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Jarl interviews Swen Vincke; Questions about Original Sin 2 and other things are answered.

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Jarl interviews Swen Vincke; Questions about Original Sin 2 and other things are answered.

Codex Interview - posted by JarlFrank on Wed 21 June 2017, 19:27:55

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

A few weeks ago I went to Ghent Dublin in Belgium Ireland to play some Divinity OS 2 with Swen and two other Larian bros. We played the game's gamemaster mode for about an hour and it was a lot of fun. Of course, I also used the opportunity to pepper Swen with some questions provided by our wonderful community.

Here's a snippet:

From Projas and Jinn I should ask if the itemization has been changed, or if you’re still using the Diabloesque item drops. Personally, I’d also like to know your reasons behind this system – in Original Sin 1 most things were hand-placed. The locations were hand-made, the encounters were hand-placed, only the items are randomized. Why do you do that and why would you say this is a good design decision?

(laughs uncomfortably) I read the Codex, so I know very well what you guys think about it, but there’s a practical point to it. We change our balancing a lot, and all of our balancing is relative, so all those stats change automatically when we change something in the base systems. That’s the first part of it. The second part is that people do replay our games, and when you replay them, you will find different things. Third point is, we do place quite a few items that are hand-placed actually, and they’re set in stone, but often we give our items only one or two fixed abilities and have the rest of the stats be flexible. So you could have a dark sword that is always there and always gives you a certain ability, but its other stats will be randomized. It’s a mix of things. When I play it, I kind of like it that way. I don’t think I’d want to have it so that I get the same item every time, because that way I could always min-max one hundred percent, knowing which items are where, and I don’t think that’s a lot of fun actually.

But, theoretically, if you use the editor and make a fan campaign, you could make everything hand-placed if you wanted?

You can fix all our mistakes, yes.​

This is the first of a three-part series of articles on my visit to Larian's Dublin studio, so if you're interested in Original Sin 2 you can keep looking forward to the other two parts. With any luck, they'll actually be released before Original Sin 2 itself!

Enjoy the interview. And make sure to give me more awkward questions next time, didn't have enough of those to ask.

Read the full article: Jarl interviews Swen Vincke; Questions about Original Sin 2 and other things are answered.



The concept of plane tickets, bitch! has a long tradition on the Codex. In the good old days, it was often issued as a challenge when arguments between two posters got heated. Insults were traded, the other's taste in RPGs was derided, and finally one poster would challenge the other to a real-life duel, offering to pay for plane tickets to make it possible. Regrettably, none of these challenges were ever accepted. In the end, someone always pussied out - either the one being offered the tickets or the one offering.

While this time the context was different, we can finally claim that a plane tickets, bitch! challenge has been accepted and enacted, even though regrettably no physical violence has taken place. The challenge was issued by Larian, and since no-one else was available, I chose to represent the Codex and fly over to Dublin, where Swen would subject himself to a bunch of Codex Community Cwestions and I got to play a D&D adventure with some of the devs from Larian. Yes, a D&D adventure - using Divinity Original Sin 2's Gamemaster Mode as its platform.

Since the results of this were several hours of voice recordings, and I'm both a busy and a lazy man, it's going to take a while until all of those are transcribed. Also, these recordings offer enough material for multiple Codex Content posts that I decided to split this event into three articles: the interview with Swen, Edward's detailed explanation of how the Gamemaster Mode works, and a relation of the actual game that took place between me and the guys from Larian (which was loads of fun and played out pretty much exactly like a pen and paper session, except that we used screen and keyboard as our utensils).

First of these articles shall be the interview I conducted with Swen, where I made sure to ask most of the questions posted by the community in the forum thread - yes, even the embarrassing ones. It was quite a fruitful interview, even though I could've gone for more follow-up questions. Enjoy the inteview!

(Note: if you have posted a question in the thread and don't see it asked here, feel free to complain. I'll make sure to give your complaint the proper attention by not caring at all.)

==================

We got a whole bunch of community questions. Some of them are really stupid but I’m going to ask them all, anyway.

Sure, go ahead.

All right, let’s start. JasonNH asks: how do you plan to improve support for the modding community compared to Divinity OS1?

Ah, that’s a really good question. First of all, the tool has become much more expansive, we’ve been working another three years on it and there’s a whole bunch of things you can do extra. But we’ve also installed a kind of a wizard; the wizard allows you to say, for example, I wanna make a mod for gamemaster mode, and it sets everything up for you. If you focus on making the gamemaster level and publish it, the gamemaster mode picks it right up and you have the level in there. Likewise, a bunch of other things have been simplified – but, I have to say in the same breath, if you want to make a campaign which has scripts in there like we’re doing… we’ve spent almost three years making the OS2 campaign with 12 scripters on it and around 8 writers, and the campaign is going to be about 100 hours, so that gives you an idea of how much work it is to make a full campaign. But the GM assets, that’s something that’s easier. If all you want to make is some levels like the ones we’ve been playing, that can be done fairly rapidly with the new tool.

I’ve got a follow-up question to that myself: does the new Gamemaster system also work into the editor? As in, do you use the simple and user-friendly creation tools of the GM system to make the creation of single-player campaigns easier, too?

No. The GM mode has nothing to do with singleplayer, it’s purely for multiplayer. In Gamemaster mode, when you see the backend, there’s no scripting in it whatsoever. It is really something that has been made to allow the GM to modify the world in real time while you play the session. He can control characters, he can create items, he can create surfaces, he can change the weather, change the ambient music, etc. He can tell you a story through the vignettes, he can tell a story through overview maps. He can make vignettes on the fly, he can import art from the internet on the fly, all while the campaign is running – well no, that last feature isn’t a hundred percent working, but you can prepare artwork which you downloaded from the internet, you can’t directly import it on the fly yet.

[​IMG]
This area looks like it would be a lot of fun in GM mode if you have a creative GM...


But you’re planning to implement that?


I’m not a hundred percent sure if it’s gonna work out so I’m not going to make any comments on that yet, but we would like to, that’s for sure. Er… [goes back to listing features of GM mode] … and you can change levels; these levels have been pre-made, they are made in the editor. When you make a level in the editor, you export it, you can also upload it to Steam Workshop so other people can download your levels and include them in their own campaigns. You can also upload your campaigns to Steam Workshop. That’s essentially the pipeline. So, the things that you have in the GM mode, these we are making straightforward to export from within the editor. The editor allows you to do everything that we’ve done, including making special effects, making new assets, making scripted campaigns, but again – it’s a lot of work.

Sounds good. Now, our user Jimmious asks: will you support couch co-op and controllers on release?

We’re working on it! We haven’t made a secret out of that, but since we’ve put so much, uh… I mean, like, Original Sin 2 is really not the same game as Original Sin 1 anymore and there’s so much stuff that has changed. Our first priority is to get the PC interface right, but there’s a team working on controller support too. Whether or not it’s going to be ready for release, that I will leave in the open for now.

I doubt too many Codexers will care about this, anyway. So, Luckmann wants to know whether the game will have developer console functionality this time around. It’s often critical for debugging and leaving it out often ends up being an issue in one way or another. So, does OS 2 have a console for typing in commands?

There is a console functionality – two console functionalities, actually. There’s one that you can use in-game, so I guess when we ship the editor we’re gonna have a special version of the exe with it, and then we have a toll called recon [Jarl’s comment: due to the low quality of my audio recording, I’m not 100% sure if that’s what the tool is actually called, could also be a different similar-sounding name] which allows you to connect to it so that you can actually connect a console to it while the game is running. So I imagine that with the editor, we’re gonna have that in there.

And Luckmann has another question for you: he wants to know how you manage to stay so energetic and positive. Are you bi-polar or is it cocaine?

(laughs) Neither of those two! (he doesn’t give an actual answer though, choosing to dodge the question instead… it has to be something harder than cocaine, then, for sure)

Well then. The next question is from Wild Slop: Are there circumstances where XP earned isn’t shared across the party, perhaps when members are at war with another or if they’re leaving the group to complete personal quests?

Is this question regarding the main campaign or the gamemaster modes? In the GM mode, it’s the GM who decides and he can decide individually who gets the XP. If you split the party – and I think that’s already possible in the Early Access – you just count as separate parties and then the XP you gain is different. That leads to all kinds of problems, but hey, you can do it.

Ivan wants to know: what’s the release date?


Everybody wants to know, including ourselves. I think we said it a few times already, we’re heading towards release so that means we’re finishing, but it’s a really big game. We don’t entirely know ourselves when everything will be done enough for a release, so we’re working on finishing things, we’re closing most of the contents up now – we have a lot of content – and soon most of the work will be QA. And QA is QA, right?

Sure. Now, Crooked Bee wants to know: are you spending all of your money on this game?

(laughing) Well, we’re fortunate that the game is selling in EA, so it’s essentially financing itself to a certain extent, but we’re spending quite a lot of money on this game, yes. I don’t know what the budgets of the other isometric RPGs were, but for us this is definitely the biggest project we’ve invested in yet.

[Sadly, thanks to my voice recording app spazzing out, about 2 minutes of interview were lost here; I will try to reconstruct the lost questions and answers from memory though:

Lacrymas wanted to know when Avellone’s character is going to be added; Swen said the character should already be finished, but it’s not implemented in the game yet.

SausageInYourFace wanted to know what Swen thinks of the current market for old school RPGs, with some of the big profile Kickstarters under-delivering and some mid-sized ones ending up as vapourware. Is this the end of the CRPG Renaissance? Swen doesn’t think so. They’re investing a lot into D:OS2, and in Early Access they’ve seen quite some success with it already, and the OS2 Kickstarter earned much more than the Kickstarter of the first D:OS did. From his own experience, he’d say the Renaissance is far from over.

And those are the lost questions. I apologize for my mobile phone fucking this up.]


Shit, looks like my phone stopped recording. I’m not sure how much of the last questions it didn’t catch, but eh… have to re-start this app.

No problem, just tell me when you’re ready.

(fiddles around with his phone, re-starting the voice recorder app) Okay, we’re set. I’m pretty sure we lost your answer to Neanderthal’s question about the old towns from Divine Divinity. So, tell us again – will we be able to visit Verdistis, Rivertown, Aleroth or any other locations from the previous games?

Nope, you’re not gonna go back there, and this is to the south of the elven forest from Divine Divinity, in a place called Reaper’s Coast, so the game takes place in a wholly different location.

All right. Let’s see about those other questions… you said Avellone’s character was already added…


(interjects) No, no, it’s not added yet! We’re working on putting it in right now.

Ah, but the writing is done, you said?

No, it is in progress. It’s not entirely finished, but the character exists and it’s very cool.

(chuckles) Heh. From Jedi Exile, I’m supposed to ask you why you’re so awesome.

(laughs and, instead of giving a proper answer, dodges the question to avoid disclosing his secrets) Thanks, Jedi Exile! Appreciate it.

From Projas and Jinn I should ask if the itemization has been changed, or if you’re still using the Diabloesque item drops. Personally, I’d also like to know your reasons behind this system – in Original Sin 1 most things were hand-placed. The locations were hand-made, the encounters were hand-placed, only the items are randomized. Why do you do that and why would you say this is a good design decision?

(laughs uncomfortably) I read the Codex, so I know very well what you guys think about it, but there’s a practical point to it. We change our balancing a lot, and all of our balancing is relative, so all those stats change automatically when we change something in the base systems. That’s the first part of it. The second part is that people do replay our games, and when you replay them, you will find different things. Third point is, we do place quite a few items that are hand-placed actually, and they’re set in stone, but often we give our items only one or two fixed abilities and have the rest of the stats be flexible. So you could have a dark sword that is always there and always gives you a certain ability, but its other stats will be randomized. It’s a mix of things. When I play it, I kind of like it that way. I don’t think I’d want to have it so that I get the same item every time, because that way I could always min-max one hundred percent, knowing which items are where, and I don’t think that’s a lot of fun actually.

But, theoretically, if you use the editor and make a fan campaign, you could make everything hand-placed if you wanted?

You can fix all our mistakes, yes.

Great! So, our user Efe wants to know: will there be an option to increase animation speed?

No, it’s not on the feature list. I know there’s been some people asking for it, but it’s not on the list. I’m not sure it would be easy to implement, either.

He also wants to know what’s the single most important aspect of the game that would never be up for negotiation?

(takes a long time to think about this before he answers) I think that’s the pen-and-paper-like freedom that we’re trying to give you. Yeah, that’s probably the one. You know, back in the days, in the evil dark publisher days, I say that with a smile on my face because I know what it looks like on paper. A lot of things back then were sacrificed in the name of production, and that would’ve been the first thing to be sacrificed, but now that’s the thing where we say ‘You can’t touch that’, if we have to we’ll just take more time to develop it, and I think it shows in the game, it’s very important.

That answer will probably be well-received, Swen! Now, our user undecaf wants to know: when are you going to make a sci-fi or non-fantasy RPG? Do you have any plans for switching to a different kind of setting?

Absolutely. The answer is one day (laughs). I would very much like to get out of the fantasy genre one day.

Uh-huh. So we can expect this, maybe.

Yeah, but… as I said, one day. We have plenty of concepts.

All right, here’s a tough one and you don’t have to answer that one – Iznaliu wants to know what you think about other Kickstarter RPGs, like inXile, Obsidian, or the Shadowrun games.

You know it’s not proper form for developers to criticize others’ games, right?

Yeah, that’s why I said you don’t have to answer.

Eh, I’ll bite. I play them, I look at them, there’s really good things in them – our Gamemaster mode has a vignette system, Pillars of Eternity reminded me that a vignette system existed.

So you’re using them as inspiration sometimes, too, when you see something interesting in there.

Of course! Like they use ours for inspiration also. We recognize a lot of what we’re doing in their games, and that makes sense, right? That’s how you change the state of the art. I mean, every project, every decent project starts with the state of the art – what has been done? And then you go forward that way. There’s a lot of stuff that they’re doing that I appreciate.

Felipepepe wants to know if you have changed anything about your design philosophy FUME that you have talked about five years ago.

I think it’s still there, because it’s based on my favourite game, Ultima. Freedom is the first letter of FUME, that’s still there, a universe in which you can develop your character is super important, so we spend a lot of time on developing it. When you see the lorebook that’s shipping with the collector’s edition you’ll find out exactly how much time and effort we’re putting in there. Then, giving you motivation to continue… we’ve spent a lot of effort on the narrative this time, much more than we did in the past. Hopefully we’re succeeding in that. And then we’re giving you interesting enemies, that’s everything related to our combat system, so that’s still all in there. Yeah, I think that’s still all there… you know, freedom also means systemics, right? Rather than scripting everything, like do this then do that, we’re giving you systemics and say here, there’s problems, now solve them. That’s still very much in line with what FUME was.

He also wants to know if things have become better audience-wise, because when you pitched Original Sin you said you had issues making people understand the game, as complex RPGs had been out of style for years. Has that changed now in your opinion after so many other RPGs have been released, that the audience is now ready for such complex games?

I don’t think Original Sin is a complex game. It certainly gives you lots of options and that makes it look complex because you see everything that you can do, but I don’t think it’s a complex game. I see that a lot, right? Original Sin has been very popular and we get a lot of people who never played an RPG before, and they pick it up and play and have fun with it. So in terms of audience acceptance, I think it’s actually harder – because there are so many types of RPGs coming out it’s hard to say to the audience, well I’m that type, and they might not necessarily know that, so that might be a bit of a problem. But in general, the biggest driver of sales is word of mouth. It’s not journalists, it’s not youtubers, it’s just what people tell each other, like hey, try this game out. If you have a game that’s fun regardless of what the genre is, and it’s something that interests you, then people are gonna pick it up. I think that’s the most important thing. You try to make your game good, and if it’s good and it’s fun then people are gonna talk about it and it’s going to sell.

Definitely. Now, Sitra Achara wants to know if there are any plans for further cooperation with WotC, like exchanging mechanic ideas or maybe doing a D&D module one day…

Oh, I would love to have some D&D campaigns in our GM mode for sure, but it’s a D&D system and we have our Original Sin 2 system, they’re two different things. The D&D module we’re using for demoing the Gamemaster mode is just that, a demo module.

And how do you manage juggling 4 studios working on the same game… or are they (chuckles)?

They are.

It’s all Original Sin 2 then now?

Uh-huh. (pauses for a moment, then gets back to the original question) By communicating. That’s actually the main thing – well, I can give you a very long answer but we have two things: first of all, we’ve extended our working day this way. Our team in St. Petersburg wakes up earlier than our team in Gent does, wakes up earlier than our team in Dublin, wakes up earlier than the team in Quebec. That helps as it allows us to go faster. We’re the kind of studio that takes three or four years to make a game. Now, we’ve made Original Sin 2 in much less time than we did before. That is the first thing. The second thing is, the tools that exist nowadays, going from Slack to Google Docs to Perforce, are way more advanced than the tools we had years ago. Years ago this would never have worked, but now it doesn’t make a difference where people are sitting. These tools are heavily integrated into our development process, but also the actual tools that we make in-house. Let’s say I wanna change that tree here and I wanna change the leaves on that tree, and Jeff in Quebec is trying to access that tree, he won’t be able to access it, he’ll get a message ‘Swen is working on that tree’, and that’s how you make things work together. And on the design level we talk a lot. We have a huge chatbox, the amount of messages that is created there everyday is enormous, literally in the tens of thousands – well, not everyday but every week. I get a report like that, I think it’s every week.

IncendiaryDevice wants to know how you deal with your receding hairline…

(laughs, but the expression in his face is one of grief and loss) Badly.

… and he wants to know if things are looking promising for a smooth and complete initial release of the game.

Well, we’re certain that it simmered in Early Access long enough, and when you play the EA version is already plays really smooth, and that’s pretty much the state of the engine. Okay, Early Access is always trailing behind what we have, but it’s starting to be really stable. We track all the crashes, so if somebody crashes he can send us a crash report so we can see what caused it, and that’s really declining that number.

So you’re essentially doing the alpha and beta testing on the fly with the community.

That’s what Early Access is for, right? Well, that’s how I look at it. We make a lot of changes in reaction to community feedback.

Nekot-the-Brave has a lot of questions. He wants to know what’s up with the undead race, we haven’t seen anything about it yet.

Same answer as with Chris’s character: it’ll be implemented on release.

Second question: when’s the office date, that Kickstarter thing.

Eh?

I guess this is about the reward tier on Kickstarter.

Oh, that’s the release party, then.

So I guess that happens when the game is released.

Exactly! We haven’t even planned it yet.

Third question. How beefed up is the engine editor? Does it have documentation now?

(takes a while to chew the bit of sandwich he had just bitten off) We actually talked about that yesterday, how we’re gonna organize that. There’s gonna be a mix between docs and videos because… it’s really big, right? And what we’re currently lacking is somebody dedicated to sort it all out so we’re starting to look into that.

So it’s going to be more accessible than the first one which had little documentation about it?


Yeah, but we still have to do it.

Fourth question. How’s the soundtrack coming along?

It’s pretty interesting that you ask that, because the soundtrack… (pauses for a second) There is no soundtrack. Because it’s all interactive. Bobby has this adaptive music system, it’s really awesome and it changes all the time. He has a shitload of music, much more music than he would have in a normal game, just because of all the interactive layers he’s creating.

Sounds a little bit like the iMUSE system Lucas Arts used in the early 90s.

Yeah! Direct Music also had that actually, from DirectX, that was the ambition behind it and that’s literally what we’re doing. You go to different regions and suddenly the instruments change and stuff like that. But when you want to make a trailer that actually turns out to be a problem, we go like Bobby we need a soundtrack, and he’s like What track do you want?. But the system is coming along well, and I think you guys will be happy with it.

What I want to ask about this, since I’ve seen the instruments you can choose during character creation: does what instrument your character has influence how the music changes?

Yes. So, the origin instruments you have – and there’s one thing I don’t know actually, because I haven’t heard it yet – the origin instruments for sure trigger stingers in the middle of combat, like if you do a critical hit you’ll hear your instrument, but the original idea was also that it’s going to affect your origin songs and I think Bobby did it but I’m still waiting for the origin songs to come in, so I can’t confirm nor deny it.

[​IMG]
There are four different musical instruments you can choose from at character creation

Nice. Now, Mustawd asks: you mention the P&P influence on your game, but some of the competitive aspects seem a little bizarre from the perspective of someone who normally just plays single player RPGs. Is that how your own P&P sessions go? It seems to him like everyone’s just trying to screw each other over.

There’s a misunderstanding on this. The game allows you to do it, it doesn’t force you to do it. That fits in that freedom thing, right? In the previous game that wasn’t possible, you could not say fuck you, I’m off and then make peace again if you want. But I’m not telling you that’s what you should be doing, on the contrary, I’d advise you to not do that, the world has been made for a party of four players – but if that’s how your session goes, why not? I mean, Gamemaster mode perfectly allows you to do pretty cool things, so if the GM mode allows you to make war within the party – why not? (both Swen and Jarl take bites off their sandwiches, and after a short pause Swen adds) That said, I’ve never seen anyone try it (laughs).

(finishes his sandwich bite, then asks the next question) He also wants to know if you think the turn based system used in the Original Sin series in an exception in today’s industry, or if you think that the notion that it’s too slow for modern audiences is just a myth.

That’s another one of those things, you know. X-Com would deny that, or Civilization, obviously, two hugely successful games. It’s the same thing again, it’s that focus on this has to be exactly like that, it doesn’t matter, people just want to have fun. These are methods of bringing fun to people, these are interesting combat systems, but you also have interesting real time combat systems. It really is just one selection out of many possible, which I happen to personally like a lot. So turn based is, for me, the most fun combat system because it doesn’t force me to be paying attention all the time, it allows me to think, and it allows me to do things I wouldn’t be able to do in real time due to the fact that I’m slow.

Some user named Aenra has a lot of questions here. First one is: can you tell us anything about the undisclosed games currently in development, if there are any?

You know the answer to that, right?

(chuckles) Yep. Next question… what do you think about first/third person RPGs, like Divinity 2 was, for example.

I think they’re awesome (laughs). My favourite games of all time are Ultima VII and Ultima Underworld. I think Dragon Knight Saga, the better version of Divinity 2, was a good game. Could’ve been better still, the combat system could’ve been a little better, but it was still a good game. I enjoyed making it and I would happily make another one.

Are there any plans for a new Kickstarter? Are you going to continue using Kickstarter or maybe this new platform called Fig?

It falls under the same question as before, the undisclosed plans…

Yeah, you won’t tell, but is Kickstarter a model that you feel content with, that you might…

(interrupts) Me? For sure! I was super happy about Kickstarter, it allowed us to make Original Sin 1, it allows us to make Original Sin 2… I mean, the GM mode which is really awesome – I just wanna say that – would not exist if it weren’t for Kickstarter. It allowed me to put an entire team on it for three years and they have been really doing cool shit with it. (short pause) Oh, and since it’s the Codex I need to clarify: that entire team was not only paid with Kickstarter money. That wouldn’t work out.

Has your approach to game difficulty and game design changed since Original Sin 1? Because OS1 is considered by some people, like Aenra, to be a little on the easier side.

(chuckles slightly uncomfortably) Eeeeehm – well. There are a lot of people who would disagree with that, but we have invested quite a lot into making a better AI – the fancy name for it is AI 2.0 – and hopefully it’s going to give you more of a challenge. It allows us on the easier modes to tell the AI 2.0 to not do this and this and this, and on tactician level we tell it, you can do everything that we taught you. So, the approach to difficutly… Divinity is designed to be challenging, but in the same breath I have to say there are so many things in the game, there are so many skills in the game, you will always find something that we didn’t think of, right? That’s why you have modding. But what we are doing, we’re trying to make a game that’s fun and challenging to play for a normal RPG player. I consider myself to be a normal RPG player. I’m the guy that gets rekt in the arena and that’s for good reasons, cause I’m not a min-maxer. But as long as I have a challenge, that’s pretty much okay for me.

Will the GM mode automatically switch the game to multiplayer or can it be used to alter the single player campaign on the fly as well?

No. The GM mode is not a single player instrument. If you have a gamemaster that wants to do it with one player, that’s a thing you can do, you can have an awesome session with a partner that way, that’s possible. But this is not a scripted experience. In a sense, this is a different game. It’s a storytelling tool, let’s put it that way.

So no single-player use of the GM skills, then. Okay. Now, Outlander wants to know if any expansions are planned in the long run for OS2, and will OS3 finally have NPC schedules and a day-night-cycle?

(laughs) Again, same answer as with all my future plans answers. As I said, we’re completely focused on making OS2, so I can tell you there’s no expansion in preparation right now. We have ideas for where we could expand the adventures, but we’ll only decide that when we know where the game is going and we see if there’s demand. For day-night-schedules, well, as time goes by my motivation for doing those decreases, because of the complexities involved. I can tell you that OS2 is an intellectual nightmare in terms of the amount of bandwith it requires just to take the entire design into your heads. Now add day-night-cycles to that, which would add yet another dimension to that, I don’t think we’re clever enough for that – our designers aren’t clever enough for that. Maybe somebody else is.

HoboForEternity wants to know if there’s a plan to license your engine to other developers, because the engine is a work of art and he’d like to see it used more often.

I don’t think we’re the studio to do that because it requires you to set up an engine support team, and that’s not really our model. We are a game studio trying to make games. Engine is a part of the things we have to do to be able to make games, just like pretty much through our entire history we did whatever was necessary to be able to make a game. So we keep on doing that – tools and engine development are made to make our type of game. If we were to license out our engine, well…whenever we change something in it, and we do change our minds rapidly, we would ruin their development process and I wouldn’t wanna be doing that.

nikolokolus wants to know if multiplayer will have database support, and will there be a dedicated server build for the game?

No, it’s not a persistent world. There is a server running, obviously, but it’s not a persistent world. Your savegame is your persistence, essentially. We’ve seen that there’s a lot of demand for persistence there, but we’re not ready for that.

MotherMachinae wants to know, because Divinity covered a lot of styles of games up to now, if there’s any chance you’re going to make a dungeon crawler one day. I guess your answer will be just the same as with all the questions on future plans – you don’t know yet?

(chuckles) Yep. You’re getting good at this!

lukaszek wants to know what happened to the cheese vendor from the previous game. Why was he changed? Any chance we’ll see him back in OS2?

That guy started out as a bug (laughs). I actually had this question this morning, somebody asked me here, what about the cheese vendor? There is currently no cheese vendor that I’m aware of, but I have to say it’s a very big game, so it might be the designers placed him somewhere I’m not aware of, but I haven’t encountered him yet.

He also recalls reading somewhere that thieves will be able to prepare poisoned versions of potions and place them in pockets of NPCs or friends.

Yep. AI 2.0 uses what’s in its inventory, so if there’s a potion in its inventory it’ll use it. You also have crafting, so you can make poison flasks look like they are healing potions. You can give them to NPCs, or also to your friends.

oldmanpaco wants to know if you’re going to take your writing more seriously or if you’re staying with the silly style that’s been established throughout the series.

He’ll have to discover for himself what we did with the writing. We put a lot of effort into the writing, that’s for sure. You’re actually sitting in the writers’ headquarters of Larian here.

[​IMG]
Here's a sample of D:OS2's writing.

Apan wants to know why you have boob armor and stuff like that if you want to get more women to play. Well, actually, from what I’ve seen compared to the first game it looks a lot more realistic now.

Yeah, it looks more grounded as we said it’s gonna be.

[​IMG]
The outfits are now more realistic... which I approve of! Now you can have your female characters be barefoot rather than wearing high heels!

Heh. Maxie wants to know why you insist on making games for co-op when most of your fans are jaded misanthropes.

I hope not! I said it before, I know there’s a group of guys at your place that don’t buy it, but the multiplayer improves the singleplayer. I think that the freedom you get in the singleplayer wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for the multiplayer modes. And I really think we have a strong singleplayer campaign.

That’s it for the community questions! I still have something for you though: apart from Original Sin 1 and 2, which of the games you’ve worked on through the years have been your favourites to work on?

This one.

Apart from OS1 and 2! We all know these are your favourites, a passion-project freed from the shackles of publishers.

Divine Divinity.

The first one?

Yeah. Cause I was the lead programmer on that one and teams were much smaller back then, which made it really easy to do things, to fool around with it and to get results, because the graphical fidelity that was required was a lot lower. I remember I made all the skills in Divine Divinity in three weeks, you could still do those kinds of stunts back then. You can’t do that now, that’s for sure. Although I have to say you can rapidly make skills in Original Sin 2. So, yeah, that was the most rewarding one. And the other most rewarding one was actually the very first one we published, LED Wars, a small RTS, cause that was made in four months in the evenings. That had also that rapid sense of progressing and getting something out of the box, which was fun.

All right! I guess that’s mostly it.

Whew! That wasn’t so bad.

Then, Swen shouts for Edward to come and show me the details of how Gamemaster mode works. But that is content for another article.

There are 132 comments on Jarl interviews Swen Vincke; Questions about Original Sin 2 and other things are answered.

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