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  1. #11
    Administrator Flux's Avatar
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

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  2. #12
    Administrator Flux's Avatar
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

    The interview went off this afternoon. We talked for about 45 minutes, with maybe 20m on TL stuff, 15 on bliz north, and 10 on D3, with a fair amount of general "working in the gaming industry" stuff mixed in.

    Tragically, technical problems struck down the recording. I almost cried. I did drink.

    Happily, Max is willing to do it again, so we're on for early next week. We'll probably keep that one a little shorter, and I can just revisit the best issues, plus ask questions on a few things I didn't get to. Hopefully it'll still be a good, lively conversation, rather than just repeating what we said with all the enthusiasm of junior high actors.



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  3. #13
    IncGamers Member FriskyDingo's Avatar
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

    That sucks.



  4. #14
    Administrator Flux's Avatar
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

    Quick Max replies to questions we did discuss. Much more detail on these when the interview is posted.

    We didn't talk much about TL2 since they're not giving many details on it yet. Plus I'll be interviewing at least one Runic Games guy in July/August time frame and we'll talk about TL2 specifics then.

    Do you have regular conversations with anyone on the D3 development team?
    Max several times mentioned I was the person he knew who knew the most about D3.

    There are some people on the d3 team who were also on the d2 team. Do you stay in touch with these people ? Have regular contact with them ? Conversations ? (not "Hey, how ya doing?" when you bump into them at PAX or E3, but more regular interaction and conversation)
    Apparently not.

    Are you on some special VIP list so that you automatically get a D3 beta ?
    Didn't ask, but I'm sure he's still friendly with some long time people at Bliz, who could get him a F&F invite, even if he doesn't really know any of the new hires on the D3 team.

    What mmos are you currently playing ?
    Max was very enthusiastic about Minecraft.


    Is it possible that any of the original D3 plot, storyline, chars, classes or whatever may be reworked and make their way into TL2? (or is that intellectual property that all belongs to blizzard now)
    Didn't ask, but I'd say no way. Very different game worlds and styles.

    Was BN's version of D3 going to be an mmo or a small multiplayer game like D2 ?
    Didn't ask but I can say from other sources that it was going to be like d2, but with more online features. Guild support, etc.

    How close was BN's version of D3 to beta ? Less than 3 months ? Less than 9 months ?
    Max left in 2003. BN closed in 2005 and was still nowhere near beta ready.

    The Runic team hung out with the devs from Path of Exile last year at PAX, even went out for dinner and drinks afterward. POE is currently in alpha. Are you in the alpha for Path of Exile ?
    Max said he'd enjoyed meeting them and that they drank a lot of beers together, and that he liked the look of PoE. But he hasn't been in touch with them since.

    Torchlight 1 levels were pretty similar in that it was always dungeons or the majority and it gets pretty boring during the end, what have you guys done to make the levels more varied and fun?
    Much larger levels, and all redone monsters and chars and skills and items.

    2. Torchlight 1 story was pretty weak and there were barely any talk with the NPC's other than mostly quest stuff with few lines of overall story, how did you take on the story in Torchlight 2?
    They've hired a writer this time, and are adding more depth and detail to everything. World, lore, quests, dialogues, etc. It's not going to be a huge story-telling game obviously; it's a light ARPG. But will be much more to it than TL1.


    5. How does the development between torchiligh and diablo differ?
    We talked a lot about this one, and will repeat. TL1 was a very small project, done quickly by a small team. It might be reasonable compared to D1, actually, though done on an even tighter schedule, and just for SP. TL2 they're not much larger and are still working very fast, but they had the game creation pipeline all set up, a working team, artists, tech, etc, so it's much faster to do much more than they did in TL1.

    probably ask him how far he thinks diablo 3 is off release?
    He actually asked me about that. He's not closely following D3 nor does he have any inside contacts at Bliz who divulge info to him on it.

    does he enjoy working on the torchlight project less, more or the same as diablo 2?
    He's very happy now with a much smaller studio and faster more nimble dev. I don't know how compared to D2, since BN wasn't that huge yet at that point, but I'm sure he enjoys now more than doing the early D3 at BN. One of their reasons for leaving BN was to make FSS and keep it small and creative; "which we failed miserably at." he said, laughing. So 2nd try at a new team he thinks they'll manage to keep it small and fun and intimate this time.

    whats after torchlight and where does he see his future?
    TL MMO plans galore.

    what does he think is bad about diablo 3 in comparison to the previous games in the line?
    Didn't ask specifically, but he was critical of Bliz's recent decision to remove pentagrams and crosses and such. We talked about that for at least 5 minutes; why they put those symbols into Diablo world, that it was intentional and *not* just lazy reusing of RL mythology, etc. About no crosses on the D3 cathedral Max said, "we wouldn't have done that."

    There was a lot more; I'll write some details about stuff from the first interview that doesn't make it into the 2nd, when the podcast is posted. Late next week, hopefully.



    Last edited by Flux; 01-04-2011 at 23:02. Reason: fixed *typo* in last answer
    --Flux
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  5. #15
    IncGamers Member Valhauros's Avatar
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flux View Post
    ...we talked about that for at least 5 minutes; why they put those symbols into Diablo world, that it was intentional and just just lazy reusing of RL mythology, etc...
    This really caught my eye... Did anyone ever explained the creation process for the story, monster design and symbolism in Diablo 1? We know each creature was aligned with a Prime Evil's domain (for example, Mephisto had under his command Zombies, who "are formed from the corpses of men... driven by the hatred that consumed them in life"). How did it work with the townsfolk, spells and quests? and (if it doesn't sound lame) why did they decrease the relative realism of the game towards a less atmospheric and a more high-fantasy world in Diablo II?

    Finally, not necessarily directed at Max Schaefer, I have a question that has been bugging forever, Who drew the character sketches in the Diablo 1 Manual? In the credits there are 4 people under "Manual Artwork": Samwise Didier, Chris Metzen, Roman Kenney, Maxx Marshall; the signatures of the first three do not match with the one in the Rogue artwork, so is R.Kenney the author? and who did these two?.



  6. #16
    IncGamers Member FriskyDingo's Avatar
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

    Woooooooooooooooow
    I am really looking forward to this interview now.
    I agree completely about the removal of crosses and such.
    It's going to take a lot of the flavor away from Diablo from removing such powerful symbolism

    Also posted on Diablo3.com



  7. #17
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Valhauros View Post
    why did they decrease the relative realism of the game towards a less atmospheric and a more high-fantasy world in Diablo II?
    I doubt they consciously wanted it to be "less atmospheric" - they just wanted a much bigger world, and that meant they couldn't just make a hundred-level dungeon. It is impossible to make an outdoor environment as atmospheric as a dungeon.



  8. #18
    IncGamers Member theeliminator's Avatar
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

    Quote Originally Posted by FluffyTheFluffer View Post
    It is impossible to make an outdoor environment as atmospheric as a dungeon.
    I disagree, its not impossible you just have to design better.

    Ever play Allen Wake? Heck even some of the D3 outdoor zones have more atmospher then the indoor ones.

    take a look at these pics

    http://diablo.incgamers.com/gallery/....php?photo=923

    What a great tree in that pic, it epitomizes everything that Tristram has become, Dead, twisted, and knurled.

    One thing I am not sure about, is why he thinks Much larger levels are the answer repetitive themed design. I much rather like the answer the D3 dev team gave about their design philosophy of changing the scenery every 15mins or less.


    Last edited by theeliminator; 01-04-2011 at 23:26.

  9. #19
    Administrator Flux's Avatar
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

    Quote Originally Posted by theeliminator View Post
    One thing I am not sure about, is why he thinks Much larger levels are the answer repetitive themed design. I much rather like the answer the D3 dev team gave about their design philosophy of changing the scenery every 15mins or less.
    I didn't actually ask him that question; just threw in some of the things he mentioned in general discussion about TL2.

    That the first interview died from technical problems (on my end, after we had to postpone the interview in the first place since Max's headphones weren't working) might not be a terrible thing, since I can ask him some different questions next week. Or at least re-ask the better questions and then drill down for some more details on the good stuff.



    --Flux
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  10. #20
    IncGamers Member theeliminator's Avatar
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    Re: Questions for Max Schaefer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flux View Post
    I didn't actually ask him that question
    O ok thought it was odd that he would think larger levels would be the answer. Next time just make sure you say (like you did with some of the other questions you didn't ask him) that you didn't ask him it.



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