Monday, 22 November 2010

Studio Insider - Flesh Raiders

And again I'm a few days late. It's starting to become a habit. In part that's because this Friday was pretty much just a Fan Friday and I don't find those to be that interesting (still good to have them, but I'm allowed to not find them interesting).

The other part of it is that last week my NCsoft (i.e. Guild Wars) account got "permanently blocked". Apparently some unauthorized person accessed my account and NCsoft decided to block it to prevent "further damage". Which, in turn, had me fretting for a few days what damage might be done while I was trying to sort things out and get access to my account again. (Turns out no damage whatsoever from what I can tell). Anyway.

So, Fan Friday. It seems that they decided to split the "Developer Corner" out of the Fan Friday and give it its own thing, called "Studio Insider". Though I think I'll continue to list those under "fan" still for now (after all I pretty much added that label purely for the developer corner section).

The Fan Friday has the usual with community images, fan fiction, and Halloween costumes (ok, so that's not that usual). They also add a bunch of new wallpapers from the Timeline videos:

There's also a bunch of new Star Wars smilies, really making me think "way too much". Pretty soon people will be able to make posts entirely in pictograms and still make sense. I'm sure we can already pretty much tell the entire Star Wars saga in "C3PO talks to the Ewoks"-style (just replacing sounds with images).

There's also a bunch of new forum avatars based on characters in the Biography section of the HoloNet. Which, in my opinion, is missing the whole point of avatars a little bit as aren't they supposed to represent the player? In the same way that we know we won't be able to play General Garza it doesn't make sense to use the character as a forum avatar. But then, what do I know... people'll do whatever.

As usual the more interesting part of the Fan Friday is the ex-Developer Corner, now-Studio Insider where this time they have a step-by-step breakdown of the concept art generation for the Flesh Raiders. Here's an excerpt:
At this point I was not exactly sure how far we wanted to stray from the original design, so in terms of the head and protrusions on the body I threw out some different ideas on what could be done. I tried not to spend too much time on the base, but wanted to give enough detail so there was a clear idea of what I have in mind. I even threw in a crazy wacky one to see if the team wanted something completely that deviated from the current Flesh Raider model.

Of course they go for the crazy one! I have not added any armor yet, so naturally this model has the most striking silhouette.
But the breakdown wasn't all. They also added a short Q&A. Continue reading after the break for a sample answer from the Q&A as well as a number of developer quotes and some help for those of you with children.

Here's one question and answer from the Studio Insider:
Q: Can I turn my helmet on/off?

A: Helmets will be on a toggle so you can show or not as you like. The cinematic team has an additional override control they can use to turn it off in conversation (in case you like to keep your Trooper helmet on with the awesome voice processing). That way they can override it occasionally to keep you from wearing your helmet during your romantic kiss scene (bonk!).
Read the rest of the questions, as well as the full concept art step-by-step, at the official website.

On a completely different and unrelated note... For those of you with children here's a very useful video that might help you have "the talk" with your kids:

I've had an SWTOR interview (with the new community manager IIRC) as well, but I've got the link at home so that'll have to come later.

Finally there's a bunch of developer quotes from the last week or so.

First there's Georg Zoeller on timers in group and solo conversations:
In a group conversation, there is a short timer that ticks down as every group member makes their choice. The conversation moves forward when the timer runs out or everyone has made their choice, whichever happens first.

In a solo conversation, there is no time pressure. We may ship with some kind of limiter (e.g. when you go AFK, we may cancel the conversation), but reasonably you should have the time to deal with a short external interruption while the system waits for you.
Then there is Damion Schubert on rewards and failures in crafting:
Missions have... highly variable rewards. We're still defining exactly what that means in terms of balance, but that's a key part of the difference between missions and crafting - no gathering lots of rare resources, but no certainty either. The most extreme examples you can think of, while fun to contemplate (i.e. companions getting captured and requiring rescue), are at least not in v 1.0 of the system.

Crafting will not have out-and-out critical crafting failures. It really sucks, from a social point of view, to give someone all your crafting resources and have them all be destroyed by a bad roll, and really makes it hard for up-and-coming crafters to get any business at all.
Then Damoin Schubert again on death and defeat:
We intentionally keep it vague. You don't 'die'. You 'are defeated'. Other group members can revive you, but only out of combat. If no one is around, you wake up at a med center near town. Some classes can revive you in combat.

Explicitly calling it death is hard to reconcile with the fiction. On the flip side, saying that all the bad guys just knock you unconscious makes them seem seem a lot more trivial. And doing a classic 'you go unconscious unless someone lands a deathblow' in other PVP games brings back the whole 'rezzing isn't realistic' issue, and just moves it after the deathblow. Ultimately, we did what worked best with the flow of the game we wanted to make.

That being said, no matter what we name it, people will probably say 'I died' if you ask them what happened to them.
Damoin Schubert has another quick post about starship hangers (and whether everyone will have the same one):
On most planets, there are hangars for each class, with an elevator leading to each one. The phase door is at the elevator entrance, meaning there might be a stream of other troopers heading to your elevator, but your hangar is your own.
Daniel Erickson answers some concerns about implants and cybernetics:
Hey folks,

Just to clear up any confusion. Implants in SWTOR, much like in KOTOR, are not visible and can be changed out. They are a way to give more loot and stat options to characters without covering them in random art pieces. Except for the flavor name given to them, they function the same as rings or amulets might in a fantasy game.

They are not the same as the visible cybernetics you're occasionally seeing on player characters. Being a cyborg is different and a very specific choice that, as posters have pointed out, is not undertaken lightly nor commonly done in the SW universe.

Hope that helps!

And finally Damion Schubert answers some crafting questions:

To confirm, your character/crew has three skills total, of which only one of them can be a crafting skill. Your companions can only use one of those three skills. Thus, if your character has the Armormech crew skills, your companions can only craft Armormech items (i.e. mostly armor). That being said, you can have up to five companions all crafting armor simultaneously, assuming you have the resources and space to do so.

I've been playing a build all week, and I know it's tooting our own horn a bit, but its quite awesome. Checking up on crafting is a great 'downtime' activity to do, say, while you're resting, waiting on a groupmate to do one of his quests or while travelling. And the harvesting is wicked fun. Ordering your companion to gather something while you're fighting has just an awesome feel of "I got this".

To answer another question I've seen elsewhere, no, companions will not be crafting lightsabers. Happy Friday, everyone!
I know that that last bit is something that I've been concerned about, so the answer is good to know. Though it still doesn't say whether we upgrade our lightsabers by picking up random drops or whether there's some upgrade system (akin to the one in KotOR). Ideally I'd get my lightsaber through a story event (which seems to be how it happens) and then continue using that one lightsaber, just upgrading it to remain usable. But I'm hopeful that that's exactly how it works (also offering the option to pick up random drops, as that seems to already be in the game too).

Anyway, that's all the quotes for now and all the news for now.

No comments: