Titan Quest Designer Diary Round-up

We apparently missed the last couple of Titan Quest designer diaries on GameSpot, so today we bring you news about all of them. Designer Diary #2 is titled "Rebuilding the Ancient World" and is penned by lead content designer Tom Potter:
Armed with pages of notes, pictures, and mythological factoids about each region, we are now ready to sketch the basic level layout on paper. The team discusses points of interest to include in each level, how to support the story through level design, historical accuracy, and how to ensure proper gameplay flow. Once we've agreed upon the best layout, we sculpt a simple version of the level in the editor to test out our ideas. It's not unusual to go through several iterations of each level before we're happy with the results. The sculpting tools are pretty straightforward. We have a tool to create vast plateaus, usually for level boundaries and play areas; one to raise and lower the terrain to add detail to the flat height map; a smoothing tool for any rough edges; and a ramp tool to create gradual slopes between different height-map elevations.

Designer Diary #3 is titled "Music and Sound of an Ancient World" and is penned by sound designer Scott Morton:
Titan Quest has another unique dimension to its audio that a lot of role-playing games don't have: historical roots. Each ancient civilization in the game has certain historical authenticities to it in its architecture, people, and mythology. This carries over into sound and music; ambient environments are very visceral and "real" in nature, varying with the vast differences in location such as grasslands, deserts, underground caverns, and the like. Research was done into the historical properties of each civilization's music; specific instruments and characteristics from each type of ancient music were blended into the score. As you travel throughout the world of Titan Quest, you will not only see famous and historical landmarks from ancient Greece and Egypt, but you will also experience a little bit of the sound and music that might have emanated from those cultures. The flavor of authenticity is just as important in the game as the excitement and action.

And Designer Diary #4 is titled "Get Rich Quick Killing Monsters" and is penned by lead systems designer Arthur Bruno:
The two forms of self-betterment that occur in most role-playing games are character development and, of course, the collection of equipment. The equipment treasure hunt, however, has an additional characteristic of unpredictability. Usually there are things you can do to improve your chances of finding desirable loot, but within limits. This makes it a little like gambling, which is compelling because for some nonsensical reason, most of us think we can predict random events or, in other words, "luck." If you've ever performed some repetitive action hoping for a particular random outcome, such as playing a slot machine in real life or, in the role-playing world, camping a rare spawn, and at some point you started to feel as though you'd done it enough that the outcome you were waiting for was bound to happen any moment, then you've experienced this phenomenon. I myself remember countless times when I was trying to log out of a certain role-playing game when I'd notice a chest at the top edge of the screen and think, "I need to log out, but just one more chest. Maybe something good will drop." Even though I'd opened 999 chests and found nothing worthwhile that same night, I couldn't resist the temptation to open just one more. Of course, when I walked to that chest and opened it to find nothing useful, I was now able to see another chest just at the edge of the screen...