GDC Online 2011: SWTOR’s Georg Zoeller and Game Feedback

We’re getting closer to the SWTOR launch and we’re trying tokeep you updated on everything relevant and interesting about the game.
At this year’s GDC Online Principal Lead Combat Designer GeorgZoeller demonstrated some of the tools that the team uses to analyze playerfeedback and data, and then he explained how, through sophisticated technology,the team can make appropriate adjustments to the game as it wraps up betatesting and prepares for launch. Massivelycovered this story and it’s nearly 1,000 words of info on the game, much of itstraight from Zoeller himself.
He detailed what content creationinvolved, starting with assets, including creatures (which can take up to manyyears of work), static geometry, dynamic objects, special effects, visualeffects, and animations. Testing has gone on for more than a year, and BioWarehas gone through several iteration cycles. Each time the devs test, they gainfeedback and make necessary improvements.
This is interesting to anyone currently testing the game,anyone who has tested the game previously and anyone who plans to test thegame.
Data is super important. For example:
Thedata can even show how players die, illustrating how certain pull spots cangenerate adds and potential deaths. Seeing spots where patrolling mobs canoverwhelm players when pulled from certain spots helps adjust mob spawns tomake gameplay smoother.

If you’re not already a data and stats nut like me, you willstill glean a lot of info from this.
Inthe end, though, he said all the tools in the world can’t help if you don’tplay your own game. And in some cases, just directly asking testers is easierthan digging into metrics — and might yield just as valuable information.
Isn’t that the truth!
This is exactly why real gamers as testers is so veryimportant to a game launch like this one. Read the fullwrite-up on Massively if you want to learn more of what was said at GDCOnline.

Lisa Clark

Lisa has been an avid gamer since she was old enough to hold her first controller and a game writer for more than a decade. A child of the Nintendo generation, she believes they just don’t make games like they used to but sometimes, they make them even better! While consoles will always be her first love, Lisa spends most of her gaming time on the PC these days- on MMOs and first-person shooters in particular.