Friday, 30 September 2011

Interactive Galaxy Map

BioWare just released its Friday Update and this time it's an explorable galaxy map, showing all seventeen revealed planets. Here is the official news:

The Star Wars™ galaxy is massive and you will be able to visit numerous worlds during your travels in the The Old Republic™. To give you an early taste of what the experience will be, we’ve added a new feature to the website, allowing you to explore the Galaxy Map for yourself. You’ll get to see the five major sectors of the Known Galaxy, check out profiles of the planets, and even examine interactive models of the player Starships.

Access the new Galaxy Map page through the HoloNet!

To explore the galaxy in '3D' you need the Unity Web Player installed. But it's pretty neat, giving you details on the planets when you click on them and allowing you to look at the 3D models of the six player ships. Though at the time of this writing I haven't been able to get the planet videos to play (I just get black with a play button) and from the forums it seems I'm not the only one. Courtney Woods mentions on the forums that they just take some time to load. Very nice update overall.

Read on after the break for a Eurogamer Expo interview with Chris Collins that Darth Hater held and the weekly developer quotes.

As I said, during Eurogamer Expo fansite Darth Hater held an interview with Chris Collins. This interview popped up just moments after I made my post for last week's updates, so it just missed out. But it's a nice interview; here's an excerpt:

For people that missed your introduction, can you elaborate on your hiring, your position at BioWare, and your past experience?

Chris Collins: I am the European Community Manager, so I am based in BioWare Ireland. And over in the Ireland studio we are building a team of European community representatives. Some may already know Tony Marino, who works on the French boards. We just hired Lars Malcharek, and I am sure you met if you are on the forums for the German side of things. They are sort of building the teams to help support the local language players to make sure that they get everything that they need.

I worked in the games industry communities for the majority of my professional career. I started off at a company working on some major MMOs not long after I finished university, where I studied game development. I specialized in project management and sound foley because I am a bit of a musician at heart. I moved on from that company to a small company up in Scotland, where we released an MMO known as All Points Bulletin, and that went the way it did. I left that for a little while thinking maybe the games industry is going away. Because at heart I am also a gamer, I mean I am a major gamer, and for me it was something I wanted to do when I was a little kid.

I did not realize that Chris worked for Realtime Worlds before, but with him mentioning APB and with the photo Darth Hater posted I most definitely recognize him from the APB Podcasts now. I liked those podcasts and I'm glad that he found a new home so to speak.

Get more of Chris in the developer quotes...

Developer Quotes

  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on development cycle.
  • [link] to Charles Boyd on Republic Trooper interview.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Eurogamer Expo Meet-n-Greet.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on re-invites meaning.
  • [link] to Allison Berryman on Early Game Access.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Eurogamer Expo Meet-n-Greet, part 2.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on phising emails.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on launch beards.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on EU Testing.
  • [link] to Allison Berryman on Testing invites.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on EU servers location.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on DOTs.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Force Push.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Huttball.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on discussing mechanics.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Easy Mode.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on Consular ability.
  • [link] to Georg Zoeller on automatic transmission.
  • [link] to Daniel Erickson on male Companions.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Early Game Access.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Eurogamer Expo beta access.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Eurogamer Expo beta access, part 2.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on Eurogamer Expo beta access, part 3.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on number of Flashpoints.
  • [link] to Stephen Reid on no launch territories news.
  • [link] to Chris Collins on new (+eu) testing invites.
  • [link] to Allison Berryman on strange e-mail.
  • [link] to Allison Berryman on strange e-mail, part 2.
  • [link] to Allison Berryman on strange e-mail, part 3.

The first post I'll repeat here is not so much news, but something that's important to keep in mind. Stephen Reid warns about phising attempts and how to deal with them:

Hey all. First of all we take phishing attempts very seriously, and I'd appreciate it if you would (carefully, stripping out EXEs if they're included) forward any such emails to with 'Phishing attempt' called out in the subject line.

Obviously, the security of your PC is the most important thing, so don't take any 'unneccessary risks' to get us this information.

The usual caveats also apply: the only Game Testing invitation emails you're going to see from us will come and will direct you to (Yes, we do send marketing emails, but they are not invites.)

Always, always check the email header and the hyperlink before you click anything, and if you're ever unsure, don't click anything! Instead, go to, login and if you're able to get into testing, the client download link will be there.

Finally don't forget - we'll never ask for your username, email or password in an email. Don't let these phishers get your info!

I tend to get a fair number of e-mails supposedly from WoW (and other MMOs) trying to get my to give up my details. They range from trying to convince me that I won some ingame prize to telling me there are security issues that I need to resolve. In the end they all come down to the same thing: they want me to log in to this site they provide. Often this site will look almost exactly like the official site and they do everything they can to convince you that it is. But it's not.

In fact, I don't even play WoW (or any of the games they try and convince me they are) and in fact haven't played WoW with any of the e-mail addresses that they send me those e-mails on. They're just randomly sending message in the hope that someone bites so that they can get your account details, break into your game and steal all your stuff. In the worst case they might completely take over your account and even go after your credit card details.

So always be extremely careful with any emails you get like this. Best to never click on the links provided in the email, but instead type the main website in manually (it's easy, just S W T O R and press ctrl+enter). Everything you need should be available there and if it isn't then it's not BioWare why sent you the message.

With TOR getting ever closer to launch this is only going to get worse. The more popular the game becomes after launch (and it's looking like TOR might be incredibly popular) the harder they'll go after your details, the harder they'll try to trick you into giving those details to them. So always be very vigilant.

The next post is one by Chris Collins because... well, because I promised more Chris Collins above and this was the only post he made:

Today, we’re excited to announce that we are sending out a batch of invites! In particular, this initial batch marks the start of a series of invites to our larger European player base, who get the chance to join the Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Testing program and provide feedback during the months up until launch.

In other exciting news, we’ll be making further announcements in the coming days and weeks, as we update you on Game Testing on the European service. On top of that, we’ll also be announcing details around the upcoming Beta Testing Weekends!

With the launch drawing ever-closer, we’re more excited than ever to receive your feedback on the game to help make the launch as smooth as possible.

Yay, European Testing finally started. Good news for those lucky enough to get in.

Finally there was some confusion earlier this week over some survey e-mails that had been sent to members. While the survey is legitimate and does originate from EA/BioWare, the e-mails were sent in error as Allison Berryman explains:

Earlier today, two e-mails were sent to members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic community. These e-mails were sent to a larger group than intended, and have caused some confusion in the community. We can confirm that these e-mails were from EA and BioWare and apologize for any confusion they have caused. Please note that receiving these e-mails does not affect your chances to be invited to test the game. Thank you all for your understanding!

So if you got one of those e-mails then you know what's going on. Basically just ignore them; they don't have any effect one way or the other on your chances of being included for Testing.

And that was it. Though I'd be early for a change instead of late.

[link] to interview with Chris Collins at Darth Hater.

No comments: