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Fireside Chats (with a video game designer) - January 16, 2015


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Fire Chat With Me

 

“Through the darkness of future past

The designer longs to see

One chance out between two worlds:

Fire chat with me”

 

It may or may not be true that I’ve spent the past several days mainlining Twin Peaks in an attempt to reach the final episode so I can see it screened at The Shameful Tiki Room… okay, that’s exactly true. But that’s not what’s important (yes it is). What’s (also) important is that my Fireside Chat posts are making a return! Well, fine, that’s not actually important, but hopefully it’s at least pleasing, if not downright exciting.

 

Today’s will be relatively short and sweet--which, if you’ve read my previous ones, you know all I mean by this is that it will clock in somewhere under 100 pages. Seriously, though: when I write these posts, I’ve been doing it all in one document. It’s now 26 pages long. The last time I wrote something with that many pages, it was a double-spaced (which this isn’t) research paper on Genghis Khan in the 8th grade. Anyways. This post is mainly to let you folks know that I’ll be resuming writing these things. I’m not planning on keeping a specific or precise schedule, but you can expect them to be posted regularly: it’ll be more of a “every couple of weeks or so” type of deal than a “every 1st and 3rd wednesday of the month” thing.

 

In case you’re wailing into the night, asking the heavens “Why are Fireside Chats coming back?! Why now, of all times?!! Why did they go away?! How did Seth know I was doing exactly this weird thing?!!!?”, I’ll go ahead and talk briefly about that. To the last point: it probably has something to do with this. Or maybe this.

 

In the past, my Fireside Chat posts were a mix of postmortem and a look at in-progress development. It was a way for me to give you a glimpse at our process and into my design brain. I was writing them at a time when we were “dark”. Don’t Starve Together wasn’t available to anyone outside of Klei’s office and there was a lot to do to get us to a point where people could play. It was technically possible to play, but the experience was a mere shade of what it is today. A specter. A ghost. We were grappling with changes to the core mechanics. The Fireside Chats and the videos we made for them were outlets to keep the community in the loop as to the kinds of things we were working on and things we were thinking about. As we neared the start of the closed beta, I stopped writing them. The things we were thinking about and working on were readily apparent from the daily (sometimes twice-daily) hotfixes that were being released.

 

Now we’re going dark again, as Jamie explained in his post. There are certainly still bugs to fix and issues to address, but all things considered, the game is pretty darn stable at this point. So, we’re taking a break from content updates and slowing down the pace of the small patches (previously called Hotfixes, we’re going to start referring to them as Updates) so that we can concentrate on some of the bigger tasks at hand.

 

As we’ve said, there will still be updates to the game while we’re (mostly) tucked away working on Reign of Giants etc, but they won’t be representative of the majority of the work that’s being done and problems being solved in the way that they have been over the past few months. A lot of it won’t be showable on the stream either, so here I am, to the rescue with too many words!

 

Here’s a list of things that I’m considering writing about in the future, just so you have an idea of what’s to come:

  • Reign of Giants: why we’re doing it the way we are, how it’ll be available.

  • Reign of Giants: things we are changing or see as opportunities to expand or improve the game.

  • Caves: why it’s hard to implement (in the way that we want to implement it) and how we see the area’s role in a multiplayer game.

  • Looking back at previous Fireside Chats and doing a postmortem on the topics discussed (i.e. looking at the history of ghosts in Don’t Starve Together).

  • Challenges and areas in need of improvement as uncovered by adding multiplayer (with the game as it stands today).

  • The process of planning Through The Ages and what it might contain. Secretly, this is basically just the above topic. Gotcha!

 

Also, quickly, a few ideas we’ve had for the Rhymes with Play stream:

  • Hook up a Cintiq for an artist draw and/or animate.

  • Show how we add things to the game on the design side (this can mean a lot of things, broken down below). Note: these might be dummy examples, but they might also be actual new content--depends on what needs doing.

    • Adding a craftable item.

    • Hooking up sounds for a creature.

    • Iterating on the behavior of a creature.

    • Adding a new cycle or environmental thing.

    • Adding a biome to world gen.

    • Adding a new action.

    • (many other things)

  • A Survival world, played 1 hour at a time over the course of (hopefully) many streams.

  • A more casual/podcast style stream where we mostly discuss games we’re playing etc.

 

What do you folks think of those lists? Anything there you’re especially keen on hearing about in a Fireside Chat or seeing on a stream? Something not on there you’re desperately wanting? Let us know!

 

That’ll do it for today, I think. Until next time!

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Also, quickly, a few ideas we’ve had for the Rhymes with Play stream:

  • Hook up a Cintiq for an artist draw and/or animate.

  • Show how we add things to the game on the design side (this can mean a lot of things, broken down below).

    • Adding a craftable item.

    • Hooking up sounds for a creature.

    • Iterating on the behavior of a creature.

    • Adding a new cycle or environmental thing.

    • Adding a new action.

    • (many other things)

  • A Survival world, played 1 hour at a time over the course of (hopefully) many streams.

  • A more casual/podcast style stream where we mostly discuss games we’re playing etc.

 

What do you folks think of those lists? Anything there you’re especially keen on hearing about in a Fireside Chat or seeing on a stream? Something not on there you’re desperately wanting? Let us know!

 

That’ll do it for today, I think. Until next time!

 

I'm not sure if the points I bolded include this, but...

 

If you're thinking about hosting streams on the coding side of things here, I realize I may be in the minority on this, but I would be really interested on seeing you guys break down some of the more advanced features of the worldgen. Namely some of the stuff that goes on in storygen, worlgen_main, and forest_map.

 

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Artist making wallpapers? Hell yes.

 

It would be invaluable if you guys could make a twitch stream making a mod or showing game code related stuff. Not all one hour of it, of course. But then the stream could be cropped, and the small videos posted in the youtube klei channel, so modders have another reference to point people to.

 

And I want juicy stuff, design comments, when you guys implement something like human meat or humanity and then say **** it, why it happens. It makes me mad the repetition ad infinitum of things posted here in the forums or pinned in steam stickies. I basically want a fireside chat without the WHEN IS MAC COMING OUT AND WHEN IS CONTROLLER COMING OUT AND CAVES AND ROG AND COME ON AND PLS GIVE ME KEY. I like to go to the stream to hang out and learn, I don't like parroting FAQs. Please do come on the stream and comment on the iterations you are working on.

 

The great thing about Don't Starve is that people come and go and share ideas and make of it a better game, even better with the plethora of mods available.

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Reign of Giants: why we’re doing it the way we are, how it’ll be available. Reign of Giants: things we are changing or see as opportunities to expand or improve the game.

I would like some changes in RoG. It was fun, but variety is the spice of life. 

 

Caves: why it’s hard to implement (in the way that we want to implement it) and how we see the area’s role in a multiplayer game.

Thank you for dressing this issue, I've seen enough threads with people asking where the caves or ruins are. I'm glad to hear about them from a dev since it's been a boring this to answer to people about caves. Also, I heard one of the U&A mod devs is working on caves.

 

The process of planning Through The Ages and what it might contain. Secretly, this is basically just the above topic. Gotcha!
 

So, my question is will there be any more mountable mobs besides beefalo? I'd love mounting dragonflies, honestly, I love the Dragonfly.

 


Adding a craftable item.

Hooking up sounds for a creature. Iterating on the behavior of a creature.

Adding a new cycle or environmental thing.

Adding a new action. (many other things)

A Survival world, played 1 hour at a time over the course of (hopefully) many streams.

A more casual/podcast style stream where we mostly discuss games we’re playing etc.

 

 

So, another crafting item sounds good, may I ask if it has anything to do with steel wool? That stuff is useless!

So, does this mean we're going to have more sounds for creatures?

A new cycle sounds fine. An environmental thing is also fine. 

A new action? Ok.

I think Endless would be better. This means you won't have countless people dying and it killing you early on. Seriously, 8 players on 1 servers.

So you're going to talk about non-Klei games? I can respect that.

 

Also, I'm happy Fireside Chats is back.

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Thank you for the update Seth!

 

What I'm looking forward to, primarily, is just hearing more information as you and your crew start implementing things. I'm holding off on "you should do this, or tweak that, or change this" until I see how it's actually done. There have been things in these past few months that I've experienced, and occasionally commented on, but I really feel like you guys get the first go-round in this sort of thing ;) I do, of course want to see Caves and Adventure Mode, as many of us do, but recognize that the base game of DST needs to be as good as y'all can get it before extra features like that come in.

 

Best of luck to all of you there at Klei, and thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to making this game come to life. I appreciate all your efforts, and look forward to what you have in store for us here! It will also be pretty cool for you to go back through your original ideas and projections, and talk about what worked, what didn't work, and why. I think it's a really respectable thing to be able to do that and continue to grow as a result.  :encouragement: 

 

PS - OK, one request. Please have other devs (James/etc) continue to play on the RwP DevCast in DST, and you (Seth/Mark/etc) and the other devs on your team play on Invisible Inc. I have never laughed so much as I did in DevCasts when you experience the gameplay that others have designed. Watching these different perspectives and approaches was really entertaining. It was really fun and insightful to watch your teams cross-over into each others worlds and approach unknown games with totally different concepts and strategies.

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In case you’re wailing into the night, asking the heavens “Why are Fireside Chats coming back?! Why now, of all times?!! Why did they go away?! How did Seth know I was doing exactly this weird thing?!!!?”, I’ll go ahead and talk briefly about that. To the last point: it probably has something to do with this. Or maybe this.

 

 

I had something to say but I clicked on those links and now I've forgotten it completely. This was probably your plan all along!

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A more casual/podcast style stream where we mostly discuss games we’re playing etc.
 I like this idea. Watching streams(specially because I just suck at showing up in time for them) is very time consuming, and when it's a podcast, I can at least do other stuff while listening.
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I would love the survival world idea and the live actual development of a game type thing. The only problem with the survival world is that people may come on and trash it up on stream. Love the ideas though!

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Fire Chat With Me

 

“Through the darkness of future past

The designer longs to see

One chance out between two worlds:

Fire chat with me”

 

 

TWIN PEAKS!! 

Enjoy your journey... and the coffee. 

Also, I would love to see the stuff you mentioned in the rhymes with play, especially the adding a new environmental thing or a biome. I've gotten more into modding lately so that'd be especially interesting. 

 

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