Some options postponed for launch!

By Brian Lau on February 05, 2003 | News | 0

Haden Blackman, Producer, has posted on the SWG web site that a couple of of the promised options is not going to be accessible on the launch.  A few of these embrace Darkish Jedi, participant cities, and participant owned automobiles.  Learn on for all the record!!!!

As a lot of you who’ve been a part of our neighborhood because the outset most likely notice by now, our characteristic set record is lacking a couple of issues. As with every sport growth course of, we undergo fixed revisions on the design as a way to each tighten the sport by specializing in what seems to be essentially the most enjoyable, and put collectively a top quality sport that truly sees the sunshine of day. Nevertheless, as BoShek famous in a earlier publish, Star Wars Galaxies is a residing, rising sport. Whereas we now have modified some facets of the design and trimmed right here or there, basically we had been reluctant to completely kill a design characteristic, particularly if it had already been mentioned right here on the boards. However, we now have determined to postpone a couple of options till after launch. Right here, I need to attempt to clarify why these selections had been made.

Usually, our philosophy has all the time been that we wished a refined, steady product at launch. Quite than try to do the whole lot without delay and have all of it end up mediocre, we wished to deal with fewer options and do all of them very well (Quite than 20 species, we solely have 8, however every species is extremely customizable – much more so than you’d get if we had pushed for 20).

As we moved ahead and regularly revised our schedule, it grew to become obvious that the postponement of a number of vital methods would enable us to launch the sport someday in mid-April. Crucial of those methods had been:

-Participant Cities
-Participant-Owned Automobiles
-Participant-Generated Missions
-Darkish Jedi (okay, that is actually a “characteristic”, however nonetheless…)

At the moment, we additionally started work on our Dwell Group schedule, which supplies a plan for implementing the postponed methods inside the first seven or eight months after launch.

Postponement Standards

When evaluating the methods and options, we used the next standards to find out if a lower or postponement made sense (and we went by principally *each* system and have):

-We’d wished to chop or postpone total methods. Though we continued to trim property and small options from the sport, this “nickel and dime” method wasn’t really rising our effectivity. Typically, simply implementing a system’s core performance is 80% of the work, so trimming is barely helpful to some extent. It additionally does nothing to stop the crew from being unfold too skinny.

-We wished to postpone moderately than lower a system. Usually, we solely wished to push out methods that may nonetheless be built-in post-launch.

-Programs had been lower or postponed primarily based largely on the programming and scripting time required. On the time we made these selections, we had been forward of schedule on world growth and on schedule with artwork property. In distinction, programming and scripting assets had been overburdened. Significantly problematic had been the UI programming duties for every sport system.

-Reducing or suspending a system wanted to liberate crew members that would support us on extra important methods, or present us with crew member that might be used to shine the general sport (which incorporates creating “free time” for designers to playtest).

-If slicing or suspending a system resulted in further duties (to compensate for design dependencies), these duties wanted to fall to folks already forward of schedule (such because the world artists). Clearly, the variety of additions wanted to be cheap.

Participant Cities

What Are Participant Cities?

The unique design permits gamers to kind their very own cities. They’ll elect a mayor, construct municipal buildings (resembling starports), set up a handful of legal guidelines, create militias, and alter town structure as town grows.

Rationale for Postponement

This technique is extraordinarily labor intensive for programmers and scripters. It requires consideration from key folks that may be higher utilized on fine-tuning fight and different, extra speedy methods. Though it requires quite a lot of work, it’s one of many best methods so as to add post-launch, partially as a result of the patch required can be extraordinarily small (the entire artwork property are already accessible as a result of we’re constructing “fiction” cities that aren’t player-run). From a design standpoint, most gamers gained’t be instantly fascinated about or able to forming cities (or be capable to afford constructing homes); it’s actually certainly one of our mechanisms for retention after the primary few months of gameplay. And whereas cities are useful in creating participant communities, we now have different mechanisms for this already in place (participant associations, numerous chat channels, participant venues, and many others.). Suspending participant cities routinely reduces the precedence on some abilities and professions, additionally “permitting” us to postpone Politician. Suspending the associated abilities gained us a number of man-days of scripting time.

Lastly, it’s extraordinarily necessary to notice that suspending participant cities doesn’t postpone participant housing. Gamers will nonetheless be capable to personal and place buildings. What we’re actually suspending is an official mechanism for a bunch of participant homes to determine themselves as a metropolis and begin receiving advantages in consequence. There are various on the crew who consider that, given the power to position homes, gamers will nonetheless kind their very own “unofficial” cities with out our assist.

Taking part in Satan’s Advocate…

As famous, participant cities are certainly one of our retention mechanisms. They’re additionally necessary to serving to gamers create their very own sense of neighborhood on-line. Participant cities are revolutionary and can be a “new” system for MMO gamers. Participant cities additionally contribute to the expansion of the player-driven economic system.

Suspending participant cities has additionally created no small quantity of further work for our world builders. Cities are vital for gamers as a result of they comprise various important assets, resembling banks and cloning services. On Tatooine, we had already deliberate for a number of cities, however different worlds had been designed particularly as actual property for player-run cities. In consequence, we have wanted to construct further cities, which is time-consuming.

Last Evaluation

Suspending this technique supplied us with an enormous financial savings in programming time, however created a number of man-days of world constructing duties. Fortuitously, on the time world builders had been forward of schedule and fiction metropolis constructing was working easily, so we noticed the brand new world constructing duties as very low danger. To us, participant cities appear to be an necessary a part of the general design, however positively one thing we might add after launch.

Participant Automobiles

What Is the Participant Automobile System?

The system would enable gamers to personal, function, restore, and craft single-passenger automobiles, like landspeeders and speeder bikes. It does NOT embrace game-controlled automobiles, like public transports, that are nonetheless vital for launch.

Rationale for Postponement

Of all of the methods we thought of suspending, that is the one largest time sink. The essential management scheme for car motion is already established (by our the Area Enlargement prototype), however the system nonetheless wants quite a lot of work as a way to operate inside the sport. We have now to script restore and crafting abilities (since all objects decay, even automobiles should be maintained), create garages (as a result of we don’t need automobiles driving by cities), connect the participant to the car, script car use guidelines per planet, debug the management scheme, and add particular circumstances to the digital camera. Many of those duties fall to our scripters, with ample programming help required as nicely.

We had been snug suspending this technique due to its sturdy relationship to the Area Enlargement; the Automobiles System would really be a part of the early Area Enlargement work. In actual fact, one might argue that we don’t need to rush into any expertise or design selections as a way to notice floor automobiles till we’ve had an opportunity to higher consider the objectives and desires of the area enlargement.

As with Participant Cities, suspending Participant Automobiles permits us to reprioritize some abilities, releasing scripters. Lastly, from a design standpoint, automobiles might be costly, so gamers wouldn’t be capable to afford them instantly.

Taking part in Satan’s Advocate…

Tooling round in a landspeeder is a part of the Star Wars fantasy. As well as, our worlds are actually giant, and touring them on foot might be tiresome and harmful. The car system additionally provides one other department to our crafting professions, giving that system better depth.

Suspending participant automobiles did create some small quantity of labor for us as nicely. As a result of our worlds are so giant, gamers will want quick and environment friendly means for journey. We’ve all the time deliberate to incorporate public transports that routinely take gamers between numerous cities on a planet; nevertheless, with out player-owned automobiles, we would have liked so as to add a couple of extra hubs (giant cities) for one of these journey. Fortuitously, this addition synchs properly to the necessity for extra fictional cities as talked about above.

Lastly, it’s necessary to notice that we will’t have “mounts” (creatures that gamers can experience) with out a few of the core performance launched by the car system. Which means mounts are additionally postponed.

Last Evaluation

Suspending automobiles is essentially the most painful determination for nearly everybody on the crew. It isn’t one which we made frivolously, nor have we underestimated the impression that it will have on the general Star Wars expertise. Even the real dedication to incorporate the car system after launch doesn’t negate the lack of a key Star Wars component at launch. We additionally perceive that there might be an expectation for player-owned and operated automobiles, which is able to put great strain on the Dwell Group to ship.

With all that stated, the aid to programmer and scripter bandwidth is simply too nice to disregard. And, in the long term, we’re assured that the car system will profit from being postponed as a result of it is going to be in a position to leverage the work being executed on the area enlargement.

It is also necessary to notice that automobiles are certainly one of our high priorities. We need to get ground-based automobiles into the sport as quickly as doable (so, do not assume simply because they share some design and expertise issues that automobiles will not be in till near the Area Enlargement launch – we actually hope that is not the case).

Participant-Generated Missions

What Are Participant-Generated Missions?

The power to for gamers to create and publish missions by the mission system.

Rationale for Postponement

That is one space the place, maybe, our design was extra enjoyable on paper than it might have been within the sport. After we actually distilled player-generated missions, we realized that these are principally supply missions. The enjoyable half is that they’re supply missions for different gamers, however we could not consider some other ways in which gamers would use the system. On high of that, including this performance would have been a serious time sink for each programmers and designers. UI would additionally should be applied. In actual fact, the system would burden nearly each space of growth that wanted aid…

Taking part in Satan’s Advocate…

The system fosters better participant interplay and should generate income for artisans and different crafters. It additionally allowed yet one more approach to earn some credit and have enjoyable with out essentially getting concerned in fight. Lastly, it is yet another manner that we will add content material with out really constructing content material in-house: conceivably, together with player-generated missions might lead to many occasions the variety of accessible missions.

Last Evaluation

Whereas we have always second-guessed our different postponements, I believe everyone seems to be pretty snug with eradicating player-generated missions from launch. I am positive this postponement will upset some locally, and for that we’re actually sorry, however total, the online impact has been constructive. The variety of issues that may have dropped out of the design as a way to get player-generated missions in would have made you all rather a lot much less joyful.

Additionally, it is key to notice that this does not negatively impression Bounty Hunter or Smuggler professions, from a participant’s perspective. We have compensated by creating an entire system of game-generated bounty looking alternatives, and the present Smuggler design would not depend on player-generated missions in any respect.

Darkish Jedi

What Are Darkish Jedi?

The evil counterparts to common Jedi. As designed, the Jedi system ought to enable gamers to grow to be each Jedi and Darkish Jedi. Darkish Jedi would have entry to completely different Power powers.

Rational for Postponement

As a result of Jedi aren’t going to be instantly attainable (i.e., you will must work at it), there’s not as a lot urgency with this technique (though we do have to steadiness it). Earlier than you’ll be able to grow to be a Darkish Jedi, you’ll want to first work your manner as much as a sure place within the “common Jedi” ranks, so it ought to be a while earlier than the primary gamers are even eligible for this doubtful honor (and, I am not going to attempt to estimate how lengthy that may take; no matter I stated, some participant would simply come alongside and show me incorrect ). As with the whole lot else, Darkish Jedi require some further work, particularly for scripters. We would moderately have our designers engaged on balancing the prevailing professions and making these as enjoyable as doable than devoted an excessive amount of time to a path that solely a small share of gamers will ever expertise. As with the beforehand postponed Hutt Faction, I might argue that once we do embrace Darkish Jedi, we need to do it proper.

Taking part in Satan’s Advocate

Darkish Jedi are actually cool. There are various neighborhood members who need to be Darkish Jedi and might be extraordinarily upset by this information. Darkish Jedi are additionally sturdy counterparts to the traditional Jedi and would assist us steadiness and management the inhabitants (and who would not need to see two Jedi combating?).

Last Evaluation

I do not assume there’s any concern that Darkish Jedi will not ultimately make it into the sport. They will not be there at launch, however honestly, we’ll possible nonetheless be testing the Jedi system at launch.

What we Saved…

Simply so we’re clear, our efforts over the previous many months have not been all about suspending stuff. In actual fact, we now have managed to “save” numerous methods and options, and even discovered new issues that we wished so as to add that had been pretty straightforward to implement. As we uncover what’s enjoyable in regards to the sport, we devise new methods to make the sport much more enjoyable, which leads to new additions. Some spotlight:

-Pets/Droids: This was really on the “postponement block” for fairly a while, however the crew felt so strongly about having pets within the sport that we managed to get it working nicely forward of schedule. It is proved very helpful as a result of we will use the identical system for droids and even NPCs that you may command on battlefields.

-Climate Affecting Fight: That is again in, and dealing nicely on the QA server.

-We elevated the variety of professions, and added options (new particular strikes, for instance) to every occupation which can be outdoors the unique design, all within the curiosity of constructing the professions extra enjoyable.

-Way more content material than we initially supposed. We’re creating extra POIs, extra static quests, extra random missions, much more cities than we initially deliberate.

-Badges: These rewards for gamers had been additionally a simple factor to postpone, however we determined to maintain them, regardless of the UI work vital. We simply wished one other cool reward within the sport.

Our Put up-Launch Plan

Clearly, figuring out whether or not we will postpone methods and nonetheless create a viable expertise within the long-term was depending on a post-launch schedule. Our first precedence after the sport goes stay is fixing any bugs that destroy the expertise for gamers. Bug-fixing and, to some extent, balancing should be our focus for at the very least a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, we’re additionally dedicated to together with the postponed options and methods.

Of the postponed methods, player-owned and operated automobiles are first on our record to finish. It will take a while, and rigorous testing on the Check Server, however we’ll be devoting a big portion of our energies to the system.

Participant cities come subsequent by way of precedence (though, relying upon the complexity of each methods, participant cities might really seem first – completely different folks might be engaged on them, so the work could also be progressing concurrently). Because the neighborhood grows, the necessity for participant cities will improve as nicely.

Darkish Jedi will possible be subsequent on our slate. How rapidly gamers are in a position to attain Jedi standing could improve or lower the urgency of this characteristic, however it’s one thing we positively need, particularly because the variety of potential Jedi grows.

Participant-generated missions are final on the record (amongst this stuff, at the very least – we now have dozens of different issues we need to get into the sport all through the months after launch).

Last Feedback…

Once more, we apologize in case your “pet characteristic” or system was postponement. The one factor I can say to ease the ache is that many people on the event facet additionally needed to endure the lack of our pet options as nicely. I also can guarantee you that we’ll do the whole lot we will to proceed to develop the sport over time, and that features including the brand new options described above.

Tell us when you’ve got any questions.

Haden Blackman
LucasArts Producer

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