View Full Version : DDOcast-Ask the Devs #11 Transcript

03-10-2010, 01:18 AM
DDOcast's Ask the Devs #11 Transcript

as heard on DDOcast Episode 158, released March 5th, 2010 and available HERE (http://www.cyberears.com/cybrss/8798.mp3).

Host: Jerry Snook
Guests: Tolero, Genasi, Glin, Tarrant

Transcript by Chubbs, additional transcript work by Jerry

If you have a question for Turbine's DDO team, please send an email to DDOcast at ddocast@gmail.com.


Jerry: Hello and welcome to what I think is the 11th edition of Ask the Devs here on DDO cast. This is your chance to send in some questions and get them answered by the Turbine DDO development community, work, and just about anyone else related to working on DDO here. At the start, just a quick mention, if you have a question for Ask the Dev’s that you would like to get asked, send it to ddocast@gmail.com. That’s ddocast@gmail.com.

Let’s get to our introductions; First one up is producer Glin, how you doing?

Glin: Yeah I’m going good Jerry, I’m hoping you’re going to come out and visit us at Pax East…

Jerry: …Yes

Glin: You making plans to come out at the end of the month?

Jerry: Oh heck yeah. I’m really looking forward to not only Pax East because of, you know, the fun it will contain, but I’ve also not been to Boston since I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, so my memory is a little fuzzy and I have a feeling some things have changed between now and then. So I’m really looking forward to checking it out. And then of course then you know, while I’m there I’m certainly hoping, you know even if you guys are too busy for any kind of formal tour or whatever, maybe I could at least pop on by and say hi quick.

Glin: Yeah absolutely. In fact you can’t come to town and not drop by and visit us. We should try to organize a little live chat session at that time too, that would be great.

Jerry: Yeah absolutely. I haven’t really quiet formally announced my plans for Pax East, but what you mentioned is something I’ve been considering. I don’t know, how much involvement you guys might or might not be able to have, obviously it depends on numerous unanswered factors at this point, but we are kinda thinking. Thinking about that live stream from Pax East here, I really hope we can make it happen.

Glin: Great.

Jerry: Also with us is Genasi, how you doing?

Genasi: Pretty good Jerry, you?

Jerry: Good. I’m going off the top of my head here, systems designer, that’s correct right?

Genasi: That’s right, yes.

Jerry: Designing any systems lately?

Genasi: Yeah, quite a few, quite a few. My duties have been expanding since I came to work here a few months ago, and it’s all fun.

Jerry: Excellent. Also with us here is Tarrant, how you doing Tarrant?

Tarrant: Hey I’m good Jerry. Pretty excited to make my DDOcast debut today.

Jerry: Yeah we were kinda talking about that earlier, it think this is the first time I’ve heard your voice.

Tarrant: Yeah, this is Tarrant’s first time on the audio waves, so hi everybody!

Jerry: Nice. Are you in costume?

Tarrant: Uh, not right now. The wig is kind of hot actually.

Jerry: Alright.

Tarrant: Now that its spring time, I’m trying to keep myself cooler.

Jerry: Alright, finally with us is Tolero. How you doing Tolero?

Tolero: Hey Jerry, doing good.

Jerry: Excellent, Excellent. Let’s get right to our list of questions here. I know you guys are pretty actually let me stop really quick though, and wish you guys a belated 4th anniversary. It was a lot of fun, lots going on in the game the last couple of weeks. I just wanted to congratulate you on 4 years of excellent gaming.

*Everyone does their own cheer*

Jerry: Alright, now that you guys have been properly congratulated, maybe we can get to these questions, and get some good answers out of you huh? First question comes from Edward, and this is one that we have seen a lot of activity on in recent months and excited to be able to ask you guy’s this question.

Edward writes, “Will the auction house ever get a text search ability, and the ability to sort by all items in the auction house, not page by page. If I want to find all items that have a certain attribute I have to look through every possible item, which is a bit tedious. Additionally, if I want to search items by buyout price, the auction house only sorts by page, not total number of items. If the text search and sort were added it would greatly increase the use ability of the auction house.”

Text searching on the auction house has been one that’s been long called for what do you think?

Glin: Yeah, I think we’ve probably talked about it saying oh yeah we really want to get around to it and there’s all these sorta back end issues, and then there is the UI, and kinda him-hawed about how we’d ever find the time.

But I will say we have made progress! We do have the backend search functionality enabled, or should I say available. It needs the front end portion of it to be hooked so that we can actually start using it. Not exactly a plug and play task there, but its higher on our list then it has. I can’t say how soon of a release it will be in, it’s one of those tasks that we are going to keep bring up every time we say, “who needs more work? There is this one available.”

We all feel the pain, I’ll tell you that, we use the auction house as much as any other player, and these events, live events, with all the ingredients and the components and wow, we’ve really…you know 45 pages on just the ingredients to find your stuff is…really calls that to attention.

Jerry: Yeah, it’s one of those things where just being able to type in something like say, “winter mote of whatever,” hitting a button and getting those results back. Maybe being able to sort it by buyout price or whatever functionality might be involved would be quiet excellent.

Glin: Yeah, I think we’ll still have to explore how the integration is going to go in order to say that it’s a global search or a item/category search, but we’ll definitely be able to narrow down the page views and get you to things that actually match a keyword so you can zone in on just what you need.

As soon as we can get some of the other big features that we haven’t announced yet, that’s a teaser, we’ll be putting in the more subtle polish features and maybe as early as this year. I’ll commit to that much.

Jerry: Alright, well that sounds great. That’s excellent. Uh, next question comes from Shasha.

Writes, “ If you have another ask the Dev’s, can you ask them to consider notating quests at the difficulty selection screen that are impossible to solo through normal means, usually because of switches or something like that.” She also writes, “I’m new and I do solo and it’s frustrating when the component that needs multiple players is at the end like say ‘Fleshmakers Laboratory.‘ I don’t think it would be a bad thing to just give a heads up to people, like, 'Hey there some tricks to get by multiple switches in The Pit, Xolian Cipher, Burning Heart, etc., but it requires spoilers, superior twitch game play, and/or specialized gear. So the same warning should still apply."

Genasi: I can take this one, basically this is something we already addressed. If you go into the game and select a quest that is like this, you will notice that on your difficulty selection window, if there is something in there that is going to prevent you from easily completing it by yourself you’ll have a warning that says something along the lines of, “party based challenge, hirelings might not suffice.” So keep an eye out for that when you’re going to do a quest, and hopefully you should be able to save yourself some of that frustration soloing.

Jerry: Fortunately we really only have a hand full of quests that have this situation in DDO. I know there’s that one kind of long sitting one in the Necropolis where you've got people needing to be on switch plates and that kind of thing.

Tolero: There’s a couple in the whole Necropolis chain, ‘cause I run that quite a bit with my characters. There’s more of them in there then you might think. I run with Hirelings a lot and sometimes I have to grab a buddy pass for my husband and I’m like, “You. You’re my hireling now.”

Jerry: Sure.

Glin: It also comes up in …as optionals that your gated out of. I know there is one in Delara’s, I think it’s the first one in Delara’s, that you can’t do the underwater gate chain without someone out there, and you can’t get a hireling to dance on the on/off switch for the gate so there is really nothing you can do solo. There is also that looking at maybe hirelings can do it in the description, saying that you could do it solo, but you’ll need a hireling to command around.

Jerry: Huh, that’s cool. Alright next question comes from Straytext. Writes, “Poke a dev (can’t poke you over Skype but I guess I can poke you verbally?…That sounds kind of terrible but uh, “Poke a dev and see if they’ll poke the hamster that is responsible for checking Orion characters and guilds into My DDO.com.”

Tarrant: Uh yeah, so we actually don’t believe in animal cruelty over here at turbine, so we’ve just gently prodded the Orion hamster.

Jerry: Oh, that’s good.

Tarrant: Yeah, we’re good people. But you should see most of the Orion character and guild logs working shortly if not already. I guess by the time this is posted it will be working now. But just for the rest of you guys, My.DDO is still in beta and there are a few reasons that characters, or guilds might not function properly.

Some of the more common reasons are: Character name changes or transfers, and you crazy permadeather’s can confuse My.DDO by constantly creating and deleting characters with the same name. We can’t fix all of the issues we do come across, but if you guys do have a problem with your character or guild, just submit your error to the forum support page*, which Jerry should have a link for, and we can forward them onto the Web-Dev team and hopefully fix you guys from there.


Jerry: Yeah, we do have a link that I’m going to post in the show notes on ddocast.com, and all the other places I post, like my episode notes. And if, well presumably we’ll get a transcript up at some point here, I’ll make sure to throw that link in the transcript as well.

Tarrant: Thank you Jerry.

Jerry: My.DDO has been pretty fun, I’ve been actually getting a lot of use out of it lately. Using Mockduck, DDOcast build guild and all that. I really think the guilds are one of the overlooked things on My.DDO.com, certainly lots of guilds use it but having that calendar functionality and everything, has actually been pretty handy.

Tolero: Yeah, it’s really handy now too since that it’s physically actually in the game. You know you just push one button, and boom there it is, whereas before it’s like, “okay, I gotta tab out, open a window...,” and not everyone wants to tab out and stuff. And not everyone wants this huge long URL for their guild page, and now it’s just look up the thing in the My DDO, in the game, and boom there it is.

Jerry: Absolutely.

Glin: Also we’re still pitching the iPhone app. That you can carry around your entire guild’s character sheet and My.DDO page, keeping stats on people.

Jerry: Yeah, Absolutely. I don’t have an iPhone so I don’t use it, but we’ve, this week, on non Ask the Devs-related talk on this show, talked about Cedwin’s work to put some various things like that together as well. So you guys are expanding out technology wise.

Glin: Reaching you when you’re not in game, that’s the goal.

Jerry: Just to clarify, for those maybe just hearing Ask the Devs here, this is not something that was done by Turbine, but by a player put together some stuff this week that we talked about, or that we will talk about probably later on in the show.

Next question comes from Aerghal. Writes, “I’m relatively new to the game, been playing about three months, so maybe this has been asked or answered in the past, but I’ve been wondering why do they not have a separate bar area for buffs and debuffs.”

I think what he’s getting at is when you get say a bane cast on you or something, it shows up in that same upper right hand corner of the screen that your buffs do. I guess what he’s asking is maybe is there way to potentially separate that out.

Glin: Uh yeah, we’ve explored some different UI changes. We’ve done a few mock ups in this last year of maybe using the party panel to maybe show de.. not debuffs, but like curses and things that your cleric may need to know, or your caster may need to know to heal you. We’ve talked about a few different ways to play with it. We try not to do to many rows on the screen, where the spells show up on the top of the screen. We already are in too deep at any given time. It just wasn’t a high priority for splitting them up on the top, but we do want to explore some different ways that we can show you that the things that are wrong with your party that you might need some help on, so that you can at least get some assistance.

Jerry: I don’t know how the inspect element technology works in DDO, you know when you highlight a character and you hit Z, maybe you can have a, just a couple little titles saying, “buffs” then have that list, then “debuffs” and have that list, or something of that nature.

Glin: Yeah, that’s definitely a potential for doing kind of a sort order. You could actually sort them at the top, it’s not as useful unless you’re mousing over it anyways, but we try to denote it with good icon usage. And you do kinda get use to the ones that bring you down at very levels. But, the disadvantage to putting it in the examination panel is that probably in action, you can’t really use it that well and that’s kind of more what we are trying to address with it. I can see that you want to examine your character, and just kind of have a glance in-between combat of wanting to know if you’ve got curse’s versus buffs on your character. Definitely worth considering as just a convenience item for sure.

Jerry: Sure. And just to take a very strict look at the last sentence there, why do they not have a second bar area for buffs and debuffs? They do! The debuff bar is in Delerium and the other bars provide your buffs.

*lots of chuckling*

Glin: I’m glad you took it there Jerry.

*more chuckling*

Jerry: Next question comes from Razcar. Writes, “Do you plan to introduce any new D&D skills and/or revise and make the existing ones more useful? In other words give the Skill system some to the tender love and care you’ve given the combat system and magic?”

You know I talked about that kind of in a forum post this past week, and maybe even a little bit last week on the show, comparing the 3.5 skills available to what we have in DDO. Any thought about some changes, or bringing things over?

*slight pause…*

Genasi: Sure. I’ll say definitely on the behalf of the systems team that we do know that some skills are a good deal more useful than others. Something that we would like to do, especially now that we have a re-spec option available for players, is go back and improve a lot of the ones that are currently not as effective as the ones that people tend to invest their skill points in. In terms of adding new skills, this isn’t something that is currently planned. We are always considering new options for the systems in our game.

Jerry: As someone who started DDO in 2006, with the words “Oh I’m going to need a high repair skill cause my fighter cause my fighter is going to need to repair his gear..”

Glin: Followed shortly by, “…I’m going to need a respect”

Jerry: Yeah, sure, cause I think I’m going to greater reincarnate him to take care of that little situation.

Genasi: I have some plans for that as well.

Glin: I’m definitely going though the reincarnation thing now. I’m actually trying out some different flavors before I do the Greater Reincarnate, just to go though the whole thing of trying some different game styles with my fighter.

Jerry: Nice, nice. Alright, next question comes from Steiner-Davion. Writes, “Intermittent bug with the adventure compendium being blank. Some people, myself included, have had issues with the adventure compendium being blank. In particular, no quests listed. In one of the threads on the topic, one of your developers by the name of Phax says that logging out then back in seems to fix the problem, but it doesn’t always work. Has a cause been identified? The bug seems to be completely random, at least in his case. And it seems to fix itself randomly as well.

Tolero: Yeah, I’ve actually had this bug on my own character and for the life of me; you know being aware that the situation is there, and having it happen to myself it’s been like “OH!! Let me see if I can figure out how this is happening,” and so you know were looking. But for my character it was like, “Oh hello Mr. Bug, that I know about, but what are you doing here?!?!”

Glin: We kind of speculate a little bit to share some of the process, but we think this is something that is only happening on a live environment, so it probably has to do with population of the server at the time, or maybe the load on the server. Um ahh I’m guessing it has to do with how the data’s coming in on the client side and what other information it’s dealing with. The compendium is possibly losing the battle every once in a while, that’s why the log out fix, it basically says give it another try to ask for that data. But we just don’t have a way to reproduce the problem internally for bug fixing, so take a shot at it once in a while and see maybe this will do it, maybe this will fine tune, maybe this will optimize it, that’s something that we’ve been doing ongoing over the years. Optimize the code, make it run a little better, a little smoother, a little friendlier on peoples computers, things like that. Um, so we just don’t have the solution for this yet.

Jerry: Yeah, okay.

Tolero: It does seem to clear itself up too. Like the character I had that had the problem; he would have it for a little while, and then the problem clears up. And then I keep looking for the problem to come back, but it hasn’t come back for me.

Jerry: Yeah, I’ve never had that happen to me with the adventure compendium. A couple of times, say over the past year or so, I’ve had a situation where you log in and maybe the quest don’t show up in the Looking for More panel. But, that’s the only bug I can imagine is somewhat similar that I’ve actually come across...and that’s not even all that often. Like I said, only a couple of times.

Uh, next question comes from Phlor Ironwood. Writes, “A friend of mine came over from ‘the other game,” I assume he means LoTRO, although could be Asheron’s Call, “Liked the ability to create combinations and place it in a hot key, which would automatically switch out clothing and jewelry items. I know we can do it with weapon combinations hotkey/bar. Will this type of enhancement be implemented?”

Trying to figure out what he’s writing there... So basically he’s saying we have weapon sets, could we have clothing and jewelry sets?

Glin: Yeah we’ve talked about doing things like; you know we don’t have a weapon set for a combination of a bow and arrow or bolt and crossbow. So there is a lot of room to expand that, we’ve got some improvements coming in, on weapon sets in general. We’ve kind of opened that up again, and having someone looking at that system, that might be a potential area we can explore. We haven’t had of big a request for it as I would have imagined, I personally would have liked that one on the list of things to do. So I think, player feedback saying we want more of that is definitely good to hear.

Jerry: What I’ve kind of do for rings in particular is I have that one, you know there’s that one slot where you just click a ring on say your hot bar, all of a sudden it will equip to either the right or the left side, I think it’s the right side of your character sheet? I can’t remember off the top of my head now, and so when I’m doing ring switching I always make sure that that one slot remains my floating slot, so to speak, that’s kind of how I get around the situation. But yeah being able to equip those things as a set would be pretty cool.

I think last formal question we have here comes from Envinyatar from Cannith. Writes, “Any plans to enhance the AI of hirelings, anyone who uses Hirelings probably is aware that frequently a hireling will stand in the center of a lava pool, or get themselves perished by stopping right in the middle of an acid spray trap. It adds a level of technical difficulty remembering to halt and call your bot in order to negotiate active traps. And my other question would be about hirelings following you into instances like caves and such, but that’s for another day.”

Glin: You know, we only have hireling school on Saturdays right now, so we are planning to expand that a little bit but, I’ll actually throw that over to the system side ‘cause they are definitely always working on it on their end

Genasi: Yeah um, this is actually something we’ve done some work on so far. I’m not sure if any of you have used cleric hirelings yet since update 3, but I myself made some changes to them that made them behave a bit more effectively in defensive combat especially though. They’ll actually be smart enough now to not run into melee combat and get themselves killed when you tell them please stand back and heal me. And I’ve seen some positive feedback about this which makes me happy, but I know there are still a lot of things that can be done to make the hirelings even better, so I’m pretty much constantly...I use them in the game a lot, and I’m looking at the forums all the time to see what you guys have to say about them. The way they interact with traps particularly is something I want to take on soon, so you can expect some changes in that regard.

Jerry: You know I’ve noticed actually cleric hirelings have been working pretty well there in the game. I’ve been using them a little bit myself and uh, pretty neat. Now see, I thought with this whole trap thing, I just assumed you guys were just trying to equate the player experience, right? Stand in a trap to find it!

*lots of laughing*

Tolero: There’s a trap right here. Boom!

Glin: Yes, we did talk about how hirelings are behaving just like a pug so why change it? It’s the same experience. I think the worst thing for me with the traps that I’m surprised it wasn’t listed there, is that they’ll run through a trap, and then when they get hit they immediately stop and drink a potion, and then they get hit again, and they drink a potion, and then they’ll run out of potions, and by then they can’t make it out of the traps. That’s just so frustrating.

Jerry: One of those little things I guess.

Tolero: A lot of that behavior cleared up, cause I play pretty much expressly with them and in the old days they use to be like, “Oh God I’m hurt! I need to drink a potion. Oh God! I’m still hurt, and it would just that over and over and now they kinda go, “Oh God I’m hurt! I need to run to my master."

Once in a while, if you’re not far enough away from the trap, they run to you, and they run as close as they think they need to be, which might still be in radius of the trap and they’re like, “Hey Boss, I’m here,” So you’ll sometimes you’ll have to step a little bit further back from the trap.

Glin: Yeah they definitely improved and the Update 3was huge. I start running with them a lot more frequently then I use to, I would say more hirelings as well, cause I use to just grab that one that I needed at the time for a support role, but now I’ll run with two or three and actually keep them alive, they’re not constantly in combat, much improved. And more to come, cause I’ve seen what the guys have planned for some of their AI work, it’s very promising.

Genasi: Can I say this really quick?

Jerry: Yeah go ahead

Genasi: For those who are interested, I’ve actually written up sort of a Dev Diary on my experiences on working with hirelings so far, and that should be airing pretty soon on the official website, so keep an eye out and you might be able to see some interesting stuff about that.

Jerry: Oh very cool. Yeah I love the Dev Diary’s. Keeper’s been really active on, it’s probably not an official formal Dev Diary, but she’s been keeping a nice little journal on My.DDO.com kinda giving us…

Glin: Blogger, she’s a blogger.

Jerry: I guess that will pretty much do it with our list of questions for Ask the Devs. Just a reminder, if you want to send one to me, you can send it through DDOCast@gmail.com, that’s DDOCast@gmail.com. Ideally, it would be great if you would put in the title, “Ask the Devs, “ or some kind of indication, so it helps me keep it organized you know, with my big Gmail account there. So just type in, “Ask the Devs,” in the title, and send it to DDOCast@gmail.com. We get to as many of them as we can cram in, we do have a growing list. We actually have quite a few questions that we’re trying to work through here, but there is always room for more and good questions, so feel free to send them in.

Tolero: And don’t be shy new players too. A lot of the questions I see, I can almost recognize how long the player has been a part of the game. So if you’re like a new player, don’t feel like just because your new you’re not allowed to ask questions.

Jerry: Yeah, Absolutely. I guess in general you guys got done with the fourth, or mostly done at this point with the fourth anniversary. And all the Risia Ice Sames are now done, Update 3 is out...any hints as to what we might be able to see you guys expecting in the future here?

Tolero: We still got another 20% exp weekend coming here, so by the time this show airs, I think they’ll be in the second birthday weekend. And we’ll have Pax, news from Pax. Fernando’s State of the Game address should be coming out soon, but I’m not sure if it will be out before or after this cast airs, but Fernando will have lots of cool stuff to talk about there, so be on the lookout for that.

Jerry: You guys going to have a lot of work ahead of ya getting ready for Pax? Could you give us at all what to expect here, like presumably a booth, like that kind of thing?

Tolero: So I’m not sure how much I’m able to talk about on Pax, but we’re definitely going to be announcing really soon what all you can anticipate, but we will have a presence, so if you’re going to be out in this neck of the woods for Pax, drop by and come say hi. Just keep an eye out for any “activities” that we will have happening. You know, like maybe such as Live DDOcast.

Jerry: Yeah indeed, and otherwise I guess to answer my own question. Up next - Update 4, generally follows Update 3.

Tolero: Yup. Update 4.

Glin: Yeah, and the only hint on that one is it’s like the Update 2. The even number pattern is, it will be a content pack primarily, the feature changes and new systems won’t be as significant (as in) in large ones. That’s because it gives us lots of time to work on an even bigger one for the next odd number release.

Jerry: Yeah it seems like you guys have fallen into a really nice pattern that I know Fernando had said, what last year even? That you guys were hoping to get into a regular pattern of releases, and it looks like the system you’ve got in place to do that development is rolling along pretty smoothly at this point.

Glin: Yeah well their saying it’s been 4 years, but it feels like 4 minutes, underwater.

Jerry: Indeed. Well that’s great. I really do appreciate you guys being on the show, and uh gal. I want to say goodbye here to Glin, Genasi, Tarrant, and Tolero, Thanks very much.

Everyone: Thanks Jerry.


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Published March 10th, 2010

03-10-2010, 07:14 AM
Thanks for the transcript Jerry/Chubbs.

Tell Tarrant to say more next time!

03-11-2010, 01:02 AM
I didn't have a very good ear for Voice = Name... But I thought Tarrant wasn't talking much.