While our second Builder Event is going on, I wanted to share a little bit about why we are doing this, and then talk a bit more about what we’re specifically covering at the event, and where is this all going.
Community for BioWare, and in particular for Dragon Age: Origins, has always been of great importance to us – not only does it contribute to our titles’ long term success, but it also speaks directly to some of the studio’s core values and helps us maintain a level of humility and a reality check on whatever we’re doing at the time. We enjoy a great relationship with you, and in launching DA:O we want to continue to improve and grow that.
With DA:O, this will actually go well beyond just the traditional website, forums, etc that you are already familiar with and it will also be relevant in the game itself in the form of various features that will provide connectivity from the game directly to the community site. More on that in the near future.
Builders, or modders, specifically are another integral part of our long term strategy for DA:O. Community created content is a great way to keep fans playing the game, as well as attracting new fans to the franchise.
With DA:O we will be supporting this segment of our community more than any of our previous titles, and working hard to create a much stronger tie between builders and players – after all, players want content, builders want an audience – one of our jobs is going to be to facilitate that and then get the heck out of the way. I’ll cover more on the ways we’ll be doing this in the near future as well.
One of the challenges this community faces is that, as you may be aware, DA:O is built on a brand new engine and has a new toolset. Added to this is the fact that creating content for modern games (whether it is DA:O or any other recent game) is much more complex than in previous generation of titles, such as Neverwinter Nights.
That’s not to say anyone cannot jump in and do something – there is a lot you can do with little or no knowledge of toolsets. But it will likely take longer or some expert mentoring to gain a high degree of expertise in some of the advanced editors.
What this means for builders looking to create full adventure modules is that they will now benefit greatly from a collaborative development approach – whereby individuals, each with some expertise in different editors come together to create a module. This is where this second Builder Event really comes into play.
Having direct feedback and observing builders as they take their first steps in the DA toolset is absolutely critical for us to get this new builder community and toolset off on the right foot. But with this second Builder Event, we are actually going to group the builders into small teams and have them collaborate to create their first team-made module.
With the second Builder Event we have some returning veteran builders from the first event already positioned as mentors, but we have a much greater number of new builders at the event. Even if they have been playing with the Beta of the DA Toolset so far, the first order of business was to provide an overview of the key DA Toolset editors by some of the resident BioWare experts on the DA:O team. This allows us to ensure everyone has the same base knowledge going into subsequent tutorials, regardless of their experience so far.
In the next update, I’ll provide more details on each of the tutorials.
Fernando Melo is the Dragon Age Online Producer with 15 years of game industry experience and leads the team responsible for everything Dragon Age post release including a fantastic dowloadable content plan, the toolset community of builders and a number of features that tie the game with the website in ways that will make your kidney detonate with glee. His last name is actually pronounced ‘mellow’ which is pretty cool.