Class Matters: Our Interview With Forge Designer Tim Alvis
GF: What about the ability to toggle back and forth between third person and first person POV? Will something like that will be in the final version?
The game somewhat behaves like a first person game right now, it just happens to have a third person POV. But as far as mechanics of how the camera works, there’s no free-roam for the camera, it can’t just spin around or move separately from your character, so it’s almost like the camera out of your eyes. Going first person though, probably not at retail. Most of that has to do with getting the time and resources necessary to animate every character and ability from a first person perspective, because you can’t reuse any of the assets you have. But certainly, as far as the game design goes, there’s no limitation preventing us from going there at some point.
GF: What has fan-feedback said? Is it something they want?
Probably less than 5 requests since the game went playable, and I think that’s in large part because of the way the game behaves like a FPS already. I think they also realize they’re going to lose that situational awareness they get with that little bit of extra view behind the camera that you get currently. [With first person], your field of view is going to be entirely in front of you and you’ll lose peripheral and behind. I imagine that by the time we get to a point we could implement it, we’d put it to a community poll. I don’t know that the community will end up thinking that it’s worth it, just because it would actually be a detriment in most combat situations. The only time it’s really a benefit is if you’re doing line-of-sight tasks, like going in and out of cover and aiming, whereas right now you’re having to do some triangulation.
GF: What kind of features are players requesting the most, and can you talk about how player feedback is influencing development?
It’s kind of a tightrope you have to walk very carefully. Opinions are so varied that anything that you do will squelch feedback in one area, and bring new feedback in from another. At the same time, if you hear the same comment repeatedly, even if you don’t take 100% of the comment to heart, you have to take much of it seriously because there’s something at the core we’re missing. For instance, if users are consistently saying that it’s tough to figure out what they’re supposed to do in the game, you have an issue with accessibility. If they’re consistently saying they don’t feel like a particular feature is fun, then you at least have to look at it.
The point where you have to break off is if what they’re requesting goes against the overall vision of what the gameplay should be. Sometimes you’ll get feedback where somebody comes from a game they really like, and they want to make this game more like that game. That kind of feedback you have to be very careful with because there’s a specific experience we’re trying to build that goes after a market that just isn’t being served at all. We don’t want to become a Bloodlines Champions, we don’t want to become a League of Legends, we don’t want to be World of Warcraft Arenas. So it’s always a matter of taking that feedback and finding nuggets of what is valid criticism, what are valid pointers, and running with that.
Some of the feedback that came in early happened when we put in block functionality. Our initial block was very simplistic; I don’t know that it was intentionally simplistic so much that we were focused on other aspects of the game, and block didn’t get the attention it deserved. So in one of the most recent patches we’ve worked on block to make it feel smooth and connected to how combat works. And a lot of feedback came in on the size of maps, and some of that is internal feedback as well, so our maps have grown consistently smaller, to help the flow and pace of combat.
It’s been great to hear what people would like to customize, things you don’t expect that they’d want to turn off, things we put in because they’re a huge benefit to the players we polled early on. Some players just didn’t like them, they want to do things, well, the hard way, they want to turn off the easy stuff. That feedback has been great in helping us figure out what we need to make toggleable game options. But for the most part, the feedback we’ve had has been on the periphery; they want more skins, they want more progression, they want more options in spectator mode, they want more gameplay modes. As for core gameplay, I’d say that the two most common things people have asked for have been more feedback on successful abilities, and making it easier for new users to jump in. We’ve taken both of those very seriously the last two releases.