Star Wars: The Old Republic Studio Insider #5 and Community Q&A

Just as they did with their third "Studio Insider" feature, BioWare Austin has combined this week's update from senior video editor Brian Arndt (in which he discusses Star Wars' iconic introductory text crawl) with another community Q&A entry. First, a bit from what Brian has to say:
As a part of the BioWare Creative Services team, we get to spend all our time in The Old Republic filming and editing gameplay walkthroughs, character progression videos, taking screenshots and even creating the Timeline video series. We work around the clock to deliver these Friday updates for the community (and even read your forum posts to see what people are looking forward to seeing and try and get them in there!). It's exciting and exhausting but a lot of fun, and the team is super passionate and proud to be doing it. So how did we end up crafting the class intro video assets for in-game, you might ask?

It began with a short discussion with Art Director Jeff Dobson where he asked if we could fit this into our (already insane) schedule. The answer was of course (We can't repel an offer of that magnitude!) Okay, it was more like (yes!) We decided to work nights, weekends, and through lunches to make it happen. With that settled, we rolled up our sleeves and set to work.

First step, research. We sat down and re-watched the opening sequences for all six movies to review how they were put together on a second-by-second basis. For most fans, the Star Wars crawl is just some scrolling yellow text that sets up the story. What you may not realize is that the format of this text has very precise guidelines, from the exact shade of yellow used in the font to the width of the margins and even down to the speed of the scroll.

We wound up using the opening crawl from The Empire Strikes Back as our template. Using text written by the writing team, we rendered out the crawl, got the color right, set the margins, and even timed out the speed. You know what wound up being the toughest part? The angle. Getting the angle at which the text floats off into space turned out to be more difficult than we anticipated. It took several iterations to get it just right.

And a little something from the Q&A:
Q: Will special ability sounds change as you upgrade your weapons, or will they stay consistent throughout the leveling process? For instance, the Trooper's ability that launches a grenade - you get this fairly early on with your basic equipment, but will it sound the same at end-game with an epic rifle? Noobinator

A: Certain abilities will have fixed, signature sounds while others will dynamically change based on the weapons you have equipped. When you loot a new Lightsaber or blaster, you'll notice that it almost always makes different sounds than the one you were previously using. We're really happy about how weapon sounds can blend with your abilities to make your combat sound unique. Rare weapons are even more special you may find a rare weapon that also has a rare and more powerful set of sounds associated with it.


Q: Will the Mos Eisley cantina music be in the game? ChavekToth

A: Peter McConnell, Jared Emerson-Johnson, and Steve Kirk have written an hour and a half of brand new cantina music for The Old Republic. The goal was to expand off of the existing material we've all heard and try to fill out the rest of the set list. If you were to hang out in the Mos Eisley Cantina, what would the remainder of Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes' concert have sounded like? What does a longer set sound like from The Max Rebo Band? What kind of music might you hear in an Imperial cantina? It all grew out of the cantina music in the original films. But, keep your ears open for those few classic tunes, too; I'm sure they'll turn up somewhere!

Finally, there's an additional post that discusses their plans to show the game at the San Diego Comic-Con.