Thursday, September 2, 2010

Clarifications and Misunderstandings...

The days are going by like a blur, and I can't seem to figure out what day it is most of the time. Is it bad to coordinate your days around wrestling and TV shows? For example, I know today is Thursday because Jersey Shore is on. I guess anyway you can keep a personal calendar in your head, it's a good thing.

I had a pretty late night yesterday finishing up a "Creative Brief" for an exciting feature in "that game you all know is coming out with a 1 and a 2 in the title, but we can't announce yet." For those who don't understand what a creative brief is, it is a high-level design. At the beginning of a production cycle, designers start with a creative brief of a feature they would like to put in the game, in order to get estimates from the engineering team (the guys who physically CODE the game). Estimates are how many "days" a feature will take them to complete. This is a very difficult process because you usually start from a "pie in the sky" feature, and it gets scaled down more and more because of time, money, and capacity.

As if that isn't bad enough for a designer, we sometimes tend to get attached to what we're doing, and it is usually very difficult to let go of things you think are necessary for the feature, but in reality, you could actually live without. Designers suffer from having "blinders" on most of the time. Regardless, this is the MOST exciting time for me because I get to use all of my creative energy in putting together something from scratch.

Jon Durr (fellow SvR designer) had his first day on the official SvR message boards yesterday. I think he did an excellent job, as he's been extremely eager to talk to the fans this entire year. I'm grateful for getting to work for a company that lets us be us.

I made a mistake yesterday. I'm getting about 3274903217490371098 questions a minute about the game (keep them coming), but a lot of them are the same questions, asked in completely different ways. I do get confused sometimes, and I did yesterday. I was asked if WWE Universe had co-op. To me, "co-op" is an online feature, and "multiplayer" is a home console feature. I misunderstood, and said "nope." This caused a little bit of an uproar in the community, because they all thought that you couldn't play with more than one player, on the same console, in WWE Universe. Rest assured, you can, there just isn't an online co-op for WWE Universe. Again, apologies for the mistake.

I'm now getting a lot of very detailed questions. I'm not having to pull up the game and check to make sure things are in / not in, so it may take a big longer to get to your questions than previously. Just feel free to keep reminding me, I won't mind. Please know that I may mess up again, so I apologize in advance for that.

Let me clarify my statement about "Legend" difficulty with reversal indicators off. This year, the A.I. does attack you. I was playing a match against Big Show the other day, and he had me on the ground, taunted, picked me up for a choke slam, different taunt, and as I got up (he decided to wait -- which I thought was cool), he knocked me out (finishing punch), and my jaw dropped. Big Show worked me, and I couldn't do anything about it. Reversals do happen at a much more frequent rate than they would on lower difficulties, but it is extremely important to vary your tactics. If you have a grounded superstar, don't go to the top rope all of the time. Stay grounded, and vary your strikes and grapples, using the corners, irish whips, and out of the ring to your advantage. If you spam the strike buttons, they'll reverse you after a while. If you are repeatedly using ground grapples (submissions), and the same grapples over again, they'll start to get what you're doing, and reverse you.

I repeat, the A.I. is very aggressive, and you have to adapt to what they're doing to you this year. But reversals are a big part of it, so make sure you're capitalizing on this, and the match will really flow in a realistic way. This is a way to make our game competitive (combined with aggressive A.I.). Obviously, we know that a real-life match is predetermined, so you see key spots (moves), 3 minute beatdown, reverse, three minute beatdown in a given match. Would that make sense for a video game? In my opinion, I don't think so. We don't know the outcome of a match, and if you're expecting to win all of the time, play on easy. With that said, if you want to beat your opponent down mercifully for 3 minutes, than you should expect to get the same punishment from the A.I. Would that be much fun? I personally don't think so.

I'll be on the UncleGamer Radio show tomorrow (recording I think), so make sure to check that one out. I thank all of you for your continued support in what we're doing. This time YOU are making an actual difference, and I hope you all start to realize that this is a journey, not a one year thing. That's what the annual title business is all about. Hope on board guys!


  1. I think it's a wonderful thing that THQ is allowing the designers to interact more with the fans, and it's a trend I hope more and more companies pick up.

    More aggressive AI is also a good thing. However, something I'd like to see return/expanded upon is the Logic system that was present in Here Comes the Pain!, and famously crafted by the Fire Pro series. I think it's the logical next step in making the AI better, more realistic, and allowing more options int he Created department.

    Please keep us informed on "the game you whose name can't be said yet" and keep up the good work. :)

  2. Much respect and I am excited for this. Can't wait to hear more about WWE Crush Hour 2012 lol. Thanks for the info Marcus.

  3. So with production of SvR2011 starting to wind down it's safe to say the ramp up for 2012 is starting up? ;) As what Gregory said, I think it would really be a great if there was a way to actually tune the AI for individual characters. Though part of the method of getting AI controlled characters to "work right" is certainly part of the base AI along with their move sets reflecting the actual performer. A frequency of use might be good along with a bunch of other little things.

    Now the whole making the virtual performer work like the real one I know can be tricky (and I still argue that HCTP did the best job of that) I think a optional, indepth managing of AI could certainly help and it would allow for them to do their typical moves yet sometimes break out moves they either rarely use or just something fresh to surprise the audience. With so many people and so many available move slots, I know it can cause trouble when building them as you don't want to just give someone the same moves just to reflect their actual move set since the repetitiveness isn't exactly fun but at the same time there's no stopping someone from editing it themselves when they get the game. But AI controls that would let you tune how often one would use a move certainly could help.

    As for the match working mechanics when it comes to a game vs a actual wrestling match. I think there's a happy medium that can be found to help replicate the psychology, drama and over all story telling of a match so it's more than just a fighting game in a pro-wrestling shell. It's been done in other games and even the Smackdown series had match ratings at one point. It could be done again and made much more interesting. But I think part of that would include a overhaul in how the crowd works and reacts. If you have an awesome match with the AI you want to share it but as it stands now those five star matches are something that result in largely luck along with allowing the AI a lot of room to fight back and take control of you. I do think there are ways to make the AI tougher though without having to resort in a big jump in their ability to counter.

    With that said I look forward in seeing AI that's very aggressive again on harder difficulties. I would love to be facing the Big Show with him beating the snot out of my character while I keep trying to find an opening to gain some momentum against him. That in and of itself would be fun.

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  5. Whoops, had a error the first time so didn't know it posted and second time decided sign in properly, mah bad.

  6. Thanks for answering my questions on Twitter, Marcus. I figured I'd post here so I could expand my character limit (and then I promise I'll leave you alone on this silly subject.)

    One way to possibly improve the gameplay sliders and make a better sim is, rather than having the sliders affect the overall gameplay, tie them to individual superstars attributes. Pretty much in line with what Gregory says above--a logic system, but you can use the gameplay sliders that are already in place to better sculpt each superstar's difficulty and behavior.

    For instance, one might set Santino so that he does not reverse often, does not dish out much damage, runs out of stamina quickly-- but his momentum rate for taunts is maxed out. Undertaker on the other hand might have maxed out strike reversals and maximum finisher damage.

    The problem with the current sliders is that they affect the gameplay across the board, so if you max everything out to get a better challenge out of the game, you end up having a 20 minute match where Santino can reverse all of Undertaker's moves and, while it might be more difficult, it doesn't feel very realistic. Heck, in 2010, once you get a hang of the reversal system, it's rare to see the CPU pull off a strong grapple move.

    For all the things people praise about HCTP, the fact that even an expert player would have trouble defeating Brock Lesnar on Normal difficulty was one of the memorable aspects.

    It sounds like the AI is much more aggressive and refined this year, though, so it sounds like a big stride was made in this area. I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself!

  7. You guys talking about AI Logic Editing are speaking my language. That's my #1 wish for this series, even if it starts small and gets more in-depth in the following years.

  8. 2012:
    Hardcore matches and arena - backstage link.

    create an arena (with the ability to add logos and text to the ring mat and apron)

    create a tag entrance

    create a submission

    Brawl in and through the crowd.

    If those are in as well as this years additions...I'll be a giddy fella!

  9. I think about that Next Year for SvR 2012 likely add Create An Arena design 6 Steel Ring or Hexagon or Octagonal . likely WCW Classic Ramp on Clash of the Championship , please add Create An Brand , Create An GM , Create An Submission , Create An Belt ... Create An Taunt.