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Joined: Dec 2006
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Im back for another update - As usual, its been very busy and as usual I have the impression that Im not managing to get any work done. Its getting really bad lately my sense of time is completely gone and I dont seem to be able to remember what I did yesterday, not to mention what I did or where I was last week. E.g. I flew to Seattle for a day (which is a great city btw) and it happend to be the day that DKS was launched in the USA on X360. Yesterday I was debriefing somebody on my meeting there, and I really couldnt remember when it was that I was in Seattle so I needed to look up the release date of DKS in the US to be able to tell her when it was that I was actually there. I dont remember my timetracking skills being so bad, so Im trying to figure out whats causing it.

Too young to be able to blame it on age (I hope), I figured it must have something to do with our workload, but to be honest, weve experienced far worse in the past, so that cant be it either as matter of fact, its actually quite a lot of fun for the moment to work at Larian with pressure lower than usual, and things apparently going well for our studio. DKS is doing well, the new games are looking cool, and contrary to many an independent studio, were in good shape with the warm feeling of true independance doing miracles for my blood pressure i.e. we dont need to deal with the whims of any third party, and can pretty much do as we want. (Well, there are some constraints, but compared to the shackles of the past, these are almost irrelevant)

The root cause for the my time tracking problem is probably that theres a lot of things going on at the same time, and the continuous focus shifting gives me less of a frame of reference to establish when what happened where. Project D, project E, project M, project A, theyre all fighting for attention and theyre all very different from one another, so each time you deal with one of them you need to put yourself in another mode.

Ive talked about D & E before, but I dont think I mentioned M & A yet. So M is the next step in our eductional series which I think might be enjoyed by quite a lot of people and A is our first IOS game, which to be honest is bit of an experiment but seemed like great reason to get our hands on a bunch of IPADs and Iphones. Both M & A will be released internationally later this year, with D & E scheduled for release next year. The purpose of A is to get some experience on the mobile platforms, as eventually, we will put an an RPG there.

I know most people reading these updates on this forum are more interested in D & E than in M & A, D being the game where we explore the dragon theme a lot further and E our next traditional RPG, but when M launches, you really should give the demo a shot. As for A, its the kind of game you should play when you feel like hitting somebody, its an excellent frustration outlet. It doesnt feature any of our usual fantasy lore, but I am acutally thinking of reskinning it after it launches and putting some Divinity themes in it. Could be a lot of fun. We spent much more time and budget on it that we originally anticipated, so I hope itll be worth the effort.

Were starting to prepare everything for the announcements of M & A, so hopefully Ill soon not have to speak in code-terms anymore. As for talking about D & E, we need to gather a couple of signatures first before we can share with you what our plans are, but rest assured, well talk about them extensively once all of that is done and dusted.
Speaking of which, this week a lot of time was spent on creating the presentations of D & E for our partners, and it was the first time that we saw all of the individual design and graphic components put together in a way that its easy to communicate about them. You know this is the story in four lines, this is the gameplay in four lines, this is why it will work in four lines etc together with plenty of visuals. Its quite different from the usual design docs, which are actually quite lenghty texts, and feature things like (for example purposes only)

Decision 389:

A poor man was caught in the streets stealing from a vendor. The vendor deals in illegal goods yet he demands that the poor man be executed. What will you do, sire?

A Have the poor man flogged publically as an example and put the vendor out of business (-5 gold, righteousness +1)
B Tell the merchant to forgive a poor man and compensate him for his troubles (-1 gold, kindheartedness +1)
C Tell the merchant to forgive the poor man and fine him for selling illegal goods (+5 gold, +1 biased)
D No one demands anything in my kingdom; release the poor man and execute the merchant for selling illegal goods (+5 gold for 5 turns, Iron fist +1)

The pitch documents instead need to condense things like the above to you make choices, and you then need to hope that the audience of these pitch documents can understand what youre trying to do.

It turns out that thats quite hard Jan, our writer for instance, has a tendency (as you surely saw in DKS) to be fairly elaborate when he writes and summarzing his writing in a couple of sentences, well, it s not for the meek. To be perfectly honest, in this case we actually needed external help wink

In Bioware terms, the story summary for most of their games would be (shameless rip from hellforge.gameriot.com) You hail from humble beginnings a devastating battle sends your quiet life spinning out of balance the attack leaves you alone with two companions, of magical and martial prowess undaunted by the attack, you recover and are swiftly invited into an elite order that places you in a position of power or authority over the rest of humanity you discover that you must discover to four main locations in order to save the world/galaxy with your mission well under way, your every effort is twharted by an evil or sinister organization at some point you fall asleep and there is a dream sequence further along in your journeys, you discover the ruins of a sprawling ancient civilization wink

Given that were makers of RPGs, you can imagine that we scrutinize their every move, and so Im very happy to say that today we beat them to it ! It is not without a certain sense of pride that today I announce that we managed to summarize the fairly extensive storyline of project E in 4 lines (admittedly aided by some visuals), and people still get it wink Whats more its different AND, a Larian first, you get to beat the bad guy in the end !!!

I see that my next meeting popped up, so I need to go now. But before I dash off, a big thank you to all of you whove been writing such nice things about DKS all over the internet, and an especially big thank you to the makers of all those videos its a lot of fun for us to watch them and were quite grateful. Makes us a walk a bit straighter.

Cheers

Joined: Aug 2009
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What’s more – it’s different – AND, a Larian first, you get to beat the bad guy in the end !!!

Uhuh? I thought we did beat the bad guy at the end of DD?

But whatever, look forward for more info.

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Good to hear DKS and Larian are doing well - you deserve it.

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Great game DKS for xbox 360 I love the game. Hope for more console support just can't afford
to upgrade the pc every 2 years lol!!! good luck with the projects.

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Back from my meeting, which was about project M and represented yet another complete focus shift, because this morning I was knee deep into dragons. Apparently we'll have 22000 kids playing Monkey Tales at a music festival for kids (I wished those existed when I was still a kid) which should be good for the game.

So the other big thing that kept me busy was Divine Divinity we re-released it some time ago on good old games, taking the opportunity to fix some bugs in it and had the plan to do even more updates on it, but unfortunately the programmer who was working on it left the company, shortly after the re-release and ever since there literally wasnt any time for getting somebody else back into the code. This sucked, but it was one of those priority decision things and we had other issues to deal with that affected many more people. But now that there actually is some time to look at it, we decided to revisit it.

Imagine then the unpleasant surprise when we discovered that we somehow managed to lose all the changes he made to the code !!! What looks like a fairly ok backup policy turned into an epic fail when we saw that one of the discs that had a big label on it (sort of) Divine Divinity GOG masters contained not the 2009 release but the 2002 release. You couldnt see it from the contents of the disc because the dates were all ok, but that was only because the 2002 files had been recompiled. The actual changes werent in the code that was on the disc ☹

Ironically, the list of all the changes that were done was on the disc, as were indeed the binary masters, but it was the wrong source code. It was an accident for sure, and given the circumstances in which we were working then (i.e. continuous crunch and no cash) perfectly understandable, but still, quite unsettling.

Given that putting all the changes back in was more work than anticipated (we intended to just fix whatever problems were still reported), and all our programmers were busy on projects A,D, E & M, I figured Id take the code myself and have a look at what I could do. I very much miss the programming part in my current role at Larian, so I actually even looked forward to it and thought it was a pretty good excuse to put the excel files on the side.

Opening up the code of Divine Divinity brought back plenty of memories, and as I was browsing through it, I suddenly saw a comment

//Change 30-05-02 Lar Its my birthday and guess what Im doing again (see painpoint.h for more on this ☹)
and sure enough, I go to painpoint.h and it says

//Change 30-05-01 Lar Its my birthday and guess what Im doing Pain points are objects that dont appear on screen but if a npc bumps into a sphere around the painpoint, he gets hurt

The message implict in this one was that the crunch on Divine Divinity lasted more than a year because I was writing those in the middle of the night. So I started looking for some more quotes in comments here are my favorite ones (I actually did a search on a number of curses)

//Quite some work to get this Im constantly amazed that all of this @@@@ still works

//Clean up the @@@@ in memory lists so that memory doesnt go pacman

//So much @@@@ that it wont fit on my screen

//This way we avoid wasting tilme on all tiny @@@@ Divinity has, and NPCs

//The callbacks dont work and I really dont want to delve into bmg @@@@, so I solved it this way

//To get this f*** GDI @@@@ smooth and flicker free this option has been chosen. Microsoft !!!

//Patch 11/18/02 Gigantula bug @@@@ed up all XP points. Gains were never edited to anything but 0 so thats ok

//Well were really f@@@ed. What we would have to do here is switch to pathfinding because

//Someones @@@@ up (not mine for sure)

From the copy protection code

//Give this a very casual name in case some idiot releases object files with function name information + entrypoints
//Instruct story to f@@@ up later

//do nothing. The fact that set alignment relation doesnt work usually @@@s up the story well enough

From the editor

This is a programmer only function. Dont even try to figure out what this does. This is f@@@ing D A N G E R O U S. Sure you want to perform the ShroudSync ?

//TO DO que de @@@@ is da hier allemaal

And my favourite one:

//Swen, all this @@@@ was carefully tuned, so DONT TOUCH IT ! ;-)

which I believe had some a bugs ☺

We clearly had a foul language problem but there were only three of us programming the original Divinity and we had a lot on our plates (for Rat & Moonlight, pun intended), so I guess we can be excused.

The funny thing is that nowadays I get upset when I see our coders write comments like this, so having done this run through code I worked on, I feel kind of guilty now I forgot how bad I was. Made me realize that what I tell others not to do are often things I did myself, so its not really fair.

A couple of nights ago my counterpart & me were discussing our children, and I told her when my daughter hits puberty, Im putting her in a room very high in the house so she cant escape at night & Ill make damn sure theres no ladder close by. Having been confronted with my many sins as a coder and thinking about how Ive cursed at coders for doing the same thing, I think its probably best I buy a big and stable ladder for my daughter so that she doesnt try the rope thing.

Anyway, Im going to spend some time now trying to get Divine Divinity working in 1600x1200 again. Theres a traffic jam where I need to go so I can spare the time.

Till next time.

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Lar_q Offline OP
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@Kein:

Well, you killed the demon, but Damien survived at the end of div


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That is fuuny stuff... lol hard to cut the strings that bind us to everything we love.
When you look back, it is a sharp knife to see the mirror. I know ,I have a daughter
and I have had alot of reality bumps, but in the end you have to start to let them
become who they are HARD STUFF... The best you can ask for is trust, respect, to be
a part ,of all of it.

Im a dad and man it can be a challenge all of it's own. When your tree already has
it's branches and leafs and you begin to admire them and forget to check out the
roots.

Good Luck with future projects !! and with your family.
SM

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Great stuff ! LOL

And I even remember Rat and Moonlight (although the latter one only in a vague way) ... smile



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Amazing updates, totally enjoyed reading!

Very fun stuff. I so cannot wait for your next kick @ss RPGs!

Last edited by Paulcz; 29/04/11 06:54 PM.
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keep up the good work guys, can't wait to see projects D & E smile

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Thanks for keeping us informed. You guys are great, being both artistically gifted, and business management savvy. I wish you luck, and a lot of money. It will bring us a lot of great games in the future. wink

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So D&E could be seeing release next year? And I KNEW you looked at Bioware games! The DKS inventory looked almost like Dragon Age's inventory which is a good layout.

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Good to read another one of your updates. I can't wait for the big projects next year, but I'm definitely in for project A. I love me some mobile games, and the possibility of some Divinity skins is rather enticing. Is project M more of a kids title? Cause you recommend that we try the demo out, so I'm guessing it's good for all ages, yes?


My Favorite RPGs: Divinity franchise, Gothic franchise (including Arcania, so I think I'm alone...), Venetica, Risen, Two Worlds II, The Witcher, Sacred franchise, Fallout franchise, Mass Effect 1, Alpha Protocol, Planescape: Torment, Drakensang, KOTOR 1 & 2, etc.
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Good stuff! Glad to hear you guys are doing well especially in these economic times. I'm looking forward to projects D and E, especially project D.


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You were in my city and didn't even stop by to say hello? Pfft. Seattle is a great city, hope you come again smile

Out of curiosity, is Divinity II - The Dragon Knight Saga going to come out in the boxed version for PC? I've seen boxed for Xbox and Download for PC, but I'd really prefer having a boxed version for PC.

I wish my old copy of Divine Divinity would still run on my Vista computer frown


Glad you guys are doing well smile



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I saw a Dragon Knight Saga for PC (I think, it was in the PC games section) in EB Games (Gamestop) a few days ago.

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I *have* a boxed DKS for PC... 0_0

Maybe that's just Europe though, we seem to prefer RPG's more than Americans.

Last edited by Hassat Hunter; 01/05/11 08:39 PM.
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//Change 30-05-02 – Lar – It’s my birthday and guess what I’m doing again (see painpoint.h for more on this ☹)
and sure enough, I go to painpoint.h and it says

//Change 30-05-01 – Lar –It’s my birthday and guess what I’m doing – Pain points are objects that don’t appear on screen but if a npc bumps into a sphere around the painpoint, he gets hurt

The message implict in this one was that the crunch on Divine Divinity lasted more than a year because I was writing those in the middle of the night. So I started looking for some more quotes in comments – here are my favorite ones (I actually did a search on a number of curses)

//Quite some work to get this – I’m constantly amazed that all of this @@@@ still works

//Clean up the @@@@ in memory lists so that memory doesn’t go pacman

//So much @@@@ that it won’t fit on my screen

//This way we avoid wasting tilme on all tiny @@@@ Divinity has, and NPCs

//The callbacks don’t work – and I really don’t want to delve into bmg @@@@, so I solved it this way

//To get this f*** GDI @@@@ smooth and flicker free this option has been chosen. Microsoft !!!

//Patch 11/18/02 – Gigantula bug @@@@ed up all XP points. Gains were never edited to anything but 0 so that’s ok

//Well we’re really f@@@ed. What we would have to do here is switch to pathfinding because…

//Someone’s @@@@ up (not mine for sure)

From the copy protection code

//Give this a very casual name in case some idiot releases object files with function name information + entrypoints
//Instruct story to f@@@ up later

//do nothing. The fact that set alignment relation doesn’t work usually @@@s up the story well enough

From the editor

“This is a programmer only function. Don’t even try to figure out what this does. This is f@@@ing D A N G E R O U S. Sure you want to perform the ShroudSync ?”

//TO DO que de @@@@ is da hier allemaal

And my favourite one:

//Swen, all this @@@@ was carefully tuned, so DONT TOUCH IT ! ;-)


AHAHAH, thank for those. I LOEV read source code comments, always amused by some of mine which I did back then.

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Originally Posted by Hassat Hunter
I *have* a boxed DKS for PC... 0_0

Maybe that's just Europe though, we seem to prefer RPG's more than Americans.


Where did you get it from? I couldn't find one in all three of the UK's biggest stores. Ended up getting mine online via Steam which was cheaper as I already owned ED. A friend of mine likes the game but he lives in a rural area and his internet access is still dial-up.



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Local gameshop. Not really a big brand or anything.

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