Larian Studios Status Update

Larian Studios' Swen Vincke returns to the official forums to offer up another status update on Dragon Commander and "Project E", during which he explains why he's been both impatient and nervous about both games' development schedules in recent weeks. Despite that, it sounds like Dragon Commander has progressed quite a bit since GamesCom:
Internally we look at DC as a game being split in two phases phase 1 is the strategy/rpg part, phase 2 is the action/rts part. Since we want to be able to make the claim that you'll make more decisions in DC than in any RPG we've ever produced, we made sure that for every character you encounter in the game, there are complex decision trees, and that the impact of reaching a certain point in each decision tree has an impact on the overall gameplay.

Looking at elf princess Lohannah for instance, I count 7 RPG like decisions to be made (i.e. moral, ethical, political, romantic etc.) with associated different consequences. Each character has been worked out like this, and we've made sure that whenever something felt like cliché or uninteresting, it was sent back to the drawing board. The ten characters on my desk alone yield more than 100 consequences, and I wished we had stuff like this in the previous Divinities.

It looks like a lot of fun but the only thing is I can't play it yet. It's just flowcharts, with cues for the guys who have to script it, but we can't script it yet as we're waiting for the scripts, and the team building the script editor/engine to be ready.

On another front, we have a team working on the procedural generation required to create the enormous gameworld we need for Dragon Commander. Strategy implies a lot of areas to fight for, and given the speed at which the dragon can fly, these areas need to be quite large. The common number is 20x20 km for one area.

The proof of concept works, the strategy for implementing the pipeline that allows us to create huge continents and adapt it in function of gameplay is sound (except that we're nervous about how large all the data will be), but we're now waiting for the entire pipeline to be put into action, not only so that we can see the world we'll be fighting for, but also so that we'll be able to decide exactly how large the server farm will need to be that has to generate all of it. And then we still need to put all the manually placed stuff in that world.

On yet another front, the phase 2 front, we've succesfully managed to blend the RTS component of the game with controlling the dragon. This is really sweet, except that as we were iterating through various version of the control schemes and how the AI would work, the code became a complete mess. Now, we're cleaning up, and integrating everything in our new engine. This takes time, meaning again that I can't play it yet. That same front also needs to make sure that the entire plan is also going to work in muliplayer, obviously slowing us down even more.

And I'm not even talking about all the engine work that's going on. That's a veritable shitload of work.