Darkfall Activity Report ? Optimizing Interaction
November 12, 2010 Tasos Flambouras 13 Comments
Last week we gave you an overview of the Scrum process we have in place, which teams are doing what and how it?s all supposed to come together. We?re in the middle of the current sprint which ends November 19th before the next one begins, so there?s a limited amount of things we can discuss at this time before the results of the sprint are presented to us. These are some of the developments I?ve found interesting this past week along with some of our plans and thoughts for the future:
You?ve probably noticed we?ve been patching quite regularly. This trend will continue whenever possible. There are many minor changes that we want to put out there quickly. In one of the upcoming patches we?ll introduce the offline skilling feature we?ve talked about in the past. With that in the game, you?ll be able to select the option to meditate inside the player Journal, the feature will consume gold, and for its launch we?ll have a limited set of skills available that you can meditate on. Emphasis is placed on making this feature useful, balanced and fair for all. Based on testing, feedback, and interaction with Darkfall players we?ll expand on these by issuing frequent updates.
If there?s a unifying theme for the activities of this past week I would have to say it?s ?optimizing interaction?.
The most significant task for the next expansion has to be the streamlining the world. This past week we?ve been assessing and grading clan and capital city design based on a large number of factors like for example usefulness, relevance, function etc. and we?re doing the same with starting areas and dungeons. We?re taking a lot of player feedback into account on this and we have been doing this for quite some time. This will all lead to proposals on how to further improve the player experience and interaction between players as well as the new player experience. The ultimate goal here is to cater better to our target audience. As you know, we usually take the approach of small careful steps introducing features and changes and expanding on them. In this context however we?re determined to take whatever steps we deem necessary to make the improvements needed.
More on the interaction theme, we?re still working on the clan and political tools which are to be added in a patch sometime in the near future, we?re also working on adding more convenience to chat functionality, and to player identification. The research on the user interface is also ongoing without having anything specific to report at this time; however it?s a very high priority for us.
A lot of work is taking place as far as game sound is concerned. One aspect of the work being performed is the overall sound volume balance. Also we?re mapping the world right before we place the 3d sounds that make up the ambient sound system for the game. Most of the 3d sound collections are complete and just need to be placed. A lot of these will be placed automatically, however not all of them. There?s a lot of manual work to be done here by the world-builders and our sound designers. Tools have been developed so that the world builders can ?paint? the sounds in the appropriate locations. Ambient sounds and monster sounds are also being reworked.
As promised after the recent HellFreeze expansion, we?ve kept working on adding new monsters to the game, as well as updating existing ones. New monster abilities are being created as well as new monster effects. There is a pretty impressive volume of work on this and I would be remiss not to mention it. There are also new armor sets in the not-so-distant future as well as missing pieces added to existing sets.
As far as optimizing community-developer interaction we have more things in store aside from the Darkfall blog, the facebook page, and the twitter activity. The community liaison program is due to come into its own. What hasn?t been apparent so far is that the liaisons have been the community?s advocates within the company. They?ll soon assume a more active role and with some functionality changes to Darkfall?s forums, they?ll also be able to facilitate a better conversation between the developers and the players.
We?re very happy that players have taken our suggestion and are organizing more player events. Kudos to the organizers of last night?s awesome racial war event. The Darkfall event team is also planning several official events which should be coming up pretty soon.
That?s all for this week, thank you for reading.
This weeks Notes from Tasos - Interesting stuff
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