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Ask Author David Craddock About the Development of Diablo, Warcraft

Soulskill posted 1 year,13 days | from the stay-awhile-and-ask-questions dept.

Books 109

The original Warcraft and Diablo games hold a special status in the hearts of many gamers. Each game brought its genre into focus, and their success elevated the status of Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North to the point that further games are still hotly anticipated more than 15 years later. In an effort to discover and document that part of gaming history, author David L. Craddock conducted extensive interviews with early Blizzard developers. His intent was to investigate how both of the Blizzard studios succeeded at breaking into a saturated and competitive industry, and how their design process influenced both their acclaimed releases and the projects they discarded along the way. He's writing a series of books about the history of Blizzard, titled Stay Awhile and Listen. The first is due out on October 31st, and David has agreed to answer your questions about his investigation into those early games. David will be joined by Blizzard North co-founders David Brevik and Max Schaefer. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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I'd love to ask a question (1)

techprophet (1281752) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063303)

I'd love to ask a question, if only I knew one to ask!

Lost Vikings? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063313)

Can we get another Lost Vikings game?

Re:Lost Vikings? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063671)

Good call.

Regarding the genre of ARPG, which Diablo is supposed to have "focused", I would say that Drox Operative does more to "focus" the genre than Diablo.

Re:Lost Vikings? (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065141)

+1 Ooh, that game was sooo good! Wants one! Wants one!

Re:Lost Vikings? (2)

morari (1080535) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065621)

I'd love to see a new Rock 'n' Roll Racing, too!

Re:Lost Vikings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45068337)

play trine

If there is one thing you could go back and change (3)

techprophet (1281752) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063343)

If there is one thing you could go back and change in any of Blizzard's games, what would it be?

Re:If there is one thing you could go back and cha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063529)

Brilliant! What's your favourite color?

What are you, some kind of twat-waffle?

Re:If there is one thing you could go back and cha (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063613)

Plaid is my favourite. And it's spelled COLOUR, you egg-salad wannabe

Re:If there is one thing you could go back and cha (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064045)

Just because a question is generic, doesn't mean it's a bad question. Maybe Craddock has an unexpected answer, maybe he doesn't. But until we know, don't attack the questioneer.

Did the developers take crack while making them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063345)

I can't think of how else they could have learned to make them so addictive.

Scuse me, time for my dailies.

Re:Did the developers take crack while making them (1)

alen (225700) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063397)

in the 80's there was an arcade game similar to diablo. can't remember the name but it allowed up to 4 people to play at once with a choice of 4 classes

Re:Did the developers take crack while making them (2)

RazzleFrog (537054) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063447)

Gauntlet. Highly addictive. A quarter sink for sure.

Re:Did the developers take crack while making them (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063461)


Wizard needs food, badly.

Re:Did the developers take crack while making them (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063737)

God damn it! You shot the food!

Re:Did the developers take crack while making them (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063465)

gauntlet. they made a decent 3D version in like 99/00.

Re:Did the developers take crack while making them (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064573)

Not to mention the classic non-arcade version [] , as well. That's how I became familiar with it, anyhow.

Re:Did the developers take crack while making them (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063467)

You're probably thinking of Gauntlet [] .

Re:Did the developers take crack while making them (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064005)

Speaking of Gauntlet, try out my tribute to Gauntlet Flash Game: Dungeon Run []

gaming was saturated 15 years ago? (1)

alen (225700) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063349)

at the time the original warcraft came out PC's cost $2500 to $3000 or more for a decent gaming model. Figure $5000 in today's dollars

the people buying them wanted something more than today's brainless run through a maze and shoot continuously at everything that moves experience

Re:gaming was saturated 15 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063581)

the people buying them wanted something more than today's brainless run through a maze and shoot continuously at everything that moves experience

People were saying the same thing back then.

Re: gaming was saturated 15 years ago? (2)

iamhassi (659463) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063649)

Warcraft came out in 1994. At the time there was no such thing as a "gaming computer". If it had a sound card and cd-rom they called it a multimedia PC. Gaming video cards did not exist yet. You bought a video card based on maximum desktop resolution, for example a 2 megabyte card ran a higher resolution than a 512kb or 1 megabyte. The first gaming video card, the 50mhz 4 megabyte Voodoo, came out in 1996. But even then the Voodoo was rare and very expensive (hundreds of dollars) so most games ran fine on regular video cards because that's what 99% of buyers had.

Moreover though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063799)

I call bullshit. You could build a gaming rig at that time for less than a grand.

I think at swap meets with FOB new parts I was able to put one together for under 300-500 (possibly reusing the case/psu or hard disk, but you could find almost any component in some form for 100 or less at that point.)

Re:Moreover though... (2)

khellendros1984 (792761) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065039)

Around 1994, you'd spend close to $300 on 8MB of memory [] , a 486 CPU [] could be around $250 (being generous). I've blown your $500 budget, and you've still got the motherboard, sound and video hardware, floppy drive, hard disk, power supply, and IO peripherals before you have a functional computer. Sound and CD-ROM alone would cost around $500 [] . If you're buying enough to build a whole computer from scratch with retail-priced parts, you're looking at an easy $1500+ for a machine that isn't particular top of the line. Swap meet prices would lower that somewhat, granted, but it's hard to imagine it would've been an over 70% discount.

And anyhow, the guy you replied to didn't say anything about computer prices. His parent post did, but you replied to the wrong post.

Re: gaming was saturated 15 years ago? (2)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064205)

There were definitely gaming cards in the 486 era. A VLB video card will run DOOM faster than an ISA card. A Tseng ET4000 will run DOOM faster than a crappy Trident.

Re: gaming was saturated 15 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45065003)

Trident, in the context of 486 video cards, should be relabeled a curse word. They redefined shitty.

Re: gaming was saturated 15 years ago? (1)

Ducho_CWB (900642) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065075)

Trident, in the context of 486 video cards, should be relabeled a curse word. They redefined shitty.

Buy two peanut butter and win a Trident card. No refund :D

Re: gaming was saturated 15 years ago? (1)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,12 days | (#45071145)

There were definitely gaming cards in the 486 era. A VLB video card will run DOOM faster than an ISA card. A Tseng ET4000 will run DOOM faster than a crappy Trident.

Not in 1994. That didn't exist yet as a thing.

If you wanted a computer for games the main requirement was a fast cpu, and a soundblaster and well that's it. Take a look at the system req's of the big games of that era:

Privateer - 386DX - 33, 256 color VGA, sound blaster, 2x cd-rom (although there was a floppy disk based version iirc)

Doom II - 386DX - 33, 4MB RAM, VGA, soundblaster

Wing Commander III - 486DX 50, svga, 369kb free conventional, soundblaster

"A gaming video card" was not a requirement, or even a recommendation, or really even 'a thing'. If you wanted any of the above games to play better in 1994, you'd have gotten a 486DX2-66 or DX4. They'd have come with VLB or even PCI video cards -- but you would have only cared that the card used the VLB or PCI socket; it mattered far less what was actually in it.

It wasn't until Voodoo in 1996 released its first PCI card that a 'gaming card' even meant something. And then arrival of the AGP slot and the RIVA TNT, Matrox Mystique, Diamond Monster etc, that things really got going and a gaming card was 'a thing'.

"There were definitely gaming cards in the 486 era."

If by 486 era, you mean the tail end, after the pentiums were becoming mainstream. (The 486 DX4 stuff was released after the first pentium landed after all).

The first Quake was probably the first game that people were starting to think about what was in the video card socket.,45.html []

for the lols ^

Re:gaming was saturated 15 years ago? (1)

Toad-san (64810) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064011)

"the people buying them wanted something more than today's brainless run through a maze and shoot continuously at everything that moves experience"

Sorry, but I don't play the game that way at all. It's been about five years now, I guess, and I still enjoy questing, exploring, farming to get the gold to advance my characters, etc. I like the way things have changed so you can pretty much solo most things (questing and exploring anyway).

And I like very much that you don't have to spend real world money for game-killing advantages.

Questions? Meh .. maybe where I can find the Sword of a Thousand Truths? :-)


Re:gaming was saturated 15 years ago? (1)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064233)

the people buying them wanted something more than today's brainless run through a maze and shoot continuously at everything that moves experience

I think you mean "something more than todays brainless rundown a hallway and shoot at everything that moves, unless it's a cutscne.

A good key-maze FPS with constant shooting would be a breath of fresh air today.

Speed vs. Strategy (3, Interesting)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063357)

How did you determine the best game speed for WarCraft? Do you feel the increased speed in the sequels detracts from the strategy element?

Re:Speed vs. Strategy (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064985)

I really like that question!

My question would be: WC3 introduced heros and creep camps that encouraged roaming around outside the base. SC2 remained pure units (no heros). Do you think that blizzard may resurrect the hero/creep style in the future?

Before Diablo & Warcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063369)

What would you say was the biggest learning experience you had before developing Diablo & Warcraft?

Fully 3D Diablo? (2)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063451)

Will there ever be a fully 3D Diablo? I was hoping for that when III was announced, but it was just more of the same.

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063627)

I'm not sure what you want. The rendering engine was 3d. There was a z axis. Do you want to have 3 degrees of freedom of movement? Because that is a UI nightmare, and blizzard is a company built on slick polish.

(No amount of polish will make up for always-online.)

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063709)

i was hoping for a wow-looking interface but in the diablo world.

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45067169)

Just play wow? I'm a diablo fan, but I would abandon the brand in a heart beat if it goes 1st person or over the shoulder style. I simply don't like any games that are rendered that way. ( Driving simulators are excluded, but even on them I always use the "bumber" or inside the car cam. Over the shoulder is just stupid.)

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063721)

Maybe he wants World of Diablo, a game with the WoW interface and a Diablo storyline.

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45064469)

I wouldn't wish such a horrible thing on my worst enemy.

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45064529)

Isn't that essentially what Diablo 3 was?
At last that's how it felt to me.

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064649)

The Diablo 3 interface is not the same as World of Warcraft and the play field itself is fixed in an annoying isometric view. It's fine and preferred for Starcraft but for Diablo it's kind of pointless.

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063923)

I was surprised about that too. Didn't Blizzard developers ever check out any of the Snowblind engine games which DO have that feature?

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (1)

Jaxar20 (1767294) | 1 year,13 days | (#45066037)

Oooh ooh with Oculus Rift compatibility too!

Re:Fully 3D Diablo? (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | 1 year,13 days | (#45067277)

I remember reading many years ago when Diablo 2 was in development that they experimented with the idea but didn't like how the gameplay turned out.

click click click (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063497)

If click click click yo click click click were click click click designing click click click Diablo click click click today click click click would click click click you click click click still click click click make click click click it click click click such click click click a click click click click-fest?

click click click click click click click click click click click click

Porting to console (2)

Tator Tot (1324235) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063599)

Since it was announced that Diablo III would be ported (and has been ported) to consoles, has there been discussion as to whether WoW would/could be ported as well?

Re:Porting to console (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063945)

You cannot port WoW to a console. You could use some of the assets to make a pretty much completely different game, but MMORPG are not controller friendly, unless specifically designed from the ground up to be (and even then...).

Re:Porting to console (1)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064487)

Yay Slashdot. the land of "if I can't think of it, that's proof it's impossible". There's nothing that would keep a MMORPG from being on a console. I've played one. One of the superhero games was on the PS3 (DCUO). So you are factually wrong, so why should we listen to your opinion based on provably false facts?

"I wouldn't play one, and I can't (in my limited mind) imagine it being a success." Isn't the same as saying it can't be done.

Re:Porting to console (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | 1 year,13 days | (#45066425)

yes you could port wow, but I think what the OP was referring to is it would require massive reengineering of the controls and system interaction as it is heavily designed around having a mouse and keyboard as well as the ability to have mods and macros. I have not played wow for 2 years, but when I did my keyboard had 60+ keybinds as well as complete sets of macros for the various classes.

Re:Porting to console (1)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,13 days | (#45066937)

Play Diablo III on a PC and play it on a console and let me know whether it plays ok. It's another one that "could never work on a console". So, play it and let us know. It's one that is even done by the same people that would be porting WoW, if it were to happen.

Re:Porting to console (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45067297)

It was designed and reengineered for the console. It is also no where near the complexity of something like WoW. It also sucked arse.

Re:Porting to console (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | 1 year,13 days | (#45067359)

Not sure where you heard diablo 3 was a title that could never work on a console. The whole game is perfectly suited to the console, it is basically a glorified arcade game even on the PC.

Inspiration? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063695)

Were you inspired by earlier computer games like Rouge and NetHack? What elements of these games did you feel were fun and why, and how did that influence your design choices? Recasting the question, what elements didn't work or were tedious?

Re:Inspiration? (1)

AdhSeidh (193409) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065633)

Someone should mod this one up, this is most sensible question here

Re:Inspiration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45068979)

I would focus the question on this:

How much were you inspired in creation of Diablo by earlier computer games like NetHack, and what games were inspiring?

Obfuscation (4, Interesting)

r_naked (150044) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063697)

As a developer of one of the WoW emulators, I am curious if Blizzard made a conscious decision to randomize the opcodes used by WoW (and the many other protections that were put in place). Up until the Cataclysm expansion, there was no real protection against reverse engineering the WoW client. As of Cata, blizz seems to have gone out of their way to prevent any emulation of WoW. Cata, and MoP take a lot of work, but we will still be able to provide decent emulation *eventually*. Also, why hasn't Blizzard removed GRUNT? That would completely eliminate ALL emulation of WoW as has yet to be broken.

-- Brian

Re:Obfuscation (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45070875)

It's probably more a matter of "enforcing their brand." They don't want any particular emulator to get too popular or bug-free, but the current state of private servers likely doesn't hurt their business much. Getting rid of all private servers might negatively impact their business model.

in app payments (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063745)

if you were to remake WoW, how would you incorporate micropayments in a way that preserved the gameplay?

Re:in app payments (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45064757)

Go choke on a dick and die.

Also, this guy had nothing to do with the development of either of the games. He's the author of a book about Blizzard.

Re:in app payments (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065103)

Go choke on a dick and die.

Also, this guy had nothing to do with the development of either of the games. He's the author of a book about Blizzard.

what do you expect from me? I didn't read the article or the summary. I've never played WoW or diablo. So I just try to ask Qs that appear informed. Like I do at work.

Re:in app payments (1)

Roman Coder (413112) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064839)

Do you mean like having to pay for a room in the inn every time you want to log out your character?

Or pay the taxi per mile rate when you take a flightpath?

Taxes on purchases from vendors perhaps? Or even better on loot drops!

Billboards on the streets of Org/Stormwind?

The possibilities are endless!

Re:in app payments (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065087)

taxes are a good option actually. It's seamless in that it doesn't add an additional barrier. also, increasing the gold farming etc, then taking a cut of that too. income taxes! i like it.

Re:in app payments (1)

Clsid (564627) | 1 year,13 days | (#45068077)

Jesus, no micropayments for WoW, that would ruin the game. We have enough with the gold sellers already.

Who'd've guessed? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063751)

Did you know it took 631 spear chucks from a single Orc spear chucker to destroy the human castle at the end of a level?

Re:Who'd've guessed? (1)

Admiral_Grinder (830562) | 1 year,12 days | (#45069181)

Sweet, but at what tech level?

How much spear could a spear chucker chuck....

Interests removed? (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063809)

I'm curious as to what was the motivation behind over simplifying nearly every aspect of the game World of Warcarft. I believe WoW is losing subscribers so it seems at some point the balance between RPG technicality and an arcade game was perhaps slanted too much towards being an arcade like game to me that enough interest was removed from what made it popular to begin with. I remember spending time devising the best spec, which had profound impact on the play style and numbers, this seemed to be replaced with a glorified glyph system(as well as glyphs). Leveling poisons for a rogue or weapon skills for a melee character, last time I played in my tests, weapon speed seemed to have no impact on abilities or as much as it once had so there was no reason to garner a variety of weapons. As I hear it now I could start an alt and it would have access to the golden phoenix mount(the 100mount cheev, can't remember the exact name now) that I spent time acquiring on my main. Also, in the time it takes to finish BRD nearly half the content of one of the last expansions could be cleared. Seems like enough of the RPG experience was removed in favor of a more arcade like experience that I soon couldn't find enough reasons to continue to play or pay $15/month. In case I droned on too much, to reiterate my question, what was the motivation for the drastic change in play style from a more technical RPG to style to a more "arcade" style game. Thanks

Re:Interests removed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45064063)

I liked the old rogue poisons, where inventory and supply management was a thing. Old specs seemed to have a lot more character and interesting choices (even if many could be considered mathematically inferior) and most new talents / skills are boring passives. I miss my old shaman where there was a use for almost every single totem and ability, just to eek out a small amount of group benefit in certain situations. Even the old instances seemed on average more interesting than the new ones.

Meh, it's just not my game any more. I've moved on.

Weapon skill was retarded, and was nothing but a time sink as you had to go out of your way smashing low level enemies (or exploit an invincible mob) long enough to bring up your skills on overlooked weapon classes.

Narrowing of skills choices (2)

Petersko (564140) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064285)

I miss my old shaman where there was a use for almost every single totem and ability, just to eek out a small amount of group benefit in certain situations

Only problem was that if you didn't research "the" way to skill your class, and "the" rotation for it, you got abused and told to "learn your class" by idiots. Before the skills became homogenized by decree, they were homogenized by peer pressure.

Re:Narrowing of skills choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45064715)

Not sure if we are talking about the same thing.

But the different buffs being able to be done by several different classes and builds was a great improvement for guilds and raids. Since everything didn't depend on that single guy being online who happened to have the proper gear for a spec.

What did bother me was the lowering of the raid difficulty from release to joke too fast in the following expansions. The sense of accomplishment of completing content was removed.

Re:Interests removed? (2)

simp7264 (465544) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064217)

I think a big part that people overlook when talking about the simplification of WoW, is that WoW was always going for the simplification of MMOs. If you look back what pre-dated WoW (EQ, DAoC, UO), WoW took the basic game and simplified and polished it dramatically, big EQ fans complained back then that WoW was dumbing down the MMO genre which arguably they did. The trend of gaming in general wanted less time sinks and greater accessibility. WoW didn't only recently start "catering to the casuals" That's been their MO since day 1 vanilla.

Re:Interests removed? (1)

Roman Coder (413112) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064879)

The only problem with this argument is that if they were truly trying to simplify WoW, they would make it so you don't need so man f'ing buttons to play your character.

Yeah, yeah, boring, noob mode, etc., but as I get older, and my carpal tunnel gets worse and worse, I wouldn't mind some abilities simplification (moreso than has already been done).

Also, as a person who plays primarily a healer, PLEASE for f's sake, less cc in PvP (hence less trinket/button tracking; see above).

Company culture: then vs. now (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45063971)

Did the acquisition by Vivendi or the merger with Activision change the way that Blizzard approached making games?

How do you break into the industry? (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | 1 year,13 days | (#45063989)

I'm a lifetime and thoroughly addicted gamer, starting when my dad hoisted me up to PacMan when I was 3. If you combine all my time coding, playing games, and designing, I'm probably in the tiptop of developers. The problem is that even though I've coded heavily since I was 12 and been seeking since I was 16, I have only ever gotten one video game developer interview in 20 years!(just this past week)

What is the secret to getting a starter job in the video game developing industry? I've been doing indie stuff since 1992 when I was trying to write a MMORPG. The key is that I attempt large scale projects that normally take dozens of programmers, and then I couldn't find artists to contribute when my code was pushed forward.

To me, it seems like Indie is the only way to go if you're passionate about games anymore since there are not too many game development houses, and the competition is fierce.

Is there some secret to breaking into the gaming industry if that is all you've done your entire life? Or should we all resolve ourselves to doing Indie titles and starting our own companies? I mean I do have 15+ artists working with me on my current project due to cracking the code on revshare, but I'd rather have a steady paycheck and a higher mountain of source code for better games.

Re:How do you break into the industry? (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064041)

PS: I tried applying to Blizzard, and almost got a WOW game designer interview, but HR got switched and they never even gave me a phone interview.

I have a lot of Blizzard props as a gamer, got #1 on ladder in SC/BW, Diablo2(hardcore), and Warcraft3 1v1,2v2,3v3 and first to 1500 wins in Warcraft3.

I never picked up Starcraft2 seriously because I'm busy writing flash games now.

Re:How do you break into the industry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45064075)

I'm busy writing flash games now.

Well that's a fate worse than death.

Re:How do you break into the industry? (1)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064101)

This a problem that I have had too.
Make a simple game that you can actually complete in a short amount of time, and polish the crap out of it. Be able to finish it.
A well put together Zelda clone with a new tactic, a town, one random dungeon and a webpage with downloads will be a lot more impressive to prospective employer than an MMO that will require thousands of hours of artist's time.

Re:How do you break into the industry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45067607)

Hey mate. Gameplay programmer here. I'll reinforce what stewsters has said: "Make a simple game that you can actually complete in a short amount of time, and polish the crap out of it. Be able to finish it." This is what got me into the industry: it was a simple 2D space shooter in C using SDL and FMOD but was a full game. Multiple levels, menus, sound effects and music. A finished game is worth far more than a truckload of unfinished prototypes. I got an interview with that game and it got me into the industry.

Re:How do you break into the industry? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,13 days | (#45068527)

Don't do it man. Really, if you love games don't try to become a games industry programmer. These days it's not much fun. You mostly spend your time working with tools and frameworks written by other people, doing boring game logic or writing more tools. You have zero creative input, they have game designers and directors for that.

If you are passionate about it maybe come up with a realistic plan and try Kickstarter.

Is F2P/P2W the future of gaming? (2)

mlts (1038732) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064081)

Having seen games evolve in positive ways, it seems that gaming has either gone one of two paths:

The first path is the console game. The game is usually a late beta, so requires patching. Then, for content, unlike in the past where expansions were as good as the original game, one is inundated with DLC purchases they have to make. Want to play an orc? That's 9.99. Want the rocket gun? That's another ten-spot. Want another level? $29.95 please. So, to play a game that was released to the fullest, it can easily be hundreds of dollars for gameplay that on earlier games, came with the game.

The second path is free to play, play to win games. Yes, one might be able to get a canoe to play for a pirate's game, but if one actually wants to advance, they will have to spend hundreds to purchase a decent ship, not to mention cannons, and so on.

These two paths seem to be what 99.9% of the gaming industry seems to be going. Games tend to be cookie-cutter.

I tend to bag on WoW, but even though WoW is a MMO, Blizzard does a great job with expansions, providing not just endgame stuff, but additional things to do 1-cap. MoP had an additional class and race, Cata had two races, WotLK had another class, BC had two races and classes (debatable, but regardless of faction, you had another class to choose from.) Other MMOs miss this and might toss in a few expansion zones, some raids, and call it done, but WoW does a good job at the whole 1-cap game.

Another good game that did it right was Neverwinter Nights 1. The expansions not just added gameplay, but added to almost every facet of the game. The later modules were smaller, but added a good amount of content that was worth playing. One didn't have to spend $10.00 for the ability to get a ninja turban, or $20.00 to play a drow.

My question:

Is there a market niche for "old school" games (think Baldur's Gate) that one bought the game, then down the road, perhaps a significant expansion or two. Not "junk" DLC that might be required to win, such as $10.00 for a sword or $100.00 for uberness? Or are we pretty much doomed to keep getting nickled and dimed by pointless [1] DLC regardless.

[1]: There is useful DLC, such as the NWN1 modules, then there is pointless DLC as having to buy the privilege to see and use a rocket launcher in order to survive at a multiplayer FPS.

Re:Is F2P/P2W the future of gaming? (1)

sgtrock (191182) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064637)

There are plenty of games out there that meet your criteria if you're willing to look around a bit. For example, just about Valve's entire catalog has consistently had plenty of new material included for free at later dates. Sometimes in addition to DLC that required a payment, sometimes not.

Tripwire Interactive does the same thing with the Red Orchestra series. They recently released an expansion to Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad that not only added a whole new campaign called Rising Storm based on the Pacific Theater, but also added several maps to HoS.

There are plenty of publishers out there with established track records for doing this kind of thing. Just look around a little. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45068539)

There's a company that pretty much does nothing but sell non-DRM old school games. It's called

Warcraft 1 to Starcraft 2 (1)

omfglearntoplay (1163771) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064121)

If there is one thing to bring to Starcraft 2 from Warcraft 1, what would it be? I'm thinking along the lines of an ability, a type of unit that doesn't exist anymore, a simplified or more complex resource management, a slower game pace to allow more unit control instead of deathball vs. deathball.. that sort of thing.

What's your take on Blizzard today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45064781)

When you guys were part of Blizzard, it was, not small but smallish and succeeded through attention to detail, accessibility, and providing an amazing experience. Do you feel that the behemoth that Blizzard has become has tamped down any of the core attributes that were key to Blizzard's early success?

The development process itself (1)

dmn (855563) | 1 year,13 days | (#45064803)

As a software engineer, I can't help but wonder what developing a game at Blizzard was like back then and how it's evolved over time to whatever it's like today. I'm really interested in the technical side of it, but not necessarily just that.

ill go with the obvious question (2)

ganjadude (952775) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065061)

what were you guys thinking when you made diablo 3 always online only? Most the people I know who love the first 2 installments used the game as single player or at lan parties. sure multiplayer is fun but why the necessity to always be on? the RMAH has been such a flop that it is being removed from the game so there is 0 reason that the game needs to be online to play a single player game

Warcraft didn't bring RTS into focus (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065077)

The original Warcraft and Diablo games hold a special status in the hearts of many gamers. Each game brought its genre into focus,

That sounds a bit exagerrated. Maybe it's true for Diablo, but in the RTS genre, Dune II was pretty high-profile and came out 2 years earlier. In comparison, Warcraft felt like a knock-off, with little innovation, and less balanced (once the catapults started rolling out, it often became a game of chance, depending on which catapult would insta-kill a bunch of difficult-to-control units that were running around erratically). Bilzzard later redeemed itself big time with the epic StarCraft and Warcraft III, but the original Warcraft? Meh!

Re:Warcraft didn't bring RTS into focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45069295)

When Warcraft was released, nobody I knew was even talking about Dune 2.

Warcraft was the game that actually had people playing RTSes (to a lesser extent, eventually so did Command and Conquer). The balance wasn't great (though your catapult issue was way off as catapults were too expensive and were nowhere near as good as Water Elementals/Demons that cost nothing) but it was fun (particularly multiplayer).

Dune 2? My friends were pretty hardcore videogamers at the time that Warcraft was released (a time when videogames on the computer were relegated to nerds) and I'd be surprised if any of them even played Dune 2 at the time.

Max Schaefer, what is Runic Games up to? (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | 1 year,13 days | (#45065261)

Since the release of Torchlight II and the announcement there won't be another Torchlight a year ago, it's been awfully quiet. Is the company doing OK? Are you still working on something? If yes, can you reveal something, a hint, anything?

When (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45066791)

Exactly when did you guys suckle from EA's "Always on DRM" and "Nickel and Dime your customers to death" twin teats?

the secret ingredient (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45066841)

Back in the day when I first loaded Warcraft on my PC and started playing, I noticed from the start it was something special. It was a solid game, but more than that you had paid attention to all the details that took it from being a good game to a great game. Same thing with Diablo. From the title screen with the music that absolutely set the mood, I could just tell that it was going to be a great game. What made both of these games so great was the time and effort put in by people committed to making a great game.

In today's era of multimillion dollar blockbuster games coded by hundreds of faceless drones working 12h days, it seems like the indie developers have brought us back to the core of gaming that was crystal clear back in the Warcraft days: games should be fun.

Why do you think that so many of the large developers and publishers have gotten away from this fundamental concept (see the current incarnation of WoW, Diablo 3 and any number of other big name publisher games)?

Warcraft 4? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45066847)

Is there going to be a warcraft 4?

The evolution of Diablo/Torchlight (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45069755)

Both Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 as well as Torchlight 1 and 2 have many classes and 3 skill trees per class. Much like the early days of WoW with assorted attributes (strength, agility, etc...) the player is constantly having to make a "best guesstimate" as to what the next power to choose should be to get the most bang for your buck. How do you approach the balance of the game when there are so many options for the player? How do you make sure that one power doesn't overwhelm either other players in a pvp sense or completely destroy the enemies? How was it decided what 'tier' an ability would be (i.e. 5 points in frost unlocks the next set)?

What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45069963)

Saturated and competitive industry? What is he talking about? The gaming industry was hardy competitive or saturated when Diablo and Warcraft were released.

WoW Offline Mode? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45070005)

On the heels of "Why is Diablo 3 online only?", the inverse question: has there ever been any serious discussion into an offline mode for WoW? I've heard rumors, but can't recall any official sources talking about it.

Dark atmosphere of Diablo (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45071341)

Diablo was a very dark game, even up to Diablo III. There was a real feeling of hopelessness that went as far as being built into the mythology of the world. The most obvious example I will give is how everything you do in Diablo I is just playing into the prime evil's hands. Would you say that this is a special feature of the Diablo Universe, or just how a certain genre of video games are made? I understand WoW has similar themes and so do some other games that came out around the same time period. Still, if felt remarkably unsatisfying knowing that after everything I did in the first game, I just became the villain.

Approach to storytelling (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45071605)

I feel that video games like Diablo fundamentally require a strong focus on the story being told; you can't just say, "Go kill things." Or rather, you can, but you lose a lot doing that. Yet whenever I play an RPG, I feel tempted to just skim the text and hit the 'accept quest' button. I know I'll get EXP, gold, and items. And even in games where your choices alter the ending, the text feels generic and entirely ignorable. Is there a better way to tie the player to their character and what choices they make? To make them say "Hold on, I want to understand what's going on here, and what my Orc Barbarian is getting himself into."?

Memorable Characters (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45072029)

I've found that the process of making memorable characters is not straightforward. Do you approve of what Blizzard has tried to do with this (a goal of DIII, supposedly, was to make more memorable characters than just Deckard Cain and Tyrael)? Can you give some insight on the general process? It seems like a character doesn't have to do much to be memorable. Deckard Cain is just a kind old man who offers advice and identifies items. Griswold was a blacksmith with a Scottish accent. These are hardly DEEP characters but I would still say they're memorable. Could it be that creating a simple, likable character without 10 pages of background story makes it easier for an audience to see where they're coming from?

Amount of control the player has (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45072609)

I have mixed feelings about this and was wondering what you thought. It is true that in a world where the character can do anything they want, let's say Elder Scrolls as an example, you get a bit of decision overload. But some games seem to put you on a linear course that offers no option to change the story. Should games offer more or less choice? Diablo offers so much variety in terms of builds/skills/items, it's almost surprising that in the end you do the exact same thing. At a bare minimum, this costs a lot of replay value.

Role of the community (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45074391)

I won't ask the obvious question of constantly-connected, in part because I think it's futile and in part because someone already asked it. But in a more general sense, do you think games that provide X, without the ability for players to add anything more, are still viable? In my opinion, asking a company to make one game that appeals to everyone is just silly; each player will have slightly different expectations. Some will want a different class, a bigger sword, an additional option in the storyline, etc. Getting developers to do this for you using mods seems like the biggest boon to gaming, and is being staunchly defended by people like Gabe Newell. Do you think that this will ultimately take over? Or is the average gamer satisfied with just X, and willing to move onto a different game altogether once this one gets old?

Rethinking the skills system (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45075029)

Specifically, I'm talking about how skills are restricted to classes. I don't think this is a good idea in terms of game experience, although I can see how it forces a player to keep playing to experience everything. In Diablo I, almost all spells were open to everyone, provided you had the magic. In Diablo II/Torchlight/Torchlight II, this went away and each class was given their own skill. This doesn't make sense to me. If a Barbarian comes across a Druid, why can't the two sit down and teach each other? In that case, the barbarian should have access to the shapeshifting skill and the Druid to, say, whirlwind. The current approach actually makes games less realistic and immersive to me. Are these different classes in fact different species? Why aren't their skills open to each other? Granted, a single warrior taking down hordes of monsters was never that realistic to begin with, but still... I feel Diablo I got this right, and later games messed it up. Will future games attempt to fix it, or are you satisfied with the result?

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