Warhorse Studios Weekly Torch


#1

Ahoj and welcome to the Weekly Torch, your weekly inside look at the Warhorse Studios team.
Every Friday in this thread you will find an interview with one member of Warhorse Studios regarding his or her work on Kingdom Come Deliverance.

Here you will find a spanish translation :es:byOscar Gómez.

The Weekly Torch is an open forum for all questions, if you want to know more about the team or the development of Kingdom Come Deliverance you’re welcomed to visit this thread. We will collect your questions and ask the interviewed Warhorsian again.

#Navigation:
1# Jakub “Kuba” Holik, 3D Lead Artist
2# Ondřej “Bít’a” Bittner, Designer
3# Tomáš “Vegeta” Plch, AI Programmer
4# Marek “Hitman” Černý, Quality Assurance
5# Martin “Athert” Antoš, Scripter
6# Adam J. Sporka, Adaptive Music Designer
7# David „Yeenke“ Jankes, Senior Character Artist
8# David Sarkisjan, Animator
9# Petr “Pepe” Pekař, Cinematic Designer
10# Josef “Pepa” Vítek, Marketing Manager
11# Gabrielle “Brie” Adams, Environment Artist
12# Petr “Baz” Ondráček, Senior Technical Designer
13# Václav Prchlík, Video Editor
14# Prokop “Proky” Filcík, Quality Assurance
15# Tomáš Duchek, Concept Artist
16# Tomáš Kozlik, Senior Animator
17# Daniel Vávra, Creative Director
18# Vojtech “Vojta” Nedved, Sound Designer
19# Michal “Mikee” Hapala, Senior Programmer
20# Joukejan “Jouke” Timmermans, Environment Artist
21# Jaroslav “Jantoš” Antoš, Quality Assurance
22# Joanna “Asia” Nowak, Historical Consultant
23# Silvia Wipfler, German Translator
24# Martin “Ziggi” Ziegler, Technical Designer
25# Luke Dale, Actor
26# Viktor Podhájecký, AI Programmer
27# Jan “Smejki” Smejkal, Scripter/Designer
28# Jakub Rous, Environment Artist
29# Prokop Jirsa, Designer
30# Tomáš “Bary” Barák, Programmer
31# Pavel Beskyd, 2D Artist
32# Tereza “Fura” Semecká, Scripter
33# Luboš Suk, Quality Assurance
34# Martin “Šouris” Šourek, Tool Programmer
35# Jiří “J.R.” Rýdl, Marketing Manager
36# Conor Doyle, Animator
37# Michal Bartoň, Senior Programmer
38# Alisa Zavodina, Scripter
39# Petr “Hudy” Hudeček, Quality Assurance
40# Jan “Bodkin” Němec, Game Designer
41# Karel “pan Tau” Taufman, Animator
42# Martin Klekner, Lead Cinematic Designer
43# Tobias “Tobi” Stolz-Zwilling, PR Manager
44# Anna Pačesová, Environment Artist
45# Vaclav “Wenceslaus” Fliegel, Quality Assurance
46# David Horák, Designer
47# Daniel Mikeš, Technical Designer
48# Michal Hoz, Character Artist
49# Gábor “Cuman” Molnár, Programmer
50# Petr Smrček, AI Programmer
51# Peter Novák, Quality Assurance
52# Christian “Dr. Fusselpulli” Piontek, Community Manager
53# Mikuláš “Miki” Podprocký, Art Director
54# Martin Labut`, Scripter
55# Jan “Honza” Kudrnáč, Environment Artist
56# Matouš Verner, Voice Editor
57# Darina “Vladimirovna” Polevyk, Quality Assurance
58# Jakub Guman, Designer
59# Dominik Roháček, Programmer
60# Jasmin Mastnak, International Marketing Manager
61# Samuel “Samy” Clarisse, French Translator
62# John Comer, Designer
63# Jan Milík, Programmer
64# Melissa Fionda, Character Artist
65# Petr Malác, Scripter
66# Rick Lagnese, Community Manager
67# Jan “Detective” Rücker, Quality Assurance
68# Viktor Bocan, Design Lead
69# Jan “Honza” Valta, Music Composer
70# Henrieta Vajsabelova, Environment Artist
71# Martin Strnad, Designer
72# Ondřej Stuchl, Quality Assurance
73# Josef Vachek, Scripter
74# Ondřej Štorek, Programmer
75# Tomáš “Woody” Blaho, Lead Programmer
76# Martin Klíma, Executive Producer


Where we can find the dev blog?
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
Weekly Torch - Spanish version discussion and comments
Weekly Torch - Edición en Español
Ahoi...Kauf, bin noch unentschlossen
Been waiting a month for a reply to my email from Christian
#2

#3

Jakub “Kuba” Holik is the Lead Environment Artist at Warhorse Studios. Born on 12.7.1986 in Czech Republic, he joined the Studio in 2013 and after two years became the head of the department. He and his team are responsible for the 3D visuals of Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Lighting effects, weather effects and the beautiful landscape of Kingdom Come: Deliverance are just few great features already implemented into the game.
Do you have any additional questions regarding him and/or his work? Just ask here!

1) Where can we usually find you lurking in the holy halls of Warhorse?
In its darkest dungeon.

2) How did you hear about Warhorse? How/When did you join?
The year was 2012. Early spring, leaves just started to appear on the trees. I was full of hopes and ideals. I heard about some Czech studio developing a great looking game. At that time I was looking for a better job and was working on my portfolio quite a lot so I felt confident enough to apply. Three weeks after sending the letter I got response and received a test. Did that and waited. After two months I received an answer that they might be able to employ me in another three months. I was already employed elsewhere by then. It was fun.

3) Describe your position. What is it about being a 3D Lead Artist?
I am supposed to be the Lead environment artist and a support/tech artist to some degree.
It’s about the pain of forgetting one’s artistic skills and becoming a (not really) glorified assistant.

4) Ever worked on videogames before?
Soon after school I started my apprenticeship in an outsourcing company near my hometown.
I learned to work efficiently and fast there. Soon after I moved to Craneballs studios. We were working on mobile titles there, though the guys moved to PC titles after I left and are working on Planet Nomad now (something like No man’s sky with an actual game in it :stuck_out_tongue: ) I haven’t been there long because by the time I got in the long application procedure to Warhorse was already on.

5) Which job would you not want to do?
Probably design. I would have to work with designers. :smile: Just kidding, they’re cool.

6) Please describe Warhorse Studios.
The atmosphere is usually pleasant. Humid enough. Occasionally the air conditioning stops working and then it’s bad.

7) Please describe one of your colleagues or your department.
Our department consists purely of humans. However we are the most gender balanced and multiculti team here.

8) What is your favorite team activity?
Is drinking beer considered a team activity?

9) Describe your usual day at the studio.
I have multiple things in progress almost all the time, so in the morning I have things to do from the day before. I delve into it, but usually not for long. Stuff always breaks or is needed so I start running around to find out what exactly and why. If it’s somewhat technical I look into it myself, if it’s too technical it goes to programmers and in case it’s about assets or level and needs to look pretty it goes to artists.
Other than that I’m trying to ensure the team delivers in the end, so it’s a constant battle with designers and their crazy ideas while defending our crazy ideas against the programmers. I also spend some time being desperate, thinking about optimizations. Occasionally I try to do some art as well and am immediately interrupted by issues, though I managed to squeeze something in just recently. And it felt gooood.

10) What are you currently working on?
At the moment we’re finishing a milestone so I’m running around more than usual. A lot of work surfaces at times like this and it needs to be assigned. Also a loads of bugs or problems is being discovered and we need to deal with them. To be specific our bushes had bigger collisions than is needed, reflections on metallic surfaces are washed out from certain angles and cutscene stage in city baths needs some facelift so I’m tackling those at the moment. I’ll be filling some rules to our brand new automatic mapping system (only an internal tool for debug) or taking a look into some distant vistas issues next.

11) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
Well for sure nothing is solely my accomplishment. Game development is a team venture so everything is touched by more than one person. That said one thing I’m really glad we have is a comprehensive and deterministic lighting and weather setup. From when I started working on it till now we’re still using values derived from the real world and it makes the work so much easier. It might be harder to get the first plausible results as there are many factors that contribute to the final image and it’s easy to use something you shouldn’t to get what you want. But, when you get familiar with it and understand the system it becomes very easy to change anything and it’s priceless when you’re doing dynamically changing weather in an open world environment. Cryengine tools are actually great for it.

12) Why do you think it’s the most important part or thing in the game?
Well, the gameplay of course.

13) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Probably the fact that it’s not another “save the world” power fantasy bullshit. Also I’m getting tired of filtering stupidity from many other games with Dadaistic twists and plot holes.
Not so long ago I actually stopped playing a game, because the story was too idiotic. I sincerely hope, that we are going to deliver something better in this regard. I’d much rather watch The Wire than CSI, if you know what I mean.

14) How, when and with what did you first get acquainted with videogames?
The first was probably legendary Russian game “Nu Pagadi!” where you’re catching eggs to a basket using four buttons.

15) What was your best/saddest/happiest, most touching video game moment?
Hmm, I don’t think I have “that moment”. Nothing that got stuck for long, but recently my miner Evanschild the Brave in Rimworld battled the plague for half a year only to get eaten by cougar the day he developed immunity. That was a very sad moment for me and the whole colony.

16) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
Male human rogue.

17) Which videogame character are you?
Male human rogue.

18) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Well I played “Rimworld” and “Path of Exile” many times. Though that’s the point of these games, isn’t it? I’ve never played a story game twice.

19) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
Just now while playing Deus Ex I must say I would really like to see a stealth game that is about stealth. Not about subduing every single NPC in the level. Takedowns kills stealth. The loot as well. I mean my objective is to get somewhere/something and it would make absolute sense not to kill anyone and do it fast, but in reality I’m sweeping the whole level for loot and XPs fromenemies. It’s fun to some degree as well, but it could be much better.
But in general I enjoy deep sandbox games more, though they need to have clear goal.

20) Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?
Definitely something in KCD :slight_smile:

21) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
I have a way of losing my tickets to hype trains.

22) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
Mostly games. But I like to grab a beer with friends a lot or do some sportsy stuff now and then.

23) A personal story? About a brother, sister, partner, single?
Well I think I have to mention our historian is my girlfriend. We met in Poland while I was volunteering there as a party planner. She was finishing her studies of art history and architectural conservation so I kidnapped her to Czech Republic.
Then I started working in Warhorse and the need to employ someone with her skill arose. She is super competent in the field and also speaks about five languages, so I was sure she’s the one for the job, but I didn’t want to encourage nepotism. So she applied through official channels and I had to pretend we didn’t know each other when she came for an interview. Word got out before it was over but still it was fun.

24) Your favorite music/Spotify playlist
I like guitar rock like Wolfmother or Black keys, but also more soothing stuff like Sufjan Stevens. Darwin Deez is also cool and witty. I learned to like Philip Glass. But to be honest I haven’t listened to music much in the past year, dunno why. As a kid my favorite album was death metal symphony in deep c “Yeah! Yeah! Die! Die!” by Waltari. It’s still awesome and everybodyshould check it out. To sum it up I like original or raw stuff.

25) Your favorite movie/book?
The book that will be etched to my mind forever is “1984”. It’s the best book in almost all top 10s and it’s indeed where it belongs. Recently I’m exploring cyberpunk novels. As for movies, there’s a tie between “Fifth element” and “Moulin Rouge”. Both are great, innovative formalistic gems of their time.

26) What species is your spirit animal?
Tarsier, I’m cancer, my stone is heliodor, I drink diamond water for breakfast and keep away from chemtrails. Seriously, what question is this?

27) Your travel tip?
I really liked the mountains of Monte Negro. But everywhere is nice.

28) Sport is…
Anything you can play with your hands in your pockets. Except table football, but you could potentially play that with your feet in your pocket so it’s not such a stretch.

29) What’s your guilty pleasure?
I admitted to liking Moulin Rouge, didn’t I? It’s only guilty if you feel guilty :wink:

30) What was your greatest mistake?
To go pee after peeling two sacks of hot peppers during a summer job in a mental hospital’s kitchen.

31) What will be your famous last words?
AAAARRGHH!

32) Do you believe in aliens?
Sure, the universe should be big enough for them to exist.

33) How do you like living in the Czech Republic?
Quite a lot.

34) If you could fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck, which would you choose?
Depends on my loadout.

35) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school?
History was for sure one of my least favorite subjects. Maybe chemistry was the worst. I hate data, I like relations. Though both of these subjects can be taught with emphasis to relations, they weren’t at any school I attended.

36) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance,
what would it be?
Hi.

If you have any questions for Jakub “Kuba” Holik and/or his work, please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#4

#5

#7

Today it is time for Jakub to answer your community questions, here are his answers:

Hi Waldkauz, yes the bushes will indeed be obstacles. At least their centers.

As for the funniest idea… it actually came from one of you guys and it was so good that we had to implement it. It’s a special saving token. I don’t wanna spoil it completely, so you’ll have to wait to find out what is :wink:

Hi Feek, thanks, glad you like it.
As for the fog, it’s already in beta. At least the very basic depth based fog. That said our current build uses the volumetric fog and it looks great, but it has some issues so I can’t make a promise it will make it to the final version. My guess is there’s about 80% chance it will work on PC. On consoles we have to take into account the performance impact so it will be clearer after most of the optimizations are done. Luckily most of it is computed off the main thread, so there’s a chance.Enabling and disabling certain particles is part of the weather system. It might be based on many different factors. It is already tested and we’re ready to create effects like dust lifting from the roads during hot days, water dripping from roofs while it’s raining or leaves falling off the trees when the wind is strong. It’s one of the last layers of polish we want to make.

Hi Blacksmith,
yeah, that’s on our heads. If you see a coin that you can use to pay for stuff, or a piece of bread that you could eat they should be pickable. When we are creating the level however, we’re mostly concerned with looks so it can happen that we put somewhere a non-interactive version of something. Rest assured we will deal with those trolling pieces of geometry. Some very real limits for the number of etities are truly there, but everything will be consistent. (Except maybe couple of quest specific interactions)

Regarding clothes I can’t really tell you anything, because it is between character artists and programmers.

Greetings Urquhart,
the performance is mostly unchanged during different weather conditions. When it starts raining the shaders gets a tad heavier, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue. The amount of tree bending has no effect on the performance. It’s only a matter of the stiffness of that particular tree type and the wind velocity. As it is now, the wind speed spans between 0 and about 16m/s. We’re in the middle of Europe in a country surrounded by mountains, on the other hand the turn of the 14. and 15. century was supposed to have pretty crazy weather, so I might make it a bit more extreme.


#8

Ondřej “Bít’a” Bittner was born in Prague and joined Warhorse Studios team shortly after the Kickstarter campaign in 2014. He is part of the design team and therefore he is responsible for writing the story for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, designing quests and writing dialogues. Meet the star of our ARMOR & RPG video.
Do you have any additional questions regarding him and/or his work? Just ask here!

1) Where can we usually find you lurking in the holy halls of Warhorse?
Cursing at the coffee machine in the kitchen! That damn thing always wants to refill coffee beans, water or to clean up. If there is a robot uprising our coffee machine will be their leader.

2) How did you hear about Warhorse? How did you join?
A friend of mine, who is studying history at Charles University heard about the game and checked up Warhorse website. Position were open for designers so we applied. Then I waited for a long time before I heard back from Warhorse. Then we talked in autumn 2013 and I joined the team shortly after kickstarter in 2014.

3) Ever worked on videogames before?
I actually never worked in a video game industry. The only experience with designing games root from my very old passion for pen and paper rpgs. Later I got into larping scene and created few larps. So when I heard about opportunity to work on a videogame I felt this is finally an option to do what I like and get paid for it :wink:

4) Describe your usual day at the studio?
It depends on the development stage. Back in the old days I spent most of the day brainstorming with other designers. Pitching ideas for quests and coming up with crazy features. Then there was a long period of writing, writing and more writing. And today I spent most of the day talking to scripters, playing quests, fixing things, reporting bugs and so on. Also I got my taste of managing translations, and playing other “supportive” roles.

5) What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a really long quest that involves some underground time. And it turns out that realistic silver mine layout is way more confusing than your regular rpg dungeon. I mean I keep getting lost in it and cannot find a way out. Last time I played the quest I fell in the mining shaft and starved to death :wink:

6) What do you like most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Simple. It is different than any other game out there.

7) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
My cousin’s PC. I was probably 5. I do not know what type it was but if I have to guess I would say it was 386.

8) What was your best/saddest/happiest, most touching video game moment?
When I got my first PC a friend of my dad installed there a few games. But nobody told me how to control them or how to play them and they were of course in English. So every time I figured out something it was a shower of joy. For example, I played countless games of Civilization without the knowledge how to build roads or irrigation.
One time I randomly pressed “R” when my settler was focused. I ran around the house for like ten minutes screaming “I know how to build roads!”. Though life of the offline gaming kid!

8) Which videogame character or figure is the best? Why?
Gordon Freeman and Артём (Artyom) from Metro series. Why? Because they don’t say a word and you still kinda feel like they are alive.

9) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
Male, human and then mage or rogue. I like to surprise my enemies!

10) Which videogame character are you?
Vernon Roche! Or at least I wish :wink:

11) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Heroes of might and magic series. I played a lot of that especially 2, 3 and 4. I am seriously addicted to old Transport Tycoon. I played Fallout 1 and 2 multiple times as well as Baldur’s Gate 2. All of these games sticked with me for years.

12) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
I am generally not looking forward to games. Last I did it was Witcher 3 and it surely did not disappoint me. But I have big issues with some sequels, like Mass Effect 2 and 3. I played through them but in the middle of the ME2 I got bored, but I kept going because you want to finfish. So playing ME3 was a real test of patience for me.

13) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I like to sleep mostly. Or to drink beer with friends. These two often combine into an unexpected result.

14) Your favorite movie/book?
Ogniem I mieczem / With fire and sword – the movie. Seriously this 4-hour polish gem is the definition of epic in the eastern Europe. It has everything a man can want. Main hero is a dude of dudes, but he is also a polish noble so you know – HONOR! A love of his life is beautiful and absolutely useless. She is dragged through half of Ukraine by various people but she is always a captive in some sort. It has an old drunkard who can throw chickens as a weapon of choice and can outdrink ANY problem he encounters. A master fencer who can whip his moustache so fast it emits radiation! A gigantic strongman who can wield old rusty greatsword from Grunwald by one hand and is on the quest to behead three pagans in one swing. A sexually confused khan of Crimean tartars and a lots of hussars who are epic, winged and super-lethal unless, you know – bad weather. And of course my favourite – Cossacks. Fearless bunch of madmen who dances into battlehalf-naked and their only concern is to look rude and badass. If you have not already – watch this!

15) What species is your spirit animal?
A purple-dyed crossover between panda and a unicorn. It is called violent pandacorn!

16) Sport is:________?
Rugby! Though game for proper gentleman. I do love to play (though I am still bit afraid) and it is super fun to watch once you got through the shear britishnes of the rules.

17) What’s your guilty pleasure?
“The tribe has spoken.” I will not reveal more out of the fear of public lynching.

18) Do you believe in Aliens?
They are the only explanation why most of the Tumblr exists.

19) What is your kryptonite?
Any cringe compilation on Youtube. I have to really focus on “not jumping from nearest window” to get through them.

20) What is your weakest trait?
Sometimes I am obnoxiously lazy. To the point I think that there could be no lazier person in the time and space continuum.

21) If you could fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck, which would you choose?
Did anyone else forgot their medication today? Or am I reading this wrong? But, what the hell let’s delve into it. When you take it from purely practical perspective a 100 duck sized horses cannot attack you at the same time. There is simply not enough space around you for all of them. Then considering that 100 duck-sized horses have equal mass as a 1 horse-size duck and given that their only way how to harm you is to collide with you a 100 duck-sized horses cannot use all of their mass against you. That is a simple solution to the problem but obviously it is not about that. There are deeper questions we can ask.
So let me ask our readers and spark a discussion because until this issue reaches public frequencies it will burry our minds forever. Here are the underlying questions everyone omits. Why do we fight duck-sized horses and horse-sized ducks? Is our hatred for their kinds an evolutionary property of mankind? Is duckism and horsism a social construct and a post-colonialism issue we have to deal with to keep our democratic society intact? Does it root from our unsatisfied sexual desires? What does bible say about swarms of duck-sized horses? What would Santa do? Can I have more medicine?

22) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you? Which weapon do you choose and why?
For some time I did reenactment of the musketeer in 30th year war. So if I have to pick from the medieval era I would stick with some type of 15th century firearm. These older types are a lot of fun to play with (do not try that at home)!

23) Knights or Samurai?
Are you serious with this one?

24) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school? What were your grades in history?
Elementary - I was pretty nerdy so I liked all of them. High school – I liked most of them but I found my secret hatred for Civic education. This is a subject where you learn what are your civic rights and duties (mostly) as a citizen of Czech Republic. And as for grades? I don’t remember them. It is a form of self-censorship because I consider myself to be quite smart but my grades sometimes did not show for it as I refused to learn things I was not interested in. That type of thinking was in reality a decoy planted by my consciousness to hide my super lazy inner me.

25) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
Read Matthew 6:10!

If you have any questions for Ondřej “Bít’a” Bittner and/or his work, please ask here!


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
Weekly Torch - Edición en Español
#9

And now it is time for Ondřej to answer your community questions. Here are his answers:

I never kept books on that but for your sake I did a little research and I have found out I did about 20%. But not all quests are equal important, long, difficult to write so at the end of the day it is not the most precise metric :slight_smile:

Romantic as in sense of love, flowers and hearts – none. I always had trouble writing up plotlines that involved lovers and romance. Romantic as in sense of good old times, honor and knightly valor – very much. But medieval world is much grimmer than fairy tales are telling us but sometimes some “chivalric” thing peaks through the veil. As for humor and surprise I am not really good at evaluating this. I mean I’ll leave this to the players.

Well, I knew PR guys are coming so I did a little tidying up. As for today my desk contains following objects:
Sprite plastic bottle
Orangina bottle
Some change (different currencies)
Wallet
Sunglasses
Keys
Stickets
Books
Dice
Large headphone jack adapter

Yes.

Q: “Would you rather fight a 100-duck
sized … “
A:
“For gods sakes, shut the f*ck up …”

Well I dipped my toes in many, many genres – not every pRPG and larp I played has fantasy setting. My pRPG group played many fantasy games for sure but we also played a WWII – Inglorious bastard – styled game, game from a Firefly universe, contemporary detective games about a special unit for occult crimes and so on.

So, I am not entirely used to have magic as plot driver. On the other hand there are a lot of challenges for a game designer in a medieval setting. For example everything is very slow in middle ages. Common people do not bother about questions like “What time is it” so setting up meeting an NPC is rather complicated. Overall there is a completely different mentality back than and it’s a very daring task to try and replicate it.

No, not really, most of us play by the book from the very beginning. However when issues are raised by our in-house historian we try to come up with solution that would make sense from a historical point of view. And from my experience
we often find out something cool and unexpected which satisfies the historical needs and also improves the quest.

At the beginning someone usually came with an idea that we discussed. The we braintstormed it for a little while and came up with concept. Than someone (usually the person that came with the original idea) writes the quest dialogues and describes gameplay further.

No not really. I certainly thought that it would be cool but there is not a lot oppurtunities regarding game designer positions in Czech Rep. So I was not after this type of job. Whats cool? You get to do what is your passion – games. And it sucks at the same time, cause sometimes I fear that working in video game industry might spoil my joy from
games.

Well we did not know anything about mechanics. It was before kickstarter so I did not even know what type of rpg it
would be. So in a sense it was purely about the story and not about gameplay stuff – which was probably on purpose :wink:

I do love brainstorming, especially in the early phase when it’s not about solving a problem but more about creating
something. And as for compromises. Sometimes we walked from the table satisfied and if not Dan will usually settle any disputes by having a final word on everything that goes.

Tricky question. I often feel like I cannot but Dan sometimes surprises me and takes my numerous complaints in account :slight_smile:

I did like Witcher 2, almost all of the quests. And what usually attracts me is some interesting story. The gameplay can be mundane but when its wrapped in shiny packaging I’ll be happy to take it.

Uh … not really :slight_smile:

Me. Without a doubt.

Give me my sabre, my horse a jug of krupnik and set me loose. 1648 Ukraine and the Khmelnytsky uprising of Cossacks would be my dream project. Also I am a huge fan of cyberpunk so anything blade-runnerish is ok.

Not really but I feel that it is inevitable.

I don’t know what you mean by “secret operations” but the everyday life is somehow described however it can obviously be always better (basically – we need time machines)

Well we need to stick to the central plotline and historical facts. We have a sort of advantage cause we do not need to check ourselves for “too much” regarding “magic and unnatural topics”.


#10

Tomáš “Vegeta” Plch is the Senior AI Programmer at Warhorse Studios and he was born in Slovakia.
He studied Computer Sciences at Charles University and joined the Studio in 2012, shortly after it was created. His PhD thesis is based on the work of the Kingdom Come Deliverance’s AI Engine.

Do you have any additional questions regarding him and/or his work? Just aks here!

1) Where can we usually find you lurking in the holy halls of Warhorse?

AI Department, almost at the edge of known space. We are the ones everybody blames for everything going wrong :slight_smile:

2) How did you hear about Warhorse? When did you join?

Actually everything started as a collaboration between the AMIS research group I was part of and Warhorse back in 2012. Warhorse hoped to do most of the open world stuff with the CryEngine’s AI and we were called in to do some “academic based enhancements”. There were 4 of us, doing different fields of research. One of us departed to IBM, the second one went to do more research in his field, and only I stayed, later joined by another colleague who did his research and went on to do brain scans on rats. So after doing some research on site at WH, I came to the conclusion that doing a high level resource distribution system was not the thing they needed to make the world look alive. CryEngine AI was simply too FPS oriented, not being very life like.
So I offered WH to stay, got my PhD thesis based on the work at WH approved and started to build the later called “Inception” AI Engine. Most of the core ideas went from my master thesis, but we put a lot of novel stuff (there are even articles about it) into Inception. Anyhow, building an AI Engine from scratch is a pretty insane task for one person, so we started to build a dedicated AI team. Now we are at 5 people strength trying to get all those NPCs under control.

3) Describe your position. What is it about being a AI programmer?

A lot of programming, a lot of meetings about ideas and issues. A lot of blame for stuff not working as “expected”. In the earlier days, it was a lot of meetings and a lot of programming, now it’s less meetings and more programming.

4) Ever worked on videogames before?

Before I joined WH I did only smaller games, either for my own entertainment or just to get some skill. Some projects were for research. During my studies, I made like 2-3 games but then went for a year to do research for IBM on Skype (voice recognition and synthesis). Anyhow, after that, I did some software that possibly landed somewhere in a Sun corporate repository. It was about tracking and logging servers on a large scale. After that, I ended up in serious games research, we did some connecting Half Life, Unreal and VBS (serious version of Arma) into one interconnected world. After that, I started a drone research program at the faculty doing some haptic responsive controls and immersive flying for Quadrotors. But the academic will to do research in this area was not that big and so it went dormant. The military was interested, but they tend to avoid paying any good gold. Anyhow, after that I got into a different area of work which where I met various people and traveled to interesting places. When I got back from, the WH opportunity appeared and the rest is history.

5) Which job would you not want to do? Why?

Any form of repetitive and boring job. Boredom drives me crazy over time.

6) Please describe Warhorse Studios:

That depends on the day and stress level. Most of it is collaborative and productive. But when some nasty bug goes around it gets stressful and people tend to be more short-fused. Doing stuff with some people for several years day in and day out shapes some of the relations like in a family. Anyhow, working at Warhorse is to work with a lot of enthusiastic people who want to do their job as best as possible.

7) Please describe one of your colleagues or your department:

They do an amazing job at what they do. Every one of them. They are very motivated and well skilled.

8) What is your favorite team activity?

There are not many, we go play soccer once a week, sometimes go to a pub. We also went to a gym with some guys to put the stress into some metal, but you know, getting up at 6AM to get to the gym is tiresome.

9) Describe your usual day at the studio?

Come to work, have coffee, fix stuff that is broken, think of new stuff to break, go to lunch, break some stuff, put new stuff in, test it, argue about some stuff on a meeting. In the early days, a lot of my time was about meetings, mostly to argue about how to do something in a certain way. Now days it’s more or less about getting things optimized, making stuff work for the final game. Its less experimental and more to the point.

10) What are you currently working on? (please describe)

A lot of stuff, I alternate between our Asynchronous Animation System for NPCs and Combat Movement. Recently we added Adaptive Animations so NPCs are more fluid in their actions in respect to the environment. Also doing some low level optimizations. The Combat Movement is a constant struggle to get it to look good, be tacticool and be computable.

11) What are some of your notable accomplishments?

Most of the stuff we do is a collaborative effort, so I’m really proud on how “the AI Team” managed to get a completely new AI Engine up and running within the game in like 2-3 years. It’s a huge amount of work that works most of the time. Personally, the biggest accomplishment is to not go crazy from all the work.

12) Why do you think it’s the most important part or thing in the game?

To be fun and rewarding for the player. Boredom is the worst that can happen.

13) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?

The idea of an open world that is filled with NPC that are adapting to the situation the player creates. I like the idea of NPCs having a personalized agenda that can be explored by observing them.

14) How, when and with what game did you first get acquaintedwith videogames?

I think it was 1988 on a ZX Spectrum. I remember playing the Pooyan game a lot. I still can remember the music from it.

15) What was your best/saddest/happiest, most touching video game moment?

Best moment was to see the intro to Dawn of War 1, because Im a W40k fan. Saddest moment was when my Dungeon Keeper 2 crashed in the final mission. Happiest moments are when I play Heroes of the Storm with some of my colleagues and we steamroll it.

16) Which videogame character or figure is the best? Why?

Reaper from Dungeon Keeper 2. Horns and Scythe…

17) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?

Paladin, Male, either tank or armored character. Never liked squishy characters.

18) Which videogame character are you?

Assault Terminator Space Marine in Dawn of War 2

19) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?

Heroes of the Storm and Dawn of War 1 & 2

20) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?

Dawn of War 3

21) Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?

The Sins of Solar Empire game did slow down over time. So when we played during the night into the morning, it got desynchronized and it ruined the multiplayer…

22) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?

I never ride the hype train…

23) How do you relax after a hard day at work?

Go to the gym with my GF, read a good book or go to my workshop and fiddle with my guns.

24) A personal story?

I tell all my stories after a good set of beers.

25) Your favorite music/Spotify playlist

Broad music spectrum, Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed, Lindsey Stirling, M83, Aurora, Sia. Heavily depends on the mood,.

26) Your favorite movie/book?

Books – Snow Crash, Diamond Age, Neuromancer, Flight of the Eisenstein (all of Horus Heresy series), Guards!Guards! (all of Discworld Series), Foundation series of books…
Movies – Apollo 13, We Were Soldiers, Matrix, New Superman and Batman movies, Garden State, Underworld, Forest Gump

27) What species is your spirit animal?

Rhino

28) Your travel tip?

South East Asia, if you wanna do some nice diving do to Malaysia.

29) Sport is:________?

… relaxing

30) What’s your guilty pleasure?

Cordite, also known as smokeless powder.

31) What was your greatest mistake?

Not confronting some people about stuff that need sorting out.

32) Do you have a Bucket List? (things to do before you die)

Sure, everybody does.

33) What will be your famous last words?

No last words…

34) Do you believe in aliens?

NASA did already find some evidence of microbiological life on Mars, so aliens are a fact.

35) What is your kryptonite?

Blunt and sharp objects to the head. The most common thing.

36) How do you like living in the Czech Republic?

There are worse places to live, places where a human life has no value. In Prague, beer is good, girls have short skirts and people are relatively careless about what you do.

37) What is your weakest trait?

I hold grudges

38) If you could fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck, which would you choose?

Depends if their strength would change proportionally with their size.

39) Who is your favorite historic character?

Never had one. Is that mandatory?

40) Which is your favorite historic event?

Apollo 11 landing on the Moon.

41) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you? Which weapon do you choose? Why?

German Merceneries were cool with their halberds. They were very effective.

42) Knights or Samurai?

Viking

43) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school? What were your grades in history?

School was long ago and fun…

44) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?

Do not ride the hype train…on any game.

If you have any question for Tomáš “Vegeta” Plch and/or his work, please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#11

See the answers of Tomáš “Vegeta” Plch from your questions now here:

There are many. The most fun stuff is when NPC’s start acting up, like orbiting other NPCs, playing silly animations or some physics acting poorly. One time the horse, when it hit water after death, flew away. Or the sheep drowning in a lake one by one.

It depends on the technical designers and how many they can script. From an AI standpoint, there is no limit :slight_smile:

[quote=“kaiman, post:31, topic:29619”]
Even after nearly 25 years, Ultima VII is still my reference in open world NPC behaviour. Why is it that modern games constantly fail to achieve this level in simulating a living and breathing world (Dwarf Fortress aside)? Will KC:D do any better?[/quote]

To be honest, I never played the Ultima series, so I cannot put that reference in perspective. The problem in simulating a believable world is imho, the “Uncanny valley” problem. The graphics get so real that we naturally are more and more frustrated by the little indifference’s from real life behaviors. There is also the problem with an exponential growth of the possibilities when new stuff, NPC capabilities, etc are introduced. Lastly, the issue is computational power. More and more complex stuff requires a lot of computational power and the problems tend to explode (in a mathematical sense).
Why is KC:D better? We try to attempt a different approach to various stuff other games either did not do or did not manage to complete. We try to mimic various stuff that is present in our minds about our own thinking (humans thinking about thinking humans :slight_smile: ). There are many novel things we came up with. You can read some of it up even in scientific articles we published. Anyhow, the problem with an open world is the actual contrast with it being a game and being a fun game.

As for being better, it really depends on what you compare it to. Commonly, AI in a shooter game is different from an open world AI.

Grey Knights, DeathWatch, Soul Drinkers, Imperial Fists

About the, “Far Away NPC” – our LOD system is rather complicated. Technical details may be boring, but there are two plains of LOD – a soft and a hard LOD. A soft LOD is script based, where our decision-making system tells the scripter the NPC is being LOD’ed thus he can change the structure of its behavior. The Hard LOD is at the level of the actual low level execution which is changed in respect to the LOD (NPCs stop playing animations and only execute effects, movement is more “teleport like” etc). But all in all, the NPC have all their abilities, they only “shut them down if not needed”.

NPCs are a complicated thing; they are actually very generic on the highest level of their decision making. The NPC fetches information from its relation to places and stuff in the world and from its schedule (which is a combination of a preset schedule and an emergent patching system). The NPCs can request a behavior injection from the environment, items, quests (intellect displacement) etc. which make it smarter, add abilities etc. The NPC knows only generic stuff and “grows” its intellect contextually based on its schedule.

Affiliations are based on our Faction system. But an NPC is in respect to its behavior made up from the relations to the environment (it’s a graph-based database), objects, quests etc. So a script can turn an NPC from something to something else, simply by changing its respective relations (e.g. a farmer goes to work to a field, removing the relation to the field and adding a relation to the guardhouse can turn him into a soldier).

Crimes are mainly the domain of the player, they are a fairly complex system, but in our world, the player is an NPC, thus NPCs may commit crimes. But to keep the world consistent, everybody behaves so it does not mess up the game.

We have no children, but a child NPC is not reduced, it just deals with different stuff (has a different schedule). For example, an animal has the same “logical” structure like a human, but also has a different job and different reactions.

I tend to sleep a lot, and when I was young, DBZ was very popular. I bear a lot of commonalities with that character (hair included).

There are many difficult things we are/were working on. One of the craziest things I did was a graph-query-language put into a tree-like structure. Another was the AI Action System that runs the actions that the NPCs do.

[quote=“Waldkauz, post:35, topic:29619”]
The AI programming seems like to be pure math, making it logical. […] Can we expect illogical decisions in the
game?[/quote]

AI is a broad field of science. There is the pure math crazy AI and then there is the soft AI for games (for example: believable, behavioral-simulation research I do). Math is only a language; logic is actually a philosophy marked up in weird symbols.
Behavioral psychology is a very novel field of science. And again – it’s humans thinking about thinking humans. Making a decision you cannot explain by reasoning does not mean it was not contextually correct. And yes, our NPCs do a lot of nonsensical decisions. :slight_smile:

The basis of the language is Behavior Tree inspired. But some concepts are different. It’s a combination of Behavior Trees and Finite State Machines (at the node level). Every NPC receives a tree template and can extend it on the run from the environment. I haven’t studied the UE4’s implementation in detail, but there are some nice things that we can do in our BTs. But essentially, it’s a language like any other. What I’m proud of is the idea of putting behaviors into the environment (inspired by Sims) where a NPC can get their BTs extended based on the present context either from areas, objects, quests, whatever we “make smart”.

Sure, all my academic work is in English :slight_smile:
If you want some intro into the basic ideas of our system, try to get hold of my master thesis, should be somewhere online.

The NPCs work differently from processing “parameters”. So there is always something the NPC can do. It always can rely on the “smart world” to get its “WTF happened” behavior.
Loosing sheep is actually not a logical exception; it is a situation that can be reasoned with. For example, the shepherd has a relation to every sheep in its herd. If they get home and he misses one, he goes and searches for it. If he is asleep and all his sheep are gone, he will go look for them.

We try to keep the behavior of NPCs consistent with actual reasoning of humans. But in most cases we avoid concurrency in NPC goals. If a goal may be concurrent, we have to think about how to solve it on a local level. If you imagine it, you solve your own “concurrent goals” from your local perspective or do only a very shallow reasoning about “who does who in Beverly Hills”. The player is only another NPC from our standpoint. If he does something, the world reacts, but it reacts in its well-structured way. But yes, the game design and the overall structure gets rather “explosive” if there are any conflicts. But you prepare your NPCs for that and they deal with it. :slight_smile:

Radiant AI System got trashed because it was more in the planning area of AI. They did a goal-based system where they wanted to satisfy the needs of an NPC by combining various small plans. The issue is that if you have a computationally-complex problem, it’s rather unpredictable what it may come up with.

We go into a more structured way, where NPCs can have a high level planning system, but they rely on a structured view of the world. So we are very local in context, thus it can be more easily managed. The problem with “global problem solving” (i.e. Radiant) is that it often gets unmanageable. We are more about putting bits and pieces of knowledge together from the world, where the “local knowledge” is better than “global knowledge”.
But that is for a much longer talk. I would love to talk to guys at Bethesda about their AI systems…maybe someday.

A little. I tried to learn it but never had the time to get serious about it. I can make up basic stuff, if you’d like. :slight_smile:


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#12

Marek “Hitman” Černý is a member of the quality assurance team at Warhorse Studios. Born in Czech Republic, he joined the Studio in late 2015. His task is to find bugs, especially in the combat system of Kingdom Come Deliverance, and sometimes he also provides technical support.

Do you have any additional questions regarding him and/or his work? Just ask here!

1) Where can we usually find you lurking in the holy halls of Warhorse?
At my desk, sometimes in the kitchen and rarely on the toilets. If you tried to find me in the morning or in the late night, check the elevators.

2) How did you hear about Warhorse? How/When did you join?
I don’t remember to be honest, probably in some article. I joined in November 2015.

3) Describe your position. What is it about being a Quality Assurance?
I must assure that everyone´s work is nothing less than pure quality.

4) Please describe one of your colleagues or your department:
I love to talk about myself for hours. Can we just talk about me and no one else?

5) Describe your usual day at the studio?
Long story short - I always try to check things that worked a few days ago and then I check some new features with all possible combinations that I can think of. And when I found something that’s weird, I start to bully the guy who made the mistake.

6) What are you currently working on?
I am working on the combat system and some quests. We have different kind of weapons, unarmed combat and even stealth kills. It’s important to try every combination of weapons and learn how to use them based on the type of environement you are in. There’s a difference between fighting in a forest with an open area or fighting in a house and where you attacks are more limited (space-wise).
You can have a scenario when someone is standing far away and shooting arrows at you, you can have some weapon and shield in other hand, but try to imagine that this in the middle of night – is it better to have a shield or a torch in other hand? With a torch everyone see where you are, but without the torch you see nothing. Or, you can be patient, sneak behind them and stab them with the dagger (or do special moves with the dagger in close combat, if you are a real badass). Lastly, you can even try our new polearms. For example – the halberd. This huge slicer is crazy and very devastating. But as I said, it´s long, long enough that you need to hold it in both hands. That’s the ultimate asskicker.

7) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
I’ve suggested a few improvements and Dan Vávra liked them all (so far). No one will add them in the game, but they seemed cool.

8) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
The atmosphere is unique, thanks to the environment. So everything - quests, combat or walking around is a new experience for us as players. And we still didn’t mention all of our ideas.

9) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
Atari 2600 and Sega Master System 2. Probably the first game that totally blew my mind was Lemmings. Later on, I fell in love with adventure games. Then the Playstation came out and… you know… PS3 and 4.

10) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
Silent Hills PT. or combinations of Deus Ex (possibilities), Metal Gear Solid (story) and Death Gate… and Planescape Torment with lots of freedom and not much action. It’s cool when you don’t need to kill anybody to finish the game.

11) Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?
Thief 4. An NPC was standing in the middle of street, holding a torch and then for whatever reason, he started to spin around at a ridiculous high speed while styaing in just one spot. That was crazy.

12) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
I recently bought the Syberia series. Locations are nice, but rest is mediocre and some of the events and dialogues are really childish.
For example there was this situation where one guy on your side who works as a security guard at the borders. He doesn´t want to let you go in or out because he has seen a threatening soldier through his binoculars from his window. Basically, this soldier is standing there for “years” and therefore nobody can pass the border.
You can also take a look through the binoculars and you will see a blurry image. As you change the focal length, you will notice that instead of seeing a soldier, you will just see a harmless tree!
Your assumption is that the security guy has very bad eyesight, and you have to make a potion for him, telling him that it is just wine and after a sip he will be immediately cured. As he checked the spot once again, he will have noticed
that what he havsseen for years was just a tree. With only a little bit of surprise he will tell you “Oh, ok, alright, you can go further.” Sorry, but that’s just totally ********.

13) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I just play other games, because nothing is more exciting.

14) Your favorite music/Spotify playlist
Gojira - Magma is still album of the year. But I’m waiting for at least another four records that will be released this year. Maybe some of them will be better, but Magma is truly a perfect record, one of the best of all time.

15) What species is your spirit animal?
Snorlax.

16) Sport is:________?
Don’t ask me, I’m not sure. But I’ve always get goosebumps when I hear the word.

17) Do you have a Bucket List? (things to do before you die)
Just in my head. There are hundreds of games which I want to try and finish. After that, I don’t have any other meaning in my life.

18) What will be your famous last words?
If I would die tonight, I would shout out every spoiler of the last Game of Thrones episode. Problem is that I haven’t seen it yet.

19) If you could fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck, which would you choose?
That depends on how hungry I would be in that situation. But to be honest - punching horse-sized ducks would probably be the biggest badass moment in my life.

20) Knight or Samurai?
Knight Rider. But seriously, I would say Tenchu. Just imagine – a modern Tenchu stealth game. That would be sweet.

Chris is super sweet guy, so why don’t use his art? I like his games and he give me a lots of good advices. He literally helped me to achieve my dream. How can someone be more awesome than him?

21) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
Thanks for the support! Without you, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make this game!

If you have any question for Marek “Hitman” Černý and/or his work? please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#13

Time for Marek “Hitman” Černý to answer the community questions. Let´s start:

Every trader is limited by the amount of items and even by the amount of money that they’ll have. Therefore, you can’t sell houses, horse, car, cocaine, wife and socks to just one trader and become a billionaire.

Of course not. He is a trader, come back to him later and he will be ready for business again.

К сожалению, по-русски я не говорю. Возможно в будущем я научусь и обязательно вам что-нибудь напишу.

This is my first full-time job. Last year I finished studying. My first subject was programming.

Bugs Bunny is fine, but bunnies are better and chickens are best.

I will scream so loud at him until he becomes deaf. When he is deaf, he will be “silenced,” so the mission will be complete.

SW V; I’ve seen just four or five episodes of GoT, sorry. HM? You mean Hannah Montana? Just about EVERY EPISODE!

Because I’m a sensible guy and mosquitoes are bad-asses. I can’t just kill all of the worst human enemies. Give me some time, I will kill them one-by-one.

A lot! I mean… just think about some very big number, huge number, and that’s it… like… sixteen.

I can’t, but I do.

Dagger is the second weapon, you can have the sword in the hand at the same time. Open combat will be with the sword in this case, and if you sneak up from behind, then you can still use the dagger as a stealth weapon.

I start the game and even with max volume I didn’t hear anything. Then I realized that I forget to plug-in my headphones to the PC.


#14

Martin “Athert” Antoš was born in Czech republic and joined Warhorse Studios team shortly after the Kickstarter campaign in 2014. He is part of the scripting team and therefore he is assuring that the game features work correctly if you put them together.
Do you have any additional questions regarding him and/or his work? Just ask here!

How did you hear about Warhorse? How/When did you join?
I had heard about Warhorse Studios even before the Kickstarter campaign started from a Czech website. And since I didn´t have a decent project to work on back then (I was only a few months out of college) and I always wanted to work in the game industry I decided to write them and try my luck. Many people told me that to work in a AAA game studio I would be required to have years of extensive experience in the field… so look where I’m writing from now!

Describe your position. What is it about being a Scripter?
As a scripter my job is to connect all the content produced by other departments (animations, models, functions, design, etc.) and ensure that it will all fit together firmly in the final game the way it´s meant to. With the help of fellow designers we create game quests and events. While, for example, animators provide us with different people´s professions that are seen in the game.

Ever worked on videogames before?
No. The only experience I had were personal projects which I was working on with my friends or while in school.

Which job would you not want to do?
Definitely nothing boring. Standing in a production line 8 hours a day and manually adjusting things, or packing stuff… I couldn´t do that. I admire anyone who could do such a job for more than a year.

Describe your usual day at the studio
In the morning I turn on my PC, plug in the headphones and start working until somebody from the QA deptartment disturbes me with a request to go through a game quest. So then I start working on a certain NPC behavior, a quest or something similar. After that we have a Standup meeting where everyone talks about their current work or if they have found an error which has to be solved and also what they will work on later that day. Then the job becomes routine for the rest of the time and I sit at my PC and work, explain to the QA that the error is actually a special feature and listen to ideas from the game designers on how the part I’m working on could look better and livelier.

What are you currently working on?
Right now I´m working on behavior in a camp and its modularity. For example, if soldiers enter a free camp (there are many such camps on the map), they would behave differently from how rogues would come in, or cumans. Of course the camp has to look a bit lively. With our game designers and researchers (historians) cooperate on what our NPCs would do in the camps and according to that I create such a script for them. Soldiers would be guarding the camp, repairing their equipment, or just sit by the fire. Cumans would rather roam around and do harm, while later they would have fun drinking around the campfire. Rogues and traders would tell their stories from the roads and tales they hear… like “have you heard that near Rataj they saw a bear eat several hens?” … and of course that would be dumb.

What do you think is the most important part or thing in the game?
Options. If I could play in great visual design, a superb storyline, but a minimum of options I would become annoyed but if I can do absolutely whatever I want, then its a good game (even little things like stealing a tankard, taping myself a beer and then fighting with the innkeeper because he had impudent words about my mother for stealing his tankrad and beer)

What do you like most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Have you visited the woods in the game? I have never seen such beautiful and real woods like ours. When I walk in the woods in our game and then I have a walk in a real forest I barely feel any difference. The details put into that are totally impressive. And since I like nature I will spend most of the time in the woods (and probably hunt down a boar or such).

How, when and with which game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
The first ever game I remember was Rayman on my parents computer. They were not so happy when I started to spend a lot of time on the PC but this probably inspired me to get into programming later on.

What was your best/saddest/happiest, most touching video game moment?
I think that it would be the ending of Undertale, which spoiler warning is not actually an end and will let you finish the game with a real happy ending. My opinion is that Undertale is certainly a game with enormous potential.

Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
When I get a chance to handle something I am definitely a pilot or a driver. I love the feeling when landing a chopper under fire just to pick up wounded soldiers from the battlefield and save them all (yes Arma 3 I´m talking to you).

Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
One of the games I was playing over and over again was definitely “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” and consequently “San Andreas”. I was overwhelmed by the freedom and the possibilities in the game. Beside that I would certainly point out Diablo 2 and Baldur´s Gate.

Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?
A bug – Races in Mafia 1. they were terribly difficult for me and finding out that I could have saved at least half of the round by going around the concrete barriers I would have saved a lot of nerves and broken keyboards…

What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
No Man’s sky

How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I play with my cat, do programming, or just play one of my favourite games (PayDay 2, Smite, Arma 3…)

Your favorite music/Spotify playlist
Everything that is listenable. Rock, pop, trance, country, metal, techno… I really don´t have a favorite music style. But most of all I listen to Epic Music (Two Steps from Hell for example).

Your favorite movie or book?
A book – Eragon series
A movie – The Lion King

What species is your spirit animal?
Just look at my avatar:

What will be your famous last words?
So will you let me pilot that chopper by myself?

Do you believe in Aliens?
The thought that we can be alone in the whole wide universe is strange. We have only discovered a tiny part of outer space and have mapped only a little bit of several of our neighboring planets. I don’t think we can be alone here.

What is your kryptonite?
Spiders… yuck…

If you could fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck, which would you choose?
Definitely the duck, I don´t like things too simple.

If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
When you start cursing during the horse races in the game and say to yourself “what idiot who made this so difficult?”, remember me and my memories of Mafia… You are welcome :slight_smile:

If you have any question for Martin “Athert” Antoš and/or his work? Just ask here!


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#15

And now here are Martin “Athert” Antoš answers to your questions:

Sadly no, such races are not going to be in the final game.

This is a bit tricky question but yes, you can ignore quests and simply enjoy the world around as you wish.
If you want to become a hunter, for example, you can, and nobody will force you to play the main story line if you don´t want to. However this is possible only for the quests with no time limit. If you find out, for example, that the cumans are trying get somewhere and you have to warn somebody, you can´t simply ignore that task. Furthermore, there are plenty of quests that may decrease your reputation if you don´t get somewhere in time. So yes, you can ignore the main story line, but during certain quests it will not be a wise approach.

[quote=“Blacksmith, post:53, topic:29619”]
Can you explain how your script tool works? Do you have to learn an extra programming language? Or is it just a
"klick" script?[/quote]

We are using something that´s calledBehavior trees, but it´s been completely modified by our great AI team members who made a great job with the tool. It is generally a „click“ work but a certain level of programming skill is necessary to control it. It doesn´t work in a way that certain work gets „clicked-in“ and you pray for it to work. It has to be thought through in many ways (like what if a player comes in and starts destroying everything; or what if someone attackes me; what if I have to leave that action to do more important behavior etc.). Additionally, we work with LUA and XML so definitelly some basic knowledge of programming is required from anyone doing this.

[quote=“Blacksmith, post:53, topic:29619”]
Which minigames we will see in the final game?[/quote]

There are several minigames in our game, but I like alechemy the best.

[quote=“Blacksmith, post:53, topic:29619”]
Which “parts” of the beta have you made?[/quote]

I created the basic behavior for the native cycle (eating, cooking, sitting around etc.), camps, and of course some behavior for the items like a bench (how an NPC should sit on it naturally), a fireplace (what a NPC should do when they want to eat or cook) and so on.

[quote=“Blacksmith, post:53, topic:29619”]
Is there a current game with impressive scripting? Something really cool?[/quote]

I haven´t encountered such game yet :confused: I haven´t felt satisfied with the level of believability of its world. There has always been something that made me upset (disappearing cars in the distance of more than 30 metres, AI that sees through the walls, NPCs that do the same thing for over 5 hours… just horrible).

[quote=“Blacksmith, post:53, topic:29619”]
You have bet on the right (war) horse…Good luck for the future![/quote]

Díky! :slight_smile:


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#16

Adam J. Sporka was born in Prague (now Czech Republic) and he joined the Warhorse Studios team after the Kickstarter campaign during 2014 together with our music composer Jan Valta. Adam is a member of the Sound Department and is responsible for the adaptive music system.
If you have any additional questions regarding him and/or his work, please ask here!
:es: You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.

1) Where can we usually find you lurking in the holy halls of Warhorse?
By my desk in the Sound Department, right next to Vojta Nedvěd, our sound engineer and foley artist. The sound department has invaded the office of the AI programmers but they seem to be OK with us because we wear headphones for most of the time and our jokes are only the second worst in the world. I’m very often also outside the studio, at the Czech Technical University where I do research of user experience and interactive audio technology, as an assistant professor at the Department of Computer Graphics and Interaction.

2) How did you hear about Warhorse?
Many people from our school’s department went there, some even before Kickstarter. In summer 2014 Dan Vávra invited Jan Valta as the music composer. Jan invited me to join him in this effort as the adaptive music designer. My first over-night coding crunches happened in December 2014 when I was working on the proof-of-concept demo of our adaptive music.

3) Describe your position. What is it about being an Adaptive Music Designer?
I need to be able to read and write orchestral music score as well as C++. Most contemporary video games have a music which responds to the events and situations of the game in a more sophisticated way than just having one song for the menu, another for the game-over screen, and a cycle of songs playing in-game, one after another. This requires some high-level decisions, such as what categories of music to have (combat, exploration, …) and how many minutes of music are needed for each. It also requires some low-level decisions, such as how to structure the individual pieces of music so that we can have a naturally sounding transition from piece A to piece B as soon as the piece A is no longer relevant to the current state of the game. We spent countless hours with Jan to discuss all this and then we would have Dan Vávra and other designers approving our concepts.

And last but not least, I need to make sure the game itself correctly reports its state to the music middleware which is responsible for the music playback. I write the code which implements this after discussions with the programmers and scripters.
The music middleware we use is called Sequence Music Engine. It’s a piece of software handling the playback of the entire soundtrack. I started developing it before I joined Warhorse Studios and during my time here I expanded it to cover all the features and perks we designed with Jan.

I am also composing a little bit of the game soundtrack: Several cutscenes, one piece combat music, the period music including a non-linear Gregorian chorus, and an orchestration of a death metal song. I also help Jan with the production of the part of music for which we use high-quality sample libraries.

4) Ever worked on videogames before?
This is not my first job involving audio and music. I wrote several soundtracks for interactive installations, video projection mappings, and performances. One of my recent works was a non-linear piece of music for an audiovisual installation we made with my colleagues from the university for the Prague Spring Festival (Pražské jaro). I am also contributing music to two other video game projects. They have an entirely different scope and genre than Kingdom Come though.

5) Please describe Warhorse Studios:
Warhorse Studios brought all the interesting stuff from audiovisual arts, game design, video game technology, and history under one roof. No matter whom I talk with, there’s always an interesting conversation.

6) Describe your usual day at the studio?
It really depends on the role I have for the day. As a programmer, I’d attend the daily stand-up meeting and then write code for the rest of the day. As a designer, I’d meet with Jan Valta in some inspirational environment (read: “pub”) and we’d discuss music structure or give critiques to each other’s newest pieces. I don’t produce the music in the studio because all my gear would take way too much space here.

7) What were your days farthest from the usual?
Live recording of our music in Rudolfinum, preparations with Jan just before it, and the celebration with everybody afterwards.

Or just watch Adam speak at GDS2015:

8) What are you currently working on?
As in this week? I just finished porting Sequence Music Engine on PS4. The music now behaves the same way on all of our platforms. Yay, code portability! These days we’re working with Vojta on memory optimizations for more efficient handling of sound effects. Wish us luck otherwise Woody, our lead programmer, won’t be very happy.

9) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
For a while, CryEngine dropped the support of FMOD, the audio middleware in which all our Foleys were created, and advised us to switch to WWise. In order to save the effort Vojta put into creation of our assets (it would be a pretty big setback if we switched), I had to implement our own support of FMOD, using the standard interface defined by CryEngine. It required couple weekends and many late evenings in the studio but Prague has a very good night public transportation, and so it was alright. They restored the support sometime after but meanwhile we added a bunch of in-house features and so we decided to keep this solution in the game. So yeah, all the sounds in the game are processed and dispatched through my code. I’m pretty proud of that.

10) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
I like that the landscape in KC:D really looks like our countryside and that it’s always summer in there. I visited IRL some of the places we have in the game.

11) How, when and with which games did you first get acquainted with videogames?
As a kid, I had an Atari 800XL. My favorite games were Rescue on Fractalus, River Raid, and Boulder Dash. Then I switched to PC and haven’t left the platform ever since. I still keep my original Atari.

12) What was your best/saddest/happiest, most touching video game moment?
I will always remember the shock of encountering the green-headed alien in Rescue on Fractalus. The guy jumped at my aircraft’s windscreen and broke it with his fist, ending my game. The combination of the color contrast, ugliness of the creature, and the shrieking was the first time in my life when any piece of media scared me to death.

13) Which videogame character are you?
I’m the guy who inherited TIS-100 and now is trying to make sense in all those dusty segments.

14) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Yes, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, of course!

15) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
It needs to have a good music.

16) What kind of sport do you like?
Wakeboarding and snowboarding.

17) What’s your guilty pleasure?
Playing and writing games for PICO-8 by Lexaloffle Games. Bodkin, one of the designers from our team, introduced me to this “fantasy console” platform. A really neat concept of emulator of never-existing old-school platform with screen resolution of 128x128 pixels, 16 colors from a fixed palette, and 8192 tokens of code to squeeze your game into. (There are some wonderful games people wrote for it. You should definitely check out a game called Stray Shot.)

18) What will be your famous last words?
I was going to write, “I am sure this won’t break anything” but it’d be just a copycat. We all say that here before submitting to the repository. I think it was Radek Ševčík who pointed this out.

19) Do you believe in aliens?
Of course.

20) What is your kryptonite?
Bureaucracy and all sorts of paperwork in general. You don’t want me to be your accountant!

21) How do you like living in the Czech Republic?
I like the ratio of work and leisure there. Just the right amount of work to keep you motivated but not as much as it crushes you.

22) What is your weakest trait?
Tendency to procrastinate.

23) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you? Which weapon do you choose? Why?
The king didn’t like my harmonic progressions. He said they were too baroque and that I should check back in 200 years. I was going to tweet the hell out of this incident but my smartphone couldn’t get any signal.

24) What is the weirdest thing about you?
I co-founded a transatlantic music production group called The Wasteland Wailers. We make music mostly within the fandom of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic series. Check out our profile if you’re into swing and/or country.

25) Your favorite movie or book?
Fallout: Equestria, a book by Kkat. Our band, mentioned above, is actually creating a soundtrack for a fan RPG project that is based on that book. BTW, we use an earlier version of Sequence Music Engine in it.

26) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
I hope you will like our game and that we will be able to rely on your support for the further Acts. Thank you.

Links:
Warhorse Studios Soundcloud
Adam Sporka Soundcloud
Adam Sporka Twitter

Do you have any additional questions regarding him and/or his work? Don´t be shy, just ask here!


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
OST...... Simply WOW!
Keine Sprachsusgabe GELÖST
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#17

And now its time for Adam J. Sporka to answer your questions from the barrel of questions:

the name of the death metal song will be revealed in our upcoming videoupdate so I think I shouldn’t spoil too much. :slight_smile:

[quote=“Blacksmith, post:58, topic:29619”]
Do WH have experts for porting stuff to PS4/x1, who helped you? Or do every programmer porting his (part of) software to consoles?[/quote]

It’s pretty much the latter though we do have several people on our team who know about PS4 more than others and so we seek their experience. We do have an internal rule, enforced but Radek Sevcik’s frown (our code master), that whatever code we commit should compile on all supported platforms at any given moment and that helps a lot.

[quote=“Blacksmith, post:58, topic:29619”]
Was the king in your story Daniel Vavra? And what do you think about the soundtrack of Enderal (mod for Skyrim)?[/quote]

The king in my story wasn’t Dan Vavra. It was only a wannabe-funny made-up story :). And no, I didn’t know Enderal soundtrack, listening now. Thanks for the tip!

[quote=“Urquhart, post:59, topic:29619”]
Everything about music from the Alpha and Beta sound really great. Will there be authentic pieces of music too? A hand-organ, for example, might have existed in Bohemia 1403.[/quote]

I’m glad you like our music! I’ll deliver your praise especially to Jan Valta because he wrote (and will have written) majority of music.

Very good point about the amount of music in the game! We do have silence as a part of our design with Jan. Our rule of thumb is that there should be more music in the inhabited areas and less people in the nature. Forests won’t have much music at all. Your idea of having an item in the settings sounds tempting! We’ll definitely consider it.

I play keyboards, flutes, and recorders. (I recorded those 8 solo notes in Jan’s “People of the Land”.)

Cheers,
–Adam


#18

David „Yeenke“ Jankes was born in Slovakia and joined Warhorse Studios team shortly after the Kickstarter campaign in 2014. He is a Senior Character Artist and therefore he creates a lot ot the clothes, armor and characters in Kingdom Come Deliverance.
Do you have any additional questions regarding him and/or his work? Just ask here!

1) How did you hear about Warhorse when did you join?
I knew about Warhorse Studios since it was established because most of the people working there (back then) were my former colleagues from previous companies. There aren´t that many game developers in Czech Republic so most of them know each other, more or less. The studio got more famous after the Kickstarter campaign. At that moment I knew I wanted to work there. For me, it has been a year-and-a-half since and I have been happy with my decision thus far.

2) Please describe Warhorse Studios:
The atmosphere in the studio is terrific. Nobody is showing up like they’re better than the others and we can talk openly about nearly everything… Regarding work itself, it works just like in many other game studios. It´s about team work so we all pull the same rope to reach the finish line of the game production.

3) Describe your position. What is it about being a Senior Character Artist?
To be a Senior Character Artist means that I generally work on everything related to the characters. I spend most of my work time creating outfits. In the studio, we even have a facial scanner so we don´t have a problem implenting anybody´s visage into our game. Of course, people think that when we scan somebody the work is over at that point but that is not so. It is followed by a large number of modifications like connecting facial parts to the head, tuning separate details on the face which were not correctly scanned and in turn, result in undesired artifacts. Furthermore, my position involves the creation of hair, fur, etc. We closely cooperate with our internal researcher Joanna Nowak who is our supervising historian.

4) Which videogame character or figure is the best?
I´m very charmed by the creations of Naughty Dog, so those characters would be Nathan Drake from Uncharted or Joel from The Last of Us.

5) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Actually, those would be the Naughty Dog´s games as well. I´ve played The Last of Us several times and was blown away by its incredibly personal atmosphere, wonderful story line and music. Lately, I´ve enjoyed playing the new Doom and Overwatch from Blizzard.

6) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
Do I have any free time? :smiley: When I do, I definitely spend it with my wife and our little daughter. Nature trips and exploring interesting places here in Czech Republic are priceless. I also like to watch a good movie or read an interesting book.

7) Your favorite movie or book?
My favourite movie is Mad Max. It has a cool atmosphere and it has loads of inspiration. Regarding books, I certainly like art books. I wouldn´t overlook a book from Robert Kiyosaki, but that is a bit away from the world of art.

8) Where are you born?
I was born in Slovakia in a relatively larger town called Martin. I definitely enjoy going back there visiting my family and friends. Whether it’s the nature or the breathtaking mountains, there is plent y to see.

9) How do you like living in the Czech Republic?
Czech Republic is a beautiful country with a very rich history. I had the chance to live in Brno (the 2nd largest city in Czechia) for 7 years so I am able to compare it with Prague where I live now. I think the life here is better and with more opportunities than in Slovakia.

10) What are you currently working on?
I just finished one of the main characters. My next task is to produce helmets that are upgradable by the
player. It´s a really interesting work because if you were to see all the sorts of shapes and designs there were in medieval times, you would be amazed.

11) Ever worked on videogames before?
I used to work in several game studios. Each of them is somewhat interesting and a you learn an incredible amount of new things there. Just to mention several concrete titles, they would be Mafia 2, TopSpin4, Silent Hill Downpour, Take Cover, Angry Birds GO, Dead Effect 1&2 and many others.

12) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
The game comes out in 2017 and certainly every single gamer has something to look for here. The effort we put into the development will hopefully be praised by the audience because we give full attention to the atmosphere of the game as well as the smooth flow of the historical accuracy.

13) Where would you fly to, if you were a bird?
I would probably fly to a warm country because I prefer summer over winter. I think that there are so many beatiful places here on Earth that I wouldn´t be able to name them all :slight_smile:

If you have any question for David „Yeenke“ Jankes and/or his work, Just ask here!


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#19

Now it is time for David „Yeenke“ Jankes to answer some of your questions from the barrel of questions:

We can’t tell you how many at this point (top secret), but we have more models than we’re able to process. So we’re not going to plan another scanning session.

It’s not. These things can’t be scanned with current technology. They just might not be the ones that belong to the scanned face :wink:

We’re working on our clothing system constantly, and we’d like to end up with as less clipping as possible.

No. :slight_smile:

Yeah sure if you see me with headphones it’s usually because I am listening to some music. My favorites are rock, ska and punk. Spotify is my friend :slight_smile:

When I work on faces and expressions, I need to check wrinkles, values and silhouettes. Looking at my face in the mirror is the fastest reference.

I think that every engine has pros and cons. At the end of the day, it’s fine.

[quote=“iamidea, post:63, topic:29619”]
What were the main software applications used to create the characters? Have u created sperate tools for character/npc creation in cryengine? Or do u use any third party middleware?[/quote]

For characters we primary use 3dsmax/Maya, Zbrush and Photoshop. The clothing system was done internally and then implemented to CryEngine.

[quote=“iamidea, post:63, topic:29619”]
Were there any design challenges, from an artist’s perspective, that came from using the layered clothing system and armors? [/quote]

There are problems because you need to combine every cloth asset to work with the others. It’s always about solving technical issues.

[quote=“iamidea, post:63, topic:29619”]
Can you explain the thought process behind the designs for differentiating noble NPCs, evil NPCs (cumans, bandits), normal folk NPCs and historical figures?[/quote]

First there is a basic description from the design department. Next the concept artist makes the 2D concept. After that character artists do some additional research, find more historically accurate references and transform 2D images into 3D models. It’s a cool ride. At all times we cooperate with our historian and concept artists.

[quote=“iamidea, post:63, topic:29619”]
your favorite JRPG Character in terms of character artistry?[/quote]

I am not a fan of JRPG. In the interview above you could read about my favorite games.


#20

Since 2014, David Sarkisjan has been working as an Animator here at Warhorse Studios. He was born in Bratislava, (in Slovakia) and moved to Prague in the Czech Republic.
Do you have any additional questions regarding him and/or his work? Just ask here!

1) How did you hear about Warhorse and when did you join?
I first heard about Warhorse shortly after it was founded. There are developers from Warhorse Studios who created one of my childhood favorites, Operation Flashpoint. Their intention was to recreate a historical setting unlike anything else. I was intrigued and I certainly hoped for the best.
A few years later and I was fresh out of Teesside University. I was madly in love with game development and therefore I reached out to someone who was in need of junior animators.
One day, I randomly thought of Warhorse and their recently announced game, KCD. It was about a week before the Kickstarter campaign. I asked about a job there and after a little test, I got in. I was lucky, to say the least!
Now I can’t just hope for the best anymore. I need to help trigger that sense of thrill I once experienced playing Operation Flashpoint.

2) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
Mentoring my girlfriend Henrieta into becoming a professional 3D artist is one for sure. It was a case of directing her efforts into the proper areas and she did the hard part by figuring out things on her own. My other notable accomplishments usually involve a lot of mistakes, but I do my best to learn from them.

3) Describe your position. What is it about being an Animator?
It’s about forgetting to eat your lunch. It’s about making your wrist scream of pain. It’s about frame-stepping. Being an animator is challenging and the technical work requires a lot of precision. You need to be methodical and figure out how to approach your tasks in order to maximize your output. I learned a great deal about that at Warhorse. When I sink my teeth into a scene and I become unaware of my surroundings, I know things are going well.
I fell in love with animation because I am very detail-oriented. I have always been fascinated by human behavior and how people act to express themselves. I consider appealing characters that mirror ourselves crucial to storytelling. Without other people to relate to, there is no consciousness and no self-reflection. Creating stories is a habit of ours that will never end until there are people out there who watch, listen and interact. Therefore, I believe my purpose is safe until the inevitable end.

4) What are you currently working on?
We motion capture animation in-house, which is a huge advantage for an ambitious studio of our size. It keeps animators busy because there is always something new in the pipeline.
I hop around to different tasks according to our department’s priorities. I am currently working on a spoiler-filled cutscene involving a Bond-like villain. I am also working on quest-related animations for NPCs and a few player-centered combat animations for people who enjoy stabbing people to death. I am looking forward to our ESRB rating. That is when I can come to the conclusion that I’ve made a video game.

5) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Last time I played it for prolonged amount of time it was all about getting immersed in the world and its setting. Our artists recreated the world of Bohemia very well: its characters, nature, and atmospheres. I am proud of them. Our combat system is continually getting better. We listen to feedback and I believe we are doing something special there. It will make some people really happy. It will keep you engaged until you die. Do you know that our technical designer enjoys Dark Souls? Well, prepare to die.
The story is (REDACTED) or Dan Vavra will behead me.

6) What is the biggest challenge of game development?
I am still in awe of games like Heavy Rain, and yes, the now infamous No Man Sky. To be entirely honest, it is a real mystery how good a game will truly be when until it finally releases, especially when it is huge and as emergent as ours. Every developer has something to contribute and it takes time to see the whole picture and to see how the various pieces get to interact. The vision-holders have a much better idea of this.
What I actually like about game development is the very beginning of the cycle and the last push when you start seeing the end of the tunnel. It can get hard; developers need fuel to get there (you can’t burn out), but when the game is designed properly, it can be deeply satisfying.

7) How, when and with what game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
I think I was three. I don’t remember anything.

8) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
I definitely remember playing a lot of Battlefield 2 - bunny-hopping uncontrollably in order to revive as many of my fellow clan members and strangers alike. It made me happy until I hit adulthood. At that point, I stopped spending 6+ hours playing video games and started being serious about my dental health. It is no joke folks. Go visit a dental hygienist!

9) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
I am going to get serious here, a bit self-promotional and assert my opinion on this topic.
As an animator, I am naturally drawn to and deeply interested in the dramatic potential of videogames. I believe there is a lot of unexplored territories when it comes to storytelling in games when compared to other works of drama.
If you are interested in this topic as well, you can find a long opinion to what I find is the biggest challenge of interactive drama here.
It does not mean I don’t find competitive games compelling. I play Rocket League in an excessive manner and I am really looking forward to Battlefield 1.

10) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
I will flip the question here and say something positive instead. I was recently surprised by Life is Strange. Most video games still fall flat when it comes to storytelling, mainly due to playtime standards of the industry and its rigid formatting Once in a while, there is a bright moment when an episodic game like Life is Strange comes out and shows us how it can be done differently.
I am glad there is an effort out there to push what I personally find so appealing about video games. However, with the growing trend of VR grabbing the attention of interactive storytellers, I fear this effort will lose some focus due to the technical challenges of VR development.
Anyway, I would love to play and develop more games like Life is Strange. It falls into that golden territory for indie developers. It was scaled to be more manageable and the formatting allowed for some interesting design choices.

11) Your favorite movie/book?
I am a sci-fi film addict, but I like when they have deeper themes and try to portray our future in a believable way. Blade Runner comes to mind as the one that comes closest to being a favorite of mine. I don’t think it’s the best movie in terms of fun, though. When it comes to fun and wonder, I seek out nostalgia-inducing films like Star Wars, The Matrix, Hook or Jurassic Park.
1984 is quite close to becoming too real for my liking. I think Kuba Holik already mentioned this also.

12) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
After a hard day, I come home hungry and tired. I eat and then fall asleep watching a TV show like Mr. Robot. It is full of twists and excellent editing, but after 40 minutes I am told that I snore like a 60-year-old baby.

13) Do you have a list of things you want to do before you die?
To die is an obvious one; should be number ten. I will keep others more ambitious, travel to Mars, going from last to first, have a therapy session with human-like AI and stop global warming.
I am really bad at this.

14) What’s your guilty pleasure?
Saying or doing something inappropriate and watching others react. It reveals character.

15) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
Thank you for your support! We are where we are due to your enthusiasm and financial backing. I am looking forward to seeing you play KCD, exploring both the good and the bad. What we are doing is all sorts of mad, so it will be intriguing watch for sure. See you in 2017.

If you have any question for David Sarkisjan and/or his work, just ask here!


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#21

You had some questions and now we have the answers from David Sarkisjan:

I was involved in all of them when it comes to assembly. However, motion editing of the mocap animations was a team effort. It is rare for one person to take care of the entire creative process of cutscenes in a project like ours.

If you are looking for an exhilarating experience - play Journey on PS4.
If you are looking for tactical team play - play Rainbow Six Siege on PC.
If you are looking for a gloomy, but smart platformer - play Inside on Xbox One.

Have you seen Galaxy Quest?
You hit the mark with Gattaca. I love the soundtrack from that film and I listen to it every time I get reminded of it.

I would probably make the story more linear and less flexible/vulnerable to the player’s will. I’d edit it heavily with hard cuts and such. I am aware a lot of people enjoy exploring various branches which inspire multiple playthroughs, but not me. I play story-based games once and never come back.

Sure, we have ill people being taken care of on beds and injured soldiers walking around when they get hit and start bleeding. We don’t use health bars or any kind of artificial displays of injury for that reason. And yes, it is definitely a challenge to pretend the illness or injury when it comes to mocap.

In the Beta, you probably noticed that the faces are limited to lipsync, blinking, and change of eye direction. In the final game, this will definitely be expanded upon. Our character team is providing a lot of good material for that to happen.

Most animations are motion captured, but they have to be polished due to inaccuracies of the raw data, which occur during the capture. Then we get to retarget animations onto our character skeletons. Actors on the mocap stage differ from those that are animated in the game, when it comes to body proportions, arm length etc. Therefore, it is our job to make sure all the props are handled properly. And since we don’t capture finger motion, it needs to be hand-keyed entirely.
Another example of hand-keyed animation in the game are the animals: deer, rabbits, chickens, sheep.

For our cinematics, we indeed captured body and voice simultaneously. Otherwise, the acting performances would be compromised and feel less convincing overall. We did consider capturing the face as well, but we decided not to this time around for multiple reasons.

We check them in the editor using the Character Tools and we test their integration in small placeholder environments. For example, we have a special level just for the combat encounters. It involves a lot of cheats and debug options, which is very helpful when things don’t go as expected.

Picture a horse riding a human - one misclick while exporting animations…

Naughty Dog sets the bar pretty high. Overwatch takes a prize when it comes to non-realistic, stylized animation.

It would have to be our character lead, Jirka Bartonek. His skill set is amazing. I would most likely never get close to the skill set of the programming department.

The MotionBuilder.