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GDC - James Ohlen - Voiceovers didn't drive the cost up, it was getting the engine to work right tha

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  • birdycephonbirdycephon Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 1,314Member
    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?
  • hikaru77hikaru77 buenos airesPosts: 1,035Member Uncommon
    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. 

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,439Member Uncommon

    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.

  • tiefighter25tiefighter25 Winchester, MAPosts: 937Member
    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.

  • FromHellFromHell NY, NYPosts: 1,311Member
    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
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  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member
    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.

  • KaiserPhoenixKaiserPhoenix ViennaPosts: 59Member
    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.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,779Member Uncommon

    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.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,779Member Uncommon
    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.

  • VorthanionVorthanion Laguna Vista, TXPosts: 2,119Member Uncommon
    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.

    image
  • VorthanionVorthanion Laguna Vista, TXPosts: 2,119Member Uncommon
    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.

    image
  • tiefighter25tiefighter25 Winchester, MAPosts: 937Member

    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.

  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member

    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.

  • tiefighter25tiefighter25 Winchester, MAPosts: 937Member

    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.

  • TrionicusTrionicus Fort Lauderdale, FLPosts: 497Member

    Bottom line, they messed up the whole shabang.

     

    They got a hold of one of the best IP's in the WORLD arguably a top 3 IP and they shenaniganzed it starting with not making their own engine, then continuing with not making a proper mmo. I can only guess what all those network tv commercial spots cost. What's a 7:30pm TV commercial spot cost these days? 

  • PhoebesPhoebes Posts: 87Member Common
    How do people manage to play 120 hrs/week?
  • tiefighter25tiefighter25 Winchester, MAPosts: 937Member
    Originally posted by Phoebes
    How do people manage to play 120 hrs/week?

    They don't. A  few people at ToR's launch did nothing but play the game while awake, just like they do in WoW. Ohlen cherry picked the data to misrepresent it that there was a ton of ToR content, but misanthropes burned through it. Even if that were true, then he still seriously misjudged his customer base.

    His statements in all regard ring hollow. It is pretty common for MMO enthusiats to play about 30 hours a week, not the 7 to 14 he is alluding to for the 3-5 months of initial ToR content.

    It is also not unheard of for a lot of MMO players to only care about their main; and not roll alts for a Legacy system that didn't exist at launch, and didn't really do altogether too much once it was started.

    He's being disingenuous.

  • trash656trash656 Here, SKPosts: 357Member Uncommon

    Lazy (Because they ripp other peoples ideas, and can't be bothered to come up with their own ideas), incompatent (Because they are not organized, or professional and lack the experiance to deal with a major MMORPG development team), and a sorry excuse for an industry we have today (Because all that matters is getting the game out the door as fast as they can eventhough the game is a total peice of dogshit) There is no excuse for it.

    This shit has been going on for 13 years, you'd figure they would of looked at the past companys and applied things to their development phaze they shouldn't do or create a carbone copy from Blizzard, not thinking that maybe people are tired of the WoW Formula, and want to play something new related to starwars? Seriously? Are developers this stupid and out of touch with gamers and the community as a whole? It seems to me the chinese and japanese have more brains and common sense then us westerners do. No offence, to any of you developers out there, but 80% of developers in our countrys are just plain strait stupid, even from a buisness perspective your suppost to take economic history into account and observe what the customers want, because what the customer likes/dislikes changes all the time. This is basic common sense of any Buisnessman or even a flippin car salesmen. Stupid

  • ignore_meignore_me Apple Valley, CAPosts: 1,987Member
    The engine was also responsible for the packaging of overvalued real estate properties, unintended acceleration in Toyota cars, and Richard garriot being insensitive to others.

    Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  • tiefighter25tiefighter25 Winchester, MAPosts: 937Member
    Originally posted by ignore_me
    The engine was also responsible for the packaging of overvalued real estate properties, unintended acceleration in Toyota cars, and Richard garriot being insensitive to others.

    While it's correct that the engine isn't the single factor which explains all of Tor's woes, it is certainly a major player.

    Just as an example, it has now been over a year since Ilum has been temporarily shut down.

  • AntiquatedAntiquated Oak Brook, MIPosts: 673Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Distopia
    Originally posted by Impulse47

    I posted a thread long ago about how the engine would fundamentally and irreversibly handicap this game and got crucified for it.

    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/344364

    You're blaming hero in that thread, while ignoring the engine used was nothing of what Hero is today, it was an alfa build that was no where near done, many things were missing (as in not developed), this topic is only soldifying that fact. It's Bioware's screw up, not Hero's. They received no parts of Hero code outside of what they licensed, all additions were developed by bioware, from alfa up. The issue you're reporting is on Bioware not hero.

    The corporate finger-pointing goes in both directions, in that each company has blamed the other for the fiasco.

    As is typical in post-disaster scenarios in all corporations. The classic Scapegoat Scramble could be an olympic event.

  • tintilinictintilinic aPosts: 283Member
    Originally posted by trash656

    Lazy (Because they ripp other peoples ideas, and can't be bothered to come up with their own ideas), incompatent (Because they are not organized, or professional and lack the experiance to deal with a major MMORPG development team), and a sorry excuse for an industry we have today (Because all that matters is getting the game out the door as fast as they can eventhough the game is a total peice of dogshit) There is no excuse for it.

    This shit has been going on for 13 years, you'd figure they would of looked at the past companys and applied things to their development phaze they shouldn't do or create a carbone copy from Blizzard, not thinking that maybe people are tired of the WoW Formula, and want to play something new related to starwars? Seriously? Are developers this stupid and out of touch with gamers and the community as a whole? It seems to me the chinese and japanese have more brains and common sense then us westerners do. No offence, to any of you developers out there, but 80% of developers in our countrys are just plain strait stupid, even from a buisness perspective your suppost to take economic history into account and observe what the customers want, because what the customer likes/dislikes changes all the time. This is basic common sense of any Buisnessman or even a flippin car salesmen. Stupid

    Problem is that they hired "experienced" (read washed up old fashioned "it has always been that way") devs and it certanly went hand in had with what EA/LA wanted (copy of WoW with WoW numbers/income which probably in their corporate mind seemed logical). Throw tons of money/time/best IP/know developer studio, make clone of most successful MMO and it just cant fail!

    Result was...well SWTOR, in some parts it was even more backwards that LOTRO in 2007, its really outdated game.

    Blaming it all on the engine...i mean, they got early alpha engine, got shitload of people working on it that should have been able to rewrite it all 3 times around in 7 years (they got it in 2005), and they still somehow didnt notice its crap in 5 years. Doesnt add up, sorry. It seems whole dev team involved in SWTOR shouldnt be proffesionally involved with any software...ever.

  • NitthNitth AustraliaPosts: 3,684Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Normandy7
    Bad choice of engine it seems. Bummer they didn't get it to work properly. I would have chosen Unreal 3 instead of the hero engine.

    Why UR3?

    image
    TSW - AoC - Aion - WOW - EVE - Fallen Earth - Co - Rift - || XNA C# Java Development

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,779Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vorthanion
    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.

    You know why Cryptic's engine works for their games?  Because they made their own engine for the express purpose of making the sort of games that they wanted to make.  If EA had tried to use Cryptic's engine to make SWTOR, it's far from guaranteed that it would have worked out any better than using the Hero Engine.  It could easily have turned out much worse.  That's not a knock on Cryptic; their engine was built for Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and Neverwinter, but not for SWTOR.  If it wouldn't have worked for SWTOR, well then, maybe that's because it was never intended to.

    As for Hero Engine, yes, it was built with MMORPGs in mind.  The original game was Hero's Journey, which may or may not have since been cancelled.  The problem is that you can build an engine to do what you want to do in one particular game, but you can't build it to efficiently do everything that any MMORPG could ever want.

  • paulocafallipaulocafalli Sampa, CAPosts: 256Member

    It is really amazing how a major company like EA could do such a mistake. Indeed they should have writen their own engine from scratch focusing it for the game they were building.

    SWTOR was one if not the most antecipated game for me and probably the biggest disappointment.

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