we aim for to let the players making history by their in-game actions. We provide the tools and players just take them and blow our minds! It's funny to see people accomplish things that we couldn't even imagine as developers and that our own tools are better mastered by our fans than by us!
Yamamushi: It's great to hear that players are using the tools beyond NQ's expectations in ways that you didn't even know were possible, it makes me even more excited to see what else we're going to be able to do in the future as new features are added. It's also a great reflection on the game itself, that even in an early stage of testing, we're able to do so much. It tells me that the underlying technology is sound.
Novaquark: It's groundbreaking. It's new, it's complex, and it has never been done before under such conditions. It's exciting!
What were your thoughts during the following of our Kickstarter campaign? Were you nervous or did you have any opinions while watching its progress?
Yamamushi: Everyone was nervous during Kickstarter, haha. On Discord every single day we were watching the amount rise and would cheer alongside each other when the number ticked upwards by any significant amount. We were worried it wouldn't get funded, and other games released around the same time stood a good chance of hurting the campaign. In many ways they also helped the campaign, as they left people wanting better games to play, but going through YouTube comments (which is never a good idea) was worrying to say the least.
For myself, I had to fly to PAX West in Seattle to actually see the game in person before Kickstarter so that I would feel confident in my pledge level. I had been burned in the past by games that were never released, or had lofty goals that seemed untenable, so I had to actually see that Dual Universe was real first. Though, when I actually saw the game running for the first time, I knew I was going to be going for the highest pledge level available regardless of what it was. I was that convinced by what I saw at PAX in 2016, that there was no doubt in my mind that I had made the right choice in finding a game to support wholeheartedly. Also, when I met JC in 2016 at PAX, he was so nice to my friend and I and he even knew who I was and was genuinely happy to meet a fan from the forums. That said a lot to me about how much NQ really respected their fans, even in those early days, and it was pivotal in driving my motivation to keep trying to build the community. It was such a sharp contrast to many gaming companies that are hesitant to engage with their fans so directly.
From the beginning, I've tried to keep myself from explicitly telling people to back the game, as I don't really like to tell others how to spend their own money (even to this day when somebody asks if they should back it, I tell them to look at the footage available and to decide for themselves if it's something they want to be part of). So it was extremely difficult keeping that neutrality in Discord during Kickstarter, when I really wanted to shout to everyone "just back it!!!". So, instead, we focused on just answering as many questions as we could about the game and keeping the hype train at its maximum speed. That actually seemed to work better, as people appreciated the honesty and really liked that NQ was willing to say "No" when asked about lofty features or things that just weren't tenable.
A lot of people also don't remember this, but Chris Roberts actually put out a newsletter supporting Dual Universe's Kickstarter campaign, and it resulted in a surge of support in the middle of the campaign (when most Kickstarter's are in their lull period and have trouble gaining pledges) that really helped drive the ball to the home plate, in my opinion. Many "space game" communities came together to make it happen, and it says a lot about what Dual Universe could offer in contrast to them, in that so many people wanted a game (or platform, as I like to call it) exactly like this and were convinced it could become a reality.
When the game was finally funded at the end of the campaign I was so excited and happy for NQ and for the fans, I even took my wife out to dinner to celebrate, but don't tell her that was the reason ;) - (just kidding, she's a backer too)
Novaquark: If people are interested in checking that out, we’ve published a post-mortem of our Kickstarter campaign. Now, about your own unique goals to achieve in-game, what are your personal plans for the future?
Yamamushi: One of the most appealing things to me about Dual Universe is that items take up physical space in the game, in that if we buy something from a market somewhere, we actually have to go fly out to that market to pick up those items, or pay someone to fly them to us. I see myself being part of that section of the economy, as a space trucker. I really like having downtime between locations ferrying cargo for players, something I've done in other games, and the scale of Dual Universe lets me hope that I'll be able to roleplay that opportunity in ways that no other game has let me do before. Which is a bit ironic, as I absolutely hate getting behind the wheel in the real world.
Perhaps one day I'll even run my own UPS delivery service empire in the game :)
Novaquark: You mentioned earlier in our interview that people call you "the biggest fan" of the game. Would you agree with that title?
Yamamushi: Well, if I added up all the miles I've flown around to meet NQ at various events (Gamescom, PAX, GDC, etc), I've flown around the world at least once haha. So I do think I've gone an extra mile (no pun intended) that I've not seen anyone else do. I have become somewhat of a recognized face at NQ events both by the devs and by fans, and it's an honor to be regarded as a big fan, if not the biggest. Though, the community is still growing, and who knows if someone will claim that title from me in the coming years. I really look forward to seeing what the fans do outside of the game (aside from all the awesome stuff they've already done!). One day soon I definitely won't be the only one flying around the world for Dual Universe :)
EVE Online has a famous player that goes by the name of Chribba, he's known as the "Most honest man in Eve", which is remarkable in a game where scamming and underhandedness run rampant. He's written so many tools that players rely on, and if someone needs a trusted middle man to act as an escrow for an expensive trade, he's the one you go to. That's exactly what I want to be in the Dual Universe community as well, someone who is trusted and can be relied upon in a variety of situations. Of course, one has to earn that trust, and I don't think you can call yourself the biggest fan without trying to be trustworthy and providing help to anyone who needs it, to say the least.
Novaquark: It’s pretty clear that you’re highly invested in the community. Could you detail your motivations? We know that you created the Discord (it even became the official one), etc. and you’ve already contributed so much to the community. What is it that inspires you to continue?
Yamamushi: I really want to see Dual Universe succeed, it's a "Dream Game" for I and many others, and I know a game like Dual Universe can't succeed without a good community behind it. As far as Discord goes, I wanted to have a place where anyone could feel comfortable talking about the game regardless of any organization affiliations, and to that end, we tried to make it as fun of a place to be as possible.
I'm a bit of a renaissance man with my hobbies, and I think it's fun to be able to apply my skills in all sorts of ways to do things for the community. It's also great when I can practice my professional skills or learn something I need to use for my own work and have fun while doing it.
Because of Dual Universe, I've flown all over the world and have been motivated to go places I otherwise never would have really thought about going before. Such as when I took a last minute flight to Cologne just to attend the NQ dinner at Gamescom or flew to Montreal for a weekend to attend the NQ presentation there earlier this year, those were both really fun trips. I'm thankful that my professional life affords me the ability to do those kinds of things.
I've also made a lot of friends through Dual Universe, which is probably the best thing to come out of it all :) Plus it also feels nice to feel like you're part of something big ;)
Novaquark: That is the spirit we want this community to have. It's about having fun with the biggest online sandbox possible. On-boarding new players and welcoming them is very important and you play a large part in that alongside the volunteer moderation staff. Thank you!
Do you have any advice to give to players, both new or veteran? Any pro-tips? What would you like to tell them?
Yamamushi: For new players, join the Dual Universe Discord and don't be afraid to ask questions. I've been told the Dual Universe community is a lot more welcoming and friendly to new players than many other games out there, and I tend to agree. We try our hardest to make it as welcoming of a place to be. There are always countless people always ready there to help new players get into the game, and no question is ever too simple. Dual Universe has many layers of difficulty to it, and having people to talk to makes it a whole lot easier to get into the game. It's also a social game, in many ways, and joining the community is a great way to get introduced.
For veterans, keep helping new players like you do! For every person you help, they can spread that knowledge to others, and it really helps.
Novaquark: Where can people reach you?
Yamamushi: I can be reached anytime on discord @yamamushi#0001 , or you can find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/duexplorers.
Thanks to Yamamushi for taking the time to answer our questions! We hope that you enjoyed our conversation as much as we did. In the future, we’ll be reaching out to more players on a host of topics, introducing you to them, and sharing their amazing achievements with our incredible community. If there is someone you feel should be in the spotlight, please let us know!
Previous interviews of our awesome community members are available here: https://www.dualthegame.com/en/news/category/community-spotlight/