The Making of Divinity

The Making of Divinity

Those of you still not familiar with
CDV’s upcoming RPG Divine Divinity, developed by Larian Studios, listen up and
pay attention… the scale of this game is only just beginning to be unveiled.
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To get the ball rolling we talked to
both Swen (a.k.a. Lars) – Producer, and Dirk De Boeck (a.k.a. Dante) Lead Story
Programmer, both from Larian Studios, for their take on the making of Divine
Divinity.

HOW DID THE IDEA COME ABOUT? A small
team started working on Divine Divinity (formerly known as Project C and later
Divinity, The Sword of Lies). That was in the beginning of 1999. Then, somewhere
in the summer of 1999, the entire team jumped on it. We started out making an
RPG engine and once we had the core for that, we set out the course for
Divinity. We want to make a role playing game which is very immersive, easy to
get in, easy to control, but which offers you a large variety of options.

Above all of course, it has to be
fun. Another goal is, that we want to create a lasting universe, one to which
players will be attracted, and one that will expand extensively.

An automatic implication of this is
that Divine Divinity is playable in both the hack ‘n slash and the traditional
hardcore RPG way.

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND
DIVINITY?
Biggest inspiration for us all were RPG pioneer games like
Daggerfall – The Elder Scrolls and the Ultima series. Several of our team
members being tabletop RPG players we were looking for an even better CRPG game
play experience we could nowhere find… hence, why not making it ourselves? On
the other hand, we do not want players to spend hours of time looking for clues,
so we made a game for the "MTV generation": a fast paced story, filled
with action. We felt that this is the right choice, when we played games like
Diablo which is very hero centered, and where strength and skill development of
the player character is primordial.

Conclusion: intensive gameplay
because we make a subtle mix of the best the existing CRPG world has to offer
and because we add elements to it that make the Divinity world more real:
improved interactivity with the world, better fighting AI, genuine reactions of
people you encounter.

SINCE WE ARE INTERESTED IN THE
MAKING OF DIVINITY, LETS LOOK AT CERTAIN ASPECTS. FOR EXAMPLE, YOU CREATED A
GAME WITH THE GRAPHICS RESOLUTION HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER RPG GAME. WHAT WENT INTO
THAT?
Several reasons apply when not going for the higher resolutions. Most
important ones: games using fixed perspective and pre-rendered animations
require a powerful PC if you want to get 40 fps (frames per second) in 1024×768,
especially if the creatures are big and a lot of magic effects can splatter
across your screen. So, if you want to target a broad public you are usually
forced to go back to 800×600.

We solved this by allowing the game
to be run in 3 resolutions: 640×480, 800×600 and 1024×768, at the cost of extra
work for graphics (all user interface plates like the character selection
screen, the diary screen, etc…) need to be made in 3 versions, each tailored
one of the resolutions, scripted scenes that happen in game need to fit the 3
screen sizes and a difficult exercise arises when dealing with the range of
sight of the player character: the player is always in the middle of the screen
and we cover the parts of the screen that are outside his seeing range. Now, if
you take the 640×480 screen defining the seeing limit, a big part of your screen
will be black when playing in 1024×768, if doing it the other way around, the
player can see a lot of things that cannot be shown on screen. We solve a big
part of this by overlaying a minimap, which shows the important things that fall
outside the 640×480 screen and that still can be seen by the player. Last reason
why to support 1024×748 is that a game of this type running this resolution can
be appreciated well only on 19" screens and above, and such screens are
becoming more commonly available in everyone’s PC budget only since recently.

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So you see that the pedigree and
motivation is there, as well as the technological know how.

But going back to the Making Of
Divinity, in terms of the intricate characters and world, every single character
and backdrop in the World of Divine Divinity has been scaled and modelled in 3D
to perfection before they are incorporated into the game. Don’t believe me?
Check out the link below to get new exclusive screenshots on the development and
3D modelling of characters. Of course the development process is far more
complicated, but at least you’ll get an idea of just how extreme and serious
Larian Studios are in bringing the World an exceptional RPG videogame.

In the past RPG videogames always
had nice backdrops that are good to look at but not in any way interactive. Over
the years developers have followed this rule and gamers just grew to accept it.
"So what if I can’t take the shiny crystal in the corner? I’ll just play
along on this linear quest…etc."

Larian Studios don’t believe this to
be the future for RPG’s, in fact to hell with the rule book…..wouldn’t it be
cool for once if an RPG was truly interactive? Stop wishing and start
believing…..click on the link below to view Larian’s perspective on just how
interactive an RPG should be.

http://www.larian.com/Site/english/divinity/special_01.html