Ashes of Creation Livestream 2018-5-4

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Intro/Discussion

  • Steven: Bacon is joining us today. Welcome The Bacon. John is running the stream so if there are any problems everyone can blame him. No, I’m just kidding. It’s been awhile since we were here. We got a lot of great feedback from everyone who tuned into the PAX stream. Michael Bacon has put together a really awesome schedule for the next PAX. We’re going to do some shooting, interviews at the studios, and have a schedule of stuff to show at the next PAX. Whoops…. Did we accidentally announce that.
  • Jeffrey: I think we just did. Well the next PAX we’re going to which may not be the next.
  • Steven: Who knows when that will be! We won’t know until we officially announce that?
  • Steven: What’s in the box?
  • Bacon: What’s in the box? A Lightsaber maybe
  • Steven: So we sent out the newsletter that reflected a bit that it has officially been one year since the Kickstarter.
  • Bacon: It seems longer
  • Jeffrey: A year - it seems longer and faster - I think back and feel like it’s been 10 years, but it also feels like yesterday.
  • Steven: That was a crazy day. I remember we came in and we had an off office pool on how successful Kickstarter would be.
  • Bacon: I was like way off
  • Steven: Were you really?
  • Bacon: I was pessimistic. I thought we would meet it.

Jeff: I thought 1.5 or about there. Tristan cheated (laughs) guessed 3.5 (mil). Steven Said 2.4

  • Steven: It was a pretty surreal day. It’s really cool to look back and see over one year where we’ve come from and where we’re at now.
  • Jeffrey: Yeah, we’re a totally different studio now at this point. We’ve more than doubled in size. We have a game now, we had a prototype at the time but it wasn’t what we’ve got now.
  • Steven: At the time we had 12-13 people working on the project in pre-production mode. Today we have over 70 people working on the project. Over 30 in-house.
  • Jeffrey: And partners everywhere
  • Steven: across multiple time zones
  • Steven: It’s really interesting to just know that amount of progress has occurred in less than 12 months.
  • Jeffrey: It’s absolutely nuts really. I can’t even put it into words. If you look at other studios that shall remain nameless, a lot of time is really spent doing nothing. We really focus on making the game, on making something happen, we know exactly where we want to go so we just do it. It’s exciting to be a part of.
  • Steven: Our operational practices really focus on getting into testing and staying transparent and open with the community which drives a lot of the progress forward.
  • Jeffrey: Once we say, ‘Hey! We’re going to do this thing. We need you guys to be a part of it.’ We’re obligated at that point. We can’t just say oops sorry we didn’t do it.
  • Bacon: Unless you're standing within X amount of space from me.
  • Steven: That’s true! I have plausible deniability today because the Bacon Zone is so close. (laughs)
  • Steven: The other interesting thing was that as you were saying when you make the commitment to the community on a certain date, we’re not beholden to investors or a board or anything like that. We’re really beholden to the community and delivering something in a timely fashion that is up to the standards that they’ve come to expect.
  • Jeffrey: Kickstarter is a weird thing. We know that Kickstarter has an association. We see projects all the time that don’t make any progress.
  • Steven: and that’s not a dig at any project
  • Jeffrey: For real, it’s not. Yeah, it just happens. Things that you don’t expect happen and it causes projects to fail. It’s one of the things we thought was really important. We need to show things to give our backers the understanding that hey we’re fulfilling what we promised you guys.
  • Steven: The cool thing about this process, you can go on our YouTube channel and scroll back a year in the videos and you can see what the game state was a year ago. Then you can see the video we took last week testing our raids/pvp - we should probably just put that up

Video

  • [6:14pm] Video shown
  • Character shown in town called “LordSnod”
  • Raid being shown, around 20 players
  • Leaving town as raid. FPS is fluid.
  • Steve explains they are testing raid mechanics they are preparing for first phase alpha 1, recorded this last week
  • Important they get the networking smooth, showing off a lot of effects
  • UI visibly improved
  • Player seen on horse mount in raid - Stated that this is an Alpha Model, not representative of final horses
  • Players continue moving to location, entering underworld/cave
  • Toxic cloud [6:18] Cleric needed to clear the cloud.
  • Engages Sorrow’s Hunger mini boss [6:19]
  • Moves forward into the Forest of Paradise
  • Fighting Brood Queen boss. She has gained Rock Geysers [6:22]
  • Boss Mechanics present, shown as effects/telegraphs on ground
  • Jeff: Wanted to make it harder for A0 players. Has AoE knockback. Has jets coming up from beneath players
  • All players in raid shown riding horses towards town
  • [6:24] Showing sieging of city. Bunch of players attacking a bunch of other players
    • Tristan is the dev playing LordSnod (Ranger)
  • Character PhoenixGM mounted horse mid-combat? Lol
  • Tristan dies and then is revived (or self-revives)
  • Players still fighting showing net code in battle (still smooth)
  • Video ends [6:27]
  • Steven: Jeff and Bacon talk to us a bit about what we’re working towards now and how development is going.
  • Bacon: Great
  • Jeffrey: We’ve got some really serious processes involved now. That was part of last year. Figuring out how to work as a team as we grow so big and working the way it’s supposed to and keeping communication lines open. We’ve put Peter in the production role and that’s worked out really well. It’s really about taking advantage of all the people we have. We have people working on tons of new assets. Design is working on a lot of PvP stuff right now. We are working on housing, environments. Javier Perez is working on/finished tribal houses for one of the dwarven races.
  • Bacon: We’ve got our shader pipeline together [inaudible] is a master of that
  • Jeffrey: A lot of the stuff you’ve been seeing has been A0 stuff. Even 3-4 months later is kind of stale almost. A lot of the stuff we’re working on now which you’ll start to see as it gets finalized relatively shortly is even better than this. It’s another level that we’ve gained. We’re excited to be able to show you soon
  • Steven: We’re getting close to showing that stuff. We might be a little ahead of schedule on it which is cool. It gives us more time for testing that way.
  • Jeffrey: To talk about how much progress we’ve made, we were talking about doing A1 at the end of 2018. At the rate we’re going we’re stoked to be able to do this.
  • Steven: Bacon confirmed!
  • Jeffrey: To go to that phase in Early Q4, is a big deal.
  • Steven: My favorite thing in having watched production cycles of other games and watching those games not hit their schedules. It feels good to have a project not just hitting schedules but potentially hitting them a little early.
  • Jeffrey: We’re not pushing things, we’re pulling things. How often does that happen?
  • Steven: That doesn’t happen very often.
  • Jeffrey: I’ve never been a part of a project that’s done that before.
  • Bacon: It’s part of the enthusiasm in the office. Everyone is pushing in a way. We’re pushing forward. Wanting to see the stuff we’re creating in the game working and to see the speed that is coming together.
  • Jeffrey: Part of that is a clear vision: We know what we want to do, we know how to do it, and so we just do it. There’s not a lot of ‘I don’t know if we should do this’ we’re doing this thing and we’re getting it done.
  • Steven: We’ve been growing the team size steadily. We will have an announcement of new hires coming out in the next weeks. Bringing on some very talented individuals. I think you guys will see. It’s going to help us push AoC forward to be the best possible MMO it can be. Seeing those deadlines and schedules we’re moving towards have some good progress.
  • Jeffrey: You're going to continue to see steady growth out of us. The closer we get to our big content pushed the more people we’re going to need. If you have friends who are interested or are somebody who has always wanted to get in just drop us a line when you start seeing those positions open up.
  • Steven: The more that you guys as a community can help to spread the word about the project and the studios, the greater the interest/spotlight is put on the project for us to be able to pull from the most talented developers from the industry, as we already have as a studio. Keep spreading the word it helps us 100%
  • Steven: The pushback from the boss has added a motion blur.
  • Jeffrey: Just how smooth everything works with this many people without a hitch is really a good sign for us. (referring to pvp raid)
  • Steven: What I love about this, we watch the board, our community, forums on MMO websites, reddit - one of the primary voiced concerns about Ashes was “Oh they’re using UE4. You can’t do an MMO with UE4.” Spending time early on our backend solutions for UE4 and accommodating the amount of players we want to see on the screen, and having good performance both server side and client side. UE4 couldn’t have been better and our engineers could not have been better.
  • Jeffrey: I really think they knocked it out of the park on both sides. We’ve got Epic’s ears, so we get a lot of help from them. There’s nothing UE4 can’t do if you tell it to do it. You have access to the source code, so if something isn’t acting the right way, we just change it. We did have to change some things. That’s why we have engineers. Engineers work on the hard projects like that.
  • Steven: Right now, Networking-wise the number of engineers we have here and other places is about 14 engineers working on backend solutions.
  • Steven: I’m going to be a bit of an UE evangelist right now. The epic engine is remarkable. Epic has done a great job of creating an out of the box engine and giving developers the tools and support they need to facilitate the changes they may need to make.
  • Jeffrey: No engine is going to be a one size fits all solution. That’s why they give you access to the source code, so that you can make it your solution as needed. All of these people who have worked on the Engine and know exactly what to do with it are just a call away and help us out when we need it. If we had to do this on our own or if we had to do this with another engine, I don’t really know another off the shelf engine that would give us as much as Unreal has.
  • Bacon: The tools are amazing in it. They’re just so easy to work with.
  • Steven: From an artist standpoint right?
  • Jeffrey: When someone says ease, like Michael just did, that means fast. That means powerfully, quickly. That what it’s about. We’re not hampered by an old proprietary engine that takes 8 hours to do a simple thing. Right out of the box we’re prototyping and making stuff.
  • Bacon: From an artist level, just to get into the shader level without having coders involved, it’s just so powerful right out of the box. Being able to get your hands into it and get the results you want quickly, from a production standpoint is amazing.
  • Steven: It’s invaluable honestly. A lot of people are accustomed to looking at games in this stage of development and seeing nothing but greybox and a world that hasn’t even begun to work on aesthetics and beginning to get those assets into the engine. Whereas with Unreal and Ashes this stuff here is that equivalent testing period, but it’s looks are starting to get there even though it’s first pass. The Artists on this team are super talented. Designers and Engineers as well.
  • Bacon: Those guys
  • Jeffrey: I totally agree. It’s unreal what they’re able to produce. It’s like “Hey, I need 12 houses.’ ‘Okay here’s 34’ it’s so cool to work with artists who are so giving.
  • [6:30]
  • Steven: With regards to art we probably have some art we can show. Again, a lot of this stuff is first pass. These are work in progress. This is part of our transparency. You get to see these things as they’re being worked on.
  • Tribal assets shown, by Javier Perez.
  • Area they have not mentioned yet [6:31] of a particular dungeon that has lore importance. Has a lava/dark look to it. Looks like the interior of a volcano that Javier Perez is working on.
  • Bacon: It’s cool to watch it in motion. All of the lava stuff, UV stuff working, moving.
  • [6:31] Jon Arellano worked on this elven housing shown, fancy 2 story with stairs. Interior also shown, textures look good.
  • More Elven housing shown, great hall. Very fancy.
  • Jon Arellano worked on a University area shown with statue in middle. Placeholder statue.
  • Human assets from Bacon showing housing assets.
  • Interior of a Mage tower shown
  • Bacon: Human stuff is very blocky and square.
  • Steven: It’s easily culturally identifiable. I love that the shapes are kind of housed within the different cultures.
  • Bacon: The shape lines are different for each race.
  • [6:33] Castle shown
  • Steven: Assets shown set in a “playground”, art assets that are being built are thrown into the world testing lighting etc. It’s not in an area that has developed terrain.
  • Jeffrey: Not in an actual level, it lets it load quickly so we can check it out.
  • Bacon: It’s the beginnings, our first pass on this stuff.
  • Steven: Jeff Delierre did some concepting for weapons, 1h/2h swords, scepters, daggers, polearms, potion launchers, spell books, orbs, wands,
  • Bows, Crossbows!!! (Steven quickly tries to remove it)
  • Steven: Statues Ryan Richmond was working on. Elven Statues. The statue we saw earlier would be replaced with one of these.
  • [6:35] Sketch Work done by Matt Broom, character armor.
  • Steven: I think Keith Kovach is working on the robe piece. I think we get that in engine Monday.
  • Jeffrey: Artwork on paper is transferring to game almost 1:1 due to our great artists.
  • Steven: The direction of this art has some eastern influence, but really taking that and westernizing it. Taking that and creating as Matt would say real-time look.
  • Jeffrey: We keep it realistic, with realistic proportions, but want the flair and attention to detail.
  • Steven: Jon nailed it. Environment artist extraordinaire and streamer.
  • We have an a0 test running all week long. From Friday-Friday. It started at 2pm today. We’re still doing our raffles for A0. You can get entries by subscribing to our social media, registering on the website.
  • Jeffrey: This is like our long term test right?
  • Steven: Yes
  • Jeffrey: Memory leaks, that kind of thing.

Q&A

[38:07] Will there be a stufferton server?

  • Steven: A server with only stuffertons. Just one race of stuffertons. That would be great. I’d love it.

[38:20] Crossbows?

  • Bacon confirmed

[38:32] Nodes part 3

  • Steven: still working on nodes part 3. We want to deliver nodes part 3 to the standard we want.
  • Jeffrey: To explain that a bit. Doing explanations and videos like that takes resources away from us. It’s about trying to find the right time. It’s about trying to find the right time and when people have spare cycles to work on that kind of thing. It’s not that we’re trying to avoid it, but it’s been busy.

[39:09] Will there be random treasure chests in the world?

  • We could do that. Something we have discussed (Steven to Jeff). Answer is maybe.
    • We want to be transparent in the development of the project. Fine line between revealing too much lore or too many system mechanics taking away from the discovery of the players. While we are transparent in our progress, we don’t want to spoil the game for you.

[40:13] Will we be able to make our characters before launch?

  • Steven: I personally would like to offer our character creation suite before launch and have an opportunity for people to participate in contests for coolest character, saving the character, etc. We are going to work for that.
    • Bacon: Maybe a combat arena.

[40:50] How long until Alpha-0 ends?

  • Jeff: I don’t know if A0 will ever end.
  • Steven: I’m trying to think right now
  • Jeffrey: We’re finding it really useful on our part from a technical side. It’s not about the content that’s in it. It's about testing stability, optimization. We find it really useful for that. Especially if there's a big server change that we do. Throw it on a0 first and see what happens. It may end eventually or morph into something else.

[41:39] I am a computer animation student, what should I aim to work on in terms of software and ability?

  • ”Use our tools” (Bacon) Unreal. Motionbuilder, Maya.

Jeffrey: Depends on what kind of animator you want to be. There’s different types. You can be a technical animator. You could be a guy that spends your day rigging. If you really want to focus on just the mechanics of animation really spend some time on that. You should be playing with a sketchbook every day. Learning the lingo of animation. There’s this whole language involved with it. Understanding how people move and how to do that efficiently.

  • Steven: Spending the time yourself to focus on learning those software tools. Don’t just hone in on what you want to do, but explore all realms of animation and find where your passion lies.
  • Jeffrey: You're going to be doing it 8 hours a day for the rest of your life. It’s really important that you don’t get burned out on it. If you’re in school take your time to really explore that. Figure out what makes you happiest and what you can do long term. These aren’t easy jobs. We do it because we love it, not because it’s easy. Be prepared for that and look for that thing that excites you.

[43:37] Will motion blur be able to be turned off/on? What about PoV?

  • Steven: That is a natural setting you can turn on and off. Answer is yes. We are have a third person view you can zoom in and out of. You might be able to zoom in until it looks like it’s first person, but you will not see first person animations zooming all the way in. We are not designing AoC to be played first-person.

[44:39] What is the difference between daggers and maces, and could you equip each in a duel-wield fashion?

  • We have discussed having one handed weapons being interchangeable. Depends on what types of augments the weapon has and what you want it to be. Our intent is we want weapons to be agnostic. There will be skills that allow you to throw daggers.

[46:53] What can I do to support Intrepid without breaking my bank?

  • Our project is fully-funded. We have no box-cost associated with us. Participation in the community is what we want. Watch our streams, discord, etc. We raffle out the keys.

[47:58] When will we see the other 4 archetypes?

  • I will say phase 2 alpha 1. You will see an iteration of those archetypes.

[48:17] Will there be global announcements for world changing events?

  • Ideally, we would love that stuff to pass through players. Events players need to be aware of. If a castle is under attack, everyone should know. World bosses yes, not caravans, not local node events. Finding the right balance between things.

[49:50] What will the maturity of the game feel like? Will quest NPC’s swear and will dungeons feel dark?

  • You’ve seen all those scouts dead in the video. There was blood. There is going to be enough seriousness. We want things to have weight to them. We do not need to rely on swearing to get the dark point across. We are not going grim-dark at all.

[52:01] Fast travel, auto pathing or just use mats?

  • We have said before there is very little teleporting in the world. There are mounts that are faster travel. No travel to node systems.

[52:44] How does saving a name work for backers, do people with higher packages go first?

  • When we implement name reservations, it will come by order of tier first, each tier will get access before the tier before them (beneath them) will get announced on website.

[53:35] Do we already know the monthly price for the subscription?

  • Monthly price is $15/month.

[54:11] Do you plan on making an app for world events, character notifications and item management?

  • Good question. We spoke about this before. The answer is yes, there will be an application to download on your phone, world event notifications, and notifications regarding housing, interact with the game in some ways. We do want people to interact with the game on their phones away from the computer.

[55:00] Tell us more about potion launchers?

  • Potion launchers were accidently put onto the artwork you saw (Bacons fault) we will reveal more about different weapons as we move forward.

[55:36]What type of PC was the demo running on?

  • It was running on a 970 graphics card.

[57:10] What are some of the challenges we are facing currently?

  • The challenges are not big ones. For us maintaining the culture is an important thing for us. We are very careful about who we hire. General growth challenge. Having over 70 people working on the project is great. Later on having over 200 is going to be great. Part of our success as a studio is delivering on time. A product everyone can be proud of. Steven: My challenge in addition is that our transparent development process is a two-edged sword, but it leaves us open to falsities, misinterpretation. Rely on the community to spread that information. More voices we have the better is for us developers to take that feedback and run with it.
  • We will have another stream next month, no date yet.
  • We have some exciting stuff coming “very soon” not including potion launchers.
  • [7:01] Raffle starts (10 keys for alpha 0)

References