The Game Developers Conference (GDC) Online was held through October 5-8, 2010 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. The event had the presence of some Blizzard developers including Battle.net Project Director Greg Canessa. A few Diablo III and Starcraft II interviews are starting to pour into the internet.
Blizzard Entertainment won the Best Community Relations Award at the First Annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards. Big kudos to Nethaera, Bashiok, Karune and the whole Community Team.
The Best Community Relations Award
The Best Community Relations Award honors the currently operating online game that provides the highest quality community feedback and experience, including customer support, forum moderation and leadership, weblog and information updates, real-life events, and other community outreach.
GiantBomb interviewed Dustin Browder at the studios recently to discuss race balance, whether there are units that will be removed or not. The developers are seeing several game situations, things they didn’t foresee players coming up with like a Queen rush on Protoss players who aren’t effective that early at blocking chokepoints and protecting the base. The Queen’s speed will be nerfed to prevent Queen rush.
Dustin also talks about the single player’s Challenge mode.
The Starcraft II Beta Developer Twitter Chat # 1 revealed several details about beta testing.
Blizzard plans to release a major content patch mid-April to enable some basic achievements and improved voice chat, 3v3 and 4v4 maps, among other unidentified features.
A Mac beta client will be available in April, when it’s ready.
The Map Editor will be out before late-April.
No new races are planned for the three episodes of Starcraft II.
The roach, Infestor and reaper are currently in their Watch List.
Critters were not priority for beta, and will eventually be added.
Plans for Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) and community maps ladder and matchmaking.
Dustin said more players will be invited to beta in upcoming weeks, and encourages gamers to enable the beta opt-in option in the Battle.net Account webpage to qualify.
Replay hosting and sharing won’t be available at ship date.
Streamed replays for Tournament Finals is planned in future Starcraft II expansions.
Below you can read the 4-pages transcript.
So many people are complaining about this on the forum… is it true that there will be no chat channels? I hope not!
We do have plans for chat channels. Specifically, we want to organize chat channels around users’ interests so you know what types of conversations you are going to get into when you join a channel. This feature is not something that will be in for beta. Currently we plan to do this feature in a patch after the game launches.
Are you guys still working on the Map Editor; and if so, what features are you planning to incorporate into the final piece?
Yes. We’re still working on the Map Editor and currently working on the publishing system. We intend to release an early version of the editor during the beta so the map-making community can get a head start creating their own maps. This is going to be a stretch for us to pull off, but our hope is to get it out before the end of April.
Do you really use beers to balance units? And do you really use that rubber gun to make a decision?
I’m drunk now! Seriously the Jace Hall show was fun to do, but we take our jobs pretty seriously when it comes to the actual work. =)
Many Gaming Sites visited Blizzard Entertainment this past week and now that the NDA has been lifted, you can see a plethora of interviews and coverage hit the netwaves around the world. We will be collecting as many links to these as possible. Check back often for updates. I recommend the Shacknews interview. Dustin spills the beans on four missions of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player. Each campaign mission will be a mini-game on its own.
Shack: You haven’t shown much of the singleplayer component, and that may be one reason for a lot of the skpeticism. Do you think the Terran campaign will catch some people by surprise?
Dustin Browder: I hope so. It’s going to be pretty huge. It’s really different than anything you’ve seen before in our titles. This is sort of a level of choice and options for the player—RTS is typically, you’re on the rail man. And if you get a mission you can’t beat, I guess you’d better take it back. Well, you can’t take it back anymore. [laughs] I’m [thinking] of when you could take games back at [Electronics Boutique].
But you were just stuck right, and that’s terrible. But now if you get stuck, you can go, “I’m going to come back to this one. I’m going to go myself something powerful and come back here and make this one suffer.” At the same time, I think players—we learned a lot obviously in StarCraft, and I think this team learned even more in WarCraft III, in terms of the kinds of mechanics that you’re going to get in this campaign. The kinds of things you’re going to be doing in missions, I think is pretty cool stuff that maybe players aren’t quite prepared for.
We’ve got a mission right now where every five minutes, lava rises and kills everything on the ground. Everything dies. You’ve got to get to the high ground or die. We’ve got a mission right now where infested Terrans are attacking at night, but they’re hiding in the ground by day, so you need to just hold out all night long like you’re in I Am Legend. Like, “I’ve got to live!” and then day, “Get ‘em! Kill ‘em while they sleep!” And you run out and you burn everything as fast as you can, and then when darkness starts coming you have to get back and hide out.
We’ve got missions where you’re trying to defend a Terran colony that’s getting infested one piece at a time, and you’ve got to try to put out all these fires while fighting off these infested units. We’ve got this mission where you are a lone ghost trying to influence the course of an entire battle. So each of these missions is like a little minigame.
Dustin Browder prepared a brief FAQ concerning Closed Beta date and the upcoming Battle Report. There is no ETA on beta, but the Battle Report was finished last week. They are adding some video of the latest graphic improvements to some units. There is no date for the Battle Report, but it sounds like we will have some love in upcoming weeks prior to beta.
I see lots of questions about timelines. Here is a little FAQ.
Question: “Why hasn’t Blizzard released the Beta?” or “WTF have they been working on, I played it at Blizzcon last year and I thought it was done!” Answer: Solo campaign is under heavy construction as is Battlenet. When these things have enough work done that we know when our release date is going to be with strong confidence we will announce the Beta. Unless something crazy happens, the Beta is going to happen this year.
Question: “Why don’t you just give us your target dates if you don’t know the final date? We promise, we won’t get mad if Blizzard misses target dates.” Answer: Let’s be realistic. Our target dates are not something we hit more than half the time. Putting those out there would be pretty close to lying to the fans. We are not going to do that. We want to be able to give good info, not info that we know is suspect. We’ll give target dates when we think it is very likely that we will hit them.
Question: When can we have the next Battle Report? Answer: We were waiting on getting some improved graphics in (some of the new stuff looked REALLY rough). That was finished last week and we are now playing and looking for a good game. Once we get that game the process is reasonably quick to get it out. Once we go Beta, you guys can do these and put them up. When that happens I’m sure there will be a ton of them and I’m sure the quality of the games played and the announcing will go way up.
Question: “I notice that you haven’t actually given us any dates….” Answer: Yeah. Sorry. We don’t want to lie about the Beta, and we don’t even want to lie about the next Battle Report. When we know a date (for anything) for certain, we’ll let you know.