View Full Version : Latest on KOTOR......

05-09-2002, 03:45 AM
A look into the latest news about the upcoming hit KOTOR................

I had a chance to talk with some of the developers about what parts of the game they are working on right now. The focus is on the biggest show of the year, the Electronic Entertainment Exposition (E3) in L.A., where the team will be presenting the first playable demo of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Rob Sugama- Artist

Rob began work on Knights of the Old Republic (KoTOR) in late February of 2001. This was the first time that the development team was working with single mesh characters and he was tasked with making sure everything was working properly. "Single mesh was a bit different than the part-based style of Neverwinter Nights and even MDK. The entire character was one object so the challenge was to make sure things moved, bent and stretched correctly." Rob also started on the project by working with the textures on the face and body portions of the characters.

Currently he is working on loading screens for the E3 demo. Rob makes a group of mockups for Casey Hudson (Producer/ Project Director) and Derek Watts (Art Director) to review of different parts of the GUI and different backgrounds. He expects that the work he doing now on the load screens will be used in the final game.

Rob explains, "The loading screens will give the player a taste of what an area looks like as it is loading. Today I talked to Derek and Casey and whoever is building levels for the E3 Demo. I get them to take screenshots of the best parts of their levels to use in my loading screens. I am concentrating on making a base load screen for all three and swapping a new image for each Demo level. I also want to find more graphics for the load screen to make it more exciting." Later this week, Rob hopes get shots from Mike Spalding's new level.

Rob is also working on the Graphical User Interface (GUI). In fact, Rob is responsible for nearly everything you see for the interface. " I have to do the icons. And I pass it off to Mark Audy (KoTOR programmer). I do all the art stuff, put it into the GUI editor, and he basically makes sure it works in the game."

He uses Photoshop and the internal BioWare GUI Editor program- that was made so Rob and his fellow artists don't have to go to 3D Studio Max. Rob adds, "this program is very handy. It was made so that programmers don't have to build anything in Max- the GUI Editor just does it. Very easy program, very simple to use."

After loading screens Rob will be doing bug fixing for E3 and making sure everything has proper icons, and all the inventory screens are working. "For example, if the blaster is highlighted I have to make sure that there is a description there- things like that."

And the E3 Demo?
"It's looking really good."

Robert Babiak- Programmer

Robert's first project at BioWare, he has been working on KoTOR for about 6 months now.

"I am working on camera control, walk mesh, animation bugs, driving control, force powers. I believe I will be working on death animations next. Today I'm working on a strange combat bug that occurs just before combat starts. Everyone freezes. So we need to fix that."

Robert is also working on a build of the game to send out to LucasArts so that they can make a demonstration video for E3. This is different from the demo that BioWare will be showing which will be playable. LucasArts will be doing all the shooting of the video based on playing the game and editing it themselves. The most important thing is for the build that is sent to LucasArts to be very stable to ease the shooting of the demo video.

Today Robert is looking at a few inconsistencies of the walk mesh. He explains, "You have the complex geometry of a bridge say with lights, railings and complex textures, but you also have a walk mesh which is independent of the game textures and sometimes the artistic geometry (the bridge railings for example) and is a lot simpler with less polygons to make testing of that space easier. For example, in the game if you see your character with his feet sunk too far into the ground, you have a walk mesh problem." In the development process sometimes the initial walk mesh is changed as the artist creates the textures and environment for what will appear to the player. In the process things will get changed and sometimes the original walk mesh and the game environment are slightly different and so the two need to be reattached. Roberts adds, "It is not a big deal to correct."

Robert will be will be concentrating on bug fixing for the E3 demo right up until it heads out the door.

Casey Hudson- Producer/ Project Director

Casey has been working on KoTOR for at least a year and half since it began formal production. When he was tapped to become the Producer for BioWare's first project that would become part of the Star Wars legacy, he was working on Neverwinter Nights as a Technical Artist. Currently Casey has a team of about 30 staff working on KoTOR.

The announcement that KoTOR would make its first appearance on the X-box prompted a lot of discussion among fans that eagerly await a massive RPG in the Star Wars tradition. Casey has nothing but praise for his experience so far working with the X-box. "We worked on MDK2 for the Dreamcast so this is somewhat similar to that. The X-box is also really easy to work with. It's nice to have a stable target in terms of technology so there have been no problems as far development goes." Casey goes on to assure PC owners that the PC version of KoTOR will be "everything you expect from a PC game". He says that there is a lot he can't talk about regarding the PC version but adds that it "will be very cool."

In the last week or so Casey has been pulling together everything that is needed for the E3 demo and making sure everything is getting done to make sure the demo highlights all the work that has been done on this project. "I have been focused on how everything is getting put together for the final version of the demo. It's actually a massive undertaking- complete portions of the game need to be finished because it has to be playable."

Preparing a demo is a bit of give and take. Quite often it ends up stopping production in a certain respect but it also forces the production team to make sure certain aspects of the game are working by a specific date. The team has been anticipating E3 for quite some time and their original goal was to integrate into the normal production of the game. So it becomes a combination of making a demo out of actual parts of the game but it also forces them to accelerate certain portions to be done. Casey feels that struggle to produce a great demo will ultimately help the game; "In the end I think it will have been a benefit to development."

Today Casey expects to be dealing with many sound issues. His focus will be on the demo again and making sure sound gets all the attention it needs. "We had some phone calls from the people who are putting together the music, and discussion about the direction of the music for cut scenes and combat. Some more planning and meetings about where we need to be over the next few days."

Last year's demo was a carefully scripted vision of what the KoTOR team hoped the game would ultimately be. A year is a long time in the development process and many things were not ready and had to be non-interactive. Casey is very pleased to see that what seemed incredibly ambitious last year is working very well in this year's demo. "We set the bar very high last year with the demo, hoping we could get all those things working in the final game. It's turning out that not only we are doing all of those things but they're actually working better than we expected."

LINK: http://forums.bioware.com/viewtopic.php?topic=29206&forum=25

Here are some concepts..........nothing totally new but they do give you a good idea of the games look and feel...........








And an actual already famous in game shot.......nice


05-09-2002, 04:34 AM
Good read, thanks for the info Virtuoso. You always keep us updated! I cant wait for this one either, this game is a system seller.

05-09-2002, 04:55 AM
that image of the ****pit is just way too cool!

how silly that it edited ****pit. I guess I should have said the place where the pilot and co-pilot sit.

05-09-2002, 06:07 AM
That water image is the best.

I cannot wait for this game!

05-09-2002, 06:55 AM
I am looking forward to this game as well. How cool is it going to be, to be able to play a RPG in the Star Wars Universe. I was not that excited when this was first announced but with each bit of info on the game I read. I want it even more. Thanks Virtuoso :D

05-09-2002, 11:26 AM
Originally posted by Virtuoso
A look into the latest news about the upcoming hit KOTOR................


I love that screen shot:cool:

l Maximus l
05-09-2002, 11:35 AM
This game should even be a hit with people that are not Hardcore Star Wars fans like myself. Don't get me wrong, I really like Star Wars, however, I'm not hardcore as compared to many other people. This game should do extremely well if Lucasarts pulls it off right!

Thanks for the info once again, Virtuoso! :)

05-09-2002, 11:41 AM
this game didn't really interest me at first, but after seeing this I think I might have to pick it up when it comes out!

05-09-2002, 11:55 AM
as usual.....i agree with max...i'm not a huge starwars fan...i dig it and all..but i won't buy something just cuz its associated w/ or has starwars written on it. this game does look good though!! i'll deffinately be picking it up

05-09-2002, 12:01 PM
this game should be wicked!!!.......cant wait!!

05-09-2002, 12:14 PM
I as well am not a huge star wars fan. I enjoyed the movies a few times and thats about it. I've only played Rebel Assault as a Star Wars game. Even though its an RPG I really didn't think too much about this title. But then I read the april (i think april... I'm at work) OXM cover-feature on it and I was very impressed.

I will most definitely be picking up this title but I'm not sure when. I hope that LucasArts are trying to get this out a month or 2 before Project Ego is slated for release.

I'm already in the whole dilemna of which game to play on the 20th when I pick up Morrowind and Hunter on the same day. I guess it depends if I have buddies over or not.. but anyways. Thanks for the info, it was interesting!

05-09-2002, 12:59 PM
I've always enjoyed the STAR WARS universe and have a feeling that this game is gonna provide us w/ an amazing experience.

The RPG concept is cool, the art and real time graphics are incredible and you just know BIOWARE is going to come through with solid gameplay......Whether you're a STAR WARS fan or not this is the RPG to watch for.....

I can't wait......Once again, thx for the info Virtuoso......:cool:

Crazy Joe
05-09-2002, 01:57 PM
I can't believe it took so long for a Star Wars RPG, the universe completely lends itself to the RPG format, with the force being a form of magic use and characters like Chewbacca and Han Salo rounding out the classes. I realize these characters won't be in KOTOR, but they are so many races in the Star Wars universe that an RPG had to come sooner or later, i am just surprised it was later.

05-11-2002, 10:54 AM
I'm not much of a Star Wars fan myself. In fact, I think the whole universe is kind of lightly developed and has lots of contradictions in it.

However, this game really has me anticipating it. Bioware are awesome developers (MDK2, Baldur's Gate), and with a highly tweaked Baldur's Gate game engine running this amazing 3D world that we see in screenshots, how could you not be highly impressed? Besides, I prefer sci-fi to the cliched medieval setting in many, many cases (Morrowind not being one of those cases :))
so this game ... I want it.