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BLOP! The story continues.

September 28, 2009

Missed BLOP Part 1?  Get the backstory here.

The levels have incredible depth

The levels have incredible depth

Brett made short work of bulletproofing our level building tools  and devising a training class so that anyone in the company, no matter what their role, could create a level in the game.  To prove the point, even LucasArts President Darrell Rodriguez and Ale, his assistant, each contributed levels that made it into the final product.

Though yielding more levels was the goal,  the extra content was almost the side benefit.  The biggest gain was the impact it made on our designers’ approach to the game as a whole.  In fact, the tuning and gameplay refining process post-Content Complete was influenced and informed by this window we got into how our “audience” wanted to play the game.  Interesting ideas from the bonus levels threaded their way back throughout the story levels.

And there were lots of other benefits, from stress-testing our tools to giving other folks in the company a chance to do some mental crop rotation, to even just giving employees visibility into what we were doing down here in Labs.  Like emergent design, the unintended consequences took us by happy surprise.

In hindsight, piloting the BLOP for Lucidity seems like a natural extension of its ‘indie’ roots.  It not only harnessed the passion at LucasArts, but it also took the game to places we hadn’t dreamed of.  We’re already talking about how to do it again on our next game, content need or not!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt Hargett permalink
    September 28, 2009 4:36 pm

    A level editor either built-in or as paid DLC would be a great fit on PSN 🙂 There’s Echochrome, Cuboid, Flock!, …

    The ability to play (and rate), create, and share has been one of the most enjoyable things about all the aforementioned games. Being able to filter not only based on the global ratings, but my friend/buddy ratings also would be a nice addition.

  2. Shara permalink
    September 28, 2009 5:39 pm

    Hey Matt: We couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying! The BLOP was our first attempt at stress-testing our tools with people off the team, and we learned a lot about how much more work it was really going to take to get it ready for the public.

    For now, a level editor is definitely an aspiration for the team, but not something we’re able to work on actively. We’re hoping Lucidity is well enough received that we can revisit that…

  3. September 28, 2009 6:03 pm

    My level of faith in the new LucasArts is bordering on tax-free status. With the recent release of Monkey Island SE and this delightful little risk you’re taking with Lucidity you’ve earned a lot of trust-capital from me. Simply put: you’re back to “buy it even though I haven’t played it”. Little details like robust tools that anyone can use speak volumes about a dev.

    P.S. Can we say enough about pricing titles right? In a world of $60 titles, having a great experience for $10 makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about you.

    • David permalink
      September 29, 2009 6:41 pm

      Hi Graham,
      I loved hearing this from you. It was very heartfelt and reminded me of my own childhood adventures in gaming when everything LucasArts related was a must have.

      A game I remember fondly was Rescue on Fractulas. It was a game that really captured my imagination and suggested a deeper immersive world than what was graphically possible at the time. Imagination counted for a lot back then!

      I just found this old video on youtube and it brought back fond memories…..!

  4. KAdam White permalink
    September 29, 2009 6:59 am

    I really enjoy hearing these development stories… And I too hope that Lucidity does well enough to warrant further work on a level editor!
    I want to second all the comments that have been coming in, appreciating the direction LucasArts has taken–you were one of the companies that got me into videogames in the first place, and I couldn’t be happier to see these beautiful offerings being put out once again, and at such an affordable level. This really vindicates our hopes for the XBox marketplace and the digital game download market–ODST isn’t likely to get my money without a price drop, but Licidity absolutely will.

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