Diablo III Catch-All

Diablo 3 is slowly growing into a DNF kinda game.

IMAGE(http://d24w6bsrhbeh9d.cloudfront.net/photo/2247744_700b_v1.jpg)

Luggage wrote:

Diablo 3 is slowly growing into a DNF kinda game.

I know it's said in jest, but it's the other end of the 'long development time' spectrum that both D3 and DNF are on. Just like 3DRealms, Blizzard can keep this going for ages, and there are dangers to that. Not every game with a long development time becomes a train-wreck, but I think managing such a project probably requires higher than usual skills.

System changes late in development aren't encouraging, but I'm sure it's not uncommon, it's certainly more visible with the open beta. What it tells me though is that Blizzard is designing as they go along, rather than getting a blueprint and just making the darn thing. I wonder how well finished (and perfectly balanced, polished, etc) anything can be when the creator doesn't have a solid idea what it is they're creating.

What it tells me though is that Blizzard is designing as they go along, rather than getting a blueprint and just making the darn thing. I wonder how well finished (and perfectly balanced, polished, etc) anything can be when the creator doesn't have a solid idea what it is they're creating.

Do you really know that for a fact? This reads like opinion. Unless you are actually working on the team you are going by scraps of info that is released. We are so schizophrenic as a community....and as a developer its not hard to imagine how jaded one must become based on the customer they serve. We crave more info all the time.. but we hate hype.. we decry no info as a bad sign and equally as harsh when under an open beta a developer adapts to feedback. We have created the ultimate no-win scenario.

It must be terrifically hard for companies like Blizzard to not develop a sense of loathing about their own customers... that in itself is to be commended. (sleeping on piles of money probably helps)

Slacker1913 wrote:

So it seems the cool fatalities from the 2008 demo video were just specially scripted.

This is from the part where the boss just kills someone in one hit by slicing them across the torso right? No way that wasn't heavily scripted.

If memory serves, the initial "footage" of Starcraft II they showed at the debut was also heavily scripted.

For some reason I'm not terribly surprised by this news. However, I'm usually more surprised when promotional material isn't bullshotted or heavily scripted. So YMMV.

Scratched wrote:

Within the last month it does seem like Bliz are cutting a lot to get it under control and out the door. I've no idea if the changes are for good or bad, but it doesn't help my perception of a project a bit out of control rather than the usual "when it's done/polishing". I'm sure plenty of other games cut things, but few other games have an open beta like D3 that lays it bare to the public.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Diablo II have some features that were gutted fairly late? Like clan housing and shared storage and all that.

Starcraft 1 dropped the Dark Templar, Valkyrie and Lurker units fairly late into the development process and those showed back up in the expansion.

This feels a little like those moments, maybe more so because some of the stuff they're gutting was revealed a long time ago. I don't think all of this stuff is gone forever though, and I get the impression from their PR that they are serious about shipping this year. Then again, it is PR so maybe that's just what they want us to think...

This is from the part where the boss just kills someone in one hit by slicing them across the torso right? No way that wasn't heavily scripted.

Um, havok middleware has tools for that built in. (context sensitive animation triggering)
You can have something like a state where a specific animation is triggered on death or critical death in a given radius near the boss.

fangblackbone wrote:

Um, havok middleware has tools for that built in. (context sensitive animation triggering)
You can have something like a state where a specific animation is triggered on death or critical death in a given radius near the boss.

Ok, but they had some physics engine stuff in the Starcraft II footage too. Stuff like units ragdolling on death, bullets dropping out of the sky after that temporal distortion field ended. I'm pretty certain most, if not all of those eye candy were removed (although it sounds like some of it might come back with HotS).

Sure I'm a little disappointed as well, but it doesn't feel like something that I was exactly salivating over. Something like that would be cool the first time you play it and you probably either get tired of it or learn to avoid it by about the 5th run you do. I'd personally prefer they focus their efforts somewhere other than eye candy like that. Or move it to an expansion or end of act boss.

But it is those subtle little touches that keep the Diablo series from getting boring. I bet you didn't notice that there are 3 or more stock weapon swings in Diablo 2 and that there is no pattern to them. The fact that we don't notice them is good because if we did notice them, it would be a sign that repetition is setting in and we wouldn't want to do our 13,872 Mephisto run.

fangblackbone wrote:

But it is those subtle little touches that keep the Diablo series from getting boring. I bet you didn't notice that there are 3 or more stock weapon swings in Diablo 2 and that there is no pattern to them. The fact that we don't notice them is good because if we did notice them, it would be a sign that repetition is setting in and we wouldn't want to do our 13,872 Mephisto run.

Yes, now amplify that by a non-trivial number and you're probably looking at the amount of work it would've taken them to do unique situational deaths for bosses. Yes it can be done procedurally, but that's not always a complete fix as evidenced by some of Chris Hecker's notes on Spore's procedural animation. You're still going to need to assign at least an artist or graphical designer and probably a programmer to the feature. My guess is that after the demo they decided that it probably wasn't worth the resources and canned it, and it looks like that was an early decision based on that post that was linked.

Besides, from a resource allocation perspective that sort of thing would have to be done really late in development. There is little point in making these animations early only to have a boss scrapped or reworked or moved to a different environment, etc.

Also, while I think that was a cool animation I remember thinking that it didn't seem like it would be fun if I can't interrupt a one-hit kill like that and then have to make a corpse run back to the boss who could do the same thing again to me right after I get my gear.

Oh I don't disagree with anything you said. I have been in computer animation and modeling since 1992. I used bones pro (the first skeletal deformation program) in ~1994.

And I don't mean zillions of custom ragdoll animations (although if you have havok middleware already, you may as well use the ragdoll). You could do say ten per major boss and not class specific. (so the head chomp with stringy guts coming out of the neck would just have a character model swap for the barbarian and witch doctor, as examples) Look at all of the custom stuff that is done in the God of War series. I am not just talking quicktime events either.

Ever since character studio (1996?), animation programs have been able to save poses, keyframes or animation clips to be loaded onto other rigs/skeletons. It is far from a perfect translation but it is a great headstart and for simple animations, only tweaks are needed.

TheGameguru wrote:
What it tells me though is that Blizzard is designing as they go along, rather than getting a blueprint and just making the darn thing. I wonder how well finished (and perfectly balanced, polished, etc) anything can be when the creator doesn't have a solid idea what it is they're creating.

Do you really know that for a fact? This reads like opinion. Unless you are actually working on the team you are going by scraps of info that is released. We are so schizophrenic as a community....and as a developer its not hard to imagine how jaded one must become based on the customer they serve. We crave more info all the time.. but we hate hype.. we decry no info as a bad sign and equally as harsh when under an open beta a developer adapts to feedback. We have created the ultimate no-win scenario.

It must be terrifically hard for companies like Blizzard to not develop a sense of loathing about their own customers... that in itself is to be commended. (sleeping on piles of money probably helps)

Following the info released by Blizzard themselves I feel pretty confident saying if they do have a blueprint it's an evolving blueprint which has grown and shrunk throughout development.

Blizzard wrote:

While working on Diablo III we've been called out for messing around with systems too much, that the game is good as-is and we should just release it. I think that's a fair argument to make, but I also think it's incorrect. Our job isn't just to put out a game, it's to release the next Diablo game.

This opening statement speaks volumes. Why did they start with an apologetic tone bout messing with systems? It's because they've told us game mechanics which they've scrapped. Their only argument that this isn't a correct (but somehow fair?) opinion is because it's the next Diablo game. While I have faith that Blizzard will put out a damn fine game this is a quote I'd have expected from John Romero in 1998.

fangblackbone wrote:

And I don't mean zillions of custom ragdoll animations (although if you have havok middleware already, you may as well use the ragdoll). You could do say ten per major boss and not class specific. (so the head chomp with stringy guts coming out of the neck would just have a character model swap for the barbarian and witch doctor, as examples) Look at all of the custom stuff that is done in the God of War series. I am not just talking quicktime events either.

GoW is a single-player experience and because of that the developers have a lot more control over the flow of the fight. What happens if the other players kill the boss in the middle of the custom kill animation? You need to have it transition seamlessly right or people will call you out on it. I'm sure there's other issues, but the more I think about this the more I think it was probably going to be more of a pain to do for the amount of spectacle it provided.

YAY, beta invite! Been waiting a while to give this a shot.

BOO, not letting me use "MyBrainHz" as my Battle Tag because it is some how offensive! "Brainz" is apparently OK though? Grrrrrrr...

Oh snap! Me too!

Yay for beta invite for me too! And one day after my birthday! Just downloading now, will report back when everything is running.

I guess my Battle Tag is Cymbrogi #1384 , which seems somewhat strange as I doubt there are 1383 "Cymbrogi"s out there ahead of me. Oh well. Donwloading as we speak.

Coldstream #1968 for the friending of ups.

Download is going significantly faster now I opened up the appropriate ports.

Brainz#1617, good sirs.

Scratched wrote:
ZaneRockfist wrote:

The game sounds hopelessly generic to me. If Blizzard wants my business again, they need to start making innovations instead of refining old features and techniques that have long grown stale.

That's close to where I am. I'm not heavily invested in Diablo than any other ARPG, so from my perspective I don't know the answer to why I should pick up D3 (for around £35 plus other restrictions) versus other alternatives (old and new) that are going to be cheaper. I don't know what the 'killer features' are that make it rise above, other than "it's a Blizzard game" or building on the earlier games reputation.

to me it's feeling and Diablo 3 feels better in the beta than pretty much any ARPG released in the last 10 years, way better than Titan Quest feels better than Torchlight as long as the it keeps the same feeling in retail, I probably will be playing it for a long time to come.

I don't think any ARPG comes close though TL2 should be great.

And I shall now declare what little Diablo III I've managed to play as awesome. Really captures the feeling of the old Diablo games, although perhaps to a fault in some cases. More impressions as I get time to play.

Just got a beta invite in my email this morning as well.

Beta Invite came last night, screwed myself for work today by staying up til 3am last night playing it. Do friends lists and such work? I can't remember the #xxx after my name and you cant get it from battle.net.

Edit.
Nvm I found it. If friend stuff is working feel free to add me: Rint#1452

I don't really hate you all, but I hate you all.

Grenn wrote:

I don't really hate you all, but I hate you all.

QFT

Luggage wrote:
Grenn wrote:

I don't really hate you all, but I hate you all.

QFT

I hate me too, 3am and I'm paying for it today.

Grenn wrote:

I don't really hate you all, but I hate you all.

My thoughts exactly. You lucky bastards

I got an invite last night as well, much to my surprise. I'm glad I will have a chance to try this out given all the controversies.

I've been toying with the idea in recent months of ActiBlizzard preferring non-customers over fans for beta access in recent years. Up until and including WOW:TBC, I always got a beta account (and actually beta tested with bug reports, feedback and stuff like that taken seriously). But ever since then, not a single one. I have payed years of WOW subscriptions of up to 3 accounts, clocked thousands of hours in WoW and hundreds in the RTS games. Most people I know that have similar user stats when it comes to Blizzard games have not received beta access since WOW:TBC as well. Of the people I do know that received beta accounts, all of them were casual, "on and off" WoW subscribers with next to no involvement in older Blizzard titles. I have the feeling they are too sure of their long-time fans and using beta access to lure in new blood, on the fence players and "swing voters". Having a fully loaded BNet account means bottom of the list for beta testing.

I am even considering registering a new BNet account with just a Diablo 2 key attached to it just to test my hypothesis.

Luggage wrote:

I've been toying with the idea in recent months of ActiBlizzard preferring non-customers over fans for beta access in recent years. Up until and including WOW:TBC, I always got a beta account (and actually beta tested with bug reports, feedback and stuff like that taken seriously). But ever since then, not a single one. I have payed years of WOW subscriptions of up to 3 accounts, clocked thousands of hours in WoW and hundreds in the RTS games. Most people I know that have similar user stats when it comes to Blizzard games have not received beta access since WOW:TBC as well. Of the people I do know that received beta accounts, all of them were casual, "on and off" WoW subscribers with next to no involvement in older Blizzard titles. I have the feeling they are too sure of their long-time fans and using beta access to lure in new blood, on the fence players and "swing voters". Having a fully loaded BNet account means bottom of the list for beta testing.

I am even considering registering a new BNet account with just a Diablo 2 key attached to it just to test my hypothesis.

I have gotten Beta invites (and even a few alphas) to almost everything, some sooner than others. I honestly don't know what their prioritizing is, I haven't had a WoW account in over a year, and haven't logged in to SC2 in almost as long, so maybe that triggered it.

Luggage wrote:

I've been toying with the idea in recent months of ActiBlizzard preferring non-customers over fans for beta access in recent years. Up until and including WOW:TBC, I always got a beta account (and actually beta tested with bug reports, feedback and stuff like that taken seriously). But ever since then, not a single one. I have payed years of WOW subscriptions of up to 3 accounts, clocked thousands of hours in WoW and hundreds in the RTS games. Most people I know that have similar user stats when it comes to Blizzard games have not received beta access since WOW:TBC as well. Of the people I do know that received beta accounts, all of them were casual, "on and off" WoW subscribers with next to no involvement in older Blizzard titles. I have the feeling they are too sure of their long-time fans and using beta access to lure in new blood, on the fence players and "swing voters". Having a fully loaded BNet account means bottom of the list for beta testing.

I am even considering registering a new BNet account with just a Diablo 2 key attached to it just to test my hypothesis.

I agree and in the same boat, but the biggest difference for me after WoW:TBC is taht i've had a very current PC. Up to to TBC my computer was almost always a generation behind. If i was lucky maybe a current gpu. So thats what i attributed the lack of invites to.

Not sure what their prioritization is, but I'm patient and can wait until release. I know I've had Diablo III beta interest flagged on my account since it was available, but I've got my Starcraft, D2 and War3 keys hooked to my account so... *shrug* I just know I've tried to get into every beta except WoW and Diablo II and no dice each time. It's like trying to win the lottery!

Luggage wrote:

Having a fully loaded BNet account means bottom of the list for beta testing.

I was a Warcraft III (base + expansion) beta tester, and a very early World of Warcraft beta tester. Like Luggage, I sent in a lot of bug reports and actually tried to provide helpful feedback, etc.

Yesterday was the first beta invite I've received from Blizzard themselves since the 2003/2004 timeframe (Tkyl sent me an invite to the Starcraft II beta a while ago). I don't think they are discriminating for or against people to include, I just think there are LOTS more people in line for Blizzard beta invites than there used to be.