Questions and answers from the third dev chat
Yesterday’s Dev Chat was really interesting and we’d like to thank everyone who came. For those who missed the chat or just want an overview on what was going on, here are the main questions that were asked and their answers.
Stephan, Limbic's Entertainment CEO, Thomas, Technical Lead, Marcus, Game designer and Gary, producer, were the devs present during this chat.
Your Might & Magic team
1. Why are we forced to use the pro version of Unity?
[Stephan] First off - thank you for this question: I won a bet! As we expected it to be the first question! ;)
Before going in some details let me say that I think we made a mistake.
Looking back we should have been more careful calling it "modding kit". In fact we should have called it "DEV TOOLs" or "DEV KIT".
What we released to you in the second patch is literally exactly the same tools we are using to build MMXL. Our team here is working with this tool set. We discussed "when" to release it and we felt it would be good to release it now - actually before the full game release.
So the main goal was to give some really interested modders the opportunity to have a look at the dev tools, see how the game is build and actually provide us with some feedback.
So in a nutshell we should have been more carefully how we call and present it. We had the best intentions about making the dev tools public but obviously it caused some frustration which definitely was nothing we wanted to do. ;(
We still hope that it encourages some people to fool around with the dev kit, try out stuff and actually help us with improvements. I hope this aswers the question.
2. Will there be an option for real-time combat as in previous M&M games, or is this game only turn-based?
[Marcus] We didn't plan such an option deliberately out of two reasons. We wanted to put a focus on two core mechanics of the gameplay: tile-based and turn-based. To be honest I cannot speak for the technical feasibility of adding a real-time option. But from the design perspective having a real-time game that allows switching to turns makes more sense compared to our situation, which would be the other way around.
3. Are you going to make any simple Map Editor (like in Legend of Grimrock) or at least Dungeon Editor?
[Thomas] At the moment the team is working very hard on finishing the game. We have already all levels created but we are still improving the flow, fixing bugs and improving the performance. So we have simply no time left at the moment.
4. How far are you at the current moment in the development process? I mean you already finished the whole game concept, embodied all your ideas, and now is it more about balancing, bug fixing? Or is the frame not yet finished? Can it be modified? Can any serious changes be implemented?
[Thomas] The game is already in a later state. The time for fundamental structure changes is gone. As you said we are bug fixing, balancing the game and working on the performance. We are still flexible on little changes or features.
5. I like to go straight to the game without going through Upaly.
[Gary] As we already said, it is not possible to do so as Uplay is a Ubisoft Corporate Policy. It means it has to be implemented in all the titles published by Ubisoft (including Might & Magic X), resulting to players having to go through it. Though, as previously explained, you can run Uplay in Offline mode, so it's not that restrictive.
6. Will you add in paper dolls in a future patch? Previous M&M games used paper dolls to don and doff armor, weapons, etc.
[Marcus] This Might & Magic will not have paper dolls, also not in future patches. Although we are aware that paperdolls were loved by many fans (me included) somewhere along the production we decided not to implement them into MMX. Maybe there will be future M&M RPGs that revive classic paperdolls we all love... *fingerscrossed*
7. My question: I know a lot of other people have expressed this as well, but to be specific, do you have plans to make the gameplay as fast as it was in Xeen? This game is supposed to be a successor to Xeen, and one of the biggest advantages of the turn-based, grid-based world is that you could get around it very quickly if you wanted to. For example in Sorpigal, after you explore it for the first, second, or third time, you really want to get around it as quickly as possible. Or like, if all your weapons break and you need to get back to town, sell your stuff, and get back out there. I don't want that round trip to take a whole 5 minutes or so. Xeen did this wonderfully, and I think it would be a big mistake not to make MMX competitive in terms of speed. That probably means having the option to turn off the monster animations, etc. What say you all?
[Stephan] First off: Yes, we are aware about the "slow gameplay speed"" in some situations. Basically I think we face two issues at the moment: Number ONE is the monster movement speed when it is the monsters turn.
This is something we want to speed up. It simply takes too long and feels like ""nahhhh I have to wait" and it causes downtime. So this needs to be improved. We already started it (in fact we have a speed up option for quite a while now) but it is not yet polished. We had some issues with it as we need to change animation speeds and such. Nevertheless: yes, this is something we acknowledge and we will improve. Just one note of caution though: It will be "faster" but it will not be the exact insane speed like in Xeen.
The other gameplay speed related topic is "Movement speed". The movement could feel more "fluent/instant". I am not sure if and what we tried about this yet but again we see your point.
I hope this answers the question. At least you should know that we read this feedback frequently on various communities and some of the VIP fans exactly mentioned the same over and over again. So I guess you are right. ;)
8. Can the yellow warning light be a little bit shorter distance?
[Marcus] About the "yellow light" - or the "Threat Indicator" as we call it: we can and might do that. In the coming weeks we are realizing the final monster distribution across all levels and once we have a good feeling for that we may also tweak the "Danger Sense" range. We agree: it certainly does not help, if it is always yellow.
9. Are you going to do anything with Lack of Mana?
[Stephan] First I find this difficult to answer as it is a very open question.
In general we want to balance mana useage and we have a lot of adjustements we can do: change mana pools, change spells/ability costs, put more potions as rewards and increase the drop chance, etc. etc. So yes, we COULD change it but we dont have enough feedback/data yet.
What we will not do is adding a recovery over time for mana. Mana is a resource and you need to think about how you use it.
10. About the weapons which are broken after some fights I still consider it happens too often. Any rebalancing on this point?
[Stephan] It’s a tricky topic. Looking back we should have approached this differently.
It´s not the intention to "frustrate" and in fact the effect of a broken weapon is low (10% damage reduction in normal mode) but still we get the feedback that "it breaks to often" and seems just annoying.
So actually the key question would be if this "weapon breaking" is a good feature. Looking back personally I think we could have done something differently and instead of "repairing something broken" rather used a "sharpen your blade and get a bonus" and "polish your armor to get a bonus".
I hope I make sense.
In any case - if the "broken weapons" don´t add anything to the game and just receive negative feedback we obviously have to at least consider. Worst case we could reduce the probabilities a lot. That could be easily done as it´s just a number....
11. What will be the next vote?
[Stephan] I could say we have something awesome in mind. But honestly we do not know yet. ;)
12. I’d like to enter the town when I'm running from an enemy, instead of having to fight the mobs when they're couple grids behind me.
[Marcus] There was a similar request to allow the player to open doors in order to leave a level. It would be possible, however we decided against it in order to not support tedious (depending on the situation) hit and run tactics.
13. I´d like to know why you made the world of MMX so small.
[Gary] First of all, you have to keep in mind that ONLY Act 1 has been released so far, meaning a lot of content (including the outdoor world) is still on its way. So your current feeling is correct but you should be relieved when playing the whole game.
We compared MMX World to MM5 World, and it's bigger.
14. And are going to do anything about size patches, their number and uploading patched image on Uplay?
[Thomas] We already optimized our asset management. Now the textures are better shared between the different levels which reduced the client size by the half. So the patches will be smaller. Of course the release version would be a bigger download again, because of the new content. The later patches after release will most likely not be as big again as during the early access.
15. What is release deadline? Are you pushed by publisher to make a quick release?
[Stephan] The question was about the "release deadline" and "mean publishers"... ;)
Well, we have a roadmap for the development and we are following this roadmap. And actually we have a high interest aswell to release eventually. At the moment we are doing fine - we have finished all dungeons, all monsters are ingame and the main story and quest flow is tested as we speak.
What remains to be finished is stuff like boss fights, side-dungeons, gameplay balancing, some technical features, etc. But overall we are doing "ok" even we are starting to get nervous every now and then.
And in regards of the "pushing publisher": Every night at 23:30 they send the guy with the keys to unlock our chains - that seems fair to us!
But seriously: we are not forced to do a quick release - just clear this up here.
16. Wox feels large, because the grids were bigger in area and MMX the grid area looks a lot smaller.
[Thomas] Sure, the size feeling is also different in MMX of the long view distance. You can look very fare which also results in a feeling that the world is not so big.
17. If paperdolls won´t part of game even in future patches, will they come out as DLC? Is such content even possible to ingrate in game as DLC?
[Marcus] There will probably be no paperdolls even in a DLC. The way the assets and graphics have been produced, a later integration of paperdolls would be quite a big effort and we are afraid that the majority of players wouldn't appreciate to pay for a purely cosmetic feature.
18. I´ve not yet found time to try editor, but will the player created content be useable directly in main game (like houses etc.).
[Thomas] You cannot modify the 3D scene of the main game at the moment. Because of legal constraints we cannot share freely all the assets we are using in the game. So we cannot share the sources asset of the main game. With that you would be able to add you own houses to the game. Currently your levels will be a game by its own which can be started through the MMX game client (there is a mod sections in the start menu).
There you can please whatever you want as long as you have assets. We are already sharing a lot of the Act 1 assets in the dev tool. So you have some material to start with.
19. The end size of the game?
[Thomas] Currently the entire game is uncompressed at 7.7 GB. I don't expect huge changes on that number. Maybe when we are adding more sounds to the game it will increase again, but not so much anymore.
20. What about spell system? Are you going to rework it? Or at least change that number of useless spells?
[Marcus] There was a question on the spell system. What we are going to do is to apply a final balancing in terms of numbers (damage, duration, range, mana costs). There will be no fundamental changes to the spells, their mechanics and their distribution to the different schools of magic as these need to match the Ashan universe so that MMX integrates well into the Might & Magic brand. There will be spells that feel useless, but still contribute to the overall game experience.
21. Are some of the dungeons small? like about 6 grids.
[Gary] Yes, there will be and there is already one really small dungeon (14 tiles to be precise) in the Early Access build! ;)
22. In current game version some quest giver's screens looks similar (i.e. Bank and Eileen in Sorpigal). Will it be changed in final release?
[Marcus] There are some doubles (i.e.: plain houses) but the ones you mentioned will differ in the final version of the game - the bank will get a new scene.
23. Who will be testing the full game before release? I don't expect, you will place it on market, based just on ACT I testing?
[Gary] Ubisoft, as the publisher, offers Quality Assurance support to all titles. It means Ubisoft teams will run tests on the game.
24. Can I name my pack horse?
[Marcus] You cannot rename your pack horse or any of the hirelings in the game. They all have their own personality and backstory so we didn't plan a way to re-name them.
25. The outside pictures scene on top of the tower, why it is fake?
[Stephan] That is for performance issues. We cannot render the full outdoor world unfortunately.
Here’s a little bonus for those who read until the end of the article. You asked us some very… funny questions! And here is our favorite one:
Can I pull a rabbit out of a hat?
[Gary] In real life, yes. But you have to be a magician! ;)