design

Damion Schubert On Designing For Loners

Jef Reahard from Massively have made a very detailed writeup of Damion Schubert‘s recent talk at GDC 2011, entitled “The Loner: Why Some People Play MMOs Alone:” One of the seeming paradoxes of MMO design is that there is a large contingent of players who would prefer to play these games alone. Gamers who want to play this way are often derided by other players and sometimes even designers for their playstyle, but it isn’t as odd or exotic as it seems. This talk discusses the rationale for this playstyle, the necessity to cater to this playstyle from a business point of view, and the design intricacies of providing solo play without invalidating the ‘massive’ parts of your game design. Jef Reahard has made a great rundown of Damion Schubert’s points in his speach, and extracts some interesting quotes from the talk as well: Schubert states that MMOs feature “hardcore…

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Damion Schubert talks game narrative in this month Game Developer Magazine

In the latest edition of Game Developer Magazine, Damion Schubert, Lead Systems Designer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, is once again discussing game narrative. As we all know this is one of the key issues  in SWTOR – the fifth pillar as they call it. Here is a short excerpt: The deepest backstories in games come from licenced ones. ARKHAM ASYLUM and FORCE: UNLEASHED have decades of material to draw from and, in both cases, designers worked hard to ensure that they drew on commonly recognized elements recognized by casual fans as well as Easter eggs to cater to the hardcore. In a licensed project, perhaps no application of story is more important, and when reviwers state ARKHAM ASYLUM really brings Batman’s world to life, or that FORCE UNLEASHED captures the far reaches of the Star Wars universe, you have a good understanding why these games succeeded. Schubert goes on to look…

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Fan Friday

This week’s update have arrived! After two amazing weeks with a new planet and a Timeline holorecord, it’s now time for Fan Friday and new biographies. First up, Fan Friday. As the name says, we’re not suprised that BioWare was able to dig out some treasures from the official forum grounds. The interactive TOR Paint Adventures and KariaVen’s animations are only two examples of the great creativity of Star Wars fans. It wouldn’t be Fan Friday without a couple more polls! The first asks, “Who is your favorite character in the Blood of the Empire webcomic series?” The second poll asks, “Which class are you planning on trying out first?” This time the development corner look at the creation of Kaas City, the Empire’s capital. Senior Concept Artist Ryan Dening gives us another step-by-step demonstration of taking a concept and turning it into a finished piece of artwork. The purpose…

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GDC Online Presentation: Slave to the Grind.

Principal Lead Systems Designer for SWTOR – Damion Schubert – has posted his full slide presentation from this years GDC Online on his blog. The presentation is mostly about Gamedesign, but if this is your thing,  you will enjoy his PowerPoint presentation wich can be found here. Ask a Jedi covered the whole convent – check it out here. Join the forum discussion on this post

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BioWare Talks Advanced Classes and World Building in Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare returns this week with a double dose of Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) news. After the revealing of Advanced Classes this week, BioWare added additional details to the SWTOR website that explain the feature in more detail. Each class will be able to choose from one of two Advanced Classes. After investing in their chosen path, a third shared skill set will become available to help enhance a character’s chosen skills and role. The second bit of news involves the development and building of worlds in SWTOR. If you’ve ever wondered how building the concept and lore behind a world and its population works in MMORPGs this is a good read that will interest you. The team explains many of the challenges faced when building a world for players to become immersed in and the process by which the content is developed and eventually brought to life. Two…

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Lead Systems Designer Talks About the Third Element of Creating MMORPGs

SW:TOR Lead Designer talks about the third element of MMORPGs. This week’s update from Star Wars: The Old Republic is an article from Principal Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert, who talks about designing systems for MMORPGs. Community is one of the major elements that is needed to make a successful MMORPG, one that Schubert refers to as the whole ball of wax. To me, as an MMO designer, community is the whole ball of wax. Let’s face it, if you wanted to play just a ‘game’, you’d be off playing a single player roleplaying game. If you wanted a ‘world’, maybe you’d play a life-simulation game. But community – well, that’s the whole ‘massively multiplayer’ part of MMO. When you look at it this way, ‘community’ is at least as important as ‘game’ or ‘world’ in this debate. While they have added the opportunity for players to solo their way…

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SWTOR Hands On @ GDC

The Game Developers Conference was held last week and several sites had an opportunity to get a “hands on” with Star Wars: The Old Republic. Both 1UP and Eurogamer were afforded the opportunity to check out the game. Here a couple excerpts from their reactions: Story Driven Experience When playing a story mission in Star Trek Online, it’s all text delivered through a little dialog box. More times than not, it’s usually an alien race harassing a Federation colony, and you need to step in and blast them out of the stars. From the little that we’ve seen of The Old Republic so far, this much is certain: you will have many different story arcs available to your character available out of the box on day one. Recently we saw some of this in action as we got a taste of the Trooper’s story arc, and what it was like…

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Returning to Taris

Once home to a sprawling planet-wide city, Taris was razed long ago by the Sith Lord Darth Malak while seeking to eliminate the Jedi Knight Bastila Shan. Now, a post-apocalyptic Taris is being realized in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. After 300 years, Republic and Jedi leaders are moving forward with the efforts at colonization. Watch insights from James Ohlen, Drew Karpyshyn, Scott Carpenter, and Mark How about the new environments – and adventures – awaiting players in Biowares latest Developer Dispatch: Returning to Taris: Join the forum discussion on this post

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An Inside Look at Star Wars: The Old Republic

GameSpy has a preview article up for Star Wars: The Old Republic. This looks to be from the November press event where they unveiled the Jedi Consular and the Sith Inquisitor (and the Imperial Agent IIRC). Here’s an excerpt: Before delving into the gameplay demo proper, BioWare unveiled the final list of classes. The approach that the developers are taking with class design eschews the traditional roles you’ve seen in most MMOs, where a balanced party is comprised of an aggro-generating tank, damage-dealers, and a healer. Instead, the intent is to allow players to live out their Star Wars fantasies, presenting familiar but flexible character archetypes. The eight playable classes are as follows, with noteworthy inspirations from the Star Wars universe. It’s a fairly brief article without anything new that I’ve noticed. In fact, some of their points are questionable (such as their list of iconic characters with each class;…

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SW:TOR in Total PC Gaming UK Magazine

I went to buy my Christmas cards today and as I walked past the magazine rack in the store I noticed that one magazine had “Exclusive Star Wars the Old Republic” in big, bold letters on the cover, on top of an image of a Jedi that I hadn’t seen before. Picking up the magazine (which turned out to be “Total PC Gaming”) found that it had a five-page preview (not counting the title page). And since it includes the last two classes it’s definitely new. So I bought the magazine. The magazine comes with a DVD containing screenshots and videos of the game (some 45minutes worth), but it’s nothing you haven’t already seen. All the screenshots can be found on the official website as well (a number of them fairly old in fact). The videos consist of the cinematic trailer from E3, the gameplay walkthrough from CamesCom and the…

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The battle for Balmorra!

BioWare has released details on a new playable world for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Balmorra is a wore-torn world caught in the conflict between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic. With forces decimated on both sides, the two factions use the world as a recruiting ground to enlist more help for the war. Balmorra is a world specializing in the building of droids. Its location puts it right in the middle of the conflict between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic:   Add to Favorites Myspace Digg.com Facebook Del.icio.us Google Bookmarks Due to escalating tensions on the devastated, war-torn world of Balmorra, both the Sith Empire, and the Galactic Republic are looking for new recruits to ship out! Be sure to get caught up on the newest playable planet in the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ universe! Find out more about the story and struggle of this…

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Star Wars: The Old Republic – The Making of Coruscant

From the majestic skyline to the dark and seedy underground levels, a large team of The Old Republic developers worked together to construct the dynamic city-world of Coruscant. Watch our latest Developer Dispatch, The Making of Coruscant, to hear developers discuss the creation of the Republics capital from the deepest basement to the tallest skyscraper. Join the forum discussion on this post

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Interview with Bioware’s Richard Vogel

Check out this Star Wars: The Old Republic interview from Bioware’s Co-GM Richard Vogel. Please excuse the bad audio. Transcript: I am Richard Vogel and I am the co-GM at Bioware-Austin. Basically this story, umm, takes place 300 years after the original KotOR, which is what it’s based on. Uh, Knights of the Old Republic. And, uh, 2700 years before the movies. So gives us a lot of leeway to a lot of stuff we couldn’t do if we were near the movies. So, there are a lot of Jedi, for instance, in our game. But as far as classes go, we announced the Bounty Hunter, and we announced the Trooper, and we announced the Smuggler. We have been developing for about three years. We’re, uh, not ready, still not ready to release yet. We have a ways to go. Well, basically what we did is, we did, uh, we…

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Star Wars: The Old Republic cinematic trailer

The Sacking of Coruscant. It was the crowning achievement of the Sith Empires ambitious military strategy and the moment that changed the history of the Old Republic forever. You may have read about it before, but our first cinematic trailer captures this event with breathtaking action and beautiful detail. Republic leaders have traveled to Alderaan to engage in promised peace talks with the Sith Empire. The most powerful Jedi have accompanied them to safeguard against an Imperial deception. The Empires real motive, however, was simply to lure the Republics strongest defenders away from Coruscant and set the stage for an audacious attack. Under the command of Lord Angral, the Sith fleet approaches the Republics capital planet for the first time in centuries. In advance of the fleet, the strongest Sith Warriors have flown a stolen Republic ship into Coruscants orbit. Their mission is critical to destroy the planets defense grid…

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Video – Diverse Worlds

Majestic forests, toxic swamplands, desert landscapes, and hazardous war zones the worlds that make up the Star Wars™ universe are unique and enriched with compelling storylines. Watch Developer Dispatch: Diverse Worlds and go behind the scenes to find out how the developers are bringing the worlds of Tython, Korriban, Hutta, and Ord Mantell to life a few of the many playable worlds in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. Join the forum discussion on this post

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Kotor: Sleheyron Demo Mod

This mod is being developed by Sithspecter, Dan Loto and Marius Fett. This is just the demo they have released to let the public know that it isn’t a dead project. I just walked around the only module they released in this demo and talked to a few guys so you would know what the demo is like. Looking forward to the completed project. If you’re new to this project and feel lost Sleheyron is a planet that was cut from the first KOTOR game that is being restored. To find out more information, visit the official thread at Holowan Labs: http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=186244 Want to keep up whats going on? make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed! Join the forum discussion on this post

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Focuses on the Player, Says BioWare

The MMORPG genre is a pretty big one, but one of the most popular themes that appear on this market is the space one. Although EVE Online is currently the most popular space-themed game, a lot of other titles are beginning to show promise and will certainly make this genre very popular. One of the most ambitious projects is the Star Wars: The Old Republic title, which is currently being developed by Electronic Arts’ BioWare studio, makers of the original RPG series Knights of the Old Republic, and LucasArts, the owners of the Star Wars IP (Intellectual Property). Even though fans are eagerly anticipating any tidbit of information, the developers haven’t really made any big statements, only saying that it will dominate the space-themed MMORPG genre, and that it will make a big dent in the World of Warcraft user base. However, Greg Zeschuk, one of the co-founders of the…

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