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Star Wars: The Old Republic Forum » 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
  LogicLester

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/30/13
Posts: 67

4/04/13 12:00:18 AM#21
Originally posted by Karteli

HeroEngine Meets StarWars

http://www.heroengine.com/2011/11/heroengine-meets-starwars/

 

It's a good read.  It's Hero's rebuttal when EA made the mistake of saying they couldn't do much with the engine because of it's limitations.

 

Can't say I blame Hero for spilling the beans when their integrity was on the line.  Gordon Walton since left EA / Bioware btw. 

 

It IS an interesting article, what I'd read before was much more of a, Simutronics was at E3 shopping for potential licensees for their game engine as much, or moreso, than they were showing off the game they were making with it.  That article makes it out to be more of a, Simutronics was at E3 showing off their upcoming game, and the engine they were using to make it, in hopes of licensing it to other developers after the game's release.  But what I said before still stands, why they went to E3 is irrelevant.  They sold it, therefore that is release.  The fact that they knew it wasn't an actual release canidate just makes them more culpable reputation-wise.

 

If you're working on something and a potential customer comes up to you and says "Hey, that looks great already!  I'll give you X for it right now and finish it up myself later!" and you know you're nowhere near done, but you sell it to them anyway, you've sold your reputation for X.  It's common sense, don't rely on your customer to do your work for you.

 

Oh and pretty much everyone has left EA/Bioware one way or another since SWTOR.  It really was like a black hole for talent.  It got drawn in, but it could not escape.... except at the poles where there are vortices of ejected.... talent?  Okay that simile sucks.

  Arglebargle

Elite Member

Joined: 6/13/07
Posts: 1061

4/04/13 12:24:53 AM#22

Completly voicing games makes them much more difficult to make changes on.  Requires a lot more work, organization, and cost than having someone go in and change some text box.   Especially when too many speed demons are going to be tabbing through it anyway.   Makes adding that extra needed content that much more troublesome.  And choosing an untested engine?  How could they even know how 'cost effective' that was going to be?

 

They also seemed to have real inaccurate ideas about how the game would be consumed.  I know they also said they thought that people would play it through 8 times  to get each class story.  Sigh. 

 

EA must have thought they had the magic WoW dethroner:   Major IP, respected developer,  big budget w/ adverstising,  the mechanics of WoWappeal.  Oops. 

 

A load of bad decisions, compounded, that once made, lead them into one titanic iceberg disaster.   Probably most of the people responsible have already jumped ship, or found suitable scapegoats.

 

 

If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  erictlewis

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/08/08
Posts: 3058

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

4/04/13 12:30:25 AM#23

I said for a long time the game engine was crud, and how it limited the game.  This entire thing just goes to prove that the game engine behind stwor is what has and still is causing this games problems. 

 

  doodphace

Elite Member

Joined: 6/19/12
Posts: 1406

4/04/13 8:14:07 AM#24
Originally posted by taus01

 

Has nothing to do with the engine or the cost for voiceovers. The games design was flawed from the beginning, they tried to cash in on the WoW crowd and made it a purely linear WoW in space. It had zero innovation or originality. After your starting planet which served as a tutorial for multiple classes, everyone did the same boring linear quests, even fracking space was on rails! Then you ended up at the non existing end game 5 months premature according to their calculations and had nothing to do.

The problem is that they wanted to cash in on the IP and the huge market for a new WoW. They failed, as expected. That is all there is to it.

They did not in any way copy WoW, or make the game WoW in space.

Copying WoW would have ment the game launched with a /roll command, combat log, macros/mod support, actual working raids, and a dungon finder.

  Pongo_

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/08/06
Posts: 35

4/04/13 10:22:32 AM#25

it was/ is a copy of WOW, a very poor copy .

some of the talent trees in fact were a allmost identical copy. 

crafting is the same, except you que a companion and wait minutes not a second or two.

 

  doodphace

Elite Member

Joined: 6/19/12
Posts: 1406

4/04/13 10:40:31 AM#26
Originally posted by Pongo_

it was/ is a copy of WOW, a very poor copy .

some of the talent trees in fact were a allmost identical copy. 

crafting is the same, except you que a companion and wait minutes not a second or two.

 

Having 1/4th of WoW's features/functionality does not = a copy.

A "poor copy" implies it copied it, just did it poorly. SWTOR left out the majority of WoW's features and functionality. Let me rephrase that, it left out the majority of MMO features and functionality. SWTOR was a poor MMO, not a poor "WoW clone".

Case in point? DCUO launched with a /roll command, dungon finder, and combat log. Rift actually copied wow for the most part, and was not only a success, it was a damn good WoW replacement.

Everyone needs to stop implying that the reason most MMO's fail, is because the copy wow.....the reason they fail is because they are poorly made. If their goal is to copy WoW, and they actually do it, they would have a damn fine themepark MMO on their hands.

  birdycephon

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/09
Posts: 1327

Not Safe For Woona (NSFW)

4/04/13 10:57:55 AM#27
I wonder, how hard would it be to port to another engine? I mean, the models are done, the logic is all written, is it really that difficult?
  hikaru77

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/28/07
Posts: 961

4/04/13 11:06:21 AM#28
Originally posted by birdycephon
I wonder, how hard would it be to port to another engine? I mean, the models are done, the logic is all written, is it really that difficult?

Yes, at this point is like they are developing a new engine inside the hero engine, makeb will have some of the new tech. But we all agree that the Hero engine was an huge problem for BW and swtor, it will be fixed and improved, but it will take time. 

  mmoguy43

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2300

4/04/13 11:33:36 AM#29

Switching engines is more than reimporting art and code. Hero uses it's own scripting language so its not at all an easy copy. Not to mention that all of the worlds would have to be rebuilt.

 

I can believe that using Hero did save them on expenses in the short term in order to get started quickly. Also the cost to have teams of engineers wrestling over the Hero Engine does sound a lot more expensive than the 60+ some hours of voice work.

Damn, that's really something that the engine is a lot to blame for the not so massively multiplayer design choice. Well.. combined with the BW story requirement there wasn't much option.

Let's build the ultimate MMO 1 feature at a time
http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/398555/page/1

  tiefighter25

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/12
Posts: 949

4/04/13 11:36:24 AM#30
Originally posted by birdycephon
I wonder, how hard would it be to port to another engine? I mean, the models are done, the logic is all written, is it really that difficult?

It would be a huge, impracticable, and prohibatively expensive undertaking to outright switch from one engine to another.

  FromHell

Novice Member

Joined: 11/10/12
Posts: 1338

4/04/13 6:00:54 PM#31
Originally posted by tiefighter25
Originally posted by birdycephon
I wonder, how hard would it be to port to another engine? I mean, the models are done, the logic is all written, is it really that difficult?

It would be a huge, impracticable, and prohibatively expensive undertaking to outright switch from one engine to another.

I guess they already passed the point of no return in 2008.

It's impossible that the BW engine will ever catch up with other major MMO engines, Forgelight by SOE, Dreamworld engine by Funcom and other great MMO engines with all technical bells and whistles.

A realistic Star Wars environment in Cryengine 3 for example would have been amazing

Secrets of Dragon´s Spine Trailer.. ! :D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwT9cFVQCMw

Best MMOs ever played: Ultima, EvE, SW Galaxies, Age of Conan, The Secret World
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2X_SbZCHpc&t=21s
.


.
The Return of ELITE !

  Karteli

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/09/12
Posts: 2704

 
OP  4/04/13 6:49:50 PM#32
Originally posted by FromHell
Originally posted by tiefighter25
Originally posted by birdycephon
I wonder, how hard would it be to port to another engine? I mean, the models are done, the logic is all written, is it really that difficult?

It would be a huge, impracticable, and prohibatively expensive undertaking to outright switch from one engine to another.

I guess they already passed the point of no return in 2008.

It's impossible that the BW engine will ever catch up with other major MMO engines, Forgelight by SOE, Dreamworld engine by Funcom and other great MMO engines with all technical bells and whistles.

A realistic Star Wars environment in Cryengine 3 for example would have been amazing

Aye, Cry 3 with huge seemless living worlds, capable of atmospheric / planatary flight..

 

If EA was throwing 300 people at fixing all the engine problems .. imagine how great the game would have launched with those 300 people working on features instead.  I guess that's one reason why John Riccitiello apologized and took responsibility for all the failures before stepping down as CEO.

 

It's still mind blowing how mismanaged SWTOR was / is :/

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.

  KaiserPhoenix

Novice Member

Joined: 1/28/13
Posts: 63

4/05/13 4:58:21 PM#33
Originally posted by tiefighter25
Originally posted by birdycephon
I wonder, how hard would it be to port to another engine? I mean, the models are done, the logic is all written, is it really that difficult?

It would be a huge, impracticable, and prohibatively expensive undertaking to outright switch from one engine to another.

 

well, Final Fantasy XIV is undergoing such a change with a realm reborn.

They will be finished sometime this summer, making the relaunch take around 2 years.

They halted the sub fee for nearly 1 year and even had a 2nd team which was making content for the 1.0 version of the game ( whose content will be obsolete, but they did it anyway)

 

They do it because they want to regain the trust of the fans and to revitalitze the final fantasy brand.

It would take this much, not less, for swtor to shine again but it will never happen since swtor is in "cash cow" mode for like 6 months already.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13274

4/07/13 12:53:07 AM#34

Blaming everything on the Hero Engine as though some other engine would have magically fixed everything is pure ignorance.  Unless you're trying to make a really generic clone, no engine will have all of the capabilities that you want built in.  Every game engine will want to do things a particular way, and sometimes the way that the game engine wants to do it won't be the way that you want to do it.

Licensing a game engine rather than building your own certainly lets you get started on a project a lot faster.  But it can easily lose its advantages by launch day.  If you build your own game engine, everything in the entire engine will be built around exactly the way you want to do things.  If you license an engine that wants to do things a different way from what you want, you can change it.  But what you change might interact with other portions of the game engine in ways that you don't realize, and thus break other things.  This can quickly force you to change a lot more than you expected.  Building your own game engine avoids this entire category of problems.

That's not to say that you games should never use or license code written by someone else.  But you have to do so more selectively.  If someone has a good chunk of code that is built to do exactly what you want and the licensing fees are reasonable, then sure, use it.  But if the code that you're considering buying doesn't do what you want, then maybe you shouldn't buy it.

And you should never buy access to an entire engine and figure that you'll just do whatever the engine wants to do without needing to change anything.  No matter what game engine you pick, that will cause all sorts of problems for you.  The details of exactly what problems it causes will differ from one engine to the next, but not the fact that it won't be set up to do exactly what you want.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13274

4/07/13 1:00:31 AM#35
Originally posted by birdycephon
I wonder, how hard would it be to port to another engine? I mean, the models are done, the logic is all written, is it really that difficult?

Suppose that you write a book in English, and then later realize that it should have been in Spanish instead.  How hard is it to change it?  Easier than writing a new book from scratch, certainly, at least if you're fluent in both languages.  But hardly a trivial matter.

Or if you have some computer programming background, what if you have a game programmed in Java and decide that it should have been in C++ instead?  How hard is it to change it?  Or pick any other pair of languages.

Every game engine will want things done in a very particular way.  The way that models need to be formatted will depend on the particular game engine that you're using.  Converting from one to another can easily mean that the new engine requires data that the old engine didn't and you have to fill in new data for every single model in the entire game.  Or that the new engine has no use for some of the data that the old one needed, and some details of your old models will be lost if you switch.

Newer graphics APIs give you a lot more versatility than older ones used to.  But that means that what one engine does to produce a given image on the screen can be radically different under the hood from another engine does.

  Vorthanion

Elite Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 1906

4/07/13 1:06:27 AM#36
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.

  Vorthanion

Elite Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 1906

4/07/13 1:15:41 AM#37
Originally posted by Karteli
Originally posted by FromHell
Originally posted by tiefighter25
Originally posted by birdycephon
I wonder, how hard would it be to port to another engine? I mean, the models are done, the logic is all written, is it really that difficult?

It would be a huge, impracticable, and prohibatively expensive undertaking to outright switch from one engine to another.

I guess they already passed the point of no return in 2008.

It's impossible that the BW engine will ever catch up with other major MMO engines, Forgelight by SOE, Dreamworld engine by Funcom and other great MMO engines with all technical bells and whistles.

A realistic Star Wars environment in Cryengine 3 for example would have been amazing

Aye, Cry 3 with huge seemless living worlds, capable of atmospheric / planatary flight..

 

If EA was throwing 300 people at fixing all the engine problems .. imagine how great the game would have launched with those 300 people working on features instead.  I guess that's one reason why John Riccitiello apologized and took responsibility for all the failures before stepping down as CEO.

 

It's still mind blowing how mismanaged SWTOR was / is :/

Sometimes I wonder if it really is mis-management and not something more insidious such as the prevailing stupidity of cutting corners and maximizing profits at the cost of quality and retaining patronage that pervades current business practices and ethics.

  tiefighter25

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/12
Posts: 949

4/07/13 1:21:54 AM#38

Mr. Ohlen says Voiceovers weren't expensive. He is really deflecting criticism of the original concept for the MMO.

He later states that the production costs related to the voice overs were expensive.

In other words, voice acting isn't expensive, but interweaving those cut-scenes into your MMO are expensive. (No wonder he recommends that his copetitors give it a go.)

Word games.

And as ususal, deeds speak louder then words, so to speak.

If the voice-overs aren't expensive then why: http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/25/4133266/star-wars-the-old-republic-rise-of-the-hutt-cartel-preview

does Mr. Hickman say,

"For one thing, the expansion won't feature unique quests for each of the game's eight classes; a process which would be "very, very expensive,""

and furthermore:

"Hickman said the team is still deciding which direction it wants to expand the game with its next full add-on. However, a new starting class (or even two, one for each faction), complete with its own full storyline, would probably be too big of a task to take on.

"A completely new storyline from level one to level 55 would be ... I don't think that's a part of the future of the game," Hickman said. "

Ohlen also tries to imply that it wasn't Bioware's fault, but rather 120 hour a week content locausts.

You often see this argument in ToR's official forums.

Remarks such as, "You have to take it slow and enjoy all the class stories.", "Of course players who burn through all the content are going to be bored",  etc.

If people complain that rolliing an alt is boring due to 90ish% of the content being the same each time, they are usually berated on the ToR forums that it isn't; it's exciting eaxh and every time.

Again, deeds.

As part of the FTP change, alt-rolling subscribers got an XP boost. The cartel market sells XP boosters. The most popular promotion ToR has run has been their double XP weekends.

Not actions that are taken by a company concerned about content locausts.

One of the annoying things about Bioware since launch is the things that they say, and then procede to do the exact opposite.

I appreciate that certain things are sometimes out of their control, but I wish they wouldnt take such liberties with the truth.

  Karteli

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/09/12
Posts: 2704

 
OP  4/07/13 1:40:57 AM#39

There is some play on words, with their alternate meanings under varying circumstances.

 

SWTOR may be operating at below the 500k subscriber base, with the cash shop filling the gap for the needed revenue to avoid closure.  Features were not too expensive during development, since SWTOR was determined to be a 1 billion dollar a year game to rival Blizzard's WoW.  Since that never came to pass, those new storylines / voiceovers are too expensive (currently).

 

Too big a task could refer to the multiple waves of layoffs from EA's BioWare division.  They seem to be spread thin as it in, having lost people, then retraining others.  Old bugs can't seem to be fixable, while new ones keep cropping up.  Maybe thats not the case at all - maybe the code is just a complete mess.  Either way, something is wrong.

 

 

 

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.

  tiefighter25

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/12
Posts: 949

4/07/13 1:50:06 AM#40

You can't have it both ways.

Either the voice-over approach is not practiable, or the game hasn't been saved by FTP and cartel-shop.

I realize a company isn't normally going to say either it f'ed up, or it's in a sticky situation; but don't make two contradictory statements in the same week.

 

*EDIT* To be fair, Mr. Ohlen hasn't been seen of heard of for a long time before the GDC event. He maybe on a personal crusade to excuse his past mistakes, and not on board with the official company party line as presented by ToR's new figurehead Mr. Hickman.

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