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Role Playing (Games) Games

BioWare On Building a Community For Dragon Age 34

Posted by Soulskill
from the let-me-tell-you-a-story dept.
Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare, sat down with Gamasutra to discuss upcoming RPG Dragon Age: Origins, as well as some of the features they're working on for release alongside the game. In particular, they are interested in building a framework for players to show off their characters and share stories about the gameplay they encounter. "We're creating a community site that's going to enable the fans to get revved up about what each other is doing. They're showing their choices and consequences to friends. Even though it's single-player, you can still reveal those choices to each other and have fun doing it. It enables some of that stuff that occurs anecdotally amongst friends at the water cooler: 'Hey, did you play this yet? Did you go this way?' 'No, I didn't run into that. I did it this way.' 'Really? I didn't run into that at all!' You can meet people who are across the world and enable them to see those kinds of things, too, which I think will lead to a lot of fun discussion and collaboration in the community."
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BioWare On Building a Community For Dragon Age

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  • by readthemall (1531267) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:57AM (#29283271)
    What about moderation on such site and deleting content that the company doesn't want others to see? It has happened before.

    The community is mature enough to create their own sites, and these sites are usually much better and useful then the sites provided by the companies creating and publishing games. Just look at Wikia gaming [wikia.com], Strategywiki [strategywiki.org], and so on.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      ... and so on

      Well, quite. The official forums form a useful first port of call for all players, and if the idea is to brag about your 1337 character build, then presumably you want the biggest audience for your ego.

      When the Forum Nazis take over, then 3rd party sites become necessary, but proactive fragmenting of the community seems a little premature.

      • I do agree, to some extent. A community site can have news, forums, guides, maps, and many other useful sections.

        The official site is good for news and updates. It is the first place where one should go if he needs the news from the source.

        On the other hand, for forums, guides, maps, trading, and other similar stuff the non-official community sites are just better.

  • We're creating a community site that's going to enable the fans to get revved up about what each other is doing. They're showing their choices and consequences to friends. Even though it's single-player, you can still reveal those choices to each other and have fun doing it. It enables some of that stuff that occurs anecdotally amongst friends at the water cooler: 'Hey, did you play this yet? Did you go this way?' 'No, I didn't run into that. I did it this way.' 'Really? I didn't run into that at all!' You

    • To me it sounds like... a forum. Just an ordinary forum.

      Is it suprising that BioWare is apparently re-inventing the wheel? No, because in another BioWare interview they talked about inventing adventure games. I mean what they were describing was simply an adventure game, but they were making it seem like some totally new concept.

      I don't know what their problem is.

  • by Kirin Fenrir (1001780) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @09:34AM (#29284527)
    The reason is entirely because of custom content. Despite the increased graphics of Dragon Age, the toolset is extremely limited in comparison to the 8-year-old NWN1(and much further behind the clunky, but powerful NWN2 toolset).

    From early testers, here's the list of missing features and/or limitations: some of these are insane.


    From: _______________________________________

    The following aren't in the game, probably as no surprise to anybody at this point:

    -Multiplayer/DM client.

    -Climbing.

    -Jumping.

    -Swimming.

    -Mounts.

    -Pushing/grabing objects around in real time.

    -Path over path. You can do this but the pathfinding doesn't support it. In drive mode it works fine, but if you move with point and click or use scripting to move a creature it fails.


    The following can be done, but only in hacky ways and were rarely done in the main campaign:

    -Day/night. This can only be done with area transitions. No real time

    -Placing/picking up objects in the world. Unlike NWN, you can't drop items into the world, or pick up anything that's not in a container. For picking up you have to put placeables into the world (and no model exists for most items). For placing you'd have to put an invisible placeable into the world which you click on, which spawns another placeable.

    -Destroyable environments. Placeables can be destroyed, but they tend to stick beucase the lighting is different, especially large ones that you're trying to disguise as part of the background level art. Our artists have found ways to bake the lighting texture into the diffuse texture to pull a decent blend off, but it's hacky and hard to maintain.

    -Ambient usage of objects. You can't hook an extra object up to an animation. So for instance, outside of a cutscene, you can't have people drinking from mugs, or working a forge with tools. We actually figured out too late that you can do this with visual effects, so hopefully the community can do a better job of it that we did.


    Things that were in NWN that are different/missing from DA:

    -Runtime local variables. All variables stored on an object have to be declared in a 2da.

    -Custom equipment. NWN was more flexibile in allowing outfits to be made piece by piece and selecting different colours. DA's armors are one piece and the tinting is limited.

    -Accessing objects. You can only grab/effect objects which are in the player's current area. If you want to change things in other areas, you set plot flags and update the other area in the area load script.

    -Beam Effects. DA doesn't have beam visual effects.

    -Using items. Plot items can't be usable in DA, and generally making items that are not consumed when used is a bit painful.

    -Instancing. NWN allows you to modify any property of a placed object. DA has a much smaller list of instanced properties, and expects you to use more templates. I quite like the system, but it might take getting used to.

    -Scaling. Creatures and placeables have a fixed size. NWN didn't have scaling, and neither does DA.

    -Putting items into containers. DA doesn't let the player drag items from their inventory into a container. This functionality is actually included in the engine and can be accessed by changing a parameter in the function call to open the inventory, but users of the custom content probably won't realize they can do this.

    -Placeable actions. Unlike NWN where the player can pretty much do any action on any placeable, DA only supports one action per placeable at a time. The state controller has a list of states and each one has an action. So a placeable can be bashed, or it can be examined, or it can be used, or it can be a container, or it can be an area transition or it can be locked, but it can't be multiple of these simultaneously. We did at one point have a second action accessed by shift-click, but I think we cut every place we used it in the main campaign and we might have cut the functionality from the engine. It's something to look into, but even then you're looking at two actions per placeable and not a radial menu.

    • by Zironic (1112127)

      That's uhm, wierd.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's like Neverwinter Nights, only less so!

      Let's face it; the golden age of PC gaming is over. It peaked with games like Morrowind and Neverwinter Nights, when you could buy one game and with the community built around it end up with fifty games' worth of extra content. Then the companies who made the games saw that and thought, "There's a market here. Forget letting the community create the content; let's make it ourselves and charge for it." Thus free community content morphed into paid Downloadable C

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dan667 (564390)
        Not true. Only the big companies like EA have sucked the fun out of making games for their drones (and hence why I never purchase a game the minute I see EA as involved with it). There are plenty of great games out there, you are not force to by substandard crap if you don't want to.
      • Let's face it; the golden age of PC gaming is over. It peaked with games like Morrowind and Neverwinter Nights, when you could buy one game and with the community built around it end up with fifty games' worth of extra content.

        Neither Morrowind nor NWN can match the modding capabilities of FPS games. Also, NWN was pretty lame as a game.

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