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Life is Feudal MMORPG – Interview With Vladimir Piskunov


I first contacted Bitbox's CEO Vladimir Piskunov about Life is Feudal about three years ago. At that time, the Russian indie studio was aiming very high - they wanted to deliver a huge sandbox MMORPG with terraforming and a particular focus on crafting (including animal breeding and farming) and building construction.

However, the MMO map was just too big - 118 square miles (or 306 square kilometers, if you prefer) big, which they recently reminded us. As a result, the studio decided to first release a trimmed down version of the game, Life is Feudal: Your Own, with just one square of the 49 on the full map and a server cap of 64 players instead of 10K.

It went rather well for them, as Your Own managed to fund the development of the true version of Life is Feudal. We are now approaching the closed beta of the MMORPG, at long last, so I reached out to Vladimir again in order to get more details. Enjoy!

  • You said that the CBT for the MMO is coming up in March, right? Do you intend to invite random testers and host giveaways, or just the owners of Your Own?
  • The first wave is supposed to let only our original Alpha testers in (those who participated in Alpha tests back in 2014). Probably in a week or two we will let all existing Life is Feudal: Your Own owners, then we will let in all others who want to participate probably on a donation basis.
  • So you're not planning any beta giveaways?
  • Probably not, at least not on early testing stages. But I don't want to make any conclusions in stone. If we will see spare resources and need for additional testers - we might start some kind of giveaways - why not?
  • Makes sense. Do you have an approximate idea of how much the beta is going to last, or will that depend on player feedback and your findings during the test?
  • Yes, indeed. That will depend on beta test performance, user feedback and many other factors. I won't even try to predict when the beta will be over and release will happen.
  • So the release of Life is Feudal MMORPG might not necessarily be within this year, correct?
  • That's right.
  • Okay. Onto the game itself, some people on Reddit & the forums have expressed worry that Your Own already suffers from lag and this could become even worse with the much bigger MMO world and player count - is there something you're doing to specifically address this potential issue?
  • We're always optimizing our game and lag issues are not that huge now. Mostly it is so called "morning lag", when a lot of trees and crops are actually growing. I'm quite sure we will be able to combat it before MMO tests will start.
  • How many players do you think could be in the same "square" without too much lag?
  • About 200, probably. We'll have one EU server and one US server and we can always add more if needed.
  • Sounds good. Speaking of combat, I know that you used some motion capture to improve the animations. Do you plan to make further improvements in the MMO version of the game, to make combat smoother and more satisfying?
  • Yes, we're constantly improving combat system, balance and smoothness and plan to keep on doing that.
  • Do you intend to add some PvE elements to Life is Feudal MMO at some point? I know your game doesn't have traditional mobs, but maybe something like hostile human NPC invaders to shake things up once in a while.
  • We plan to add some pygmy like native residents in our world. They will dwell mostly in subterranean caves and tunnels and some of them will have some primitive villages on the surface. I doubt that they will ever raid someone, but these villages can be good PvE spots.
  • Okay, so players will raid these villages/caves to get resources from them I assume?
  • Yes, something like that.
  • I was wondering if Life is Feudal MMORPG will have a proper sailing system with ship combat and the likes, is that something you have implemented yet?
  • We have it in plans, but only after we stabilize and balance MMO version.
  • I know that a few months ago you added DX11 support to the game. With DX12 potentially offering performance benefits especially on the CPU side, is that something you're looking at in order to improve performance during sieges and the likes?
  • There are no plans for DX12 at the moment as we have plenty of room for optimizations of our own code, before we will need DX12 optimizations. DX9->DX11 migration allowed us to use compute shaders feature and that provided access to a lot of postFX effects and optimizations. As far as I know DX12 won't provide a significant boost in our case, since we are mostly GPU bottlenecked, though it is obviously interesting and someday we will migrate to it too.
  • With more MMO games being ported over consoles every year, is that something you're considering for the future to port Life is Feudal to PlayStation 4 and/or Xbox One?
  • Highly doubt that. Our MMO is definitely not for major console auditory. We will consider Steam Machines sometime later, when and if they will achieve some market success.
  • I understand. What about controller support? Is it something that might happen?
  • Yes, that is quite possible. I even heard that some of our players managed to partially use it, though the keyboard was still necessary in some cases.
  • Thank you for your time.