Ninja Loot Games

We sat with Bryan and Jessie from Ninja Loot Games to talk about their latest MMORPG: Defend the Night.

I am just amazed right now. A game of this scale is quite ambitious, but you and your crew seem to be in control. The game looks far from finished, but going through the devlogs, the improvements are quite impressive. Building an MMORPG of this scale is quite a daunting task. What made you take it up?

Bryan - Well, I think most gamers probably have an idea bouncing around in the back of their mind about their perfect game, or at least a game that they’d love to play but doesn’t exist. I’ve been an MMORPG fan since the early days of Everquest, and this has always been my dream project. So if I’m going to spend the time and effort to make a game, it should be the one that I’m the most passionate about. The goal isn’t to crank out the easiest product that can make a few bucks; it’s to make the game that we want to play. Sure, it’s ambitious, difficult, even disheartening at times, but I love this genre, and I can always find the motivation to get back to coding that next exciting feature.

Jessie- In the beginning, Defend the Night was going to be a tower defense game. After months of planning out the logistics, design, and systems we thought it was best to move it from tower defense to an MMORPG because that is where both Bryan and I find the most enjoyment. Some of the things in life that are hard are usually the most rewarding; I feel that sediment rings true while developing “Defend the Night”.

Bryan- Yea, and just to expand on the tower defense, we had this idea of a persistent hub, instanced battle kind of game centered around tower defense mechanics. It was still going to have RPG elements and progression, but it was certainly a smaller scope than a typical MMORPG. Once those core systems were in place and it became clearer that Unity could actually handle the additions we would need to go for the full MMO, we decided to go for it.

The environment is very detailed in most of the places showcased in the devlogs. The game is being developed on Unity3D. A lot of people relate Unity with "graphically-retarded" games. But, it seems that Unity is taking back the reputation it deserves especially showing all these high-end tech demos. What do you think?

Jessie- I really don’t feel that Unity ever was worse off graphically. You can do amazing things with the engine and it's improving every day. For newer developers out there, it’s a great tool and there is such a knowledge base out there that you could be designing a test game in literally weeks with no prior knowledge and little programming experience.

Bryan - Yea, I think there’s this perception that Unity is only for platformers or small 2D games, and that’s not true. Starting maybe around Unity 5, there were dramatic improvements that started to allow for more complex, high visual 3D games to be created through just the core engine. Take a look at their recent showcases and Unite Conferences lately and you’ll be amazed. And like Jessie mentioned, their learning resources and knowledge base are great.

The multiplayer is actually amazing. I'd love to play Defend the Night with my friends. How do you suppose to implement or execute this multiplayer for gamers to keep coming?

Bryan- Thanks, it’s still a major work in progress but we’re pleased with the early multiplayer testing. Our goal is to create a sandbox with many progression options. So whether you prefer open world exploration and grinding, questing, PvP, or even some of the instanced events we’re planning, we want players to choose how they level and advance their characters. Whether you play solo or with a group, these options will be available to you.

The particle animation on most characters looks really good. Any suggestions for developers struggling with particle animations? Bryan- I’m a programmer, not an artist, and we’re a small team without a dedicated VFX artist at the moment, so I’ll tackle this one from that perspective. I try to learn just enough to be able to modify and tweak effects for our purposes. There are some very talented artists contributing to the Asset Store, and even some pre-built Unity effects that are quite good, so I’d say start there. Learn how the system works, take some of the Unity tutorials, and play around with some assets that fit your game’s style. Pull out the pieces you like, tweak the timings and materials, and make them work for you. Get comfortable with some of those assets, and you can build your own from scratch later instead of getting hung up on becoming a VFX expert during early development.

Jessie- Without getting too technical here, I would just have to suggest that drive and persistence will take you everywhere you want to go. Even though sometimes it seems the only place it’s leading you is into a wall. Much of the time we are just like so many others, surfing the internet for tutorials and Blender3d or Maya tips and hints.

Devlog 12 thoroughly impressed me. The adventure camera is so much better. It reminded me of Skyrim. And the animations seem to be fluid. Do you feel like this is the way most players are going to play the game?

Bryan- I think it will depend on the player. While it probably provides a more appealing visual, it makes it more difficult to keep track of surroundings. We just want to give players the option, and if they find the adventure cam more fun or immersive, provide the ability to quickly transition between the various camera rigs.

Jessie- Although I like the aesthetics of this adventure camera, it will never be used widely because it limits your field of view and hinders your situational awareness. Those that love feeling immersed in their game will probably use it but if you are a player that needs to utilize every angle you will never use it.

The character creation sequence was the best, with animations for each character. It is so diverse and each character has its own perks. I felt like the characters were the same clichéd characters but with a twist. And, I also noticed some features that you see in legacy MMOs. Can you share with us the process of creating these characters? Jessie- Defend the Night should feel familiar to classic MMORPG but with a new twist. With aesthetics, mechanics, user interface and graphics that will be attractive to a younger generation. Ninja Loot Games loves the MMORPG genre, and what better way to bring it forward than to be attractive to the older and younger gamer. I, for one, want to be able to play this game with my children.

Bryan- We love classic MMOs, and the goal is to blend some of those classic design elements with modern gameplay and aesthetics. You’ll see some familiar RPG classes, but we want to allow each class and build to bring something unique to the table.

For our readers, can you briefly tell them what your game is?

Bryan- Defend the Night is a modern, dark fantasy MMORPG with unique leveling systems, player-run cities, and exciting, event-driven gameplay.

Jessie- Most of our mechanics has a foundation in classic MMORPG’s but we’ll have a lot of new mechanics that will speed up gameplay. In regards to constitution and mana regeneration, a player could be more active and mobile while playing Defend the Night. The decision is entirely up to their style of gameplay.

Bryan- The game is currently in development and soon to enter Alpha testing. We also just pushed a huge update to the website with a teaser trailer, and you can follow along with development at and join our growing community on Discord.

Thank you for sitting with us, and chatting about your game. If you haven't checked out the game yet, do check it out. Once again, thank you for cooperating with us.