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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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: 1UP: 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…

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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:

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GameSpy: 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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