Guild Chat - Episode 66

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Guild Chat - Episode 66

Deepstone Fractal
Rubi Bayer
Jason Reynolds
Benjamin Arnold
Alex Kain
Peter Larkin
July 6, 2018
Official video
The following is an unofficial, player-written transcript of the episode. The accuracy of this transcription has not been verified by ArenaNet.

The 66th episode of Guild Chat aired on July 6, 2018. Host Rubi Bayer interviews some of the developers involved in the Deepstone Fractal release.


hi guilders - community and welcome back

to guild chat happy Friday

I'm your host Ruby and they were talking

about the creation of the deep stone

fractal the new fractal released with

our last episode let me introduce our

first round of dev guests guys yes I'm

Alex Kane I was the lead writer on this

fractal I'm a writer and narrative

designer here at ArenaNet and I'm Jason

Reynolds and I'm team lead for rates of

fractals awesome thank you for leading

the charge on this well let's talk first

we haven't had we've done guild jets for

fractals before but we haven't had

someone from the narrative team this had

a lot more narrative and a lot more

dialogue than usual yes yes it did is it

so this was like this was the first sort

of big writing project on Guild Wars 2

that I've sort of worked on solo and so

I was sort of trying to figure out what

what the community was expecting and

what the narrative team was expecting

how we wanted to kind of push fractal

narrative forward a little bit and to

see what we could do with the structure

that were given and everything just sort

of fell into place that way the story

was already sort of like the general

outline of it was in place and by the

time a I came in it was really just you

know figuring out who these characters

were how often they should talk when

they should not talk when they should

have many different things that they can

say so yeah it was a it was a lot of fun

to explore what you know what we can do

with fractals yeah I like him in

daylight actually did a lot of back and

forth as far as just placing the

characters and sort of setting up trip

wires so that dialogue doesn't really

stomp on each other and then there's a

branching section so like detecting when

players go left or right and like just

the way that they dole out the story in

the narrative they did pretty good job

it sounds like it thank you Alex for

thank you folks

yeah I mean it was there was a lot of

back and forth between the between Eli

and myself and really the rest of the

team and narrative and just making sure

that all those pieces were fitting

together the way we wanted him to fit

that we were playing it the way real

people would actually play it it's

trying to trying to anyway yes yes so it

was it was an interesting change from

the stuff that I normally write so yeah

it was really exciting to sort of see it

come out and see you know see streamers

playing it and you know really really

dig in a story Jason what was it like

now that you've you've led the team on a

number of fractal releases yeah what was

it like having something with a deeper

narrative staring stop writing it's

actually really great because we got to

explore a part of Laura that we haven't

really addressed at all in Guild Wars 2

uh since you know killers won't

obviously and we brought you got to

bring back the light at Dell Jamar and

just have a little bit more fun making

something whereas before with like more

the the Crescent fractal Twilight oasis

we stole we still call it labyrinth the

ditch don't we still call my heart yeah

like being able to expand on like a news

story was really exciting and being

involved in that process but it was

great cuz there are some fractals that

are really story light and that's good

but we don't have a ton that were very

story heavy or at least more just more

to it

yeah yeah and we kind of want to give a

little bit more diversity to the

fractals and so we'll be doing some some

different stuff in the future but but

yeah I liked working on the story stuff

that's awesome

so for those of you who haven't played

it yet we've we're well into spoiler

territory here so we are going to be

talking about spoilers the infamous

spoiler alert but I say that because

I would like you guys to give just kind

of a high-level thing of what the story


sure so I looked at chasing for that

Jason please you're the professional so

yeah I mean when I came on to the

project it was sort of couched as this

Indiana Jones but darker sort of story

it's about a couple of treasure hunters

who delve into this dwarven tomb city

and they're looking for something and

they've you know in tibi and typical or

fashion they find more than they

bargained for

as you do it's not really an interesting

story if they just go in there and they

find the thing that they're looking for

let's go home I would that fucked over

it's like eight feet inside the front

door you all right there it is maybe for

April Fool's so yeah it was sort of

couched that way and there were at there

at that point there were already two

protagonists there was Kant or him and

you are accompanying them and that was

one of the first things we had to figure

out is like who are these who are the

players playing because in fractals you

assume a role of you know somebody else

so we were saying that you are

bodyguards for these two thieves and you

were venturing into the lost city of

deep stone to find this treasure and

that's basically where it was when I

came in and a lot of the work that I did

early on was in about figuring out what

is so I mean that's that's like the

overarching story but how like what do

these characters do what is their

purpose in this story is it just to you

know for for gameplay reasons like is

you know is K going to lead you to the

spiders and Torrens going to lead you to

the to the Elektra maze you know what

this spoilers spiders and spoilers and

we'll talk about the spiders later I got

bone to pick there yes yes I had very

little to do with the spiders I know

they just gave them to me and like what

am i what am I supposed to do like not

use its no yeah so figuring out what

their story was going to be and how

their sort of relationship where it was

in the beginning and how it evolved over

time and where it ends was there was a

lot of back and forth there were like

nine or ten drafts of the story really

yeah there was a lot of back and forth

like it started off a sort of very

conventional sort of adventure take but

as we started running it through the

narrative Department we're like you know

what like this like we have two

characters and we're really doing

something that you know we haven't

really done in fractals you know too

much which is you know the player

character doesn't speak but now we have

two characters who can sort of bounce

off of each other what are their

personalities like how do they work

together you know what is their past and

that really led to a lot of the

interesting dialogue that actually wound

up in the final in the final draft and

that photo that grew it started like an

eleven it was massive because it was the

first fractal I'd worked on and like

most of the things I do I don't do any

research before I start so I it was so

yeah so like I knew that the fractals

stories were lighter and we didn't want

to put players in positions where they

had to stand around and wait for story

to happen that's not what the fractals

are all about but still like in my head

the amount of time it took to say some

of these lines was actually much shorter

than it is actually to say these lines

so we would get it into the game and

most of the Robo voice especially with

Robo voice where it's pretty yeah I

think that there's like a five-second

minimum for any line that you put in

there it's a yes it takes five seconds

yeah so so it'll be yes and then four

and a half seconds of nothing and then

the next line so it's a little difficult

to time that stuff out but we knew very

quickly that I had written way too much

stuff which is the thing that I do

sometimes right it's like I write maybe

too much stuff so I I pulled it back in

subsequent drafts and we tightened it up

and even when I removed a lot of that

extra stuff there was still a lot of

stuff to figure out with how the

relationship worked where the different

story beats are you know in the way the

fractal is sort of set up is that it

works really well for telling that kind

of you know you can tell Kay side of the

story when you're on

Caze side of the map and you can tell

Turin side of the story here on tauron

side of the map and that kind of

simplified a little bit and it was just

a couple of character beats K got a

little bit more background than Turin

did and then it sort of picks up when

you're a little further in and then it

resolves at the end like you do like you

do with the story almost which is a good

thing because if I didn't do that people

would be like very confused stopped

writing yeah they just stopped

characters just stop talking partway

through the fight and you know tired so

you'd mention Kay and Turin and the

different sides of the map since players

I mean we know that players are gonna

run this more than once and they're

going to hear this dialogue more than

once and something that you had

mentioned me that was that you had to

figure out how to make that work without

them hearing the same things over and

over and over they'll still

unfortunately just because I can't write

infinite amounts of dialogue and we

don't have the budget for infinite

infinite amounts of dialogue if I had my

druthers like there would be s be alts

for literally every single thing that

you could do in the whole in the whole

fractal but what I ended up doing was

there are a couple of bits where the

player is spoiler alert there's a maze

in our labyrinth and while you're doing

that Turin and K are standing on one

side and they're just standing there

waiting for you to finish this puzzle

and I thought that would be a great

opportunity to get some story across but

when I got the first draft of it in I

was like people are gonna get this same

story every single time they play this

fractal and eventually they're just

gonna mute the whole thing and focus on

finishing the maze so that was where I

dropped in I think there are three

variants for every single line that they

can say during that conversation and

each one of those variants is basically

gets the same point across but it's

worded differently or the tone is

slightly different and each one of those

can segue into the next

lines of that conversation so they can

suck it into any one of those and it

makes sense so that was that's just one

example there are a lot of alts for

things like you know character comments

on something when like a spider drops

down there may be a couple of different

variants for that a lot of a lot of

different combat barks things like that

it's I mean you always want alts for

those but there was a lot there's a lot

more of that no I mean when you have a

smaller space that you're playing over

and over again you don't want players to

get bored of the story you want to give

as much as possible and we we try we

tried yeah we did well it's like you

managed to get a lot of branching

options in there for the constraints

that you were working within it's got to

be really really different writing for a

fractal just for a specific rectal

environment instead of open-world her

story it's it's like a short so I mean

it's kind of like I imagine how the

open-world quests kind of work in in

living world is that they are like short

stories where you have a very limited

amount of space to tell a story and

obviously the way players are engaging

with the content is a little different

they're running through it they're gonna

try to go through it as quickly as


so figuring out how to marry that style

of gameplay with story is a challenge

and yeah fortunately the rest of the

team was helping me sort of get

acquainted with that storytelling style

and ultimately we were able to make a

thing we made a thing we did we did it

yes but you were explaining to me like

an analogy that you have for writing for

living world compared to rates compared

to fractals yes oh yes yes I tell me it

would be hilarious if I just like forgot

what it was and this is huge no it's not

it's not nearly that interesting I was

saying that fractals are like short

stories the raids are like novellas and

living world it's like a full novel or

like a series of novels just in terms of

how much time you have to get a story

across introduce characters set up plot

situations and things like that you know

it's it's it's you you kind of have to

approach each one from a different

mindset and what makes game writing in

particular challenging for these but

it's like a good challenge is that you

also have to consider how the players

are engaging with that content again

having a player stand around in a

fractal for many many minutes listening

to dialogue is not good it's not great

so yeah

so speaking of introducing characters we

had the strange voice and there was like

a whole language thing happening there

yes it was a lot of fun the story took a

couple of different twists and turns in

the early drafts and the voice used to

speak English or you know common in in

the game and we decided that that wasn't

spooky enough

it really wasn't and we wanted to sort

of explore the idea that if this thing

has been living you know in in the earth

for so many years maybe it wouldn't

speak our language and then it was a

question of what language does it speak

and then loke is kind of like peering

from behind like a blank language we're

good at that and you know I can't just

say like oh you know they'll bill some

of these words they'll be in some other

language because then you localize it to

that language and it doesn't work so it

was an interesting conundrum but

fortunately as is usually the case deep

diving into the Guild Wars lore helped a

lot there is some stuff in Guild Wars 1

that helped in the creation of a word

cipher that it's it's it's a word cipher

it's it's it's a letter swap cipher that

I would that I plugged into this website

that lets me you know just like say this

letter of the alphabet equals this

letter in the cipher this letter of the

alphabet equals this and then I could

just type out full lines of dialogue and

it would spouts gibberish back at me and

it was completely unprincipled

to any human voice so I had to like I

had to change it so instead of saying

something like what are you doing here

it would I would have to lie

arrange things around so it'd be like

you know doing what is here question

mark you know and then that would yield

some some words that sounded like words

and then steve blum and john dimaggio

who voiced some of these some of these

lines actually was just steve blum who

had to had to do the the spoopy lines in

the weird language really just knocked

it out of the park it was absolutely

phenomenal he did and funny thing about


that was part of the recording session

in Burbank that I was attending and I

was bouncing back and forth between two

studios that we were recording in and I

happened to walk in with no context

while Steve Blum was recorded that and I

slip into the studio as he's midway

through this you know what Steve Blum

sounds like he does he can I'm just

saying they're going it was Eve Eve er

tom was like having a stroke he always

sounds like that gravel and shoves a

bottle brush down his throat and then he

delivers my lines

he is absolutely phenomenal I was there

I wasn't there physically but I was on

skype for a lot of the for a lot of the

recording and so I could sort of hear

him deliver the lines and and then for

the for the bits where he's talking over

John DiMaggio who plays Turin there was

this sort of you know the the director

at the booth would play Steve blooms

lines back because they would be layered

over one another and so the timing had

had to sync up and I remember John you

know just like aghast at what he was

here like what is like what are you

asking me to do and you know at the

moment that the script for those scenes

went into our system and editing and

look had a chance to look at it I had

some very interesting conversations with

them I was given stated they just appear

at your desk like

yes they didn't do this they came to me

I didn't have to go anywhere they

descended on me yeah like so alex is it

possible that you've lost your mind

yes so yeah loke came to talk to me

about it and we had to come up with a

game plan for how we're going to

localize a language that doesn't exist

is it going to be steai I think though I

think ultimately what they ended up

doing and don't hold me to this is that

it's Steve Bloom's voice in all the

languages but then the local Turin actor

does their lines in there in their

language and they sort of sync up

together okay that makes sense I think I

think that's what they ended up doing

I'm not sure if that's true but I'm only

talking in front of all these people

there's we've talked a lot about

narrative and it's exciting to see

something to go in a different direction

and get to try something new

Jason something that you worked on in

there there were I mean you worked on a

lot of the things but like the hidden

treasure chests are one of the oh those

are actually one of my favorite things

that that were implemented but my part

as far as my working on the fractal it's

much more leadership sort of thing like

more like approvals and like working

with them on it was a little bit more

behind the scenes yeah Alliant Ben did

all of the implementation Jason was very

motivational though that's my job

particularly for fractals is more to vet

things or when we're doing like a boss

encounter you sort of lead the the

process that we go through to get

encounters built and design and then

also to make sure that we are going to

our play tests and play testing

everything and just that everything's

running and operational so between that

and and kyer producer it's a lot of

back-and-forth yeah

juggling yes it's uh you know it's

one of the in terms of like the size of

the content the fractals are pretty

small compared to something like a

living world episode but there are a lot

of pin there there there are a very very

few people working very hard full-time

on on that stuff oh yeah yeah yep okay

so like the light of jail tomorrow if

anyone's not not aware I enjoy them

because it's something we haven't really

done in fractals before and in in raids

we have our little mini chests so you

can kind of run around and explore and

find this guy of looting it and so I

enjoyed the fact that that was built

into the fractal on top of the delight

of d'el djem our SAS skill or special

action skill because Rosasco because I

just I just love that stuff like running

around like new sparkles and so I just

ate that up I thought a super cool fun

were you involved in the you do for you

know for other content that you work on

you have like the the brainstorming

meetings early on to come up with like

the themes that you want to explore yeah

that's that's kind of where my job is

it's like I do a lot of implementation

for the for the raids not for fractals

but for my yeah my job is to get all the

brain storms going the product direction

make sure all the Ducks are in a row or

at least like kicking them that way but

yeah and then and then Kyle our producer

will help me get timeline set up and

schedules and make sure all the meetings

are running and then I can go in there

and when the team works together to

brainstorm stories before we hand off

fully sanera t'v and then we brainstorm

the encounters and a lot of the events

and so on and so forth and then

everything just it goes through paper

design - pitching it - leads - which is

actually a really fun process I think

the pitch like a lot of people are very

nervous about it really yeah kind of

like in a room

like a PowerPoint presenting too like to

Jason V and some she's very intimidating

yeah I mean I've been like a fly on the

wall at a couple of those and I think

I've said maybe like five collective

words in all the ones I've been in but

it's you know there's a lot of pressure

at least really sell it you know yeah

and you also want people to like your

thing right yeah yeah we so we get

through pitch and then once we're pitch

approved we start building the

prototypes and then from there I think

we have about a month and a half roughly

where we expect you know start to finish

it's playable but its prototype so

everything's gray box which I think been

brought in some really cool pictures

that you'll get to see so like this is

what the fractals look like in prototype

game looks like in prototype really yeah

it's it's yes that is great boxes a good

name for it yeah no I mean that there's

a reason why we call it that there's

some red there's some red boxes over

those are special in the secret nobody

knows what they're so yeah so there's a

lot of a month and a half of getting

everything after prototype and then

approvals with getting more leads

involved and sign-off and my job is to

make sure that everything's moving and

growing the way that it should be yeah

all right well I have one more question

for you guys and then we'll move on to

our next set of fractal doubts what's

something it little and maybe off to the

side and this fractal that you really

love and you hope players find or you're

happy that they already found and you

only had can have one for me it would be

the source material of the cipher that

the voice uses it is it has been used in

Guild Wars before though not in the way

that I'm using it okay I'll say that

I'll let I'll let the community do the


spiders are so great a lot of really

cool stuff in this fractal like they

have a spider skitter Ben's entire

interview is gonna be about the spike

we're gonna be it's gonna be good he's

got like 14 hours of spider footage the

source material is spiders that's a

spoiler yeah don't all right thank you

guys very much

I you all hang in here with us for just

a second and we'll be right back




and welcome back we have a new round of

deaf guests why don't you guys introduce

yourselves and talk about what you

worked on for this rectal

I'm Peter Larkin and I was the QA in bed

and I am Ben Arnold I am the content

programmer for fractals and rates

awesome all right so what does the QA

embed do besides slamming into the same

wall a million times well it's I test

everything obviously but it's also a lot

of I participate in the brainstorming

feedback and and I go to all the

meetings so I'm kind of like I'm there

during the whole process so I can give

like early feedback if there's concerns

from a QA perspective when something's

being implement you know brainstormed

like early on you don't like build

something and I'm like oh god guys yeah

you know playing it like five times more

than any of the devs so the feedback is

always really good about you been so I

usually will do more the techie stuff

like build some more complicated skills

do anything involving math or anything

that requires code I will design things

like the the whole spider area I would I

designed that but usually Elijah handles

more of the overarching design of the

story he came up with the original pitch

and the design Docs for all that and

built the final boss and then most of

the other stuff that's not like a

procedurally generated puzzle or crazy

skill we don't have Elijah so you are

both Ben and Elijah okay so I know we

talked with Alex a little bit about

narrative how did we come up with okay

let's let's go to the store Evan fractal

and here's what we want to tell and

here's where we want to go we really

wanted a change of scenery with this one

we wanted to go somewhere we hadn't gone

before we wanted to have sort of a theme

that we hadn't had before we didn't


maybe swampland a little bit but we

didn't have much of like a horror kind

of dark theme and we were looking around

at different types of senior that worked

really well for this assets that we had

already so we didn't have to build a

whole new prop set and the Dwarven ruins

ended up being a really good choice for

this so we were kind of thinking about

it we were sketching out little ideas we

kind of were thinking to have sort of a

mines of moria feel to it and up not

being quite so grand as that but we went

along with that and then we decided you

know this is really good for horror we

have all these different creatures like

spiders that we

be really good for this imps all those

kind of things and then we just I don't

I didn't come up with each story that

was more Elijah and Alex but that's kind

of how it started

okay let's talk about the spiders

spiders so the spiders I think a lot of

people won't notice this because the

spiders are really weak their little

baby spiders and little poison spiders

and the big spiders don't have this but

we actually did build a new AI for them

and there are powerpoints if we have

time to go through them but it's it's a

divergence from how we normally do AI in

an MMO normally yeah here never said

before let's look at the spider power so

this is actually a PowerPoint that I did

for the design team any time I do

anything remotely techy I like to make a

little PowerPoint and present it to the

team so that they can use it in whatever

they want to do I've actually had a few

people come and talk to me about this so

you may see this so this yeah do the

gifs actually work as a gif it doesn't

appear to be working that's too good but

imagine this spiders really scary and it

like moves around in a scary way like a

real spider this isn't what spiders

normally look like so you can go ahead

so on the right we have the player on

the Left we have the spider like

normally if you go to the next slide

this is what happens in an MMO just walk

straight up to you and then it starts

like Auto attacking you or whatever it

doesn't feel like a spider it feels like

an MMO mob face sorry no that's fine so

if you if you go on I think there's

another gift that this is showing normal

spiders just imagine them attacking you

from like 400 units away doing what mobs

normally do and this isn't what I wanted

I wanted to play around with something

new because I always like to do weird

new things so this is what I really

wanted I want them to kind of dart in

and out go back and forth kind of

skitter around and when you're playing

if rectly you probably won't notice this

because you'll be just a Oh eing

everything and they'll be dying really

fast but if you stop and pay attention

you'll see they kind of dart in and out

and for this behavior I had to do some

very simple things I didn't want to make

a really complicated AI for this so like

they if you if you go forward well so

here's like some example movement

patterns they would come kind of darting

back and forth to you when when they get

in they would dart in and out as they

attack instead of just staying in range

of your attacks they'll do an attack and

then they'll try to get out of range of

you and player attacks are huge so it

ends up not really matter but if you go

on there's a little bit of technical

stuff best yeah

trying to giving this a high-level

explanation but imagine the spider is s

and the player is T for some reason go

ahead and go forward all you do is you

get the offset by subtracting them as a

simple vector map click you get the

distance with a random distance this

tells you how far away the spider is

click and then we want to do sort of a

random angle weave we rotate that off

that offset vector that is scaled to the

distance by that random angle and then

we can move the spider in that sort of a

zig-zag pattern we just keep doing that

every now and then and then when it gets

close you do sort of a two-part attack

where he moves in does the attack and

moves out and we have these sort of

areas of influence here that determine

how the AI works these are colored here

but if you go to the next slide you'll

see that there's sort of different wait

times assigned each one so based on the

distance to the nearest player it will

pick one of these wait times to decide

how fast it's going to be thinking that

way you can imagine if you're really far

away the spider is gonna kind of sit

there and wait and just kind of hide in

its corner and then when you get closer

it sort of skitters forward a little bit

and when you get really close it's gonna

skitter around all over the place and go

crazy click there is one more issue this

is which is walls which is really

interesting like we could do some really

complicated pathfinding logic to figure

out how to get around walls but that

really complicates the thing and makes

it more expensive than it needs to be

and this simple vector check is really

simple so what we would do is click we

just go ahead and generate it like we're

just moving in random directions and

then if it goes inside a wall we say oh

don't do that one try again and we'll

try again about five times and usually

it ends up generating a vector that

allows you to go around the wall nice

and easy and then there's another gift

that doesn't work but yeah that's that's

the spider talk so where did you get

these ideas to make the spiders more

spider like well I just whenever I make

something in the game I don't like to

just kind of copy what we've been doing

before I always like to try to approach

things from a different angle and see if

they're something we can do that's new

and interesting and you know it within

reason because a lot of times you'll

spend a lot of work on something it

doesn't really matter this ended up not

being that much work but for this I just

wanted spiders that were spiders and I

just have the idea that we can do that I

looked at some gifts and then just you

know screwed around the net we ended up

working out all right maybe you talked

to somebody that has a yeah I've had a

couple tranches over the years and so

I'm never coming to your house yeah I

don't have any right now but

when I heard you working on it and I was

like kind of like sidled over and was

like so I hear you're working on Spyder

yeah yeah and so I was I gave pointers

on like how they kind of tend to move in

short bursts they they stop and feel the

ground to like tell where their prey is

and then they look kind of lurch oh yeah

in the direction and because almost all

spiders use vibrations to tell where

their prey is and suddenly they have

like sudden movements they'll be

completely still for hours and then just

lightning fast they shoot off in a

direction so yeah there's actually parts

when the spiders will move where they'll

kind of like dart off to an area where

the player can't even reach it because

there's valid navmesh there and that's

all the spider cares about but it's like

darting between a crack in the wall

almost and then coming back out and ends

up feeling really natural and it just

that was just sort of an emergent

behavior that happened to due to the

simple behavior that was created

positive there's this room is full of

spite so did you participate after after

Ben was working on this did you

participate in kind of giving feedback

on yes this feels right yeah I gave a

little bit of feedback on it I mean I

understood that that we weren't making a

spider simulation so I was like no you

need to like change this stuff about the

spiders but yeah I just I like that they

had the short quick movements and it

made them feel different you know and

they weren't just another like MMO

creature that just kind of like runs

directly towards attacking you so and do

we have plans to retro actively change

every spider in the game to terrify me

no way the way I built this I was you

know lazy programmer typical me I I did

it so that it would work really well in

our instance it actually just says where

are all the players in the instance and

then it figures out which is the closest

and all that some that's not something

you can't do when there's like 60

players in the open-world so if we were

to just copy paste this into the

open-world it wouldn't work without

tweaks so and it would probably break

everything so no you're not going to see

that but you might see it in some

instance content going forward do you

want to take a moment to point and laugh

at you the concept of you being lazy

because you work ridiculously hard

efficiency I was like yeah okay yeah

imitations exactly like if I can do an

extra you know twenty percent of work

upfront to save 80 percent of work later

I like to do stuff like that I think you

can make us more things exactly what are

some other things that you guys worked

on that you particularly are happy with

in this dungeon

well the puzzles are pretty cool and I'm

cueing them was probably a night yeah it

was the maze was was a lot yeah it I

actually what I ended up doing with the

maze was I I did my normal testing

around it but also literally every time

I went into the instance everything like

there was we can skip stuff but I was

like I really shouldn't skip this

because I just need to look at this maze

as many times as I possibly can

and so every single time I went to the

instance even if I was in there to look

at something else I just did the maze

like it was I did hundreds and hundreds

of times and that's like a good lesson

learned because the reason for that is

that this is a procedural maze and

normally we don't do procedural things

not in Guild Wars and probably not in

many n mmo's so that's something I

wanted to explore with this both both of

them a puzzles I should say that little

Tetris simple one that it's super easy

and then the maze have sort of a

procedural aspect to it they're not

going to be the same each time you go

through because of that you got to test

it a lot and you're still not gonna see

everything suddenly it's gonna go alive

and there's gonna be an educator you

didn't think of yeah and then the really

tricky thing is when I did find a bug

there there's not a repro so I can't be

like do one two three and then the bug

happens yeah I have to be like maybe

this will happen when you do the maze

because there really isn't anything you

can do yeah yeah so I just gotten out of

taking a lot of screenshots or I'd call

Ben over whenever something happened so

he could see it yeah he didn't see it

how like happen but he could see the

immediate aftermath in the game and then

he you know he it helped him figure out

what was going on which and that's

another great lesson like even if it is

fully procedural there are ways we can

make that make that easier like you

could have had the ability to kind of

get whatever seed was being used and

then give that to me so that I could

procedurally generate the exact same

maze from it and then see the reproof of

the bug really yeah that would've been

what I should have done it's nice I

think we have didn't

give us a gif of the yeah we have some

so this is actually this is an earlier

iteration and I actually have another

PowerPoint I don't I don't know if we

have time but for this one you can see

it's sort of journey here we go

labyrinth great let's do it yeah

click so this is another one I gave to

the the the design team starting with

just the Tetris puzzle this one's really

easy we call it the Tetris puzzle

internally because it's essentially the

way it mechanically works is the same as

Tetris you have these grids of cells and

then the shapes kind of move down except

in this they fall at the bottom and then

they're not like 3d shapes that can

rotate it's just one line and we sort of

kind of generate a path through it we

just look at like what was the previous

valid path position and then kind of

generate a sort of random offset for the

next one there's a little bit of

splitting logic but it's super simple

people just blink through this or use

their shadow steps or whatever click but

the Pedro made one this one was more

interesting this one was a bit harder to

figure out I knew I wanted something

procedural for the maze because you're

gonna be using a lot of d'el djem were

to kind of raise tiles and and walk

through it while creatures are attacking

you and I didn't want you to just

memorize the fastest way through it and

just go that way every time I wanted you

to have to react to dead ends and and

things like that but we also wanted to

make sure that the worst case scenario

isn't super bad where you have this

sneaking path it takes 30 minutes to get

through or you have just a straight-line

path to the end because when it's

procedurally generated we can't really

know exactly what players are going to

get generated click here's a gift that

doesn't work I pulled this from

Wikipedia if you google depth-first

search on Wikipedia you'll see something

like this from a is if you if you're a

computer science student and you're

learning algorithms in class you've

probably made this exact generator but

this is the naive generation algorithm

was just depth-first search and I

started with that but it wasn't quite

what I wanted if you click to the next

slide you'll see it's probably hard to

see what the contrast here but just the

way this works with the generic

depth-first search on this kind of a

grid you get a lot of very long straight

line paths and you also have sort of

this grid alignment that doesn't allow

you to have more kind of diagonal paths

it's it's very I don't know but it's

left right left right left right yeah

it's it's not it's not the greatest

shape for what I wanted so I had to make

some tweaks to that algorithm it's still

used up for search to do it but there is

sort of I think I called it neighbor

ownership depth-first search or corner

ownership I don't know it just instead

of considering

just adjacent tiles you consider

neighbors and you do a little more

complex logic click but yeah neighbor

ownership DFS shorter turns windy pass

it was just a more pleasing algorithm in

my mind

click so the problem is even with my new

algorithm we still had this issue it's

random so we don't know exactly what's

gonna happen

best case for players at least I say

best case because it's the fastest way

through you just get this straight line

from start to end and then worst case it

takes forever and that's just a huge

disparity that I didn't want but we can

minimize the disparity click by

splitting this into actual 3 sub mazes

that are sort of rectangles so we still

look at the best case in the worst case

but you can see they're a lot more in

line with each other in the best case

since we're kind of going through these

three mazes with three and ending start

points in different positions you get a

more snaking pattern just naturally and

you'll actually notice this as you're

going through you'll see the check

points these are the checkpoints at the

starts of each maze that you go through

and it ended up working a lot better the

generation was a lot more consistent and

yeah just it ended up feeling better in

general yeah that's may stuff it's it's

interesting to see how you because with

procedural generated anything that's my

thought what if it gives you something

that's very easy and that's the beauty

of it yeah like you have to be aware of

the things that can happen you can't be

aware of everything but you can try to

at least in this case I could have been

a bit more aware of probably edge cases

and things there was one issue that we

had to patch really quick because I

didn't think of an edge case but now it

should all be good yeah and if I had

made a more intelligent algorithm to

generate it that edge case would have

been impossible but I did the lazy

programmer thing and did something of

sort of hacky workaround that made that

edge case possible yeah okay I want to

talk about maybe not necessarily

education but things that you managed to

break because of them we're amazing yeah

the the tetris puzzle hallway so what

happens is if you hit if you if your

health hit zero it teleports you back to

the beginning because you failed failed

I but we don't want to kill you the

problem is that the game thinks you went

down so it was spawning fractal Avengers

fractal of indicators elementalists were

dropping lava fonts

and and so I think I don't know if we

got the screenshot but I had a

screenshot of like multiple fractal

Avengers Avengers like on the tile with

a lava font it just blowing big masses

chaos oh yeah and that was just for me

like if you can imagine five players

that were failing the things that I

don't anticipate like I'm not testing

with every instability on anytime I make

these fractals so it's it's good to have

Peter going through the other fun one

was the the tornados of the element

responds I like my main on live is

elementalist and so I was like I wonder

what happens if an elementalist turns

into a tornado and then gets caught by

the tornado and it turned out that like

it overrode the transform that the boss

tornado put on you and gave you your

skills in the tornado your your

elementals tornado skills and so then

you could use those to like escape the

tornado and it was just sure yeah it

turns out like a lot of transforms could

get you out the tornado but that's how I

found it really yeah so that's what we

got it fixed

yeah sorry that's one next plate wind

tick yeah I had you guys it was like you

were stuck in there forever right yeah

yeah is Wintec just requires a lot of

testing there's a lot of cases where if

if if we're not careful of the player

could have the wind permanently applied

to them until they change maps and

essentially depending on the type of

wind texture it's like moving you to a

point or just a static vector you can

like fly around you'll get stuck just

kind of hovering somewhere it's it's

it's it's hilarious but it's bad yeah we

call it wind tech because it's primarily

used for wind it really is just

arbitrary forces and its really

low-level so it's really easy to

accidentally apply force and not remove

it and then just break everything which

happened it turns out in a funny way I

flew all over the I think you prevented

the rest well I'll ask you guys the same

question I asked the other two what is

one of your favorite things that you

worked on or put in there that you're

looking forward to players coming across

or they already have yeah well they

already have I guess

but just the stuff I've already talked

about this the maze and the spider it

was really fun to build and I was hoping

players would enjoy it so far players

seem to like it I haven't heard a whole

lot about the spiders I think just

because they killed them all so fast but

the maze seems to be pretty fun

yeah I guess for me it's more my job to

not put things in the in the map for

people to see broken I check out yeah I

mean I did I give the feedback on the

spider movement I mean that was mostly

bad but I was just I gave some feedback

based on my experience yeah awesome well

thank you guys very very much for coming

on here of course I appreciate the time

and we will see you guys on the next Guild Chat.

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