Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I'm not completely familiar with Too Human but I do remember them getting panned at E3 2006, and hearing about Dyack getting all in a huff about it. Seriously, I mean, WTF? I use Unreal all day at work, and yes, its quite a bitch some times. More importantly we are using it on SGW for something it really wasn't meant to be used for, an MMO.
So what! Its a bitch. We have a talented group of engineers tackling all of the hurdles the damned thing is throwing at us, and sure we complain. But are we going to fucking sue Epic over it? Come on now! I have been on the UDN for a bit over a year now and before Gears of War was released the standard reply for a new feature was pretty much: "That isn't being used for Gears, so its not going in until after Gears is done."
And guess what? Once Gears shipped, Epic started dropping all kinds of shit into the editor. I remember reading some posts on there from Silicon Knights (not sure if they were from Denis Dyack specifically or not); these posts were pretty much the same thing as the lawsuit. "We're going to miss our deadline because Epic won't fix the editor/implement Feature X."
Hire a fucking programmer and have him implement your fucking features. Have him fix your fucking bugs.
Unreal isn't meant to work with BigWorld but we got it working at CME. Unreal isn't meant to stream large open spaces for an MMO, but we got it working.
All I am saying is, when you license a large engine like that expect to have an engineer (or two; or five) on staff to handle this shit. Don't fuck around for a year and half and then blame the company you licensed from.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Well, for starters World Builders/World Designers/Exterior Level Designers/etc... are a hybrid designer/artist. The job is close to a traditional Level Design position (of course what a Level Designer does from company to company varies greatly); though World Builders tend to be a little more specialized in the art of exterior terrain. The position of World Builder is becoming a more common job listing in the industry lately thanks to the success of World of Warcraft. Like most design positions, it varies from company to company what exactly it is you are responsible for.
For instance, at Blizzard, my job was to create the exterior terrain of the zones I was assigned. My official job title on the project was "Exterior Level Designer" and we were part of the Art Department (although as I understand it, Blizzard has moved these guys to the Design Staff now). The Creative Director (Chris Metzen) had already given us a rough map of the world he had created based on the previous Warcraft games. The approximate size, atmosphere, denizens and "feel" of the zone was already done by the time I began work. I was given terrain textures and static meshes (Blizzard calls them "Doodads", btw) from the Art Department and a piece of concept art for the zone. From here, I would create what we called "Demo Zones" with a few trees, bushes and the ground textures; I would mold the terrain to my liking, lay down the textures (grass, rock, sand, dirt, etc...) and throw in some foliage for good affect. The Art Director (Bill Petras) would then approve (or disapprove) this area and give feedback. From there I would begin propagating the entire zone with the style that the Art Director was happy with. Later, the Spawn Team would come in and populate the zone with Mobs, then the Quest Team would hit it with quests. Internal feedback would be given, changes would be made and then it would be pushed to the Alpha/Beta for more feedback and testing.
On Stargate Worlds we are starting from scratch with most of our work and the World Building Team is more involved from the ground up of the zones (worlds). We are working closely with the Content Department to get the feel down of the zones, the level flow, and the major (and not so major) P.O.I.'s. In contrast, on WoW most of this was done by the Design Department and by the Creative Director. Half of my job revolves around laying out zones on a 2D map (pencil and paper, then onto Visio) and then moving into UnrealEd 3 and laying out the zone in the editor. One of the big challenges I am faced with this time around is laying out cover for players. With WoW, we just gave enough room for a player to maneuver in a melee encounter; with SGW we are doing ranged, modern (and scifi) ranged combat. This requires a lot more space and a lot more thinking in placing cover objects in the world (its also a lot more work).
A lot goes into creating a zone. So much in fact, that it would definitely require multiple blog posts to even scratch the surface. The wife is bugging me to go to dinner, so I guess I will wrap this up for now and go into more detail later.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Ok, I have been getting flak for this for several years now, so it’s time to set the record straight.
The name is “Hapy”. Pronounced happy.
Why only the 1 “P”? Well, to make a long story just as long, here’s the gist:
Back in the early days of my internet useage, I connected to the internet via AOL (we’re talking 1993 here people!) on my Mothers account. My chosen screen name at the time was a name I had used for a character in a pencil and paper RPG called Underground. The setting of the game was basically Cyberpunk meets Insane Super-Heroes with guns (big guns). My character was originally based loosely off of the Marvel character Madcap. My character had the ability to affect other peoples emotions. Well, to be honest, just one emotion really. Heck, it may not even be an emotion. Basically my character could make people laugh. And laugh. And laugh. Did I mention these characters were Insane Super-Heroes? Yah, so he could make you laugh, and not be able to stop. Eventually you would asphyxiate and die from, literally, laughing to hard (you might break a rib or two on the way out also). My characters name? Mr. Happy Kill.
So, there I was on AOL with my cool little screen name on my Mom’s account (and no, we didn’t have a basement). Mr.HappyKill. Then I moved out (/gasp) and started using AOL on my roomates account. Problem with AOL is (or at least was; I haven’t used it in years) that I couldn’t transfer my screen name from my Mom’s account to my roomates. So, I had to make a new screen name because Mr.HappyKill was already taken by another user (me!). So, it became Mr.HappyKil. Then I moved out and got my own account, and guess what? Yah, same problem. So I became Mr.HapyKil.
I began playing Counter-Strike and used the name I had been using for so long: Mr.HapyKil, which eventually turned into MrHapykil (I even ran a server for a while known as HapyLand). After many hours of CS, then BF1942, Desert Combat, America’s Army, BF2, etc… I shortened it to just Hapy.
And I have been hapy with it ever since.