SOE Live 2013: Landmark Panel Takeaways

Creating a World

  • Use core principals from the EverQuest franchise
  • Bring a product that can’t be found anywhere else
  • Landmark is intended to appeal to players who want to interact with the world
  • Longevity is important
  • Kicks off the integration of content for EQ Next
  • You’re in “Our” World Now – creating a world together and Landmark is the beginning of this
  • Building upon a completely constructable and destructible world
  • Break the mold by going back to the roots of a game like Dungeons & Dragons, where everyone is part of the game and has fun
“We want people to find things and do things that are totally unique and experimental, and really let their creativity show.” 
-Rosie Rappaport

Setting Development Goals
  • Tiers of content and the game must be fun
  • Destructible and constructable world (dynamic)
  • Constructable world: modular world using LEGO sets as an example
  • Construction goals: blocks, props, materials
  • Use a geometric style in the world (supports underlying tech for game and allows the world to embrace its look)
  • Materials needed to look natural and realistic; created a library of shapes
  • “Iksar area” mentioned when talking about the world
  • Halas mentioned when talking about the world
  • Everyone from the team was able to contribute to building the world
  • The devs hope to see the same inspiration put into building on Landmark
  • Focused on making an organic terrain with voxels

 

 Voxels, Technically
  • Voxels in the new engine are very small
  • Data is stored for each voxel: its location, material, and contouring information in regards to smoothing (and “other stuff”)
  • Huge world + tiny voxels = LOTS of voxels = HUGE data problem!
  • To solve the data issue they created a “procedurally generated world”…
  • This uses “noise algorithms and textures” to generate the base terrain so it is not stored as data
  • The procedural state allows the team to customize with voxels (custom voxels use data storage)
  • They can heal the terrain, so that voxel data is removed and reverted back to the original
  • “Mesh generation” that generates meshes with voxel data, which is actually what’s rendered; also allows for smoothing and blending
  • “Really awesome landscapes” are achieved by the level of detail generating lower resolution meshes as it is moved and “blended” further in the clipping plane
  • Physics of destuction: devs have tools that allow them to evaluate the physics behind destroying the terrain
Harvesting and Crafting

  • Talking about how harvesting is different due to a destructible world…
  • The world is made out of resources
  • Natural resources are where you would expect to find them; “you find copper where you think copper might be”; rocks on mountains, wood in forests, “dirt can be found pretty much everywhere”
  • Harvesting temporarily destructs that bit of world; the world heals and the resources may move a bit
  • There will still be some game-specific nodes found via exploration.. example given is maybe some mithril will be in snowcapped mountains
  • There’s not only surface harvesting, but also harvesting deep within the world
  • Tools: expect basic harvesting tools but also some specialized ones (not elaborated on yet)
  • Harvesting encourages exploration
  • Everyone is a crafter in Landmark! “On the frontier everyone needs skills to survive.”
  • System will be “easy to use and accessible” but there will still be things for “the hardcore guy”
  • Players will create most of the items
  • You can harvest items not just to collect and use them, but also because they’re made of resources, so they themselves can be harvested if desired

 

Building
  • You can build outside of your plot for navigation purposes; this area can heal and revert to its natural state
  • Limited tools to use when building outside your plot
  • Any building within your plot is permanent; can “store your treasures”
  • “Really powerful tools” for building inside your plot; same tools as devs
  • Tools: should be obvious what it does, have consistent behavior and feel natural to use
  • Tools: related functions are grouped together
  • These tools remove the tedium of making small changes to your build
  • Go above and beyond other games with features sure as smoothing and copy & paste
  • Fun to use – it’s still a game!
  • Keep things looking like it belongs in the world
  • Things are moved around with animations, sounds, particle effects – but these are intended to not be overwhelming
Q&A

Q: Inventory space, how to organize?
A: Expect decent size inventory, can also store some stuff in your claim (plot)

Q: Can I dig under and collapse someone’s plot?
A: They want the game interesting and intuitive but there will be some limitations. We don’t know for certain right now.

Q: Will system requirements be similar to Planetside 2?
A: Too early to talk about minimum specs, but trying to get it running as fast as possible on many types of machines.

Q: How do you keep the world from “not looking like the surface of the moon” after 20+ people are harvesting in an area?
A: World healing should feel natural; current limit is five minutes
A: The world won’t end up looking like swiss cheese, will discuss more later

Q: Mine resources from player-made objects?
A: Not talking about PvP right now
A: There will be “an extremely robust permission system” so you can control in Landmark what you want other people to do with you creations

Q: Any risks while harvesting?
A: Not talking about death currently but yes, there’s risks (example given: lava is dangerous!)
A: Some items might circumvent dangers

Q: Best way for me to satisfy that person’s need to grief others?
A: Will try to give players a way to PROTECT against griefing

Q: Scaling up/down, would it cost more resources… can you scale up and down?
A: Yes you can scale; building something larger would likely cost more resources
A: Two systems being discussed here… building with voxels: you can do some scaling with voxels and that will cost more resources since each voxel costs a resource; props: creation of a prop costs a set amount of resources

Q: How big can we expect EverQuest Next to be?
A: “The biggest.”
A: “Very large.”
A: Limits haven’t been defined or reached yet; there are technical limits but they haven’t reached those yet
A: More hardware and processes should scale the world larger and larger; not testing how big it can get yet

Q: Do voxel materials have a mass or hardiness? Wall of stone harder to blow up than a wall of dirt? Will it sound different
A: Plan to have audio attached to materials…
A: .. and different physical strengths.
A: Hardier materials can make it easier to harvest lower tier things

Q: Craft or create props that allow more efficient movement?
A: Sounds like fun but too early to say!

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