March 18, 2011

No doubt BioWare is still winding down from their crazy PAX East weekend, so I wasn’t surprised to see a Star Wars: The Old Republic Friday update that was a little more on the light side. No pun intended.

The Fan Friday update features all that we might expect — new fan creations, new forum avatars, new concept art, and even a fan site spotlight. But as usual, my attention was drawn to the Studio Insider.

When I think “cinematic animation”, yeah actually, I do picture that place “where people wear skin-tight suits with ping pong balls all over them”. It’s how the movements in the game manage to look so fluid, natural and realistic. The neat thing too, of course, is how it could look just as smooth when it’s done by hand. And what I find really amazing, is how even the tiniest motion or gesture can add so much to a scene, yet often those little movements are the ones that are so easy to miss.

For instance, the 8 seconds of footage in the video they showed was over so quickly I barely even had time to register much of anything beyond the fact it showed a couple of Hutts being owned, let alone that one was holding up its hands and the other one was trying to get away. It wasn’t until after I read the commentary that I noticed those details when I watched it again. But of course, paradoxically, if those little movements hadn’t been there in the first place, one would have observed right away that there was something “off” about the scene.

The Community Q&A also interested me this week, because it’s focused on the topic of flashpoints, and also because some of World Designer Jesse Sky’s responses resonated with my own thoughts so well. In fact, it’s a little creepy. Quotes like his answers about mob fights requiring coordination and players to “think on their feet” reflected exactly how I felt when I played the demo for the Taral V flashpoint at PAX East. And of course, his answer to the question about whether class roles are fixed (“some sections of Flashpoints are paced in such a way that healers can switch into damage roles and tanks can get a bit more reckless”) actually made me breathe a sigh of relief — mainly because I definitely felt those shifts in style and roles while I was playing, and I’m happy to know I wasn’t crazy and just imagining things.

Also, by being away the whole of last week, I just realized I broke months and months of my blog’s tradition by skipping a post about last Friday’s update. Normally I’d just let it go, but it was such an awesome trailer, it would be a great disservice if I just pretended it never happened.

There had been rumors flying around before PAX East about maybe seeing another cinematic trailer debuting at the show, and I guess they were half-right. I for one think it was for the better that it didn’t turn out to be another cinematic as we already have two great ones and a third would just be overkill. Cinematic trailers make for excellent eye-candy, but I have a feeling that at this point people are going to be more interested in seeing actual in-game footage and some action from the game. Unfortunately, I wasn’t on the exhibition show floor when they showed this for the first time on the SWTOR stage last week, but I was able to see it later in the day. I think it’s everything from the visuals to the music — this trailer gave me chills.


  1. The last trailer practically gave me a stiffy (mental I assure you). I hate being such a drooling fanboy, but this game looks utterly awesome to me.

    • Umm… that comment left while quite tipsy. It reads much more “ewww” that it seemed to last night, feel free to delete. However, I do stand behind my assessment of the second trailer as being awesome 🙂

      • You forget, you are talking to the girl who started off her SWTOR bounty hunter post with a nerdgasm two weeks ago 😛 Nothing is too “ewwww” for me when it comes to excitement for this game, I assure you! XD

  2. Man, I’m so hot for SW:TOR right now 😀

    • Heh heh, sounds like things are getting more and more rated-R in here! 😀

  3. The Fate of the Galaxy trailer was probably the most effective trailer they could have done in conjunction with the Taral V flashpoint they were letting people play at PAX East. Another cinematic trailer (which I still expect come E3, even if it would be “overkill”) wouldn’t show off what BioWare seemed to want to more than anything at PAX: the improved graphics. The trailer showed them off beautifully.

    The presentation of the trailer was something awesome. The actual content of it was a pretty sweet mix of serious dialogue, funny slapstick (Jawa punting looks like a blast), fast-paced action, and the music over it all fit perfectly. I can’t wait to see all of those things when I journey through the game finally.

    This week’s Q&A was much more satisfying than last months, and it’s really not even close. Instead of the absolutely mind-boggling amazement I felt at being informed I could actually jump last month (sarcasm), I was pleased to see this update was much better. Almost all of the questions had to do with systems, and apart from one or two questions, I don’t think Jesse Sky dodged anything. I was impressed.

    The mo-cap stuff was interesting to see. It’s a part of game development that isn’t always shown, but I like seeing the behind the scenes action. (Side note: I think I took a little too much joy out of seeing the Hutt throw up his arms, and watching the other one try [in vain] to slither away.)

    Fan Fridays aren’t my favorite updates, but this one was decent. I enjoyed the Q&A, the videos they posted were cool to see, and I was amazed that BioWare was able to pull it off the week after a huge convention—and a day after St. Paddy’s Day, to boot (I bet they were so hungover).

    Now that SWTOR is moving into the latter stages of testing, my hope is the updates will continue to improve. This Q&A looks like a step in the right direction, and is hopefully a sign that BioWare is starting to get comfortable enough with the systems to talk specifically about mechanics. Theorycrafters need their fix.

    I’m still looking forward to that PvP update that was hinted about in the past, as well as some more info on the Crew Skills (and the final crafting skill).

    • Yeah, the update didn’t come up until really late in the afternoon, things still must be a madhouse over there.

      I agree, the Q&A was so much more informative. I liked how they took more specific questions this time around, focusing on one aspect of the game. It makes it less likely we’ll get vague answers, so I would like to see more of this — Q&As about PvP, about crafting, about space combat etc. with their respective experts.

      I loved how that Hutt on the left tried to get away. It was less slithering and more lumbering to the side clumsily, and I had to LOL.

  4. More good writing. Made my night, thanks!

    • You’re welcome! And thank you too, your comments made MY night! 😀

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