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News from the front(3) #357857
13/11/08 05:31 PM
13/11/08 05:31 PM
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Lar_q Offline OP

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My next appointment took the slow train from Brussels, so that gives me some much needed room to give you all a new update... We just finished a two week “get in early and play the game every morning “ review session and I think the general feeling among everybody present in those review meetings was – bloody hell, this game is bigger than we thought. We were playing in god mode, using cheat keys without engaging in combat and it still took us a really long time to play through everything. I think I can safely say that we’ve reached at least one of our design goals and that was - make sure it’s dense enough with plenty of interesting stuff happening all the time, you know, the thing we call gameplay boosters. When you’ll finally get your hands in the game, there’s only one thing I can advise you and that’s to explore – there are plenty of detail layers and secrets within the world of Rivellon and quite a few of them are worth it. Mindreading also springs to mind as something which is worthwhile doing, there’s some really cool ones in there, at least I thought so.

There’s a lot of things going on at our studio for the moment and everybody is pretty stressed, but in general there’s a feeling of – if we manage to do this right, this could be a great game. Still plenty of opportunities for us to goof up, but somehow we managed to get something right ;\) One thing which I think we’re getting pretty right is our dialog presentation. I’m talking about the entire voices/lip-synching/animations/cameras thing. An immense effort is being done to get all of that dialog presented to you in an entertaining way, and I’m really happy at how it turned out. Somewhere in the near future (how many times have I used that phrase already in the context of this project), you’ll be seeing video footage of those dialogs, and I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s been worth the effort.

The user interfaces are also getting more and more complete, and the difference between the PC and Xbox360 user interfaces is pretty sharp. I play games on both systems, and I was happy to see that some schizophrenic part of me could appreciate the nuances the UI guys put in for both audiences. You look at one UI and you say – yep, most definitely PC RPG. You look at the other and you have this thing of, ok – works well for an Xbox360 RPG. The underlying functionality is the same, but it’s surprising how much the look needs to fit the platform for there to be… well, call it gameplay. The same actions with a non-appealing UI on a particular platform feel a lot different than when it is appealing. Don’t ask me why, I tried explaining people in the team multiple times: “you watch, when the UI will look nice and fit, this will be fun” and they all looked at me in a disbelieving way, but now I feel vindicated ;\) It’s a discovery we made when making - for a long time there was absolutely no item fever in the game, and then one day we got the presentation acceptable, and suddenly it was there. Magic… 
And then I also saw something which I was looking forward to for a long time, but I can’t talk about it yet – all I can say is – they look cool and well done Tristan ! (and of course the legion of other guys involved ;\) )

Ok, I have to stop already – it was a slow train, but it wasn’t that slow and my appointment will be arriving soon. I’ll try to give a longer update….errr… in the near future ;\)

Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Lar_q] #357862
13/11/08 09:51 PM
13/11/08 09:51 PM
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10 work days times 8 hours a day = gameplay of at least 80 hours?


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Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Morbo] #357863
13/11/08 10:41 PM
13/11/08 10:41 PM
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Equisilus Offline
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It's gratifying to see Larian making such an effort to design a UI separately for console and PC. There has been a rash of recent PC games that suffer from consolitis, with a UI that is obviously much too large for PC gaming. If Larian gets that right, as you say Lar, it really makes the feel of the game different (and better). Good job on recognizing it! \:\)

Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Morbo] #357865
13/11/08 10:50 PM
13/11/08 10:50 PM
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80 hours with cheats...
....yep this is gonna screw up sleep for work quite a few times. Might have to take a day off to play it.... hm....

Thanks for the update!

[Joke]
A man whom was loyal to his Christian faith got a chance to talk to God.

"God, how long is a 100 years of man for you?" The man asked.
God answered. "Only but a fraction of a second my child. As I and all those in heaven are eternal."
"god, how much is a billion dollers (USD) worth to you?" He asked.
God answered. "Only but a mere penny as wealth means very little to me."

The man asked, "May I have one of your pennies?"
God shook his head with a smile. "Sure, my child. Just wait a few seconds."

Last edited by LightningLockey; 13/11/08 10:52 PM.

Every time there I run into trouble on the road, there is always a dwarf at the bottom of it. Don't they know how to drive above ground?
Re: News from the front(3) [Re: LightningLockey] #357878
14/11/08 11:41 AM
14/11/08 11:41 AM
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Myrthos Offline
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So... Tristan made something cool that we are not allowed to know yet. From his previous work I assume Tristan works on the art for objects, houses, environments etc. in D2. As Lar was talking about items just before that, maybe some real cool items were made....
Then again; if there is more than 1 Tristan working at Larian Studios it could be anything \:\)


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Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Lar_q] #357922
15/11/08 10:22 PM
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 Originally Posted By: Lar_q
I’m talking about the entire voices/lip-synching/animations/cameras thing.


Hello, Lar, can you elaborate a bit more on this thing ? I've been wondering for years now how this is done technically, to match the spoken word with the animation(s).

Personally, I see a slight problem when future computers might be so fast that they "play" the animation much faster than today's computers. How will this be matched, too ?




When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.
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"Interplay.some zombiefied unlife thing going on there" - skavenhorde at RPGWatch
Re: News from the front(3) [Re: AlrikFassbauer] #357927
15/11/08 11:48 PM
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Myrthos Offline
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As far as I know it is event driven; the animations are paced with the spoken text. It is therefore independent of the speed of the computer.
There are several sources explaining how this is done if you google for "lip sync technique" if you are interested.


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Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Myrthos] #357936
16/11/08 01:35 PM
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The Endless Offline
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@Alrik,
Basically doing lip sync, you put the voice file into your animation program, you go through it frame by frame listning to the sound and the words, and find out what the mouth should look like to match the sound/word (often using a mirror) and animate it.

Last edited by The Endless; 16/11/08 01:38 PM.
Re: News from the front(3) [Re: The Endless] #357944
16/11/08 10:25 PM
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AlrikFassbauer Offline
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Hm, I see.

I just thought the sound files would be processed so that they contain kind of an "marker" after the process, which is somehow noticeable through a program, so that it can start an animation at that point where the "marker" is, so the animation would be sinced, too, by letting it started at an exactly defined point (of the spoken text).

But i fear this might sound too complex to realize. ;\)


(Oh, my, another idea gone nuts ...)


When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.
--Dilbert cartoon

"Interplay.some zombiefied unlife thing going on there" - skavenhorde at RPGWatch
Re: News from the front(3) [Re: The Endless] #357952
17/11/08 10:07 AM
17/11/08 10:07 AM
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elgi Offline
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 Originally Posted By: The Endless
@Alrik,
Basically doing lip sync, you put the voice file into your animation program, you go through it frame by frame listning to the sound and the words, and find out what the mouth should look like to match the sound/word (often using a mirror) and animate it.

Yeah, that's one way to do it... the other one would be to have an automated lip synching technique which allows more than just one voice over language. Imagine you make the English game perfectly lip synch... what is with the German/French/Italian/Spanish versions? Of course, in many cases, developers/publishers just tell the international voice over guys to take care of the lip synching - which is a hell of work while translating and recording... and: considerably more expensive than without lip synching.

Therefore, I do hope that the Larians use an automated lip synching system which somehow adapts the facial animation to the spoken words. \:\)


Nigel Powers: "There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch!"
Re: News from the front(3) [Re: AlrikFassbauer] #357953
17/11/08 10:07 AM
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Lar_q Offline OP

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Lar_q  Offline OP

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Hey Alrik,

The way we are doing this is part of a research program, so one day there'll be publications about it and when they are there, I'll make sure we post a link here so you can find out for yourself. But the short of it, system specs have nothing to do with it.

Regarding the 80 hours - I didn't say that though it could, we really don't know as long as we haven't finished with the balancing. A general rule of thumb is to double or even triple the time in a walkthrough in god mode, and since we this in the mornings, that'd indicate somewhere around between 40 to 75 hours.

Cheers

Lar

Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Lar_q] #358103
25/11/08 02:01 AM
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LightningLockey Offline

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With your games... I'd triple it. Especially for those that will just try a quest a bunch of times to find the best possible ending and then proceed.


Every time there I run into trouble on the road, there is always a dwarf at the bottom of it. Don't they know how to drive above ground?
Re: News from the front(3) [Re: LightningLockey] #358107
25/11/08 05:52 AM
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Not to mention those of us who explore every inch of the game world, which Larian actually made rewarding in DD...

Re: News from the front(3) [Re: flixerflax] #358120
26/11/08 03:14 AM
26/11/08 03:14 AM
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LightningLockey Offline

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Yeh, DD had a lot of stuff to find. It felt more like a huge mmorpg only without any other players. At times I felt like chatting while exploring areas and had to remember, this is not an online game.


Every time there I run into trouble on the road, there is always a dwarf at the bottom of it. Don't they know how to drive above ground?
Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Lar_q] #358205
28/11/08 10:43 PM
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 Originally Posted By: Lar_q

Xbox360


Whoa, I thought this was only a PC game, and I had only a passing interest in this because my PC sucks. When did this become a multi-platform thing? Glad I decided to check in on these forums today, I'm pretty stoked about this development.

Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Chairchucker] #358206
28/11/08 11:07 PM
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Raze Offline

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AFAIK the first public mention of an XBox version was in December of 2006, with the topic Who owns a console ?.

Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Raze] #358236
30/11/08 11:48 PM
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... I put it in here ...

Meanwhile writing for the story contest, I had kind of an idea.

Somewhere it was mentioned that all the other fellow dragon hunters become foes of the player character once he or she becomes a dragon.

My idea now is this: I would find it far more realistcally, if the fellow dragon hunters ONLY become his foes when they SEE him transform him into a dragon.

This would make things much more complex and imho more diverse & interesting.

So I could imagine, for example, a fellow dragon-hunter the player character is good friends with, who stubbornly refuses to become a foe of the PC - and even to believe the others - who say that the PC is now their foe because h transforms into a dragon !

This would slow down development, I know, but I think this would make things much more realistic, because when *all* dragon-hunters suddenly become his foes, it woulsd appear as if they were telepathically connected with one another ...

Of course, there's mind-reading, but who says I've got to believe everything I mind-read ? Thoughts I read could even be lies ! - But that I think rather only if the person who's mind is being read *knows* of the possibility/skill of mind-reading ...

Another point could be a simple convincing/persuasion check : If the dragon hunter, who tells a fellow dragon hunter the "rumor" of the PC being a dragon now, has a low value of persuasion, then the fellow dragon hunter simply won't believe him.


When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.
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"Interplay.some zombiefied unlife thing going on there" - skavenhorde at RPGWatch
Re: News from the front(3) [Re: AlrikFassbauer] #358238
01/12/08 03:02 AM
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It sounds more like a script re-write than a "slow down". If dragon hunters know, then the rest of the world will probably find out as they will want people to report where this prize has last been seen. Now just imagine everyone in Sword of Lies (a.k.a. "DD") hating the main char in all the towns and shops.

From the sounds of things, looks like the script and all quests are added. Now it is voice overs being added, balancing the difficulty, bug hunting and maybe optimization tweaks.

Though I'm sure you can make a good 'fan fiction' story from this idea.

Last edited by LightningLockey; 01/12/08 03:03 AM.

Every time there I run into trouble on the road, there is always a dwarf at the bottom of it. Don't they know how to drive above ground?
Re: News from the front(3) [Re: LightningLockey] #358239
01/12/08 05:30 AM
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I kind of like your idea Alrik, but it is also somewhat unrealistic. If someone sees you turn into a dragon, and they are the only one that hates you, it doesn't follow the logical assumption that he/she would tell the news to others. It would make the NPC's seem unconnected to the world around them. I think a better solution might be that each NPC has a certain group of other NPCs, spread out a little bit, that when the hate reaction is triggered in them, it also triggers in the AI of the group that NPC is connected to. It might make for some tense situations too, when you can't be sure before speaking to/crossing paths with someone whether they know about your little secret.

Re: News from the front(3) [Re: Tenorek] #358245
01/12/08 01:01 PM
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AlrikFassbauer Offline
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Okay I see this. So I believe a persuasion check would make things much more realistical(ly).
(Grammar ?)


When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.
--Dilbert cartoon

"Interplay.some zombiefied unlife thing going on there" - skavenhorde at RPGWatch

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