OddChat Programmers [2001]

Oddchat Programmers [Hosted by Oddworld-Web]

Date: 20/02/2001

Description: OddChat's second official chat with Oddworld Inhabitants followed on from the first, with many fans in attendance. This time around it was Oddworld's programming department answering the questions.

    Craig, Programmer
    Erik, Programmer
    Kyndra, Quality Control, Game Tester
    Alf, Mudokon

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20110914153145/http://www.oddworld.au.com/site/features/chat-oddchat2.php

 

Erik: Howdy! Okay, I’m doing the first intro… I’ve been programming games since the Genesis days, you know 64 colors, 8 MegaBits. We created games that were low on graphics but long on gameplay because there was no other choice.

Abe_Babe: [ELUM] What are you planning on doing with Elum in MO, and what have you done so far (sorry I ask this every time?

Craig: Elum will be something that you can ride. I don’t know how much you will interact with Elum after that. Elums will be a whole race of mounts.

Abe_Babe: [TheOddness] ask what the maximum estimated polygonal performance of munchs oddysee will be when it is released please?

Craig: Elum will be just one of the things you ride. Munch already rides wheelchairs, and there are slig things coming. We’re shooting for 60,000 polys per frame. That’s a conservative figure for the XBox, and it leaves us time to focus on gameplay programming. Like AI, Perfect Save, and so forth !end

A-Sydney : [drew_slig] Hi guys,how hard was it to code for X-Box?

Erik: The XBox is a dream to program on. Many of the (weird) limitations that existed on the PS-2 are not present. The PS-2 is missing things you would get on any PC accelerator!

Craig: While Erk answers that, I’ll micro introduce myself: unlike these erk-come-latelies, I’ve been programming since before PCs. I did games in ’72 (not for money, just for fun).

Erik: The XBox also has much more memory, which is great for all of our animations, cool art etc. !end

Abe_Babe: [Lampion] What kind of programming languages and development tools do you use to make Oddworld games?

Craig: For game programming, we use C++, which is the modern language… For level design, we are using 3D Studio Max with custom plugins (that I’m writing as we speak)… The Real time artists use 3ds Max also, and the CG movies use Maya and stuff on SGI machines. We also use expresso machines and pool tables to maintain relative sanity !END

A-Sydney: [Guest92730] Question: Abe’s Oddysee and Exoddus were excellent games, and fine examples of the Grid Based Design System (or GBD). Will Munch’s Oddysee employ Grid Based Design as well?

Erik: Grid Based Design comes from one of our unmentionable past designers. He is stuck on this old stuff, so this is a joke and poking fun at him. Nobody uses grid based design any more. !end

Abe_Babe: [Guest95265] Okay, how long did it take to make the models for existing characters like Abe? Was it hard to make them look like what everyone is used to?

Craig: It doesn’t take me any time at all, cause some artists have to do it… Actually, the original characters go through lots of revisions as freehand sketches before they are made… into actual sculptures, which are digitized somewhere into Maya models…. Then the RT people render those into lightweight models suitable for realtime rendering in a console !END

A-Sydney: [XBOXAddict-Kevin] Question: Did you guys have the chance to attend X-Fest and did you find it helpful in your development process?

Kyndra: Yay!

Erik:
Yes. We have had very good support from Microsoft on the technical side. Ask us about Oddworld stuff! !end

Abe_Babe: (To Craig) Do you people at Oddworld plan on another 2D Abe game for X-box?

Kyndra: Just a quick intro, i’m singing backup for Craig and Eric. But i’m not really a singer, just play one on TV, i do QA here at Oddworld.

Craig: I don’t think so. Now that we’ve gone 3D we’ll never go back. With 3D you can do anything you can do in 2D…

Kyndra: Munch Poker!

Craig44: If you want to, you can even copy a 2D layout in 3D. For a lark we once tried it. We could do all of Oddysee in 3D if we wanted to.. But we’re moving forward now. !END

A-Sydney: [TheOddness] how much of the xbox hadrive will you be using? what sort of accessories will MO be compatible with? rumble feedback…etc.?

Kyndra: fishing and steering wheel controller.
* Kyndra grins

Erik: Sigh. (why don’t they ask about the game?) We will be using the hard-drive to speed up loading levels, saving games, etc. We will probably use the rumble in case of explosions, dramatic

Abe_Babe: It seems that because you guys are programmers, everyone is asking technical questions… OK… everyone… can we get some game based questions now!

Erik: events, etc. !end

Abe_Babe: [Guest95265] How do the most recently released images compare to the expected final result?

Kyndra: Good Question! Craig’s typing….still typing…

Craig: I don’t know which images you’ve seen, but everything is really like that. With the XBox we can make images as good as we like. And the movie sequences are even better (shiny lights, smoke, millions of sligs, …) !END

Craig: Actually, we are still working on improving the image quality, as we learn more stuff !END for real

A-Sydney: [Oddipus] Hi, in Exoddus Abe could posess he’s farts, what’s the coolest thing to posess in Much’s Oddysee?

Kyndra: It doesn’t get any cooler than possessing farts.

Erik: You can posess just about everything. What I think will be the most fun will be posessing things like Glukkons, BigBro sligs (which come with badass guns) etc. You will have really cool new “possession” capabilities with Munch (that I can’t talk about) 😎 !end

Abe_Babe: [Sligface] AO had a cool, mystical touch to it that was mostly lost in AE. will MO have a mystical element to it?

Kyndra: We left our Mystical in our other pants.

Craig: There are heavy mystical and environmental elements to MO. Moral depth is a key element of Lorne’s vision

Erik: I don’t think Craig had any mystical in his pants

Kyndra: I’m sure his wife would disagree

Craig: I think you had just gotten used to it by AE, so it didn’t strike you !END

A-Sydney: [Mudos] What is the biggest outdoor level in Munch’s Oddysee, and what was it like developing it?

Craig: I have lots of mystical in my pants, but my zipper’s stuck

Erik : It’s about a 10 minute jog across. The outsides are very detailed so that there is lots

Kyndra: lots… and lots!

Erik: to infiltrate, throw wrenches into etc. It’s not like EQ where you run across wide open expanses of ground.

Craig: And you can’t really jog across it, now that we’ve added the content. That’s just a size measure for testing and comparison.

Abe_Babe: [Guest5028] How much interaction will the player have with the environment and how is the usedto effect gameplay?

Kyndra: Watch out for that tree!!

Craig: I think that you will be able to affect just about every creature and machine that you see. Buildings are all real buildings

Craig: that you can get into and play in.

Kyndra: You’d thing for programmers they could type faster!

A-Sydney: [Oddipus] Are there native glukkons somewhere? If so, do they hump around naked?

Erik: No, All the Glukkons are mean, stogie smok’n, CEO and junior, wannabe CEO types. Glukkons would have a tough time in Mudos on their own ’cause they don’t have much in the way of hunting/gathering skills.

Abe_Babe: [Lampion] How many different solutions does an average level of the game have?

Kyndra: It’s alf!

Craig: Who needs to hunter/gather when you can delegate?

Abe_Babe: Welcome Alf

A-Sydney: we have a real mudokon in here!

Alf: Programmers, Oy!

Craig: We don’t know how many solutions there are; it’s more like an RTS that way: the play is so fluid that one choice blends into the next.

Alf: I need a drink!
* Kyndra gets Alf some tea

Alf: Something STRONGER, blast it!

Kyndra: Coffee?

Alf: Feh!

Kyndra: Errmmm.. Frappachino?

Craig: After we get heavier into testing, we’ll see more how these layouts can be worked in real Oddness

A-Sydney : Hi there! Are Munch and Abe going to be killed by one hit by things like they were in the first games, or will they have health? If they have health, what will be the Visual Indicator for the health? The Visual Indicators are very important.

Alf: I’ve got a visual indicator for ya …

Erik: Abe and Munch will take multiple hits.

* Kyndra hands Alf a tissue
* Craig beats Alf with his machinegun.

Erik: I’m not sure we have come up with the final art for the indicators, but you know that it won’t

A-Sydney: and will there be birds?

Erik: be something too gamey. No red health bar-graphs… !end

Alf: *whimper*

Craig: birds for sure. I’ve already seen them in the distance

Abe_Babe: [Guest5028] What has been done to give Oddworld a living, breathing atmoshpere?

Craig: We’re working with the RT artists on lots of environmental effects… Chimneys smoke, water waves… all of the characters in the background are moving around, doing their things… Sligs are patrolling, and sometimes stopping for a chat and a meech munchie…

Craig: free-range paramites swarm over the hills…

Erik: The sky is looking pretty cool too.

Alf: Meech Munchies! Where can you get ’em? I thought they were out of stock — permanently! Man, I miss that rich, creamy taste!

Craig: And then the Vykkers Factory mows the whole thing down… Brings a tear to my eye !end

A-Sydney: [Elum] Everyone has said that Elum was extremely hard to program in Oddysee…was he as hard in MO, and are the other large creatures as hard? (meetles, sea rex, etc.)

Kyndra: It’s living and breathing.. it’s loud here.. you know how hard it is to work everything living and breathign?!

Craig: Munchies are out of stock for you, Mudokon. ONly the supervisory staff gets them.

Alf: The hardest thing about Elum is cleaning up after him.

Erik: Elum was really hard because his animations (with Abe riding him) were too big to fit. We were swapping animations while Abe was mounting the beast. Sounds like a good plan until you realize Abe can get shot in the middle of the process and then the game goes haywire. We did have one incredibly funny bug though, you could get abe mounted backwards riding elum. It was a riot to watch. Abe looked totally out of control! !end

* Craig cries remembering the Elum programming, and the extra month he spent on the Japanese conversion, cause of those meticulous Japanese testers.

* Kyndra sooths Craig

* Craig blows his nose on his sleeve.

Erik: I’ll give you something to cry about!!

Abe_Babe: [Sligface] so far we know mudokons, sligs, glukkons, and vykkers all have statuses. do any other races have statuses?

Alf: Alf gets mean when he … well, when he hasn’t been able to wet his whistle for a bit.

* Kyndra pours Alf some more Tea.

Alf: *BURP*

* Kyndra blinks.

* Kyndra looks in the tea kettle

Kyndra: Oi.

Craig: Probably all the ‘people’ type races have status, but it may not play a role in this game. Stay tuned for the future… !END

A-Sydney: Will there be natural disasteres in Munch’s Oddysee, such as Fires, Floods…?

Alf: Do programmers have status?

Kyndra: Scrub and Scrub.

Craig: Programmer’s have a lot more status than designers, I can tell you that. We smell better, too.

* Kyndra hides under her desk

Alf: Only if you measure status in terms of the number of monitors you command.

Erik: You will be able to mess with the enviornment, we talked about huge oil spills, garbage all over the place

* Kyndra pours Alf a LOT of tea

Craig: I gave one monitor and one whole computer back, and I’m still too good for you.

A-Sydney: natural disasters

Erik: we are going to get in as much as we can…! !end

Abe_Babe: [drew_slig] What new Gamespeak phrases can Abe and co look foward to?

*** Erik has quit #oddchat.cjb.net

Abe_Babe: Ooops… looks like we lost Erik

Kyndra: Craig ate him

*** Erik has joined #oddchat.cjb.net

Alf: He’s slumped over his keyboard, with a thin wisp of smoke coming from the hole in the back of his head. Other than that, he’s fine.

Craig: I don’t know; the designers are still fiddling with what the people say. I do know that there are lots, and they’ve made the controls easier to use.

* Kyndra shoves a crumpet in Alf’s mouth

Alf: *murmph!*

Craig: The characters know how they’re feeling, and the speech changes to match !END

A-Sydney: [Lampion] Are those mudokons finding their ways to the levers, in the demo movie footage, a good example of Virtual Idiot solution as described by Lorne and Sherry?

Alf: I have it on good authority that the Heap Big Designer himself will be headed to the sound booth later this month to record some new GameSpeak.

Craig: You’ve got Crumpets? GImme!

* Kyndra gives Craig a crumpet.

Alf: I think _I_ am the best example of a virtual idiot.

* Kyndra agrees!

* Craig smacks and slurps on his crumpet.

Craig: Yes, the mudokons and everyone else has virtual smarts. We recently put in code so that they don’t walk off a catwalk and fall 50′ to the floor to reach an opposing catwalk…unless we want them to…!end

Abe_Babe: [Sligface] since there’s not going to be any fliying sligs will there be new fliying enemies to replace them?

Kyndra: Craig can make Alf fly. It’s pretty funny.

Craig: Damfino. There used to be flying gasbag things, but I’m not sure if they are still around !END

A-Sydney: What creatures aren’t coming back in MO? Eg, Fleeches, Slurgs, they will be in Munch, right, as the others?

Erik: Um, You can never count out an inhabitant. I don’t think we have fleeches and slurgs coming back… There are some new creatures that are really great, and some new really … uh, weird, ugly, nasty, .. guys you love to hate in Munch… !end

Abe_Babe: I was just hired into a gaming company about to beta an online title and I start in two weeks, I’ll be doing things such as balance and tweaking mechanics. Do you have any advice for someone about to make their long-awaited start in the gaming industry?

Alf: Seek other work. You want to know how to make a small fortune in the game business? Start with a large fortune.

Kyndra: Now you guys be nice!

Craig: Just keep perspective. Games are fun to play, but as a job, you’ll have to sometimes do the unfun stuff..

* Kyndra sits on Alf

Craig: 4that’s why they give us money, after all…

Alf: OOF!

Erik: What does everybody think of Munch? Cute? Ugly? Both?

Craig: And, keep up-to-date with your skills and with the industry !END

Kyndra: He’s adorable.

Alf: He’s a freak! That plug in his head gives me the willies.

A-Sydney: [Mudos] I think he’s cool

Abe_Babe: I thought we were the ones asking! LOL IMO Munch is cute!!! 🙂

A-Sydney: Munch is both cute and ugly, he’s odd!

Craig: Ugly fish-faced, pony-tailed nonentity. Sligs are the truely handsome heroes of the game.

A-Sydney: He looks like a child 🙂

Erik: To add to Craig’s response, don’t be adverse to change…

A-Sydney: [Oddipus] I always get the impression Munch is angry, I haven’t seen him smile (or laugh) somwhere

Alf: You’d be angry too if they put that thing in your head, broke your leg …

Craig: That’s just the shape of his face. He’s happy sometimes.

Kyndra: Poor Munchi-poo.

Alf: Turn that frown upside down, Mr. Munchie! Munch needs a drink. Too bad he’s underage.

A-Sydney: Elum is soo much more cooler than Munch!!!!

* Kyndra fills Alf’s tea glass again

Abe_Babe: Our final question today is from Grid who is a moderator at Oddworld Forums. He couldn’t make it today due to school… but he wants to know Why does Skillya provide the glukkons with a workforce?’

Craig: Who knows what the age of reason is for Gabbits? Munch is the only one. Skillya? Never heard of him.

Erik: Generally Glukkons get a workforce by getting the mudokons hooked on brew…

Alf: Skillya is the Slig queen, ya knuckleheads!

Erik: Did you see that ‘recruitmen’ movie in Exoddus?

Alf: The question is — why do Sligs work for Glukkons at all?

Abe_Babe: Acutally I asked that one a little wrong… it probably should have read “why does Skillya provide the Glukkons with a Slig workforce?”

Kyndra: Too much programming not enough.. uhmm.. something.

Alf: This is all part of Grid’s Slig Empowerment Movement.

Craig: We get swell guns, and we get to beat the heck out of mudokons. Sweet deal.

Alf: The guy is deranged. Something should be done.

* Kyndra sits on Alf again

Alf: ouch!

Kyndra: Well you ARE sitting in my chair!

Alf: To answer Grid … Moolah talks, and family loyalty — well, it walks.

Kyndra: (the boys are still typing…)

Craig: Skillya and why she does what she does is still TOP SECRET! I can’t talk with the thought police watching !END

Alf: Plus, there are the PANTS to consider.

Kyndra: PANTS! I need PANTS!

Alf: What a Slig won’t do for pants.

Kyndra: Ooo Mystical pants.

Alf: I’m panting just thinking about it.

Kyndra: harharharharhar

Craig: Pants nothing. I want one of those flying contraptions ZOOM! SWOOSH!

Erik: Isn’t that part of the Oddworld dresscode (pants)?

Alf: Sorry, flyboy, but Flying Sligs are grounded.

Kyndra: I think it’s time for Alf’s medication

Alf: Please!

Craig: You always hated the sligs! And you never understood them. I’ve seen your concept docs, buddy, and you don’t have clue one about what makes a slig tick.

Alf: I like Sligs. They *pop* when ya squish ’em!

A-Sydney: thanks again guys, Senior Programmers Eric and Craig – and company! it’s really appreciated!! turning off moderation now

Abe_Babe: We would like to thank Oddworld Inhabitants once again for this opportunity and Thanks to Erik, Craig, Alf and Kyndara for taking the time to spend with the fans and for an entertaining chat!

Alf: Slig ticks. Yum.

Craig: My truncheon and I are stopping by your cubicle later to have a little attitude adjustment session.

Kyndra: Slig pie…

Alf: Turn on medication, if you can!