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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

General Discussion  » GDC - James Ohlen - Voiceovers didn't drive the cost up, it was getting the engine to work right that drove costs (through the roof)

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205 posts found
  Drakynn

Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/08
Posts: 2051

4/07/13 5:11:31 PM#81
Originally posted by niceguy3978
Originally posted by Drakynn
So wiat...what they rleeased they consider a working right  engine?Hero engine untested?I would of thoguht Warhammer Online proved how crappy that engine was.

Why would you think that?  Warhammer online didn't use the Hero engine.

yeah your right and it's nto the first time I've made tihs mistake it's because Warhammer Onlein and SW:TOR shared so many similar game engine faults at launch that I always think they use the same engine.

still the first part stands...if what lauinched was considered an engine that was working right...

  Vorthanion

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 1917

4/08/13 1:31:09 AM#82
Originally posted by allegria
Originally posted by Gaborik
Originally posted by Tyvolus4
I mean it all boils down to what I and ALOT of other people had been saying about the game...They did not make an MMO, it was a Single payer RPG with some co-op.  And the fact they chose an engine that could not support a MMORPG community further proves it -- as if it needed to be proved firther.

Well I am pretty sure nobody is saying that except the haters.

 

MMO standards:

Here are a few standards most all MMO's have that SWTOR also has.

Guilds

PVP

Flashpoints (instances) 4 players

Ops (raids) 8-16 players

Auction Halls: this is where other players sell stuff they make or find to other players.  

World Bosses: These takes usually 16 players to take down

Datacron hunting (exploration): Some of these take multiple people.  

Crafting.

 

Now its fine if you don't like swtor for whatever reason, you can say its not a very good mmo, but to say its not an mmo and that ALOT of other people also say that is ignorant.  

Note: I have returned from beta and enjoying the smuggler class..

Your post above is exactly what Bioware did wrong... you are correct in saying there are certain features which are expected so to speak in an MMO... however, its how you implement those features within the "world" or "universe" that tells the tale... and this is unfortunately where SWTOR just fell on its face.  They took a laundry list of WoW features and said, ok implement these and throw it all together with little creativity and deisgn responsibility... everything was streamlined, linearly created and made  . . .   this sadly spoils many of the features you talk about above...

For example.. exploration ( yes there is some ) is spoiled by the seemingly one connected map zone phenomenon in SWTOR.. The areas make me feel closterphobic and like i am on a train i can't get off from time to time.. its the way they designed it.. Just imagine simply taking wold+spaceport designs and travel options from SWG how much better TOR would be..

Its all too linear and controlled.  Maybe with Skyrim' success EA will realize they need some open world goodness in TOR and we will get it someday... i sure hope so... ohh and real space ;)

 

I was very pleased to see good graphics come back to SWTOR ( as they were in beta ) ... the new textures look fantastic..

Control is one of the key design philosophies of Bioware and it shows in their single player games as well.  I had really hoped they would not go with the typical content railway they usually use in their single player games, but alas, they didn't have someone on the dev team with a strong enough voice to tell them to stop being control freaks.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13395

4/08/13 10:34:45 AM#83
Originally posted by Xthos

It seems like a huge mistake, I mean this is one of the biggest gaming companies, with veteran people, they should of known what they needed.....But I also do not believe much of what they say, they mislead/lied so much during TOR, about so many things that at this point, does it really matter?

 

I guess if they blame the engine, it makes it even worse, because that may also mean their is no 'fixing' things, and it is basically what it is.  You may be able to optimize things a little here and there, but it may never be what you want.

 

 

I also wonder if this is why they went away from having a more open game, that a developer was talking about, well before release?  Maybe the functionality of things prohibited that also?

What do you do if you're working on a game that is already halfway done when you realize that a lot of things that you still want to do are incompatible with the half that you've already done?  Chopping out the things that you can't do without scrapping a lot of what you've already done means you lose much of what could have made the game fun.

There really isn't a good answer to it.  Your basic choices are:

1)  Cancel the project and eat whatever you've already spent on it as a loss,

2)  Press on and do the best you can, while realizing that the end result isn't going to be very good, or

3)  Delay the project by years and spend many millions of dollars more to scrap and redo a ton of things that you had already done, and hope that at the end of that, you're not in essentially the same situation as before with only a different set of things that you still wanted to do now incompatible with what you've already done.

Taking choice (3) isn't very common, and is a bad idea unless you have strong reason to believe that you really can fix the problems.  The only MMORPGs that I'm aware of to essentially do (3) are Tabula Rasa, Darkfall, and Final Fantasy XIV.  It didn't work out very well for Tabula Rasa and doesn't look likely to work much better for Darkfall.

  Tierless

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/01/08
Posts: 2114

joie de vivre

4/08/13 10:37:37 AM#84

Weird, 200mill and 3 years of dev get you a broken engine...someone wasn't managing something well...

mmorpg.com/blogs/Xobdnas

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13395

4/08/13 10:40:20 AM#85
Originally posted by Vorthanion
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Vorthanion
Heh, I had serious doubts about the Hero engine from the very start, but kept getting shouted down by supposed "armchair expert programmers" on this very site.  I had read previously that the Hero engine was not well suited for MMOs.  In fact, many of the current engines meet that sad criteria, such as the one that keeps getting regurgitated by Cryptic Studios.

You know why Cryptic's engine works for their games?  Because they made their own engine for the express purpose of making the sort of games that they wanted to make.  If EA had tried to use Cryptic's engine to make SWTOR, it's far from guaranteed that it would have worked out any better than using the Hero Engine.  It could easily have turned out much worse.  That's not a knock on Cryptic; their engine was built for Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and Neverwinter, but not for SWTOR.  If it wouldn't have worked for SWTOR, well then, maybe that's because it was never intended to.

As for Hero Engine, yes, it was built with MMORPGs in mind.  The original game was Hero's Journey, which may or may not have since been cancelled.  The problem is that you can build an engine to do what you want to do in one particular game, but you can't build it to efficiently do everything that any MMORPG could ever want.

How's it feeling there in that armchair?

Saying that it might have been better or it might have been worse isn't a very strong statement.

We've seen how Cryptic's engine worked for Cryptic's games, but not how it would have worked for any other games.  Cryptic had no need to implement functionality that they didn't need in their own games, even if a large fraction of other MMORPGs would have needed it.  So for other companies to try to use Cryptic's engine could easily have had catastrophically bad results.  Or it might not have.  We don't know.

  User Deleted
4/08/13 10:55:49 AM#86
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Xthos

It seems like a huge mistake, I mean this is one of the biggest gaming companies, with veteran people, they should of known what they needed.....But I also do not believe much of what they say, they mislead/lied so much during TOR, about so many things that at this point, does it really matter?

 

I guess if they blame the engine, it makes it even worse, because that may also mean their is no 'fixing' things, and it is basically what it is.  You may be able to optimize things a little here and there, but it may never be what you want.

 

 

I also wonder if this is why they went away from having a more open game, that a developer was talking about, well before release?  Maybe the functionality of things prohibited that also?

What do you do if you're working on a game that is already halfway done when you realize that a lot of things that you still want to do are incompatible with the half that you've already done?  Chopping out the things that you can't do without scrapping a lot of what you've already done means you lose much of what could have made the game fun.

There really isn't a good answer to it.  Your basic choices are:

1)  Cancel the project and eat whatever you've already spent on it as a loss,

2)  Press on and do the best you can, while realizing that the end result isn't going to be very good, or

3)  Delay the project by years and spend many millions of dollars more to scrap and redo a ton of things that you had already done, and hope that at the end of that, you're not in essentially the same situation as before with only a different set of things that you still wanted to do now incompatible with what you've already done.

Taking choice (3) isn't very common, and is a bad idea unless you have strong reason to believe that you really can fix the problems.  The only MMORPGs that I'm aware of to essentially do (3) are Tabula Rasa, Darkfall, and Final Fantasy XIV.  It didn't work out very well for Tabula Rasa and doesn't look likely to work much better for Darkfall.

The disconnect comes they state they somehow noticed "too late". I mean, if you notice you are in deep shit when youve already donr 75% of the game...its pure incompetence. They also claim engine sucked for their core stuff (story etc.). You build prototypes and test it, you dont build half the game just to suddenly magically realize that "engine sucks" for your core stuff.

Its also a matter of planning long term or short term. If youre planning long term its better to spend some time so you can actually build what and how you want, if you plan short term....you get SWTOR.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13395

4/08/13 10:58:40 AM#87
Originally posted by Wizardry

Well i already knew Voiceovers don't cost much ,i guess unless you hire a big name super star,but why.All these guys do is grab a piece of paper and start reading off the lines.Then later a guy or two start editing it in.They might only need those VO people for 2 minutes maybe an hour at the most.

As for the game engine trying to handle multiplayer,i am only assuming they mean with several players on screen because there is nothing else this game does that i have not seen before.Then if we assume he is talking about many players on screen,this game doesn't do that either.

I played the game quite a bit,not once did i see a ton of players,maybe a dozen at once,usually my view only consisted of maybe a handfull of players.Then you realize this game was not a high poly game,so it was not very demanding.

It sounds more to me like an amateur team that wanted a premade template where they could just punch in some numbers and tie quests  together.

I don't think it is any wonder the game lacked depth of design,this team was not capable of it,it really felt to me just like another console Star Wars game with added internet.The game world acted like it was just there to fill in the boxes,there was literally no movers or interaction,it really was a lazy effort.IMO the TYPE of game it was designed to be was just too much for them to handle,both cost wise from EA and the scope of it from Bioware who was used to making console games.

It's actually very hard to determine how big of a performance hit something carries just from looking at the end result, as it can easily depend on a lot of subtle things.  Furthermore, there can be many different code paths to reach the same final result on the screen, some of which can bring a much larger performance hit than others.  Or you can easily have one approach that runs better on some hardware, while a different approach runs better on other hardware, depending on where your bottleneck is.

If you've done any computer programming, you're surely aware that there can be different code paths to reach the same result, some of which are more efficient than others.  But doing 3D graphics gives you a much stronger case of it, as you now also have to worry about which computations get done on the CPU and which get done on the GPU.  Passing data from the CPU to the GPU is expensive.  Switching textures is expensive.  Switching vertex array objects is expensive.  Switching programs is really expensive.  But doing computations on the GPU once you have everything you need sitting there is often cheap.

You can't just look at a model and say, they have to switch textures this many times per frame, or they have to switch vertex arrays this many times per frame.  They might have needed to use a lot of textures in each model to get some effects that they wanted.  They might have been unable to use the same texture or the same vertex array or the same values for some uniforms (that's the OpenGL term; I'm not sure if DirectX calls it something different) for many consecutive drawing commands without ruling out some graphical effects that they wanted.  Those things have a huge impact on performance, but they're hard to tell just by looking at the final screen.

You really can't tell how computationally demanding something "should" be just from looking at the final image and counting vertices.  Processing vertices in vertex shaders really isn't that computationally demanding anymore unless either you're stupid about using ridiculously many vertices unreasonably close to each other on the screen or you want to do some really fancy effects there that you should let players turn off, anyway.  Pixel/fragment shaders can still do a ton of work, but those don't necessarily care how many vertices you had.

Or they might have just been really inefficient with how they coded things.  If you don't have someone on staff capable of writing your own game engine, then you probably don't have anyone on staff capable of optimizing an existing game engine, either.

  gervaise1

Elite Member

Joined: 1/17/07
Posts: 1276

4/08/13 1:35:44 PM#88
Originally posted by Gaborik
Originally posted by Tyvolus4
I mean it all boils down to what I and ALOT of other people had been saying about the game...They did not make an MMO, it was a Single payer RPG with some co-op.  And the fact they chose an engine that could not support a MMORPG community further proves it -- as if it needed to be proved firther.

Well I am pretty sure nobody is saying that except the haters.

 

MMO standards:

Here are a few standards most all MMO's have that SWTOR also has.

Guilds

PVP

Flashpoints (instances) 4 players

Ops (raids) 8-16 players

Auction Halls: this is where other players sell stuff they make or find to other players.  

World Bosses: These takes usually 16 players to take down

Datacron hunting (exploration): Some of these take multiple people.  

Crafting.

 

Now its fine if you don't like swtor for whatever reason, you can say its not a very good mmo, but to say its not an mmo and that ALOT of other people also say that is ignorant.  

The criteria you have failed to list is longevity.

Nor was it simply "haters" - whoever they are - who had the view that SWTOR was closer to an single player RPG with co-op than an mmo was widespread amongst reviewers as well as forum posters.

The big concern pre-launch was "lack of content". Not mechanics or graphics but the fact that there didn't seem to be enough to keep people around. "Supporters" refered to Bioware's comments about "200 hours" and "frequent new content to make the subscription truly valued" etc. And just to be clear I put "lack of content" in quotes because if SWTOR had released as a single player RPG I don't think lack of content would hav e been an issue.

Coupled the "lack" of content with the speed at which people were - and still can - level and you end up with people who feel they have finished the game and have no reason to remain subscribed.  And that is before Bioware admitted that their crafting system did not work as intended; their end game did not work as intended and James Olsen's recent comments that at launch they knew they were lacking several other features.

There is no going back but I and others felt that SWTOR would have been more sucessful if it had been sold as a single player RPG. Free access to the servers but a small charge for co-op play (maybe throw a few months in for free) and then paid for DLC. Sold essentially as KotOR3.

And that is what most people have been discussing when talking about SWTOR being an OK single player RPG but a sub-par mmo. And for sure you can doubtless find true haters and true supporters but most of us are casual players and observers.

  Vorthanion

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 1917

4/08/13 1:45:10 PM#89
Originally posted by tiefighter25
Originally posted by Tyvolus4
I mean it all boils down to what I and ALOT of other people had been saying about the game...They did not make an MMO, it was a Single payer RPG with some co-op.  And the fact they chose an engine that could not support a MMORPG community further proves it -- as if it needed to be proved firther.

They most certainly did make an MMO. They also always spoke about an MMO.  The game is criticized for feeling like an SRPG with co-op features, but it is an MMORPG.

The Hero Engine was designed specifically with the intention of making theMMORPG "Hero's Journey".

Right now the, biggest game schedeuled to launch with the Hero Engine is the MMO sandbox "The Repopulation".

TESSO even used the Hero engine to block out some of their game world.

Taking a citicism of a game and then start working backwards to alter truth to make that criticism a fact is, in my view, unfruitful.

Just because it was designed to make the MMO, Heroe's Journey, doesn't mean it was designed well.  They call most Cryptic games MMOs too, but I beg to differ on that opinion with the incredible limitations on the engine and the general design flow of their games.  Instancing forcing people to seperate for just about every part of the 'game world' and the very limited number of poeple supported per instance makes this game and others like it feel anything but massively multiplayer.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13395

4/08/13 1:55:07 PM#90
Originally posted by Vorthanion
Originally posted by tiefighter25
Originally posted by Tyvolus4
I mean it all boils down to what I and ALOT of other people had been saying about the game...They did not make an MMO, it was a Single payer RPG with some co-op.  And the fact they chose an engine that could not support a MMORPG community further proves it -- as if it needed to be proved firther.

They most certainly did make an MMO. They also always spoke about an MMO.  The game is criticized for feeling like an SRPG with co-op features, but it is an MMORPG.

The Hero Engine was designed specifically with the intention of making theMMORPG "Hero's Journey".

Right now the, biggest game schedeuled to launch with the Hero Engine is the MMO sandbox "The Repopulation".

TESSO even used the Hero engine to block out some of their game world.

Taking a citicism of a game and then start working backwards to alter truth to make that criticism a fact is, in my view, unfruitful.

Just because it was designed to make the MMO, Heroe's Journey, doesn't mean it was designed well.  They call most Cryptic games MMOs too, but I beg to differ on that opinion with the incredible limitations on the engine and the general design flow of their games.  Instancing forcing people to seperate for just about every part of the 'game world' and the very limited number of poeple supported per instance makes this game and others like it feel anything but massively multiplayer.

Champions Online caps you at 100 players per zone in the outdoor world instances.  That's "very limited"?  Sure seems massively multiplayer to me.  Even if they could nudge the cap per zone to 200, it would be undesirable to do so, as it would lead to overcrowded zones that would make gameplay awkward.  It's a pain to kill mobs for a quest when they're already dead because someone else killed them.

There are trade-offs in many, many things in game design.  How many players you want to be able to support in a given area is one of those many things.  It's pretty easy to have 100 players on the screen at once if that's your top priority and you're willing to sacrifice whatever you need to in order to make that work.  But I don't think "MMORPG" should automatically imply "2D graphics and turn-based combat".  The better you want your characters to look and the faster you want to be informed of players moving around, the fewer of them you can have in an area at once.

  User Deleted
4/08/13 1:56:04 PM#91
Originally posted by Vorthanion
Originally posted by tiefighter25
Originally posted by Tyvolus4
I mean it all boils down to what I and ALOT of other people had been saying about the game...They did not make an MMO, it was a Single payer RPG with some co-op.  And the fact they chose an engine that could not support a MMORPG community further proves it -- as if it needed to be proved firther.

They most certainly did make an MMO. They also always spoke about an MMO.  The game is criticized for feeling like an SRPG with co-op features, but it is an MMORPG.

The Hero Engine was designed specifically with the intention of making theMMORPG "Hero's Journey".

Right now the, biggest game schedeuled to launch with the Hero Engine is the MMO sandbox "The Repopulation".

TESSO even used the Hero engine to block out some of their game world.

Taking a citicism of a game and then start working backwards to alter truth to make that criticism a fact is, in my view, unfruitful.

Just because it was designed to make the MMO, Heroe's Journey, doesn't mean it was designed well.  They call most Cryptic games MMOs too, but I beg to differ on that opinion with the incredible limitations on the engine and the general design flow of their games.  Instancing forcing people to seperate for just about every part of the 'game world' and the very limited number of poeple supported per instance makes this game and others like it feel anything but massively multiplayer.

STO's more an MMO than TOR, not defending the game merely stating a fact.

  Vorthanion

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 1917

4/08/13 1:57:13 PM#92
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Vorthanion
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Vorthanion
Heh, I had serious doubts about the Hero engine from the very start, but kept getting shouted down by supposed "armchair expert programmers" on this very site.  I had read previously that the Hero engine was not well suited for MMOs.  In fact, many of the current engines meet that sad criteria, such as the one that keeps getting regurgitated by Cryptic Studios.

You know why Cryptic's engine works for their games?  Because they made their own engine for the express purpose of making the sort of games that they wanted to make.  If EA had tried to use Cryptic's engine to make SWTOR, it's far from guaranteed that it would have worked out any better than using the Hero Engine.  It could easily have turned out much worse.  That's not a knock on Cryptic; their engine was built for Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and Neverwinter, but not for SWTOR.  If it wouldn't have worked for SWTOR, well then, maybe that's because it was never intended to.

As for Hero Engine, yes, it was built with MMORPGs in mind.  The original game was Hero's Journey, which may or may not have since been cancelled.  The problem is that you can build an engine to do what you want to do in one particular game, but you can't build it to efficiently do everything that any MMORPG could ever want.

How's it feeling there in that armchair?

Saying that it might have been better or it might have been worse isn't a very strong statement.

We've seen how Cryptic's engine worked for Cryptic's games, but not how it would have worked for any other games.  Cryptic had no need to implement functionality that they didn't need in their own games, even if a large fraction of other MMORPGs would have needed it.  So for other companies to try to use Cryptic's engine could easily have had catastrophically bad results.  Or it might not have.  We don't know.

I'm sorry, but where do you get the impression that I said they might have been better off using an engine like Cryptic's?  I merely used the Cryptic engine as another example of how there are many game engines out there that do not make for good MMOs.  They take the massively multiplayer out of the equation with their ultra-instancing of the game world / lobby and the serious inability to support more than a hundred or so people per instance.  I don't understand how engines used in games like EQ and Acheron's Call could handle thousands of people per server without instancing, yet they cannot or choose not to in games like SWTOR or just about any Cryptic game.  Just because they want to make a more arcade style game doesn't mean players want to be isolated from each other in multiple instances.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

4/08/13 2:10:32 PM#93


Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by Xthos It seems like a huge mistake, I mean this is one of the biggest gaming companies, with veteran people, they should of known what they needed.....But I also do not believe much of what they say, they mislead/lied so much during TOR, about so many things that at this point, does it really matter?   I guess if they blame the engine, it makes it even worse, because that may also mean their is no 'fixing' things, and it is basically what it is.  You may be able to optimize things a little here and there, but it may never be what you want.     I also wonder if this is why they went away from having a more open game, that a developer was talking about, well before release?  Maybe the functionality of things prohibited that also?
What do you do if you're working on a game that is already halfway done when you realize that a lot of things that you still want to do are incompatible with the half that you've already done?  Chopping out the things that you can't do without scrapping a lot of what you've already done means you lose much of what could have made the game fun.

There really isn't a good answer to it.  Your basic choices are:

1)  Cancel the project and eat whatever you've already spent on it as a loss,

2)  Press on and do the best you can, while realizing that the end result isn't going to be very good, or

3)  Delay the project by years and spend many millions of dollars more to scrap and redo a ton of things that you had already done, and hope that at the end of that, you're not in essentially the same situation as before with only a different set of things that you still wanted to do now incompatible with what you've already done.

Taking choice (3) isn't very common, and is a bad idea unless you have strong reason to believe that you really can fix the problems.  The only MMORPGs that I'm aware of to essentially do (3) are Tabula Rasa, Darkfall, and Final Fantasy XIV.  It didn't work out very well for Tabula Rasa and doesn't look likely to work much better for Darkfall.




OOOOH! I can answer this one!

Standard procedure is to keep going, even if the product is going to be horrible. Even with a horrible product, something can be recouped from the investment, which isn't as bad as losing everything.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Xthos

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2649

4/08/13 2:10:32 PM#94
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Xthos

It seems like a huge mistake, I mean this is one of the biggest gaming companies, with veteran people, they should of known what they needed.....But I also do not believe much of what they say, they mislead/lied so much during TOR, about so many things that at this point, does it really matter?

 

I guess if they blame the engine, it makes it even worse, because that may also mean their is no 'fixing' things, and it is basically what it is.  You may be able to optimize things a little here and there, but it may never be what you want.

 

 

I also wonder if this is why they went away from having a more open game, that a developer was talking about, well before release?  Maybe the functionality of things prohibited that also?

What do you do if you're working on a game that is already halfway done when you realize that a lot of things that you still want to do are incompatible with the half that you've already done?  Chopping out the things that you can't do without scrapping a lot of what you've already done means you lose much of what could have made the game fun.

There really isn't a good answer to it.  Your basic choices are:

1)  Cancel the project and eat whatever you've already spent on it as a loss,

2)  Press on and do the best you can, while realizing that the end result isn't going to be very good, or

3)  Delay the project by years and spend many millions of dollars more to scrap and redo a ton of things that you had already done, and hope that at the end of that, you're not in essentially the same situation as before with only a different set of things that you still wanted to do now incompatible with what you've already done.

Taking choice (3) isn't very common, and is a bad idea unless you have strong reason to believe that you really can fix the problems.  The only MMORPGs that I'm aware of to essentially do (3) are Tabula Rasa, Darkfall, and Final Fantasy XIV.  It didn't work out very well for Tabula Rasa and doesn't look likely to work much better for Darkfall.

 

Well, it makes sense to what happend, but for a company that big, it seems like something that should not happen.  They have tarnished their brand a lot, people will be much more hesitant to purchase something from them.  A lot of people on these forums were huge bioware fans and had the attitude that "In Bioware we trust", that blind faith and following probably has been lost now.

 

I do not set super high expectations for my money, so I got my money out of it (the free month), and was done.  I was skeptical going in, but had too many friends playing that it was worth the risk to me.

 

It just amazes me in the end that a studio that big would not know the current engines and if any of them would fit what they needed, or if they knew they needed to make their own engine.  I would think you would be rock solid on this BEFORE you start sinking huge amounts of cash into it.  If it were a smaller company with no real veterans, it is a trap I would think is very common, and probably is.

 

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13395

4/08/13 2:54:28 PM#95
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by Xthos It seems like a huge mistake, I mean this is one of the biggest gaming companies, with veteran people, they should of known what they needed.....But I also do not believe much of what they say, they mislead/lied so much during TOR, about so many things that at this point, does it really matter?   I guess if they blame the engine, it makes it even worse, because that may also mean their is no 'fixing' things, and it is basically what it is.  You may be able to optimize things a little here and there, but it may never be what you want.     I also wonder if this is why they went away from having a more open game, that a developer was talking about, well before release?  Maybe the functionality of things prohibited that also?
What do you do if you're working on a game that is already halfway done when you realize that a lot of things that you still want to do are incompatible with the half that you've already done?  Chopping out the things that you can't do without scrapping a lot of what you've already done means you lose much of what could have made the game fun.

 

There really isn't a good answer to it.  Your basic choices are:

1)  Cancel the project and eat whatever you've already spent on it as a loss,

2)  Press on and do the best you can, while realizing that the end result isn't going to be very good, or

3)  Delay the project by years and spend many millions of dollars more to scrap and redo a ton of things that you had already done, and hope that at the end of that, you're not in essentially the same situation as before with only a different set of things that you still wanted to do now incompatible with what you've already done.

Taking choice (3) isn't very common, and is a bad idea unless you have strong reason to believe that you really can fix the problems.  The only MMORPGs that I'm aware of to essentially do (3) are Tabula Rasa, Darkfall, and Final Fantasy XIV.  It didn't work out very well for Tabula Rasa and doesn't look likely to work much better for Darkfall.




OOOOH! I can answer this one!

Standard procedure is to keep going, even if the product is going to be horrible. Even with a horrible product, something can be recouped from the investment, which isn't as bad as losing everything.


 

It actually depends.  If you've spent $10 million on a game so far, figure it would cost another $10 million to finish the game and bring it to market, and you'd only get $1 million in revenue, then you cancel the game.  It's better to lose $10 million than $19 million.

Maybe you try to cut costs dramatically on what's left and shove the game out the door, but if you can't bring the costs for the rest of the project below what you expect to make by selling it, you cancel the game.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13395

4/08/13 4:48:22 PM#96
Originally posted by Xthos
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Xthos

It seems like a huge mistake, I mean this is one of the biggest gaming companies, with veteran people, they should of known what they needed.....But I also do not believe much of what they say, they mislead/lied so much during TOR, about so many things that at this point, does it really matter?

 

I guess if they blame the engine, it makes it even worse, because that may also mean their is no 'fixing' things, and it is basically what it is.  You may be able to optimize things a little here and there, but it may never be what you want.

 

 

I also wonder if this is why they went away from having a more open game, that a developer was talking about, well before release?  Maybe the functionality of things prohibited that also?

What do you do if you're working on a game that is already halfway done when you realize that a lot of things that you still want to do are incompatible with the half that you've already done?  Chopping out the things that you can't do without scrapping a lot of what you've already done means you lose much of what could have made the game fun.

There really isn't a good answer to it.  Your basic choices are:

1)  Cancel the project and eat whatever you've already spent on it as a loss,

2)  Press on and do the best you can, while realizing that the end result isn't going to be very good, or

3)  Delay the project by years and spend many millions of dollars more to scrap and redo a ton of things that you had already done, and hope that at the end of that, you're not in essentially the same situation as before with only a different set of things that you still wanted to do now incompatible with what you've already done.

Taking choice (3) isn't very common, and is a bad idea unless you have strong reason to believe that you really can fix the problems.  The only MMORPGs that I'm aware of to essentially do (3) are Tabula Rasa, Darkfall, and Final Fantasy XIV.  It didn't work out very well for Tabula Rasa and doesn't look likely to work much better for Darkfall.

 

Well, it makes sense to what happend, but for a company that big, it seems like something that should not happen.  They have tarnished their brand a lot, people will be much more hesitant to purchase something from them.  A lot of people on these forums were huge bioware fans and had the attitude that "In Bioware we trust", that blind faith and following probably has been lost now.

 

I do not set super high expectations for my money, so I got my money out of it (the free month), and was done.  I was skeptical going in, but had too many friends playing that it was worth the risk to me.

 

It just amazes me in the end that a studio that big would not know the current engines and if any of them would fit what they needed, or if they knew they needed to make their own engine.  I would think you would be rock solid on this BEFORE you start sinking huge amounts of cash into it.  If it were a smaller company with no real veterans, it is a trap I would think is very common, and probably is.

 

Size of the company has nothing to do with it.  An NFL team that hires 10 mediocre quarterbacks doesn't have the position settled.  You only need one starter, but you do need a good one.

You don't need 50 people tinkering with the DirectX and HLSL portions of a game engine.  You don't want 50 people tinkering with it.  That will just make an enormous mess.  You do, however, need one good one.  And it's not something that just anyone can do.  The overwhelming majority of computer programmers simply don't have the math background to do modern computer graphics.  The background needed for DirectX 9.0c is substantially less, but still, most computer programmers wouldn't be able to do a good job of it.  You really only need one person to deal with that part of the game engine--but he needs to be good at it.

And how do you find out if someone is good at it?  Well, you hire him, let him try, and see what happens.  A past track record can only tell you so much, as hardware capabilities have greatly increased as time has passed.  Someone who is very good at having 2D sprites move around on a screen isn't automatically good at rendering 3D models.

Even if you do get someone really good to work on the graphics part of your game engine, if he leaves the company before the product is done, you're in trouble.  If he didn't document things all that well so that the next guy to come along can decipher it, then you're in really big trouble.  I'd imagine that getting bought out by EA isn't great for employee retention, either.

-----

Furthermore, you don't get to make fundamental game engine decisions the day that your game launches.  You have to make those decisions years ahead of time.  If each model uses this many vertices, this many textures, this many uniforms, they get shared with other data this often, and so forth, then how many frames per second would you get if you have 20 characters on the screen running on hardware that will launch 3 years from now?  You can't just fire up a time machine and go check.

Hardware not going where you expected it to go is a real concern, too.  My favorite example of this is EverQuest II, which was built around needing high single-threaded CPU performance.  Even when the game launched, Intel was still promising that they were well on their way to a 10 GHz Pentium 4.  Then physics got in the way, and a 3.8 GHz Pentium 4 that launched that year was the highest stock-clocked desktop processor that would launch until 2012.  Even today, the highest stock-clocked desktop processor ever is only 4.2 GHz.

Or to take a more recent example, just a few months ago, Nvidia surprised people by announcing that Tegra 4 wouldn't have unified shaders.  Rather, it only has a handful of vertex shaders, so if you wanted to have a lot of vertices in your models, it's going to completely choke on a Tegra 4.

-----

It's never a case of "this game engine has everything you need", unless you're trying to make a really generic clone.  You can pick between a bunch of different game engines that have a lot of the capabiilties that you need, but nowhere near all of them.  And then you have to guess which engine is easiest to modify to get exactly what you need, taking into account that "build your own" may sometimes be the correct answer.  But you don't actually find out how hard it is to change a game engine to do what you want until you try it, as it depends on a zillion little details that don't make it into the marketing literature--and don't necessarily even make it into the code comments.

  Sevenstar61

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/22/12
Posts: 1594

"But it was so artistically done..." - Grand Admiral Thrawn's final words

4/08/13 5:34:41 PM#97
Originally posted by Quizzical
 

Size of the company has nothing to do with it.  An NFL team that hires 10 mediocre quarterbacks doesn't have the position settled.  You only need one starter, but you do need a good one.

You don't need 50 people tinkering with the DirectX and HLSL portions of a game engine.  You don't want 50 people tinkering with it.  That will just make an enormous mess.  You do, however, need one good one.  And it's not something that just anyone can do.  The overwhelming majority of computer programmers simply don't have the math background to do modern computer graphics.  The background needed for DirectX 9.0c is substantially less, but still, most computer programmers wouldn't be able to do a good job of it.  You really only need one person to deal with that part of the game engine--but he needs to be good at it.

And how do you find out if someone is good at it?  Well, you hire him, let him try, and see what happens.  A past track record can only tell you so much, as hardware capabilities have greatly increased as time has passed.  Someone who is very good at having 2D sprites move around on a screen isn't automatically good at rendering 3D models.

Even if you do get someone really good to work on the graphics part of your game engine, if he leaves the company before the product is done, you're in trouble.  If he didn't document things all that well so that the next guy to come along can decipher it, then you're in really big trouble.  I'd imagine that getting bought out by EA isn't great for employee retention, either.

-----

Furthermore, you don't get to make fundamental game engine decisions the day that your game launches.  You have to make those decisions years ahead of time.  If each model uses this many vertices, this many textures, this many uniforms, they get shared with other data this often, and so forth, then how many frames per second would you get if you have 20 characters on the screen running on hardware that will launch 3 years from now?  You can't just fire up a time machine and go check.

Hardware not going where you expected it to go is a real concern, too.  My favorite example of this is EverQuest II, which was built around needing high single-threaded CPU performance.  Even when the game launched, Intel was still promising that they were well on their way to a 10 GHz Pentium 4.  Then physics got in the way, and a 3.8 GHz Pentium 4 that launched that year was the highest stock-clocked desktop processor that would launch until 2012.  Even today, the highest stock-clocked desktop processor ever is only 4.2 GHz.

Or to take a more recent example, just a few months ago, Nvidia surprised people by announcing that Tegra 4 wouldn't have unified shaders.  Rather, it only has a handful of vertex shaders, so if you wanted to have a lot of vertices in your models, it's going to completely choke on a Tegra 4.

-----

It's never a case of "this game engine has everything you need", unless you're trying to make a really generic clone.  You can pick between a bunch of different game engines that have a lot of the capabiilties that you need, but nowhere near all of them.  And then you have to guess which engine is easiest to modify to get exactly what you need, taking into account that "build your own" may sometimes be the correct answer.  But you don't actually find out how hard it is to change a game engine to do what you want until you try it, as it depends on a zillion little details that don't make it into the marketing literature--and don't necessarily even make it into the code comments.

Pleasure to read your posts. Always learning something. Thank you


Sith Warrior - Story of Hate and Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxKrlwXt7Ao
Imperial Agent - Rise of Cipher Nine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBBj3eJWBvU&feature=youtu.be
Imperial Agent - Hunt for the Eagle Part 1http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQqjYYU128E

  papabear151

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/12/12
Posts: 86

4/08/13 5:37:55 PM#98

This game was a cash grab on a popular IP and it wasn't even a very well hid attempt either.

That's all, nothing else matters, game is shit and was never intended to be good, only appear as serviceable enough to play for "OMG STAR WARSSS HURR DURR" types.

  hikaru77

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/28/07
Posts: 967

4/08/13 5:41:40 PM#99
Originally posted by papabear151

This game was a cash grab on a popular IP and it wasn't even a very well hid attempt either.

That's all, nothing else matters, game is shit and was never intended to be good, only appear as serviceable enough to play for "OMG STAR WARSSS HURR DURR" types.

Thats your point of view. By the way what MMo are you playing? 

  Karteli

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/09/12
Posts: 2704

 
OP  4/08/13 5:49:18 PM#100
Originally posted by Sevenstar61
Originally posted by Quizzical
 

Size of the company has nothing to do with it.  An NFL team that hires 10 mediocre quarterbacks doesn't have the position settled.  You only need one starter, but you do need a good one.

You don't need 50 people tinkering with the DirectX and HLSL portions of a game engine.  You don't want 50 people tinkering with it.  That will just make an enormous mess.  You do, however, need one good one.  And it's not something that just anyone can do.  The overwhelming majority of computer programmers simply don't have the math background to do modern computer graphics.  The background needed for DirectX 9.0c is substantially less, but still, most computer programmers wouldn't be able to do a good job of it.  You really only need one person to deal with that part of the game engine--but he needs to be good at it.

And how do you find out if someone is good at it?  Well, you hire him, let him try, and see what happens.  A past track record can only tell you so much, as hardware capabilities have greatly increased as time has passed.  Someone who is very good at having 2D sprites move around on a screen isn't automatically good at rendering 3D models.

Even if you do get someone really good to work on the graphics part of your game engine, if he leaves the company before the product is done, you're in trouble.  If he didn't document things all that well so that the next guy to come along can decipher it, then you're in really big trouble.  I'd imagine that getting bought out by EA isn't great for employee retention, either.

-----

Furthermore, you don't get to make fundamental game engine decisions the day that your game launches.  You have to make those decisions years ahead of time.  If each model uses this many vertices, this many textures, this many uniforms, they get shared with other data this often, and so forth, then how many frames per second would you get if you have 20 characters on the screen running on hardware that will launch 3 years from now?  You can't just fire up a time machine and go check.

Hardware not going where you expected it to go is a real concern, too.  My favorite example of this is EverQuest II, which was built around needing high single-threaded CPU performance.  Even when the game launched, Intel was still promising that they were well on their way to a 10 GHz Pentium 4.  Then physics got in the way, and a 3.8 GHz Pentium 4 that launched that year was the highest stock-clocked desktop processor that would launch until 2012.  Even today, the highest stock-clocked desktop processor ever is only 4.2 GHz.

Or to take a more recent example, just a few months ago, Nvidia surprised people by announcing that Tegra 4 wouldn't have unified shaders.  Rather, it only has a handful of vertex shaders, so if you wanted to have a lot of vertices in your models, it's going to completely choke on a Tegra 4.

-----

It's never a case of "this game engine has everything you need", unless you're trying to make a really generic clone.  You can pick between a bunch of different game engines that have a lot of the capabiilties that you need, but nowhere near all of them.  And then you have to guess which engine is easiest to modify to get exactly what you need, taking into account that "build your own" may sometimes be the correct answer.  But you don't actually find out how hard it is to change a game engine to do what you want until you try it, as it depends on a zillion little details that don't make it into the marketing literature--and don't necessarily even make it into the code comments.

Pleasure to read your posts. Always learning something. Thank you

It's not always good to side with someone who admits to never bothering to install the game in question, in this case SWTOR.  The points brought up are mostly fillers for the mastermind plot: convince someone you know what you are talking about! (when you don't).

Uhh, Hero Engine?

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/367/view/forums/post/5569232#5569232

 

Wouldn't you like to discuss the matter with someone who understands other player concerns?  Real players .. actual players =D

 

Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

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