Posts Tagged ‘development’

Writing Wraps up for SWTOR

Just today the developers of SWTOR at Bioware announced that the story of the game, now three years into production, is finally finished.

That means every conversation, every cut scene and every iconic moment has been decided on, and all of the lines are now off to be recorded.

However, as the recent blog post says, there is still much to be done. While the rich stories of all 17 planets may have been decided on, many of the environments and characters have yet to be designed, so with the aid of the completed stories 3d artists are now going into overdrive in order to make sure that everything fits together seamlessly.

Also in the article was a brief overview of the inspiration that went into many of the environments of the game, including that of Nar Shaddaa. Apparently the main inspiration for its glitzy glamour is a Las Vegas of the 1970s, although players would be excused for not guessing it.

Also in the article was a look at how the environments have changed over time. Again, the main promenade of Nar Shaddaa has changed drastically due to feedback from testers and story writers. In the Place of what was quite a small and diminutive statue, there now stands an enormous likeness of a Hutt.

Other wildly renovated cities include Coronet on Corellia. Originally the ship yard was just a few buildings, with only names to proclaim its shipyard-dom. However, now it is a towering vista of construction and Corellian superiority.

The development process at Bioware by no means stops when the story is written, or even when the landscape and the game has been designed. No, there are constant reviews of everything completed to date (which may be why release has been so slow) in order to ensure that the final product, when opened to players, is as perfect as possible.

The new look of the Corellian shipyards.

The new look of the Corellian shipyards.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - July 1, 2011 at 16:24

Categories: Gameplay, Testing   Tags: , , , , , ,

Warrior Progression

A powerful Sith Warrior from SWTOR

A powerful Sith Warrior from The Old Republic

Perhaps the most anticipated class of SWTOR is the much fabled Sith-Warrior. The warrior has its roots in famed Star Wars characters like Darth Vader and Darth Maul, which have proven to be some of the most popular with audiences across the world.

As Sith Warriors advance through the ranks of The Old Republic they are awarded with all kinds of new Armour, weaponry and special abilities. This ensures that as their opponents becoming stronger and more intelligent, the Warrior evolves along with them, ideally to stay one step ahead! At the beginning of the video we see a warrior wielding a basic plasma sword, but then as he continues to develop, little to our surprise, he is equipped with a lightsaber to deal with his enemies more effectively.

As can be seen in the video at the bottom of the page, the two different Warrior paths are vastly different, although perhaps equally powerful. To many players’ surprise, Bioware strayed from traditional Sith Garb of black robes, to more heavy duty armor profession. If nothing else, this really makes the Juggernaut warrior really look like his name sake.

In the footage SWTOR’s Warrior is shown to be an ideal class for solo play, and focuses primarily on lightsaber combat and a handful of dark side abilities. Although not as dependent on the force as their inquisitor brethren, Warriors are still more than capable of throwing down the occasional force choke in the heat of combat. This makes them truly a force to be reckoned with, and we are sure that no republic players will take combat with them lightly.

The jury is still out on whether players will get the extensive customization options like those present in SWG, and so far things do not look promising. With armor that is awarded as you level up the chances of this seem bleak. Even any chance of being able to chose from a wide range of different armors may be out the window, but ideally Bioware will finally realize that variety is the spice of life in SWTOR and we can see a diverse and interesting game like all hope for.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - May 14, 2011 at 23:11

Categories: Classes, Gameplay   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

UI Updates

As the direct interface between players and their game, the User interface can break a MMO, or any other kind of computer software for that matter.

Since the game was first released, many changes have been made to the SWTOR interface and, at least according to the Bioware staff, it is now in its optimal form pending release of the game. Many possible layouts were looked at, and a team of players and developers have worked together to decide on the best looking and most useful of these.

Although originally Bioware had elected for a more artistic feel, thankfully over time this changed to designing the interface solely around usability. As such, most of the unnecessary fluff has been stripped away and we are left with a streamlined, and thankfully minimalist UI.

Many players with low-res screens will be well aware of the problems that come with an Interface with a lot of useless additions. As almost all of the windows are necessary, having them large takes up a lot of room on the screen, stripping down the visible area of the game, which when it consists of SWTOR’s graphics, is not something anybody wants.

As of yet, no details have been released as to how customizable it should be, but we are all hoping for it to be as adaptable as possible. In many games, such as Galaxies, windows on the screen could be moved, removed, resized and otherwise adapted to each players’ individual wants. This made for happy campers, as it could be organized to fit different size screens and players which made the game in general far more accessible.

Although there has been no word on whether Bioware plans to follow suit in this regard, we do all hope to see options available which, even if left alone for most players, will help out those who would otherwise struggle to participate.

The current user interface of SWTOR. Looks nice doesn't it?

The current user interface of SWTOR. Looks nice doesn't it?

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - May 11, 2011 at 00:04

Categories: Gameplay, Misc   Tags: , , , , , ,

Results from Early Testing

It is official then, SWTOR public testing has begun. A number of players are already in the game, and this number is increasing exponentially as the release date approaches.

Many people have been INCREDIBLY keen to become one of these testers, but the privilege hasĀ  only been offered to relatively few so far. If you are one of the players who has not been accepted, but is interested to be so in the future, here are a few tips that will get you noticed by the producers of The Old Republic and hopefully into the testing team.

  • Post regularly on the forums in a constructive manner.
  • Try to post in developer’s threads and converse with them if possible.
  • Ensure all parts of your account details are up to date. It may be useful to have an age over 21 years and a location in the United States for legal reasons.
  • Do the system scan on a reasonably powerful windows desktop. Avoid laptops, Macs and super computers.
  • In general the producers want enthusiastic and decidedly average players, try to be so if at all possible.
  • Constructive criticism on the forums is OK, but don’t out and out insult or otherwise defame The Old Republic or the team working on it.
A Tester of SWTOR making accurate observations.

A tester of SWTOR making accurate observations.

So that is it folks. By talking to a few of the current testers these are the attributes they all have in common. In a way Bioware seems to reward its most enthusiastic supporters by allowing them to test, so lets hope that is you in the future!

As mentioned in the producer note the testers so far have been incredibly pleased with the state of the game, many saying the story is its strongest aspect. Many more serious players (such as PvPers) had been sceptical about what story can bring to a MMORPG, but from the early results it seems to be very engaging and entertaining.

Evidently, SWTOR is not a game about grinding. like the original KOTOR games, you never farm or kill enemies repetitively to gain experience. It will be more of a play through the story to get to the top level then you are free to go kind of affair. This will hopefully make it very popular with almost everyone, as it will remove the boring re-runs that are a hallmark of most MMOs.

We have not heard any of the negative comments from testers, mainly because what we do know is coming straight from Bioware. It is also unlikely that any of the current testers are very serious players. Chances are they are the SWTOR lovers from day 1, so many of their observations may well be tinted by rose coloured glasses. What to read out of the producer notes on the subject is up to you.

All in all, from preliminary testing SWTOR looks like it will deliver much of what it will promise. Although there are clearly areas that need substantial development, all in all the game is looking very interesting, and should carry with it many of the traits which made its predecessors so spectacular.

A warzone being tested. It seems teamwork is completely foreign to these players.

A warzone being tested. It seems teamwork and PvP skills are completely foreign to these players.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by neft - March 3, 2011 at 22:16

Categories: Misc, Testing   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,