Posted 15 August 2012 - 02:17 PM
<IGP_MIKE> Matt, why not introduce yourself?
<[PGI]MattC> Sure! Matthew Craig Technical Director on MWO. I've been with Piranha Games for almost 3 years now. I started in the games industry over 10 years ago in England. I've worked in Canada for the last 5 years or so, started out as a lowly programmer and worked my way towards Technical Director. It's pretty amazing to be working on MechWarrior as it was one of the games I played to death in my college days.
<IGP_MIKE> First Q: Jeff S - How often are you aiming at integrating elements into the game? Bi Weekly? Monthly? Once a Quarter?
<[PGI]MattC> Jeff S - We're currently adding content every week in the Beta it's too early to say exactly what pace we will maintain when we go open beta but it will likely stay very similar, obviously with frequent updates it tends to mean each update isn't massive once we go open beta we will likely start to build releases around significant content updates along with regular smaller updates. It's likely you'll see regular weekly bug fixes and balance tweaks with more major features spaced bi-monthly or monthly depending on the feature obviously.
<IGP_MIKE> Jon S - How much of a challenge was it to create or modify development tools for the production pipeline for MWO?
<[PGI]MattC> Jon S - The word monumental is probably an understatement ;-)
CryEngine is not designed with MMO games in mind though it is changing as many of you will know about Warface. We've had to do a lot of work similar to what we expect they've experienced to get it to work in this type of environment, most of that being on the backend servers and architecture. It's falling into place great though we have a really strong talented team who've made a great architecture that should support us for years to come. The other major challenge has simply been making a MechWarrior game of this level of fidelity. The earlier Mech games it simply wasn't expected to have the levels of detail we feel compelled to reach for these days. Again I'm very happy with how Mech destruction and the overall modeling pipeline, level pipelines are working out. There is still more we want to do though, I don't feel like we have reached the level i want to get us too.
<IGP_MIKE> Erin P - How are the optimization plans coming along and when can we expect optimization for lower-end users?
<[PGI]MattC> Erin P - optimizations have been a big focus we have separate internal branches for CryEngine 3.4 and much of that work has been going into that as there is little point optimizing the current engine revision. This work is looking good and will be working it's way out to the beta community soon. It doesn't just cover client optimizations it covers server side optimizations too. We are also doing a lot of work with the engine settings to configure them for low to high end systems. Ultimately we remain very focused on ensuring the game works well on low end systems and we'll continue to assess where we stand as changes roll out. I have a core 2 duo myself at home it's my ongoing motivation to get the game running solidly
<IGP_MIKE> FuriA - Are you experiencing issue in net coding Cry Engine 3.4?
<[PGI]MattC> FuriA - I'm glad you asked this, I know for our beta users there has been some frustration with the current net code. As mentioned earlier getting the backend network architecture in place was no small feat and a lot of work had to go into the server side setup this was definitely a drain on resources and talented network engineers are always a scarce resource
With the advent of founders it allowed us to add some capacity here and we're catching up and hoping to really see some significant leaps forward soon in this area. Ultimately it's not a technology issue it's a resource issue. This team has dealt with networking issues many times and ultimately this isn't a challenge beyond what they can deal with. We are playing catch up to a degree in this area though, as you can imagine there have been a ton of plates to spin and we're back round to this one and fully focused. Our beta users can expect to see great things coming down the pipe soon.
<IGP_MIKE> Kyrie - Can you give us some background on the reasons for choosing CryEngine as opposed to others available? What in particular made it an attractive choice from a development point of view?
<[PGI]MattC> Kyrie - There were many factors that went into this decision, one big one was the artists/designers toolset. We'd worked with various engines in the past that didn't facilitate them to the degree that CryEngine does, it was very compelling to have an extensive toolset ready for them from the get go, it needed some work the hardest being for the Mech pipelines but that would have been true of any engine. Graphically it was very appealing. Russ and Bryan were keen on really making a stamp on the Free to play space and making a truly AAA quality title, I agreed. I think it would have been criminal to make a MechWarrior title that didn't utilize modern graphics.
I think it's safe to say that CryEngine has proved weakest from a networking standpoint and has required the most effort in this area. Also looking great means it is a demanding engine, which entails the optimization work discussed. Neither are challenges we can't surmount though and increasingly we are shaping almost our own internal version of the engine that works great for our goals and purposes. Had we gone with other tech I doubt we'd be really in any different place than we are now. We'd likely have just found other areas stronger and other areas weaker. This type of game pushes every aspect of the tech.
What I think is most exciting is the fact we're only really just getting to grips with it, the designers and artists are starting to generate content faster and faster and to better quality levels. Same goes for the coders, so I'm really excited for what the future holds as we now start to use this as a base and reach further and further.
<IGP_MIKE> Levesque - Given the overwhelming demand for in-game voice chat, have you been investigating any VOIP-related technologies?
<[PGI]MattC> Levesque - Really glad you asked, this one gets hashed over a lot. Yes we are investigating this and there should be announcements before too long to address these concerns, needless to say the community is rarely voicing something we aren't thinking or addressing. I think the community will hopefully be very happy when they see where we are going with this.
<IGP_MIKE> [DHB]Ach - Will we see configuration options in-game regarding CryEngine graphical/performance tweaks and settings? Any cool features to look forward to with these settings?
<[PGI]MattC> [DHB]Ach - Of course this is in active development internally, we're doing our best to take into account the feedback from the beta testing community.
There will be some cool features but I can't talk about most of them at this time. We've always stated we want to support a wide range of options/peripherals and we have some great partners that you know about so it shouldn't be too hard to speculate. Our community is great at speculating
<IGP_MIKE> FuriA - Are you working in team with NVIDIA specialists?
<[PGI]MattC> FuriA - Yes I can say that part of our focus with the settings currently is to properly support SLI/Crossfire obviously goes without saying we have to get through the standard stuff before we can get to the more fun stuff
We have some great plans in the works with Nvidia and again we're excited to tell you what they are when the time is right. Pretty safe to say we're planning to take the graphics up another notch though
<IGP_MIKE> IceGryphon - Do you have complete access to the CryEngine 3 source code?
<[PGI]MattC> Yes, easy one that. Oh and from the last question no were not forgetting about AMD users.
<IGP_MIKE> Hawkeye72 - Most games seem to have multiple year development times. Understanding that with F2P titles there will always be updates, how do you feel about the development pace for MWO and what are some challenges on your end building the game in under a year?
<[PGI]MattC> Hawkeye72 - Good question, obviously I think any team would love to have multiple years to develop a title. The development pace has obviously been fast and furious it's partly the nature of the games industry I think as it gets more competitive but particularly for MechWarrior as most of the fans know it was a struggle to get someone to put their necks on the line and back it in the first place (I don't understand it either).
We don't have a record breaking budget for MWO or the pockets of Blizzard etc. but I guess what we do have is enough people who are (nuts) fans of the game to just put it all on the line and go for it. I think founders shows that we're on the right track. Now we just feel really committed to pulling it through for the fans, I've personally come to love this type of development as I'd hate the idea of just putting it in a box and not touching it again (most games are rushed out these days anyhow).
Not saying that were not rushing, but at least we can continue to improve the product to where we originally envision it.
I think Paul/Bryan etc. have an awesome vision for MWO and it's going to take some time to fully realize it, but it should be awesome when we do and then at that point we keep going We were just saying today for only being in development for a year we've come a long way baby, big thanks to the community for coming along for the ride
<IGP_MIKE> Tweaks - What kind of software development process are you using at PGI and why did you choose it?
<[PGI]MattC> When we were in pre-pro for Mech we'd just come off of doing Duke which had been very 'traditional' development and we knew that this didn't fit well with Piranha, we adopted Agile early in MWO not to be trendy or anything but because we generally felt it's a better way to work especially for this type of continuous development project. It's not been without it's challenges and we continue to improve all the time there is just as much work that goes into our internal processes as the tech etc.
Ultimately it's an evolution and I'm happy with how it's evolving, we've worked hard to empower the team and it was great to see changes like the separate targeting reticules come off the development floor and not mandated from the top down. Much more of the 'oh that's cool, yeah let’s do that’ than 'yes boss how did you want that reticule implementing again'
Part of my personal philosophy is that games are only as much fun as the people that have fun making them. We've got an awesome team and culture here at Piranha and hopefully it bleeds through into the game. We know we're not there yet and that we've got a lot of work still ahead of us to deliver for the fans but I think the team remains well up for the challenge. Back me up Garth your having fun right
<[PGI]Erlam> Of course. I am in no way obligated to say yes.
<IGP_MIKE> Gun to head... lol. Ok folks, that was our last question! Thanks Matt!
<[PGI]Erlam> Thanks everyone!
*[PGI]PaulInouye releases Garth from his choke hold.
<[PGI]MattC>See the process works, thanks guys great chatting with you all
<FoxD> Thank you ladies and gentlemen!
* [PGI]Erlam is in no way a robot.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 02:26 PM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 02:32 PM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 02:32 PM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 02:36 PM
GREAT information though! Thanks a lot to Mr. Craig for doing this, always great to hear from the DEVs. MWO is going to win awards, just you all wait.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 02:42 PM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 02:51 PM
Putting together the other stuff that has been announced, some really interesting and juicy titbits of information on the upcoming closed beta updates.
Cant wait to see the improvements !
Thank you all for the good work and keeping the community in the loop.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 03:20 PM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 03:27 PM
Uh....overwhelming apathy more like.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 03:36 PM
I'm by no means a vet of the BT universe, my experience started with MW2 when I was knee-high to a grasshopper and continued with MW4 (several years later when I thought to myself, "Wait... that game with giant walking tanks... havn't seen anything like that since."). But as my love, respect and knowledge of the franchise grew, I knew that this would be a game I would support and love should a new title be released.
Massive props on taking that responsibility, make us proud!
EDIT: spelling! (should probably check before posting)
Edited by Potion, 15 August 2012 - 03:39 PM.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 03:41 PM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 04:00 PM
Lovely work, guys; fantastic... more, please?
Posted 15 August 2012 - 04:40 PM
Is it just me or do developers have a super hard time finding support of original content? Such as an original non-licenced setting. Any thoughts anyone?
Posted 15 August 2012 - 07:08 PM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 07:21 PM
But, thank you SOOO Much for your time!
Posted 15 August 2012 - 07:31 PM
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