Shiny Day - Sometimes you have to stop and take stock

Hail Elyrians!

It is, once more, that most shiny of days! As usual, I figured I'd talk a little about what I was doing today and how that relates to some aspects of the game. But for that to work, I've got to have some shiny image or video to share, so let's start with an image:

That, my friends, is the conference room. It is the place where Caspian, Vye, myself, and the rest of the team gather for meetings or, for the purpose of this post, review what's been worked on lately.

Generally, when we implement something, we implement it first in a very rough prototype form. That's usually with little or no graphics or -- where graphics are necessary -- with what the industry affectionately calls "programmer art." Which basically means we use placeholder art put there by the person who implemented the feature. Here at SBS, programmers aren't the only folks who implement features, so it's a little unfair to still call what you see at this stage programmer art, honestly. But, it is what the industry calls it.

Anyway, when you get lucky, even the programmer art looks OK, but it's almost always nowhere near shipping quality. For example, one of the things I was looking at today was the basics of the knowledge system, which are in the game now. It's all programmer art, but some of it doesn't even look that bad:

There comes a point, even in a test client, where programmer art isn't going to cut it. Either it's because the programmer art is just so clunky you can't get a sense of what the feature really feels like, or because you're beginning to transition away from your game client being a testbed and more towards it becoming something you're actually going to show to someone. At this point, the real artists take over. In some cases you get the real final art, in others you get what amounts to "better placeholders" -- art built at the level of fidelity you need for your game client's purposes and no more.

In our case, we're more the latter than the former -- we don't want to bog down the art team building UI for features that are still in flux. However, the art still needs love, so we ask them to implement placeholder art in question at the same fidelity level of the game client. (In our case, that means UI art that fits the same minimalist aesthetic that the 3D assets use in our alpha client)

A good example of this is the character creation screen. I believe we've shared the "programmer art" version of this in the past, but here's what it looks like with "Alpha art:"

That same sort of look and feel applies to the inventory and other character management screens as well. Though, in the next example, you'll see instances where we both have alpha art and where we still have some programmer art in view.

I'm not really a huge fan of the dev time lost to reviewing, but it's a necessary use of time, all the same. Especially as the lead designer; review time for me is a chance to make sure everything is moving in the right direction, and a chance to see that features are doing what we expect them to. And, honestly, it's a time for the team to S H I N E, which makes a day like today a perfect day for reviewing, don't you think?

Stay shiny my friends!

  • Snipehunter
6/25/2019 11:22:35 AM #46

Nice to see you have female avatars up and running, not leaving it until the games released to add em in like some other games...

'Game over man, over.'

6/25/2019 2:42:02 PM #47

Posted By Snipehunter at 11:21 PM - Thu Jun 20 2019

I see it automatically filled in the gender of the person that you had met in the knowledge field but not the tribe. If the tribe is obvious, will it fill in or will you need someone to tell you that it is Dras or whatever?

Indeed! Anything that you can "obviously" infer (or misconstrue, in the case of disguises) will be added to your knowledge base. I'm pretty sure that's even already in and just buggy right now, actually.

How will it handle hybrids? I don't know if there will be any in at launch, but eventually there will be people who do not fit neatly into a label. How will the social and other systems handle them?

6/26/2019 6:32:30 PM #48

Been following the game for a while and I don't usually talk much in here but Im happy to see improvements. More of the inside look into what's going on around the company. Its good and reassuring. Keep it up SBS!

6/27/2019 4:40:13 AM #49

Awesome, I love the share, but so many questions lol...

Let me limit myself... First I want to say I really like the fact that initially no one has a nameplate hovering over their heads until you've met them in conversation. I think this system is great so that if you see someone on the horizon and decide you want to sneak up on/around them then you don't have a nameplate unless you know them.

I'm very curious about the introduction system that was displayed. I get that this is just an early stage test, but I'm curious that if you want to use an assumed identity, is that going to be a 'setting' in the journal screen?

  • ie: -use IDENTITY 1 when interacting with others....

or will it appear as a conversation option, assuming you have multiple (forged?) identity papers?

  • ie - Hello, I am...
    • Thomas Anderson
    • Neo
    • The One

6/27/2019 9:13:12 AM #50

Now this is truly shiny.

6/27/2019 8:57:54 PM #51


6/28/2019 9:03:09 AM #52

Posted By Snipehunter at 2:30 PM - Fri Jun 21 2019

We haven't implemented the feature yet, but you will also be able to select something from your knowledge base and put it into chat as a token so that you can share knowledge with anyone who can hear you.

Is this the teaching skill? or will that be something different

Everyone wants to be a beast, until it's time to do what beasts do.

7/3/2019 11:17:34 AM #53

The graphics actually looks okay comparing to some of the games that I have played :P

7/9/2019 1:40:42 AM #54

Will there be a field to add your own knowledge of the character gained from other players? And can it be made official for example if their disguise is a female but their real character is a male can you infer that and put an override in?


7/9/2019 6:03:18 AM #55

Yernero, from what they told us, you can give information just by talking with players/NPCs. And you can not change that yourself by editing it.

I say this from what I know, so I might not know some details.

Respect and trust!

7/9/2019 8:03:55 PM #56

The trick is that there is a separation between what you know, and what your character knows that we very much want to preserve, so as to prevent folks from simply "looking up the answers online" as a way to play. While you could definitely learn something outside of the game, say learning that your friend has created an alter-ego for their character that is a female disguise, unless your character penetrates that disguise to realize said female is actually their male friend, your character can't act on that knowledge.

However, your friend can give you the knowledge of his identity by dragging the knowledge of their identity into their chat with you. (This isn't teaching, this just sharing simple knowledge) When they do, your character will instantly gain the knowledge and can make inferences like "Oh this character in front of me is actually my friend in a disguise" which are then presented to you the player in various ways. Penetrating a disguise usually adds a (your "real" name) call out after your false identity's name in its name plate, for example. From there it would be up to you to act on that knowledge if you wanted.

As you talk to NPCs, they will also share their knowledge this way. So when an NPC tells you that "Lawhey lives next to the Wheel of Cheese Inn" you will gain the knowledge that Lawhey lives in this settlement, next to an inn named the wheel of cheese. If you didn't already know the wheel of cheese inn existed, you'd also gain knowledge that it existed. However, in either case the knowledge is incomplete. You don't yet know where Lawhey's house is. Which side of hte inn is it next to, for example? You likewise, if you had never heard of the inn before, don't where it is except in the settlement of the NPC you spoke to.

Further conversation could clear that up. You could "Ask about" the inn, for example, by selecting ask from the dialog choices and dragging in the knowledge of the inn that you posses. In response, the NPC might then share basic directions like, "Oh yeah, it's down main street, about 500 meters south of here, at the corner. Just head down the street, you can't miss it." And now your character knows that it's on main street on a corner, and has a general sense of where in the settlement it is.

In essence, knowledge is a commodity that can be gained and then traded. And nothing says it has to be traded for free. If someone asks you where Lawhey is, there's nothing to stop you from, for example, suggesting that you'd remember more clearly for a few coins...

Hope that helps! :)

  • Snipehunter
7/10/2019 8:45:05 AM #57

Is the placeholder chat we see in the video the same ("say"/"whisper") chat players use to chat? In other words can a character hear the the information that another character discusses when he is nearby? If I stood next to Awacera while she introduced herself to Binald and asked about Acalawa Travatsi would I also gain the knowlede about Binald's name and that Acalawa is female. (Btw: It says "I know them, they're a female". Wouldn't it be "I know her, she is a female"?)

Log in to post