Topic-icon The Secret World: The Architext Developer Answers- Nophex!

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2 years 8 months ago #39052 by Kazara
Kazara created the topic: The Secret World: The Architext Developer Answers- Nophex!

You asked, and now- Nophex, the Grand Poo-Bah, answers!

Super Jenius demands to know:
Given the complexity and expense of creating Tokyo, can we expect new adventure playfields in the future, or will we be visiting new locations in missions only (similar to issues 5-7)?

If the question is will we have new adventure playfields in TSW the answer is ‘Yes’. If it is will we have adventure playfields with the same scope as Tokyo the answer is ‘No’.

Work began on Tokyo before the launch of TSW. During the production of the playfield it moved to different art teams and different design teams due to people leaving the team/company. Any time a project transistions from one owner to another there will be changes in direction and some work will need to be redone. The scope of Tokyo was also set when the team was much larger. The setting, size, and ambition made it a very expensive playfield to create. If you want more details on it I’d suggest voting for Flakked for the next Architext and asking him about it 

This doesn’t mean we won’t make new adventure playfields in the future though, they just won’t cost as much as Tokyo did! Any time we release content that deals with a new location we will evaluate if it should be handled via instances/missions only or have a public aspect to it.

mandellaSW is wondering:
What is the greatest 'hidden cost" of production that the players often don't consider when asking for content?

This is hard to answer without knowing the specific kind of content you are asking for. Each team member would also probably have a different answer for this depending on their discipline. For the content team it could be making our missions multiplayer compatible. For the Artists it might be the amount of time it takes to get the lighting to look just right in our engine.

From my point of view it is maintaining proper communication between everyone involved on a specific project and making sure everyone is working towards the same goal. It is one of the main reasons we are consolidating the team to one location instead of having it spread over the three Funcom offices. As a team grows in size it becomes less and less efficient due to an increase in communication and coordination overhead. When you start adding people working remotely it makes it even harder to make sure everyone is working towards the same goal. It is sad to lose incredibly talented people like Joel and the other developers in the Oslo/Montreal studio but it is required if we want to keep down “hidden costs”.

Mbbrazen brazenly asks:
What conditions would need to be in place for housing options to be financially viable, and is it likely that that those conditions can occur?

The condition would be having a time machine where we could go back to 2010 and have player housing be a launch feature for TSW.
Player housing is a feature that comes up every time we have “pitch meetings” where team members bring up new features/content they would like to see added to the game. It’s something a lot of people on the team would like to work on. I know a lot of you would love to have it as a new feature. Unfortunately it is also an incredibly large feature that would need to be integrated to every aspect of the game. It would need to impact the story, systems, economy, and everything else in the game.

When we look at a new feature we estimate the cost versus the rewards for it. The cost is pretty simple and is generally limited to the amount of time it would take the team to implement the feature. The rewards are various KPIs that we use to evaluate how successful the project is (Player Retention, Customer Acquisition, Average Revenue per User, Total Revenue, etc). Currently player housing’s cost is too high compared to what we can expect to get from it. If it was a launch feature it would be different story, but as a new feature added post launch it isn’t currently viable.

Brightmoon would like to know:
The term "resources" gets thrown around a lot when players talk about what the developers should or should not be focusing on. Can you tell us a little more about what those are and how you choose to allocate them?

For a live product like The Secret World most of the “resources” are the team members on the Live team. When we say we don’t have enough resources to work on something it means that the time of the people that would work on that project are currently being allocated to something else.
We have three main teams inside the Live team:

Content: Gameplay Designers, Scripters, Systems Designers, Sound Designers, and Writers.
Art: Environment Art, Character/Prop Art, Animations, FX, Cinematics
Tech: Gameplay Programmers, GUI Programmers, Tools Programmers, Rendering Programmers.

Each project that is worked on uses resources from these pools. If we are working on a new project and it requires us to use all of our Gameplay Designers, then we can’t do any features at the same time that would require GPD work.

The allocation of resources to a project is based on various data/metrics that we use. On TSW our main focus is on Issues so that is where the bulk of the resources are allocated.

Deceiver finishes the questions with:
How much of an impact does developing for other Funcom projects (like AoC) affect TSW production schedule?

In an ideal world the production of Anarchy Online and Age of Conan doesn’t directly impact the production schedule for The Secret World. Each person on the team is allocated to each product based on the production budget for those games. The budgets are based on past revenue and future projections.

Unfortunately sometimes unexpected events occur that require us to divert resources and change plans. This can be anything from a server crash, newly discovered exploit, or any other emergency that happens during the day to day operation of a Live MMO. Luckily these events are pretty rare and don’t take long to fix. The actual answer is that it has very little impact on the production schedule and rarely results in delays.

It sounds like housing will never find its way into TSW.

And the Deep State whispered to Trump “You can’t withstand the storm,” to which Trump whispered back, “I am the storm.”

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