this could be summed up as “fixing bugs and tuning game-play.” but i’ll go into a little more detail.
the programmers are:
1) writing some really innovative user features (some of which are secret). 2) tweaking the ai. (it’s already doing some amazing things.) 3) working to help balance and smooth the game-play through weapon and unit behavior. 4) adding more NPC conversation/behavior functionality. 5) plugging our exotic (dynamically changing) dx music into place. 6) fixing bugs.
the artists are: 1) reworking textures here and there for greater consistency. 2) tweaking animations. 3) orchestrating some last minute makeovers for character portraits. 4) fixing bugs.
the designers are: 1) currently smoothing out game-flow, alleviating spots where a mission or subquest is frustrating, providing more story/situational info for the player to use strategically. 2) adding more options for the player (in the form of in-map/in-world nonlinearity of action). 3) responding to playtest–getting from of testers, friends and coworkers. 4) detailing out a few areas that need a little more interaction. 5) speeding up maps. 6) prepping for a balancing/resource economy pass with GBAT, chris norden’s game balance analysis tool. (a program which counts everything in the game in interesting ways.) 7) fixing bugs.
the writers are: 1) detailing out all the hundreds of emails, newspapers, books, conversations and barks in the world. 2) prepping to record all our conversations in 3 languages. 3) fixing bugs.
the game has taken a few leaps forward in fun and ‘rpg-ness’ lately, as people have, over the last couple of months, finally been able to see some of the systems we planned coming together. i’m really psyched right now. moreso than i have been over the last 2 years. i played mission 01 this morning and used flares in a way that i had not previously. my favorite things about the game right now are the freedom it allows in playing (and playstyle), plus the interaction with npc’s (both friendly, meaning conversation and subquests, and non-friendly, meaning avoiding with stealth and fighting with a variety of interesting weapons and devices).
btw–the first in a series of monthly Deus Ex chats will be held this thursday at 8PM (CST). i think most of our team will be online to field questions and such. so be there if you want to get the latest scoop. (www.ionstorm.com, room #ion.)
“Some there be that shadows kiss, such have but a shadow’s bliss.”
The Merchant of Venice
Harvey Smith, ION Storm Lead Designer, Deus Ex http://www.stormtroopers.com/witchboy/ icq#: 1132071