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AtariLiquid Entertainment

Dragonshard August Developer Chat Log

<Wulf> Hello everyone and welcome to #Eberron. The official Chatroom of The Eberron Journal, The Breland Ledger, Eberron Bestiary and Dragonshard.Net. My name is Wulf Du Yrag Trebor. Webmaster of www.Dragonshard.Net and your host for this evenings chat. I will be moderating this chat tonight.
<Wulf> With us is Ben Newell - Lead Programmer and Charley Price, Game Designer. Welcome Gentleman, please say Hello.

<Liquid> Hello! I'm Ben Newell, happy to be here!

<Liquid> Hi, this is Charley Price designer on Dragonshard and I'm glad to see you here eager and interested to talk about our game.

<Wulf> Q: Is liquid excited about the ariving release of Dragonshard?

<Liquid> Charley: Most definitely, it's both a thrill and a relief to see all of our blood, sweat, and tears finally come to fruition. All the feedback we've been getting from people we've brought in to play the game has been overwhelmingly positive, and we feel like we've made a game that does justice to both DND and RTS alike.

<Liquid> Ben: This game has been a big part of each and every one of our lives here at Liquid for over two years now, and every one of us thinks it's something special.

<Wulf> Q: Knowing this may be one of the last chats before the release. What is the one thing you want folks to know about Dragonshard that we may not already know?

<Liquid> Ben: Well, one of the really useful things we learned from the different beta tests and demos was how the game's performance needed to be improved in many areas. We've spent a lot of time with the feedback that we gained from the public and tuned the game up nicely.

<Liquid> Charley: Although most of the feedback we've been getting on the single player demo has been positive, I want to assure people that it's just the tip of the iceberg. As you progress through the single player campaign, both the RPG and RTS elements become even more pronounced. As your champions evolve and grow, gaining new artifacts, and the conflicts become progressively more epic in scope, we really feel that the single player campaign will satisfy both as an epic RPG campaign and as a ch

<Wulf> Q: If Keith Baker were here with us today, what do you think he would say about how you have represented Eberron and Dragonshard? Was he involved at all in any of the visual concepts?

<Liquid> Charley: Keith has been involved from the outset of Dragonshard's development, helping us to not only establish the thrust of the story but also to establish an appropriate tone consistent with that of the Eberron setting. We've gone to great length to include both overt references to Eberron, such as the presence of Warforged and the critical importance of Dragonshards, in addition to more subtle references, such as quests and lore that specifically reference the many clans and houses that

<Liquid> Charley: In summation, I think he'd be pretty pleased.
<Liquid> Atari has been going through some tough
<Liquid> We've gone to great length to include both overt references to Eberron, such as the presence of Warforged and the critical importance of Dragonshards, in addition to more subtle references, such as quests and lore that specifically reference the many clans and houses that are prevalent throughout the world of Eberron.
<Liquid> There we go, sorry, we'll try to chop up the longer answers. :)

<JDigital> Q: Does the nation of Cyre feature in the game? If so, how did you detail it, seeing as it's not described in the standard setting book where it's been destroyed?

<Liquid> Charley: Unfortunately, given that we are set on the continent of Xen'drik, we felt we had to limit our scope in terms of what elements of the Eberron setting we wanted to include.
<Liquid> Charley: Unfortunately, this meant that some of the cool themes and races that are found throughout the setting of Eberron, such as the people of Cyre, were not able to be explicitly addressed.

<Liquid> Charley: That said, those familiar with the Eberron setting will find a number of interesting elements that will tie back to familiar factions, such as the Order of the Emerald Claw.

<Trolls> <Nomad> Aside from a D&D aspect, what seperates this from other RTSs?

<BrooklynKnight> Q: Why was the playtest and beta so, um, disoraganized? It appears that there were various diffrent playtests/betas run by diffrent people. Specifically with fileplanet. When the open demo game out, I saw a number of people had problems playing it (myself included) and I have yet to see any of these solved. Why were things so disorganized?

<Liquid> Ben: Personally, I think the way our tech tree works is particularly interesting. I really love the options available at the outset of each game, while still having the ability to tech up the units I want to use.

<Liquid> Charley: Another major aspect is the dual layer element that we're playing with in Dragonshard. Granted this element has been present in a few RTS's in the past, but in Dragonshard, the experience both above and below ground are very different, almost to the point of being two separate games.
<Liquid> Charley: Above ground rewards large forces and a strength by numbers approach, where most of your conflict is directed against your opponent, whereas below ground has more of an exploration/adventure feel, where your primary oppostiion is the world itself (i.e. monsters, traps, etc.)

<MinceR> Q: afaik the place and number of buildings a player can build will be limited. why is that considered better than allowing more freedom in building?

<Liquid> Ben: <BrooklynKnight> Good question. Well, we did the best we could with updating the demo. What you weren't able to see was the furious pace at which we were polishing and cleaning up Dragonshard. Changes were happening at a dramatic pace, and unfortunately we didn't have enough time to take as many breaks to polish up snapshots of the game for release, since we were already behind schedule.

<BrooklynKnight> Has the public demo been updated?
<BrooklynKnight> I'd very much like to demo it but I cant get past the DRAGONSHARD splash screen

<Liquid> Charley: That said, now that we have more time available, we are eager to make up for the lack of a developer presence on the boards and the like. We are already in the process of making a number of fixes and improvements for a planned patch soon after release that will address many of the issues brought up both internally and by the public beta testers.

<Liquid> Charley: We hope to continue to be in communication with our fans to continue to improve Dragonshard well into its lifespan. After all the time, effort, and love we've put into this game, we have no desire to turn our backs on either Dragonshard or the fans that have supported us this entire time.

<Wulf> Q: Just because i run one, I always want to know, why don't the Dev's ever branch away from the "Official" sites and forums and visit the Fan sites? In some cases, Fan sites are more productive then the Official Sites :)

<Liquid> Charley: MinceR- Well, in other RTS games there are generally limitations on where you can build, it's just somewhat less explicit. Either due to proximity to other buildings or some other form of building restriction, like Zerg creep.

<MinceR> in my favorites it's merely a case of sending a builder there :)

<Liquid> Charley: Each game finds its way to restrict building construction. In Dragonshard, we felt that the grid system took a lot of the guesswork and margin for error out of the building construction process and, in addition, created a cool new gameplay element (nexus effects and bonuses) to reinforce that.

<Nomad> Q- Will it be shipped with a "World-editor" if so, What will be it's limitations?

<Liquid> Ben: BrooklynKnight: No, we haven't updated the single player demo yet, all of our energies have been focused on getting this game as solid as possible for release. We hope to update the demo with a public patch and new version. I'm sorry to hear about your problems with loading the game. We've run it through extensive compatibility labs with Atari with very positive results. If you want to stick around later, maybe we can help figure out your issue.

<BrooklynKnight> Oh i'll be here

<Liquid> Charley: Wulf: I just want to take this opportunity to say that I'm a huge fan of our fansites. We at Liquid have loved reading them ever since the early days of development where you guys were forced to guess as to the names and types of units based on preliminary screenshots.

<Wulf> Hmm Yes, that was interesting to do LOL

<Liquid> Charley: In addition, one of the fansite created programs "Dragonshard Companion" absolutely blew us away with its level of detail, polish, and overall utility. In fact, now that we have more time on our hands, we plan to do everything in our power to support fansites and to provide the makers of applications like the Dragonshard Companion with any and all data they need.
<Liquid> Charley: In closing, I can't thank the creators of those websites enough for the time, effort, interest, and patience they've shown in Dragonshard.

<Wulf> I believe that was the guys at The Dragonshard Enclave

<Liquid> Charley: Thanks again guys. :)

<Wulf> And they did a great job
<Wulf> Thank You for giving us the base :)

<Trolls> Q: Being set in Xen'drik, Dragonshard has great potential to introduce new and exciting cultures. The Umbragen, for example, are a fantastic new take on the drow. Is the culture of the lizardfolk a similar step away from the norm?

<JDigital> (dragon magazine #322 shadow templated umbragen pls)

<Liquid> Ben: I just want to add my own personal note and say that we do all follow the boards. We may not participate in active discussion much, but it doesn't mean we don't follow the discussions with great interest. We made Dragonshard FOR you guys, and we are always eager to know what is being enjoyed and what isn't working. We know many of you by your handles, in fact, in internal discussion.

<Wulf> Well if you ever decide to name us in your Players Manual.. I am Wulf Du Yrag Trebor LOL

<Liquid> Ben: Nomad: No, we will not be including the world editor with release. It will hopefully be provided on an as-is basis at some point soon.
<Liquid> Charley: The world editor is extremely robust and really capable of a wide variety of semi-scripted events, like traps and monster spawns and things of the like. We want to get it out to you guys as soon as possible, we merely want to spend time polishing up some of the outstanding issues that impair its ease of use.

<Sutekh> whoa

<Liquid> Charley: Indeed they are. We didn't want to convey the lizardfolk as merely a brutish or simply savage race. The lizardfolk represent a compelling and disparate mix of individual races and cultures which deviates from the "lizardman only" DND norm.

<BrooklynKnight> (Just a note, the August issue of Dragon Magazine has an article on lizardfolk (Lizardfolk Eccologies) which mentions Dragonshard

<Liquid> Charley: With the lizardfolk, we wanted to give them a very strong sense of community and connection with the lands around them. As such, in addition to the standard lizard man fighter, we have mystical shaman, massive Felldrakes that have been repurposed for war, and a rich history and sense of cultural pride. These aren't a race of sneaky deviants or righteous zealots, but rather a race of spiritual warriors bound together by a profound sense of honor and interdependence.

<Liquid> Did that all come through or did it get cut off? Heh

<Wulf> looks like it all came through

<Sutekh> You probably get asked this a lot, but how do you view the time to development game versus the time the company wants you to release a product. It seems a never ending cycle, games being pushed out before they are ready. Are there times you have wanted to walk away from a project rather than be tied to something that you couldnt be proud of. Im not asking in relation to Dragonshard as asking your opinion on the matter as a whole

<Sutekh> Although in asking this, is there anything you would of liked to of seen incorporated into Dragonshard that wasnt?

<Liquid> It's a tough line to walk. You always want to do everything you can to make your game as good as you can, but you eventually have to draw a line and say "It's done".

<Wulf> This officially ends the Dev chat tonight with Ben Newell and Charley Price. Thank you all for joining us and Thank you Ben and Charley for taking the time to chat with us. Now get off the chat room and go finish the game :) Actually if you decide to stick around that'd be great. Thanks again and we are all looking forward to the game. I am Wulf Du Yrag Trebor from www.dragonshard.net and special thanks to The Breland Ledger and The Eberron Journal for co sponsoring this chat! Remember to check out the Liquid Forums as well as the fan sites out there folks for all the latest info on Dragonshard!!

<Liquid> Charley: I just want to thank all of you for coming and to remind you that I and the rest of us at Liquid regularly monitor our boards (both Liquid's and Atari's) looking for feedback. Feel free to stop by and offer your opinion. Thank you for helping to make Dragonshard the best game it can be!

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