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Bashiok's forum posts/September 2008

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September 30, 2008 - Site update announcedEdit

Oh man, it's coming down to the wire. Scary. :)
We'll have another website update this Thursday too, and we might find out what was in the cage.
Source deleted.

September 29, 2008 - Death and checkpointsEdit

Before I get in to what we are doing let me go over some things we want to avoid with a death mechanic.
We want to separate being in town and being out on a quest/adventure/dungeon as much as possible. Leaving the safety of a town should not be a decision you take lightly. We don't want to remove the sense of suspense and danger by making town something you're always going back to pretty much whenever you like. The intent is to create a greater separation from being in town, and not, and to make your time away from town a lot more tense.
On that same note we also don't want to remove the player from the action. Throwing them back to town for every death really breaks up the action, and not in a fun, interesting, or necessary way.
So, with these things in mind we've found that a check point system works really well. Throughout your adventures, and generally at the ends of each "floor" of a dungeon your character is saved to a checkpoint. When you die you're dropped back at the last checkpoint with a small amount of health, and the rest regenerates slowly. It's obviously a very forgiving system as it is. It's just too early to put a ton of thought in to what penalties there should be, if any, added on top of it. Regardless, potential penalties aside, this is the death mechanic we're currently using and it's working really well so far.
Source deleted.

September 27, 2008 - Q&A sessionsEdit

Quote:

We'll take the Q&A session, please. So, when can we get that set up?

Bashiok's reply:

Hoping to get that going pretty soon after BlizzCon. Source deleted.

September 25, 2008 - Guns and spellbooksEdit

First, Bashiok gave an sarcastic reply in a thread about guns being in Diablo III.
Well, you have to realize that it's been 20 years, and in technological terms that can be a very long time. We're trying to create a world that's not static, its filled out, and with that it's an advancing world. With that amount of time, and also the loss of the Arreat Summit much of the remaining barbarian culture has focused on... nah I'm just kidding, there aren't any guns. Source deleted.


Bashiok then gave a more serious answer to the questions on whether spellbook will make a return from Diablo I.
That came back in Diablo II too eventually in the form of rune words, and I don't think it really worked out too well in the end. I do think it actually could be designed and implemented properly; balanced, etc. but...

For me the more important question though is what impact does it have on the class you're playing and also our knowledge of the Diablo world? Is a class nothing more than someone who read from a book, or is holding a specific item? No, they're very specific and very iconic figures (heroes even) from very distinct styles and backgrounds. The characters we play are these concentrated images of their cultures, beliefs, etc. Everything they do resembles who they are and where they're from, and what does it mean to then piecemeal that out to any one who just happens to throw a couple runes in to an item.

It worked better in Diablo (1) I think. Conceptually it was a bit easier to digest just because of the basic pen and paper underpinnings, and the heroes were far more generic. It was also far less obtrusive.

In Diablo II though, for me anyway, it always undermined the uniqueness of playing a specific class, and also what it meant to be that character. Aside from everything else it caused.
Source deleted.

September 22, 2008 - Inventory and level-capEdit

Bashiok was asked about the maximum level cap, and he restated something that's been said before.

Bashiok's reply:

The first and last thing said on it was in an interview with Jay at WWI when we first announced, and paraphrasing that: we will probably keep it about the same, level 99, but it always seemed like an arbitrary number to stop at so we may up it to 100. Source deleted.

Bashiok also responded to a post about the concept of using item weight instead of the tetris system of previous games.

Bashiok's reply:

A weight system is simply a different approach to inventory restrictions, and it's actually fairly similar to a grid based system except that weight systems are generally augmented by a character stat instead of being item based upgrades.
The main issue with these systems as they relate to Diablo III is they add an additional value to items. That secondary value works to complicate and thus slow down the inventory management of a player, drawing their attention away from the action, which is of course the main focus for us with Diablo III.
I've played a few RPGs with weight systems, and they're among my favorite games of all time, but it's a case of choosing which systems works best for each game.
Source deleted.

Another forum goer questioned if the approach Blizzard is taking lacks depth.

Bashiok's reply:

Well there's still the depth and complexity of item/stat utilization, building out your character, exploration, increased emphasis on story and lore, etc. but aside from those sort of obvious points, no I'm not worried. There are some big things we haven't revealed yet. Source deleted.

September 22, 2008 - DirectX 10 featuresEdit

A poster wanted to know if Diablo III will include DirectX 10 features.

Bashiok's reply:

We haven't announced any final support for DirectX versions/system requirements. I'll say that right now we're not using any DirectX10 features, but we potentially could. Source deleted.

Does it scale with multi-GPU's and multi-cores CPU's?

Bashiok's reply:

Hrm, I don't know what functions could be running on separate threads to throw to alternate cores, I'd have to ask. As far as I know though multi-GPU support is purely (or almost purely) a function of the drivers to throw alternate frames to each card, and as such shouldn't be dependent on the software(game) whatsoever. Source deleted.

September 19, 2008 - Alt keyEdit

Someone asked if item names could appear without holding down the Alt key.

Bashiok's reply:

The way it works now is that when an item drops the name shows for about 5 seconds and then they fade out and disappear. Pressing Alt shows all dropped item names for again about 5 seconds and then the names fade out and disappear.
I actually didn't like it at first, I liked the on/off state of pressing or not pressing Alt, but with the names showing immediately after drop and having a sort of "grace period" after just tapping Alt, it's really grown on me and is a lot more intuitive. It's a lot easier to see what just dropped quickly and decide if you care, and it isn't necessary to constantly hold down Alt while scavenging after a large fight.
I still want to see -nopickup return but I haven't really asked anyone what the possibility of that is. I don't think it would work well with the current system, so options may have to be a possibility.
Source deleted.

Posters complained that he would keep pressing the Windows key instead of Alt and while the game was minimized, his character was killed.

Bashiok's reply:

I've always popped out the Windows key or have keyboards with an option to turn them off just for that reason. I think there's a way to disable it through the registry too but I wouldn't recommend messing around with regedit unless you know what you're doing. Source deleted.

September 17, 2008 - More info on bodiesEdit

Bashiok speaks again about bodies and how they interact, after giving a smaller bit of info a couple of days before:

Our lead tech artist Julian and I talked a bit yesterday about some of the effects and fading, and he gave me some more insight as to how they're working and being changed. We also went in to some of the questions you've all brought up, and so I'll hit some specific points too (with quotes!).

Quote:
or just disconnecting corpses from the physics engine when they come to rest, and have them fade out

Aside from my previous comment of this not being nearly as fun (it would also look/feel kind of lame), Havok already knows when an object has come to rest and so they already have a lower cost when they're still. Additionally with the proposed method there is no reliable way to determine when or even if a body will come to rest. In a single player game with a class that maybe doesn't use a ton of skills that interact with corpses in a significant way this could work, but in a multiplayer game there could potentially be hundreds of corpses piling up as they've never come to rest due to all of the player skills firing off.
We're also taking extra care to minimize the ability of a player to impact the performance of another player, as was sometimes maliciously done in Diablo II.

Quote:
I am wondering why you just use an object's age and don't specify a complexity and priority attribute for each object. By combining these two with the age method you would be able to fade out highly complex physics and low priority (tiny) objects earlier.

I'm just going to quote Julian from an e-mail at this point so I'm not rewriting his words and acting like I know what I'm talking about here - "Because most objects in the game that use the age method aren't different enough in anatomical complexity for this to yield significant benefits. The size of objects generally isn't a factor. It is the number of unseen physics meshes that the technical artists add to these things that matters and they tend to be pretty similar from actor to actor. This is largely due to the anatomical similarity of living things in nature..."
Most things have appendages, a back bone, head, etc.
Julian also made the point that while we have our new system for determining the number and age of a physics actors, we still have the old tried and true "disappear after n seconds" method. We can actually choose which actors use which system, so our intent is to make sure that a destroyed table won't make a corpse disappear, for instance. The corpse probably being the more important of the two to keep around.
Quite a few of you were discussing options, sliders, ways to control how long something takes to disappear, etc. and that may be a possibility. The current setting, which is around 20, is just our initial implementation. There's always the possibility for that number to change, or for it to potentially be variable by the player. We do want to keep the game options uncluttered and consistent as much as possible though.
Source deleted.

September 15, 2008 - Bodies and Wretched DeadEdit

A poster asked about blood and corpses fading away after a set amount of time.

Bashiok's reply:

First, touching on the corpse fade timers as they stand, the tech to have them last longer has been in for a while. Pretty much how it's working is that there's an allowed number of physics "actors" that are allowed to remain at a time. These actors could be corpses, but they can also be pieces of destroyed tables, or railings, etc. anything that relies on physics. These are corpses and destructables generally. As you 'create' physics actors the oldest ones disappear. So as you're fighting there are always a number of actors remaining in the world, and it works out pretty well. Obviously how many of them can remain at one time will come down to final performance tweaking, but right now I believe it's around twenty.
On to blood and fading; the "cost" of decals, which include the blood stains, are fairly high. Cost being the relative strain put on the machine running the game. Decals account for blood, but they also account for quite a few other effects, most of which haven't yet been revealed. In the potential case of a full party creating these decals, blood flowing from creatures, skills that create them, as well as monsters themselves using skills that create them (Wretched vomiting all over the place is a good example), there is the potential to have a large number of decals on screen at any one time. So again, it's going to come down to final performance tweaks as to how many of them will remain on screen and for how long.
Source deleted.


Then someone asked about separating corpses from the physics, so they'd last forever.

Bashiok's reply:

I wouldn't like that, it's awesome being able to continue to interact with the corpses. Source deleted.


Elsewhere, Bashiok revealed that we should see something new (screenshots? concept art?) on the official D3 page later this week:

I wouldn't expect any groundbreaking revelations before BlizzCon, but do keep an eye on the Diablo III page for a nifty reveal this Thursday. Source deleted.

September 12, 2008 - Skeletal Shieldman glowEdit

Bashiok made a post on the Battle.net forums with an interesting tidbit of info about the Skeletal Shieldman monsters in Diablo III: The glow on the shields of Skeletal Shieldmen (http://www.blizzard.com/diablo3/medi...enshots.xml#11) actually serves a couple purposes. First it's an easy and quick way to identify them from other skeletons, that's a given, but the second function is that it's actually a status indicator. Obviously as you hit them they'll block the hits with their shield, but they can only block so much damage. As they block damage the glow dims. It's a useful tool that visually indicates how close their shields are to breaking.
My biggest gripe is having to reply to this particular thread to get that information out.
Source deleted.


September 12, 2008 - ChestsEdit

Answering to a complaint about how chests didn't mean much in the previous games and how most of the drops were useless, Bashiok said:
There have been a few discussions about chests, what they meant in the previous game, and what they'll mean in Diablo III. Currently there are no locked chests, and it's not something we're looking to reintroduce for now. We have discussed varying chest quality and types, adding randomness not only to the appearance of a chest but also the value of items it may drop or possibly specifically what types of items it's guaranteed to drop. Mix it up a bit and make finding a chest exciting, but make finding a special chest something even rarer and more exciting. It could certainly make exploring the entire floor of a dungeon more compelling before moving on. Source.


September 5, 2008 - Skovos artworkEdit

Talking about a recently released piece of artwork:
It is Skovos, and I think this piece was something that Leonard showed and discussed at the WWI Lore and Environment Art panel.
It isn't a location that you'll visit in Diablo III, but the artwork is a good example of the work and thought going in to fleshing out the world of Sanctuary. It's already a very complex world with a lot of locations and events, but a lot of it still isn't visually or contextually realized. As we want to create the feeling of a world outside of your immediate view it's important to create or expand upon the locations and stories of that world.
As we're working to create Diablo III we're also working to create a more visually complete Sanctuary.
Source deleted.

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