Interview: Perpetuum Online

Here and there RPS folks have been asking about Perpetuum Online, the Hungarian robo-MMO that is currently in closed beta. No doubt by now a few of you have made it onto that beta, too. I’ve been on there for a while, and I’ve been intrigued by what I’ve found: a constantly evolving sandbox MMO that is more reminiscent of Eve that anything else, and with an art-style and world design that is refreshingly atmospheric. To find out a little more I took some time to chat to Szelei Kis Gergely, from Avatar Creations, about his company’s aims for this independent MMO project. His responses, as well my time with the game itself, leave me feeling quietly excited for its prospects…

RPS: Hello! Can you tell us a bit about who you guys are and how you came to be developing Perpetuum?

Gergely: Our development team is really small, about ten people. We have four programmers (two on client and two on server side), two graphics artists, a writer, a balance/game mechanic guy, a musician and a few people closely helping out with content and balance. The guys who started the development have a Demoscene background, that’s how we met. The rest of the team came from friends and family, and after we went into the first beta stage some of the players became an integral part of the development. Aside from one of our graphics artists, none of us have worked in the game industry before, but we have a passion for playing and making games, especially Perpetuum. Over the years we got used to working together and we feel the team is really solid.

RPS: So it’s an MMO with robots, but it’s not your typical MMO – can you explain our readers a bit about what players get up to in Perpetuum?

Gergely: Perpetuum is what you call a persistent sandbox MMO. Unlike in games like WoW, in Perpetuum you can permanently change the world you play in. If a mineral field is depleted it is depleted for everyone. If you build a structure, everyone who walks that way will see it. We pretty much modeled the real world in this aspect. Of course like any world, ours has its own rules too, but we’re designing these so our players will have a wide variety of options to change the environment they play in.

RPS: The game is in a closed beta at the moment, and seems to be coming along rather well, but what are your plans for the future? Will we see an open beta soon? Do you have any ideas about the release date?

We’re currently working very hard to get an open beta out. As a pretext for this we’re constantly letting in a lot of the guys who have been waiting to be accepted for the beta. We’d like to open up the servers sometime during the summer. As for the release date – let’s just say we’re aiming for this year.

RPS: I have to ask about the similarities to Eve Online – how much of an influence has CCP’s game been on Perpetuum?

Gergely: Ah, the usual question. To the surprise of many people, the Perpetuum dev team is mostly quite unfamiliar with EVE. The vision of the two games is very similar though – a complex, persistent, sandbox world based on the real one – and this is where the similarities come from. There are a list of “must have” features for a game like Perpetuum where we want the players to do everything themselves – features like material gathering, production, market, a guild system, etc. Without these features either game would be incomplete, and the fact that both have them means that there are some aspects that are similar. But if you look at the setting you can’t really compare the games at all.

RPS: Perpetuum is going to be single-shared game, as I understand it. Is that going to create any problems for you? How do you handle large numbers of players in one place?

Gergely: Yes, Perpetuum is aimed to be a single-sharded game. We feel that the proper way of doing a persistent sandbox game is this route. We’ve of course designed the whole system towards this goal. Our world is made up of islands, any of which can run on a separate machine. We don’t expect problems with the player counts we have in mind.

RPS: Can you tell us a bit about the larger PvP game? Will player alliances be battling for control of territory? What will the value of owning territory be?

Gergely: Large scale PvP is one of the things we’re very much looking forward to. The point of owning territory will be the resources found on that land: be it materials, fertile ground, high end NPC-s, there will be lots of things players will want to get to and from where they will want to keep other players out. To this end you’ll be able to build settlements with complex infrastructures, and even terraform the land around them. In Perpetuum you literally will be able to move mountains. Think trench warfare and mix it with RTS style settlement building.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

Jim’s note: RPS is so invading this game en masse when the beta opens up.


  1. pupsikaso says:

    “To the surprise of many people, the Perpetuum dev team is mostly quite unfamiliar with EVE.”

    LOL! Come on! The game borders on PLAGIARISM. Own up!

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Plagiarism? That’s a bit of a far stretch..
      It seems to be similar, I’ll grant you that. But Eve doesn’t have ground mech combat yet..

    • Kelron says:

      I can accept that the gameplay concepts were developed independently from EVE, there’s been other MMOs with similar ideas. But it’s really hard to believe when you see screenshots of the UI:

      link to

      The hangar view, the layout and much of the terminology are all incredibly similar to EVE. Interestingly all these screenshots have now been removed from the site, and this is the only one I could find with a quick google. So maybe they’ve changed it, or maybe they’re trying to hide the evidence.

    • Jakkar says:

      I imagine one of the graphical artists may be to blame. I wouldn’t hold the similarities against the team – a similar concept independently conceived could inspire an unscrupulous artist to pay a hardcore homage. They said ‘most’ of the team are unfamiliar.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      I has changed, that’s you don’t find those screenshots anymore.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      I meant: “It has changed, that’s why you don’t find those screenshots anymore”.

  2. Snall says:

    Pup, to be perfectly honest people do have similar ideas…even in more complex fields than gaming. Not to say they might not be lying, but it’s not anywhere near a certainty.

    • Tei says:

      True. Honestly, often some ideas are the “best” ones, and there are more than 2 guys searching the best one, so.. of course, find the same idea. Probably about a 50% of the idea are of this type.

      YES, we have all the other MMO games that are all clones of DikuMud (or whatever was called). Level-grinders. With style and substance that are a clone of Everquest 1.
      All the MMORPG can be unoriginal on his decissions, because is a acepted genre with these norms, and a genre that is not flexible at all. Theres only one way to play a dikumud game and is grinding levels: collecting more and more XP to level up.

      But EVE was original on his decissions, and is not a genre. The cloning of EVE to make Perpetuum is very detailed, down the graphics details, so even a screenshot looks similar.

      The guys of Perpetuum could have made his game in a totally different style, but choosed to make a game like EVE. Even the game mechanics are a clone. Even the “offline leveling”.

      If *I* start creating a MMORPG about submarines inspired in EVE, I can tell you that the game will work and play nothing like EVE, because I will make my own decissions and these decisions will result on a different game than EVE. To get something like Perpetuum, you have consciusly, to accept the decisions made of EVE, and clone these.

      I don’t think this need to be bad for EVE or CCP. Maybe this will make the cake of MMO-Simulator games bigger. Hee!.. CCP can always hire these guys, is a proven fact that can work with the ideas, have the expertise and the skill to build another EVE from scratch, so is obvious that can work in EVE :-)

    • pupsikaso says:

      I’m not talking about the game concept. Have you played Eve? And have you played Perpetuum? Have you seen how IDENTICAL the interface is? It’s VERY unlikely that two different minds simply came up with the same interface for two different games. And so when you combine that fact with the similarity in game concepts it becomes absurd when the developer claims that “Oh we don’t really know much about Eve”.

      Had they come out and said “Yeah, we LOVE Eve. And we think the Eve model is excellent for a game we want to make and so here we are taking all the good stuff from it and developing on it”, then I’d be ecstatic. But the way they are trying to hide it just makes me pissed off.

      If you haven’t played either Eve or Perpetuum, read the following threads for some screenshot comparisons and some videos.

      link to
      link to

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Dude, who cares how they want to play it. It’s certainly none of my business as gamer / beta tester to get angry at that or try to defend EvE (the guys at CCP are big boys, they can handle that if needed). What is my concern is how good the game is.

      There are some similarities with EvE and there are some major differences. Considering the UI it’s really a pragmatic issue imho. Dunno the proper english term but there’s a notion in ergonomy which is “it’s often more easy to the user to use a known interface instead of learning a new, even improved, one”.
      Therefore the whole skillbar shenanigans in most theme park these days.

      The point is in the differences, not the similarities, especially when those similarities are about a game as good as EvE. Similarities with EvE are good. And what makes a game a genre is its success, EvE being on the road to becoming one, it seems.

  3. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Does it play more like Mechwarrior/commander or EVE?

    (I want the first but I am not hopeful)

  4. Eggy says:

    from what I”ve been told of Eve, more in that vein. Still surprisingly compelling though.

  5. kedaha says:

    Whut? I was told some of the people behind this were hardcore old-eve players(BoB) for what its worth.

    I was told this before Perpetuum was even in Alpha stage, so I believe it.

  6. Jason says:

    Ya that bit about not being familiar with Eve is bullshit. It’s basically Eve with stompy robots. The UI is extremely similar, even the skin of the UI. They even use red crosses for enemy icons.

    Maybe they think CCP is going to sue them for their Eve cloneyness?

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      It’s doubtful. Just because it looks similar doesn’t mean anything. There are at least two MMOs I can think of off the top of my head (Rappelz and Allods) that are almost the spitting image of World of Warcraft, but obviously you have to go a little deeper into outright theft territory in order to be worth a lawsuit.

    • Kelron says:

      I don’t think the many MMOs similar to WoW would try and claim that they weren’t influenced by WoW. I’m not accusing Perpetuum of plagiarism, I’m not sure at what point similarity is considered plagiarism, but it seems like the developers are claiming ignorance and covering their backs in case CCP do try and sue.

    • Jason says:

      I played Eve for years. I’m in the Perpetuum beta. It’s not a coincidence.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      World of lordcraft, as well.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Hmmm, didn’t know world of lordcraft, but searching for it I stumbled upon this:

      link to

      My god, RPS, your kingdom is doomed.

  7. Inverness says:

    I personally don’t think it’s too hard to believe that the GUI in EVE and this game might end up similar if both games had similar functional needs in a GUI. There are only so many GUI configurations you can use to achieve the same effect.

  8. Dass_Jennir says:

    This game looks pretty damn good. I don’t care if i did rip off eve because i loved eve.

  9. Dawngreeter says:

    This game is EVE with mechs. Now, I don’t mind that one bit and, were I not already lacking the spare time to play EVE as much as I’d like to, I’d certainly check out Perpetuum for a month or two. It seems nice and I don’t mind them using a proven formula while adding their own unique twist to it.

    But I can’t for the life of me figure out why they’d be denying it.

    • Dass_Jennir says:

      Maybe they don’t want to be known as eve with mechs.

      On an unrelated note has anyone seen this site.
      link to

      It seems to be stealing your connnet.

    • geldonyetich says:

      > Maybe they don’t want to be known as eve with mechs.

      If so, rather odd that they did everything in their power to be EVE with mechs. It’s 99.95% EVE Online, 0.05% Mechwarrior. I might have been a bit overly generous on the Mechwarrior scale.

  10. Jim Rossignol says:

    In truth, complaining that a game is probably like Eve is kind of looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Amen, I was looking for a polite way to say this :D

      What about a RPS corp ingame while still in closed beta ? Don’t know how many testers we have around already but it could be enough to start something ?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Doable. I’ll look into it.

    • sasayan says:

      I’ve made it in and would be up for some RPS camaraderie.

    • teo says:

      Maybe so, but it’s ridiculous that they obviously lifting large portions of very specific game mechanics AND the UI straight from EVE and then flat out deny it.

      There’s a precedent for fantasy mechanics that doesn’t have an equivalent in Sci-Fi. Different Sci-Fi games usually do things differently from one another but Perpetuum just happens to have all the same stats and mechanics as EVE. Of course you’ll have “shields” and “armor” but “tracking speed” and “sensor strength”?

      I mean, their icon for the “CPU” stat looks EXACTLY like the EVE one, same shape, same colour and it doesn’t even look like a CPU! Wonder where they got that from eh? The “undock” button is the same, the hangar view is the same and on and on.

      The fact that they’re denying all this is just ridiculous.

  11. Flimgoblin says:

    *flashbacks to text-based Mechwarrior MUXes*

    Ooh I’m totally in on that invasion.

  12. Trin says:

    Did they honestly claim to be mostly unfamiliar with EVE? Isn’t that a little like the developers of LotRO claiming not to be familiar with World of Warcraft?

  13. dave says:

    Eve with mechs you say! I saw this ages ago and was convicned it was vapour ware, if they actually manage to release the bugger I’m so there!

  14. Quests says:

    The clone of an open-world(or sandbox) MMO will always be better than a clone of a narrow-minded themepark.

  15. Nefaroth says:

    On behalf of the pirate guild, YARR!

  16. Guildenstern says:

    Maybe they are just using same GUI toolkit?

  17. Hacked Dupe says:

    space is big and boring. so the main problem for any programmer is to make the time you spend there action packed and enjoyable. eve did a great job at not making the great void enjoyable, action consists of circling while your turn based combat plays out.
    i don’t care if they took the good ideas out of eve and made a good game (here’s for hoping). The concept is already better putting you on a free world with a directly controllable machine. having to use drop downs is a bad idea and my biggest complaint about the interface of eve (your not a pilot your a captain). not that i’m saying that i didn’t enjoy my brief 5 month eve time, but there are better things to do. like gouge my eyes out with a spork.

  18. Nallen says:

    Like everyone else I laughed out loud (thought I better type that out, seeing as lol now means ‘I recognise/denote this comment was intended to be mildly humorous’) when they denied the EVE link. I do wonder about combat in this, EVE uses choke points which focuses combat and allows traps, manoeuvring and generally zoom zoom zooming.

    The thing about planets is you don’t generally need to warp from one part to another, so isn’t it just fighting in ruddy big fields? is it single objective stuff like POS/Station camping? I’m sure I’ll try the beta but I don’t see what about this isn’t just a less polished version of a game I already played to death and quit.

  19. Sroek says:

    I’m in the closed beta and the game is Mech version of EVE. Literally, everything from character creation (portraits) to the UI to the combat system.