Hello all – I’m going to try to maintain a bit of a diary online to keep you posted on how development is going and what exactly is going on at Larian with regards to
. It won’t be that regular as time typically is my enemy, but I’ll try to give you these updates whenever there’s a hole in my schedule.
It’s been cool presenting the game at Leipzig and seeing all the reactions. Ever since the announcement I’ve seen the developers over here continuously check out what people are thinking about the material we’ve released so far, and it’s been fun seeing all the smiles when something good was said or occasionally hear the shouts of sheer frustration when someone posted something they didn’t agree with. It’s also nice to see the forum kick back alive regarding the work we’ve been doing and it’s an enormous relief that we can finally talk about the game we’ve been working on for so long.
The interface thread regarding the wasd controls has already sparked many a debate internally and especially the fears we’ve seen online of it being too action oriented triggered something over here. As a result we’ve launched a track to reinstall the pause feature of Divinity 1, and we should be able to try it out next week to see how it affects gameplay. It looks actually quite promising and a side effect is that we’ve now got a nice way of making screenshots (think bullet time).
We’re now in the stage of development that I prefer the most. It’s the stage where you have this huge beast with all kinds of features that you can tweak and realign fairly easily. We’ll soon be starting our playtests and it’s going to be fun to see the game grow week after week when we tune it to the feedback we get from the players. Well, I hope it’s going to be fun and that we didn’t too make too many bad decisions
As more details about the game will be released, I’m also very curious what you all will have to say about it. This forum has always been a big source of inspiration to the point that when making the design for
it was: ok let’s see what they really liked and let’s see what they really disliked. Since you lot don’t always agree that was often an interesting exercise. And of course, we also have our opinion about certain things
Because the above paragraph might sound cheesy, I want to stress the point about how important this community has been to our past development by citing one example: the two skeletons in Divine Divinity having their philosophic argument is a scene which has often been cited as one of the most memorable moments of the game. But the scene wasn’t completely our idea as it came about as the result of the interaction between a forum member visiting our office and Bronthion who designed the GIQ’s in
. I think it was Alrik but I’m not 100% sure anymore.
Another example would be the moral dilemmas thread. The feedback we got there was important in making the crazy decision to try to have lot of immediately tangible consequences in the subquests and it even lead to the mindread feature, in some weird twisted way which involves a shower
And I don’t even want to talk about all the help we got for the QA on Beyond Divinity from the members of this forum.
Anyway, I was going to give you a bit of an update on what we were doing rather than starting to think about why this forum is so important to Larian (and yes, I know, our years of silence haven’t helped a lot). The most notable things since Leipzig over here have been reviews of where we stand with the user interface, something cool called pre light-pass rendering and the art and animation teams entering their final bursts of production.
The user interface visible in the youtube video by Xanlosch is obviously a work in progress version and our art director has recently started deciding on the visual look of it. We went through all of the user interfaces the game offers (which is really quite a lot since we have different UI’s on the Xbox360 and the PC) and at first sight, it looks like the usability of those things is working out well. New to me was the character customization screen and the quest rewards screen which I had only seen on paper so far. Regarding the customization screen there is a neat feature which allows you to recustomize your character once you are already walking around in the game. And the quest rewards screen is different to what I’ve see so far in other RPGs (of course I didn’t play them all so maybe it exists somewhere). We’ll have to see how the play tests go, but my thoughts upon seeing the UI was that I think you shouldn’t find getting the game to do what you want it to do a big hassle.
The pre light-pass rendering is something we had to do to solve a problem on the Xbox360 and wasn’t really planned, but it came with a lot of benefits (also for PC) so I’m quite happy we did it. I think that once our artists will be able to use the full power of the thing, you should see something really nice appear in the next bunch of screenshots. I won’t tell you what yet
And as far as the art and animation teams entering the final production phases goes, that doesn’t mean they’re finished yet because they’ll soon enter a long period of QA, but it means that most of the assets of the game are actually there and that most parts of the gameworld are ready, at least from a visual point of view. Our designers still have to fill up certain chunks of the game with all kinds of quests and boosters.
Our menu for the coming weeks is filled with the last remaining gameplay features being implemented, a whole bunch of quests being added and reviewing a lot of the artwork and animations that were made. That and of course seeing how the playtests go.
Right, back to some very boring task involving numbers and a lot of legal lines...or maybe I'll pretend I forgot and start my weekend