Funcom Developer Interview, Grave Matters and the Future of Events
Pixelcave Full Youtube Link : 12/10/2021 - Written Summary and Transcript
Funcom staff sightings for this interview were
- Dennis Douthett (Lead Designer) - On stream
- Matt Fleming (Lead Content Designer) - On stream
Here are relevant links for this stream.
As the title for this post suggests, the interview for this Developer Interview was graciously conducted by @Pixelcave . Please take the time to check out their Youtube page! The transcript was also provided by Pixelcave, who did the vast majority of the hard work.
My part in this is just getting it to look nice, clean up some of the transcript so its more redable, and formatted like always for posting on the forums for your reading pleasure. I also added clarification when needed (as always when I post summaries, I discuss with the development team on things that I felt needed some extra clarification, and you’ll see that down below as appropriate).
With that, onto the interview!
Pixelcave briefly explained and showed the new event. If you have not yet had a chance to encounter the event and want a peak at it, click the link above.
Hi Dennis, hi Matt, thank you so much for taking the time for us today – why don’t we kick things off with you briefly outlining how you are involved with this new event?
I am the Lead Content Designer at Funcom, specifically for Conan. And I was the one that directed the experience and worked with my designers to get it all done.
As you guys know, I’m just generally the Lead Designer on Exiles and actually created the event system that works in the backend to make all these events come to life for you.
Grave Matters Event
Regarding the event, what would you say players can expect and what is it all about?
People are raising the dead. And at the moment you don’t know why. You’re seeing something very unnatural and it’s kind of up to you all to put a stop to that now before it gets too crazy. We can’t have people raising the dead all over the place, that’s just uncouth.
We’ve checked it out of course and indeed, there are plenty of dead as you say. But we were wondering, these mini bosses who seem to raise them, who are they and what do they represent in game?
I’m not going to tell you – because we actually have stuff in game. Go do the event and it’ll give you some hints as to who exactly they are. You will also want to visit our Twitter, some of our fun Marketing and Community people will have put up hints up there as well. It will be really interesting to see what everyone thinks and see where everyone else goes as to what we have planned. It’ll be fun.
Matt is referring to the past teasers that were posted on Twitter. This may continue in the future, but nothing is confirmed for sure on that.
We are sure you are looking forward to seeing players jump into the game and finding these locations. Having players really discover what it is about and to see if they can solve the puzzle and stop the invasion of the dead.
It looks like the events are only active on the map at certain locations. Is there a reason for that?
With Matt integrating with the team, we’re going to see more storytelling and contextualize things happening in the world. The places we put them in would generally have something to do with what’s happening when you stumble upon them. We want to add life to the maps and create experiences you can find without ruining anyone’s building experience or placing unnecessary restrictions on the map. (There is by default a lot of places you can’t build in the game.)
And if we put a whole bunch of events out, we want to make sure people can engage with them. So by using places that already exist we already prevent people from building. We’re not interrupting anyone’s gameplay with that.
And the map markers we can see? That are only showing up very silently, is that as well done by design?
Yes it’s by design. In Exiles, in general, we do our best to avoid using the interface. Like any extra interface elements when it’s not completely necessary. We want the gameplay to speak for itself and be integrated into the world so it becomes part of a natural experience of being an Exile in an Exiles world.
Speaking of the events and what players will get out of them. With our channel, we love everything that has to do with decoration and placeables, and there are some placeables here. What kind of loot can players expect from these encounters?**
There are some new decorations for players as event rewards There is some placeables like a couple of tables and other things, as well as an entire set of armor you can find there.
And for this update we created a chest as part of the event that you can take the loot from. In future events we’re not really planning to use that chest, there’s going to be a new reason to do events later down the road that we’re not talking about now.
But for now, everyone will get loot from that chest if they just come up and find it. If another person completes an event and you stumble into it and find this chest in the world, you can loot that too, there’s not really a necessity for you to be there when the event happens at the moment.
So in other words, everyone that’s in the area can easily grab the loot when they are around or if they do the event themselves.
DENNIS and MATT:
On the topic of mechanics, you said you’ve developed a new chest here which is something you won’t necessarily reuse in the future, but was there are lot of other tech and time going into the mechanics for an event like this?
Just to speak about the chest specifically first, it’s pretty much what you would hear as like personal loot in other games, where everybody that is present gets the chance to get their own loot. So you come up to it once, you interact with it, it closes and then you can’t use it again (it will disappear eventually.) And the other stuff that went on is all the backend that goes into the event system.
Well the event itself is not overly complex, these are all things that players have done before. This one is a little bit focused on combat, breaking stuff down. So the player breaks a thing, so that you can open up a thing, so that you can break another thing. With plenty of bad guys in between to beat up.
We figured for a first event we wouldn’t stretch things too much. This is Conan and beating up bad guys is kind of step one.
Events and the Future
What does this new Event System mean for Conan Exiles? Can we expect more location based mini events like this and similar activities in the future?
The short answer is yes.
The longer answer is, one of the things that we feel will push Conan Exiles forward is making the world feel more alive. If you run around right now, you’ll see that you have people just sitting in their camps. Or occasionally you’ll see a few roamers here and there.
With where we are at with Conan as of today, we feel like we got a pretty good base and now is the time to start expanding. To push that whole immersion of people are doing stuff, that the world isn’t just sitting there waiting for you. Other things are happening and having the player go and explore that, as well as being able to interact with the world as it’s interacting with itself and you.
Directly and indirectly, we feel it’s time for us start pushing in that kind of direction.
So it sounds like you want to go more in the direction of a living world?
That’s the idea, we’re going to see how far we can go with it.
In other games, events are often themed to be seasonal, like linked to real world holidays. Why haven’t we seen such events in Conan Exiles and what philosophy is behind the in-game events we have seen or haven’t seen?
Honestly, the Exiles team has been trying to flesh out the game first. There’s been a lot of foundation that needed to get put in, just to make the game feel very firm before we started moving forward. Now that we’re actually looking at things like events, of going onto this next step of trying to do this sort of living world concept, we are going to look at Conan-themed in-game events going forward.
We’ll be looking at many ideas and seeing how it fits with the Conan lore. What can fit in there, what doesn’t quite work. What other things can we think of that we would want to put in that may or may not necessarily relate to real world events. The world is our oyster at this point and we’re definitely planning on taking advantage of what we can.
I think a key thing to point out here is just the fact that we have Matt on our team now as Lead Content Designer. While we have a lot of content in Exiled Lands and in Siptah, we want to put more content into the game and we are making more content.
And I am happy to be here!
Regarding this specific event; how long can we expect the event to run for? Are there any rewards that are exclusive to this event, like the new cool armor and different placeables? And finally, we’re sure that some might wonder if there will be other ways to get this loot later on, in case can’t play right now or are on vacation?
Well, the event is going to go for about a month – and you know, maybe you people should stop having your real lives and jump into the Conan world. The new rewards will be in the game for the duration of the event and then they are going to go away. I’m not going to say that they are going to be gone forever, there’s a chance they’ll come back – and stay tuned on that.
Dana also said similar a few days ago.
When you guys brainstormed for this specific event, a few other things were also put on the table. You know, have there been any crazy ideas that you’ve decided not to run with this time, any that you can share with us?
Keep in mind that anything we talk about here, may or may not happen, none of what is said is a promise alright?
I talked to the designers, and I kind of let them go wild with some of the ideas that they were going for, and they like themed events. For example, we have a big pile of pirates that are just kind of sitting around doing stuff. And there was a list of things that we wanted to do with them.
We wanted to raid their parties and steal their booze. We wanted to help other people steal their booze. We wanted to join them on a booze cruise – there’s a lot of booze involved. I think the designers were trying to tell me something.
That’s one of our themes again, trying to make the world feel more alive. Let people know that these NPC are there, but they are not just piñatas. The goal is to make it feel alive and make it feel like the NPCs are actually doing things and that they are affecting the world as much as the player is.
And that was just one set of things that we were thinking of. There were some other ones we were looking at exploring, like fighting false gods, And having camps actually fight each other. Or even the stereotypical (if you are watching the Conan movies with Arnold), a big, muscled dude just hanging out in the wilderness, looking over and saying “You know what, my muscles are bigger than yours, I’m pretty sure I can whip your butt!” And having a cool showdown like that.
Keep in mind that we’re going to be paying attention to what players talk about, if you like stuff, tell us. if there are other directions you think that would be super cool, we’re listening. So reach out and let us know!
I know that a lot of people were really disappointed when we got rid of Wild Surges in Siptah. One of the events that we’ve put in that we’re testing right now is one where the Wild Surge comes back and just starts dumping a ton of Stygians into some location on the map. And we had one occur yesterday (during their testing) at the Summoning Place, and it dumped a bunch of Stygians on top of the Darfari. And there was just this gigantic epic battle with NPCs going back and forth fighting each other, trying to kill Matt and I and our thralls all at the same time.
It was absolutely amazing to look at. It was like, one of the intro scenes from one of the Schwarzenegger movies playing out in front of your eyes.
One of the biggest feedback for Siptah was that it felt a bit lifeless, and that there weren’t enough NPCs around. And that’s exactly what you guys actually changed not long ago, when you added all those NPC camps. I felt that players really appreciated that because it made Siptah feel more alive. So hearing that you have plans for more ideas like that, be it in the Exiled Lands or in Siptah, that’s really great and I believe what many in the community would love to see.
We are definitely planning on putting events in both of our maps, that’s one of our goals. And it’s going to be real fun to see how the players react and interact with them. We will definitely be watching very closely.
To that end, there’s actually another really cool part about the event system as well. It’s not going to release for 2.7, but soon there will also be a version of the event system that mod creators can use with the mod devkit.
So you’ll be able to make your own events, hook them up into Funcom’s event system and run mods with custom events running in the server as well.
That’s indeed very interesting news for the modding community. I do love all these ideas you guys have, unfortunately it’s clearly going to take some time to develop new stuff and we’ll have to wait and hold out for updates. But it’s really exciting and we’re looking forward to what the future brings.
These mini bosses, they all seem to be kind of sorcerers, is that a hint at the future?
Well… I have a prepared statement for this. We’re looking at more active storytelling in the Exiled Lands. Anything beyond that, you’ll have to wait and see.
Argh, well, had to try!.
You almost got us!
Hey, solid attempt! I give it an 8.5.
Before we wrap up today, do you have anything else you would like to share with us regarding the event or any other topic?
One of the last things I want to touch on because people are going to be curious. A lot of private server owners will be concerned about whether or not that events have to be a part of the game for them.
Whenever we create new features, we do our best to make them things you can turn on and off. So, the event system will be opt-out. Anyone who’s running like an RP server (and a slew of RP mods) you may not want these Conan the Barbarian themed events in your sandbox. Thus, you can turn it off.
On my end, I just really hope players enjoy the event!
We do, and we’re for sure going to jump in again!
Well, all I can say then is thanks Matt, thanks Dennis, for your time today! We really appreciate you guys meeting with us and answering all our questions. And all the best luck with the future events and what’s coming next!
Happy to be here, thank you!
Yah, thank you!