Since we’re actively looking for interns, I thought we’d do our next Q&A with a former art intern, Daniel Lee. Dan was part of the Oblivion intern class who helped us down the final stretch. Our games are big so we rely on the extra manpower that interns provide. Dan is now a full time artist, working on Fallout 3.
TGIF…another week goes by, and our developers can get back to doing what they love best…playing games. It’s funny when I send out an e-mail to these guys because 5 minutes after I hit send, I can look in my inbox and see that 50 people have already submitted something.
Jay Woodward, AI Programmer: the UNN Nightwalker campaign for System Shock 2, Carcassonne, Fallout, some eurogames with friends (probably two of Notre Dame, Amun Re, Princes of Florence, or Puerto Rico).
Cory Edwards, World Artist: Beat Metroid Prime 3, now playing Bioshock.
Jeff Browne, Level Designer: Red Orchestra, FO3, maybe Bioshock, but most of the weekend will be spent fishing and getting outdoors.
Pete Hines, VP of PR and Marketing: NCAA Football 2008 (Go Wake!) and Bioshock
For our final edition of Conquest Question of the Week, Frank has offered up answers to two questions, and I’ve thrown up a new screenshot above from the Wii version of the game . Up first is a question we received in the Bethesda Blog mailbox from “Tom” who asks:
Q: Is the SKIRMISH mode in Star Trek Conquest in regards to the look and play, closer to Tactical Assault? Or ST Encounters?
A:Skirmish Mode in Star Trek Conquest does what it’s supposed to do, which is to allow you to create any battle with any of the pieces from the game. It’s especially useful to try out new tactics or learn how to play as or against a certain race. And because you can play for 5 minutes or 5 hours, it’s perfect if you want your Star Trek battle fix, but don’t have time for the full campaign mode. Options are numerous and include: Choose between Sim or full Arcade battle mode, opposing races, opposing Admirals, Admirals ranks and experience, exact fleet construction for both sides, which race you will control, whether you are attacking or defending, which map you wish to fight on and what structures, if any, are on that map such as starbases and turrets. It’s a blast to try out “what if” scenarios that you would never do in the real game. For example invading
Romulus with just the Defiant against seven Romulan D’deridex Warbirds backed by a fully armed Romulan Starbase.
Our second question, comes from Anra from within our forums, asking:
Q: Will we be able to play as characters from the series at all? Will characters from the series show up?
A: Yes, each of the admirals in the game for all the races is a known character in the universe.
While “Question of the Week” is wrapping up, we’ll continue to share news about the game before its release.
Today’s Q&A is with programmer, Mike Lipari. How important is Mike? Whenever we have a day that Mike has to leave early, we all get nervous that something will go horribly wrong while he is away. Nothing we ship leaves this building without going through Mike’s hands.
Yep, it’s that time to answer another reader question from our Star Trek forums about our upcoming release, Star Trek: Conquest. Today Lead Designer Frank Arnot tackles a question pertaining to differences between the PS2 and Wii versions of the game. Community member TheWon asks:
Q: When designing the Wii version. What steps have been taken to make the game a quality title? It seems like it is a PS2 game that is ported to the Wii. Besides the control what other things have been used to make the Wii version a superior version?
A: On the surface you’ll notice that the Wii version has shaper visuals and faster load times, but the difference really is in the controls. The game was built specifically with the Wii controller in mind. On the galactic map, you can use the Wii Remote like a virtual mouse, allowing for a true point and click interface. This makes things like selecting planets, building fleets, constructing starbases and issuing combat orders to your admirals both intuitive and simple. If you’ve ever tried to play a strategy game on a console using a dpad to hop from item to item, you will love how this feels.
It gets even better in arcade combat. Here you use the nunchuck to control all of the ship’s movement and speed, while the Wii Remote controls all of the ship’s weapons. Because of this you can quickly aim and fire anywhere in a 360 degree arc around your ship. Combined, the two controls make each ship feel like a true weapons platform, able to move in one direction while simultaneously firing in another.
It’s also worth noting that you can issue orders to the rest of your fleet and switch command to any ship you choose.
Want to ask a question about Conquest? Visit our forums or shoot us an e-mail.
Today’s Q&A is with Bruce Nesmith, our Director of Design. I first met Bruce over a decade ago working here at Bethesda (pre-Zenimax). I remember Bruce and Todd Howard shared an office together back then. Bruce did a lot of system design and also worked on the Thieves Guild in Oblivion.
What’s your job at Bethesda?
I am the Director of Design, and a Senior Game Designer. It sounds cooler than it is.
So a while back Joel did an interview about modding Oblivion and answered a host of questions from Oblivion Mod site Silver Rose Studios.
They’ve sent over a host of additional questions for Joel and they posted the entire interview today. Here’s a snippit:
1. What exactly are your duties? Do they include more than just object placement and interior design?
Level design is a little different at every company. Ultimately, we’re responsible for the player’s moment-to-moment experience, particularly in combat spaces, so we handle the layout, scripting, and population of an area. Artists get involved polishing some of our clutter placement and lighting, and quest designers handle scripting where it’s relevant to their work. We also do some writing; things like notes left by previous residents, usually where they include some hint at the backstory or gameplay of a space.
Their server is undergoing maintenance and the site can be hard to load right now, so head over to the Silver Rose forums to read the full interview.
For many, Labor Day marks the end of summer, the return to school, and at least for me, it brings the dawn of another season of college football! Just as important, however, it provides us with a nice, relaxing 3-day weekend for catching up on games.
Looks like Bioshock is still the most played game around the office, with at least 30 guys planning on playing it this weekend (some for the second time through). In addition to this instant classic from the artists formerly known as Irrational Studios, there’s plenty of other games being played this weekend, including the Call of Duty 4 Beta, Two Worlds, and Metroid Prime 3. Anyhow, here’s the list:
Welter Almeida, QA Intern: Starcraft: Brood War, Lair, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix, Nascar ’08 Demo
Josh Anderson, Programmer: Bioshock (Xbox 360) while I can and Marvel Trading Card Game (PSP) on my long flight to Utah this weekend…
In a very special “Question of the Week” for Conquest, you’ll see we’re also sharing with you a screenshot of the game board for the turn-based strategy part of the game. As for this week’s question, it comes from KO Gilligan from within our Star Trek forums. He asks:
Q: Is Conquest looking to provide both complex turn based strategy and simplified, straight forward game play?
A: What’s really appealing about Conquest is that itâ€˜s a grand strategy game that you can actually finish in a good week of playing and is fun enough and quick enough that you want to play it again and again. I love traditional 4X strategy games, but I find that I rarely finish my campaigns because they simply drag on for too long. After a couple of weeks of intense play, my enthusiasm wanes and I simply stop playing halfway through.
Conquest focuses on the big decisions and removes much of the minutiae. There’s not a lot of sitting around and waiting or endlessly clicking next turn to get what you want. We want people to play each of the races. We want people to try out new strategies with their favorite races. We get you into the hunt quickly and allow you to worry about important things, like planning your invasion of Cardassia.
Once again, they (meaning our recruiter folks) will be talking to anyone interested in the list of positions that we’re currently looking to fill at Bethesda Softworks (list) and our sister company, ZeniMax Online Studios (list). So if you’re in the area or are going to GDC and are looking for employment in any of those areas, do stop by.
I know that Ashley and Matt are both going to Austin, but don’t know if either will be in our meeting room during the show itself. Maybe if you’re lucky you can snag an autograph from one of them. (Usually a Benjamin will coerce Ashley into giving up his, but you didn’t hear that from me.)