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H1Z1

SOE provides Halloween makeup tips

Video, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Events (Real-World), Humor, DC Universe Online, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, H1Z1

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File this under "No, we are not making this up." The team at Sony Online Entertainment has put together a series of five instructional videos to show you how to use makeup to look like your favorite in-game characters this Halloween, including EverQuest's Firiona Vie and an H1Z1 zombie.

We've got all five videos after the break, although by the looks of some of them, you'll probably best be served by having a professional makeup consultant from a special effects company on hand -- and a lot of cold cream for afterward.

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H1Z1's senior designer on item degradation, crafting, and more

Horror, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crafting, H1Z1

SOE has released a new H1Z1 dev spotlight video. The dev in question is one Paul Carrico, senior game designer on the open world survival sandbox.

Carrico spends the vid's four-minute running time fielding fan-generated questions, one of which pertains to crafting. "Crafting can get really deep," he says, before giving an example of makeshift weapon fabrication. Carrico also mentions ammo variation, though he says that flaming, exploding, and poison-tipped arrows will have to wait until after H1Z1's early access goes live.

Finally, Carrico talks about item degradation, which will affect everything from weapons to structures to tools. Click past the cut to watch the full clip.

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PlanetSide 2: Tramell Isaac out, Bill Yeatts in

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2, H1Z1

PlanetSide 2 is losing one of the most public faces of its team but will be replacing him with another well-known figure from SOE.

Senior Art Director Tramell Isaac announced today that he will be leaving SOE for a new opportunity. "I've had a blast working with you guys all these many months. I will certainly miss you all," he wrote.

However, Isaac said that he's leaving his position in good hands, as former H1Z1 Art Director Bill Yeatts will be stepping into the role: "Bill was on the PS2 team from start to ship so he is very well versed in what is and is not PlanetSide 2. He is running the show now and he may contradict some of the 'rules' I set in the past, but that is now his prerogative."

Isaac is moving over to Boss Key Productions to become that studio's art director.

How 'feel' trumps realism in H1Z1's weapon design

Horror, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, H1Z1

H1Z1
H1Z1 Senior Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt has penned another dev blog about SOE's inbound survival sandbox, this one aimed at weapon design, starting with the modeling and rigging process. Animation design in particular, he says, is critical. "A huge part of the tuning process that is commonly overlooked in FPS game development is how a weapon reacts to in-game actions," Whisenhunt explains. "Design and Animation have to be in lock-step for a successful feel in combat; we need to have the same vision to ensure a solid experience for the player."

He also discusses recoil and shooting mechanics and how "feel" can trump realism.
"We've mentioned in the past that we want to avoid tuning and creating things simply because they 'that's the way it is in real life,' which means I get to take to take a realistic ballistic and weapon recoil feel and make it feel satisfying and fun. Typically the gravity of projectiles in real life doesn't fit the intended play experience we seek out. After all, the weapon feel and functionality has to fit our world design as well as Zombie and Player combat."
The full dev blog is on the official site. We took a look at H1Z1's art and lighting effects last week.

How graphics will help H1Z1 set a creepy mood

Historical, Horror, Trailers, Video, Interviews, Previews, PvP, News Items, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, H1Z1

H1Z1
Do you care a whole lot about graphical fidelity when you're running away from shooting zombies in the face with a sawed-off shotgun? Fabulous; we have just the video for you. SOE has just posted a Q&A video featuring H1Z1 Art Director Bill Yeatts, who fields player-submitted questions about the upcoming zombie-survival-sandbox's graphics. Yeatts explains how SOE chose H1Z1's art style, how that art style will evolve as early access approaches, and just how he plans to make the game look and feel really scary (obviously, a zombie plague isn't terrifying enough).

Enjoy the dev spotlight below.

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H1Z1 takes out starting axe based on player feedback

Betas, Horror, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, H1Z1

h1xz1
This past month's conventions and player hands-on have been influential to the development of H1Z1, according to a new post today by Senior Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt.

"After much discussion and some debate, we decided to make several targeted and deliberate changes to how the player will be dropped into our world," Whisenhunt wrote. "One of the biggest changes we've made is to the starting equipment your character spawns into our apocalypse ridden world with. Being a massive sandbox MMO without XP patting you on the back, progression mechanics have to feel solid and early game combat needed to be more challenging."

The biggest change revolves around the removal of the starting axe in order to get players more involved in crafting, exploration, and combat paths. Instead, players will fight with their fists, which can actually trigger combos if done right. Another significant change is the decision to spawn weapons on top of counters and crafting items inside of objects so that finding weapons on the fly is easier to do.

The Game Archaeologist: Ironman modes and elective permadeath

Asheron's Call, Dofus, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RuneScape, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, Wizardry Online, Star Citizen, H1Z1

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One facet of video games that's been around almost since the very beginning is the difficulty level. This has allowed the player to choose how hard or easy a game would be from the onset, influencing factors such as the number of enemies, hardiness of bad guys, fragility of the player character, and available loot (or lack of it). I used to love how some of those '90s shareware titles would mock me for picking easy, sometimes portraying my character wearing a baby bonnet and sucking its thumb. Real gamers, the devs implied, go tough or go home.

With a few exceptions, MMOs operate on a fixed level of difficulty for all of their players. Instead of assigning blanket difficulty client-side, the game world portions difficulty into areas, usually according to level or activity. Some games have instances with adjustable difficulty levels, but past that what you get is also what I get.

This might be changing. A very fringe but dedicated group of players have championed such ideas as elective ironman and permadeath modes for their MMOs, and at least one studio is responding positively to that desire. Would you choose to make your MMO experience harder than everyone else in exchange for nothing more than a bigger challenge and a more "realistic" experience?

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PAX Prime 2014: Going on a deer hunt in H1Z1

Betas, Horror, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Humor, Events (Massively's Coverage), H1Z1

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The time was just before dawn, with colors muted by the limited light. I silently roamed through fog banks, looking for a quarry in the woods and finding none. It was my first time playing H1Z1, and I had no other purpose than to find something living (or unliving) and end it with my hefty axe.

Suddenly I spotted it: the flash of a white tail as a deer sprinted away from me through the brush. I pressed down the sprint button and went after it, chewing through my stamina and cursing my lack of four legs or gasoline-powered wheels.

The deer led me on a grim chase through the mostly silent woodland. At one point, a wolf appeared out from behind a tree and sprinted after the doe as well, although it couldn't catch up and eventually became disheartened (or glitched out). Yes, I felt both gruesome and silly spending my moments at the demo booth trying to kill Bambi, but I needed to know if I would be able to survive in this environment.

One wrong move and I was upon the prey, bringing it down with a sickening thud. Continuing to hack away at the carcass with my axe found me rewarded with more crafting materials and a dented conscience. Stricken, I wandered away and roamed up a hill, only to encounter a strange solitary sign with a skull on it.

"That marks the border of the game," a nearby developer told me while another dev professed amazement that he had never seen such signs before. "If you go past here, you'll die," the first dev cautioned.

Maybe I deserve to die. If chopping through a tender critter is what it takes to survive in this new world, is that worth the cost? I put down the controls and walked away, innocent no longer.

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PAX Prime 2014: H1Z1's bears will end you

Betas, Horror, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), H1Z1

h1z1
In most MMOs, bears are chunky cannon fodder: good for lowbie XP and a sad scrap of a pelt as loot. In H1Z1, bears are possibly more terrifying than zombies and gankers combined. At PAX Prime this weekend, Senior Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt explained that in this game, a bear attacked will run you down as fast as it does in nature and make a plaything of your skull. It's a good thing that they're relatively rare and give a warning roar before charging, otherwise the zombies would be coming to you for help.

Expanding the role of nature is essential to the immersion of H1Z1's survival aspect. Wolves, deer, and bear roam the countryside, getting into the occasional tiff with each other and the undead. They're useful if you can take them down quickly, since the harsh elements (such as rain and snow) will soon be programmed to degrade your well-being and those animal pelts could be made into clothes.

Whisenhunt walked us through the four essential stats to staying alive in this world. Stamina is for sprinting and attacks, and while it regenerates quickly, neglecting it will ensure your body will draw from your hydration and energy levels instead. Your health is also constantly ticking down and replenished by the food and water you drink, meaning that you'll always need to be looking for more to scarf up and quaff in your journeys. Stashing your food in your backpack is a good option, although the team is still tinkering with the style of inventory to make the limited storage another survival factor.

When H1Z1 goes into early access later this year, there will be one "vanilla" server on which no punches will be pulled (this is doubly true as all players will start with only their fists as weapons). Other types of servers, such as player-only or PvE rulesets, are possibilities once the team assesses how players are engaging the game in beta.

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SOE Live 2014: H1Z1 is a full-fledged survival experience

Game Mechanics, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, H1Z1

With an event like Zombie Prom, it was hard not to notice a certain undead theme at this year's SOE Live. That's all courtesy of the studio's upcoming apocalyptic survival game H1Z1. And thanks to plenty of panels, interviews, and the keynote, we learned even more about the game: The new sandbox is so much more than a zombie shooter; it's a full fledged survival experience. There were even opportunities for fans to nab some hands-on playtime.

We had the chance to mix and mingle with Producer Steve George, Senior Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt, Art Director Bill Yeatts, Technical Director Tom Schenck, and Game Designer Adam Clegg to discuss where H1Z1 came from, where it is going, and how far it has gotten. Delve into the new air drops, the heat and temperature systems, and so much more. We've also embedded the full keynote panel for you.

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SOE Live 2014: Thursday keynote liveblog announces EQ and EQII expansions, more

EverQuest, EverQuest II, Expansions, MMO Industry, Events (Massively's Coverage), EverQuest Next, Dragon's Prophet, H1Z1

Are you looking forward to getting a hint of what's to come for your favorite SOE games this next year? SOE Live's Thursday keynote has just kicked off, and SOE notables like John Smedley are taking the stage to give fans a hint of the announcements coming over the course of the weekend. We're here live to give you the scoop directly from the devs, and we'll be keeping this post updated as it progresses. You can also can watch the presentation streamed live below.
  • Keynote announcements on Friday have all the juicy details, so don't miss them!
  • Four awards for Player Studio: Highest creator - BeastBuster with over $25,000 to date; Most Prolific creator - Rollen; Most Improved Creator - Jerry "Rawl" Dechant; and Most inspirational - Neko Zero.
  • Player Direct awards -- you can see all full-length film on the official site.
  • H1Z1 is coming out on the PS4.
  • The Play it Forward initiative is gamers helping others, in game or in life.
  • Tournaments: Prize money on the line for participants.
  • Dragon's Prophet is introducing a new system where you find and raise dragon hatchlings.
  • EverQuest is introducing a new category to Player Studio.
  • EQ working on a new advanced looting feature.
  • EQ's next expansion is The Darkened Sea.
  • EverQuest II's 10th anniversary in November, the 11th expansion Alter of Malice is launching on 11/11.
  • New classes for EverQuest Next will be announced tomorrow.
  • A touching video tribute to EQII's Ribbitribbit was presented.
  • SOE encouraged support for AbleGamers, Gamers4Life, and Military Gamers.

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SOE Live 2014: Studio to stream convention for free

Events (Real-World), Promotions, Livestream, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Landmark, H1Z1

ps2
SOE Live's streaming schedule is up for this week's convention on the official Twitch channel, and fans of the studio have a very good reason to check it out: It's totally free.

SOE announced today that players will not need to spend any money to watch the convention's 20-plus hours of livestream coverage. The stream will begin on Thursday evening at 10:00 p.m. EDT and continue off and on through Saturday night.

If you really insist on giving SOE money for this, however, the studio will bow to your demands. SOE is selling a SOE Live Digital Pass upgrade that will deliver to the buyer a 7-day Landmark beta key, a Twitch chat badge, several emoticons for the Twitch channel, and in-game items for both H1Z1 and PlanetSide 2.

H1Z1 graphics programmer hints at other weather types

Betas, Horror, Video, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, H1Z1

h1z1
SOE Graphics Programmer Ryan Favale is the target of a new H1Z1 video. In it, he discusses the games that he's playing, notable bugs, and his role on the upcoming zombie sandbox. Favale said that he's primarily working on the dynamic weather system.

"That's my main job on H1Z1, to bring as many weather conditions and effects and environmental immersion as possible," Favale said. He teased the possibility of hurricanes, tornadoes, and dust storms, but didn't promise that they'd make them into the game.

You can watch the video after the break.

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SOE teases H1Z1's dynamic weather

Horror, Galleries, Screenshots, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, H1Z1

H1Z1
We all know that the most important thing to your MMO immersions when you're neck-deep in zombies and dastardly corpse-looting player-killers is whether you can wear a t-shirt in a blizzard with impunity. Worry not, roleplay fiends, for SOE has today teased its dynamic weather system for upcoming survival MMO H1Z1 via a septet of screenshots that show the effect of changing seasons on the environment. Enjoy!

SOE Live player panels include support for military gamers

Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Events (Real-World), Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Landmark, H1Z1

soe live
SOE Live posted its list of player panels today for its convention, with topics ranging from supporting military gamers to fansite management. The full list is as follows:

Friday, August 15
  • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm -– EQ2U & Dragon's Armory
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm –- Live Together, Die Alone: Surviving H1Z1 as a Group
  • 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm –- Inter-Outfit Operations in PS2
  • 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm –- Become Your Character: Tricks and Tips for Cosplay
  • 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm –- Military Gamers: Taking Care of Each Other
Saturday, August 16
  • 10:00 am - 11:00 am -– Social Media/Steaming & Fansites
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm -– Effective Guild and League Management
  • 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm –- Improving Your EverQuest
  • 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm –- DCUO – Advanced Raid Tactics
  • 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm –- The New Conglomerate
  • 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm -– Hardcore Decorating in EQII
  • 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm –- EQII Game Macros, ACT Triggers, and You!

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