Warhorse Studios Weekly Torch


#137

Here are John Comer´s anserws to your community questions

Hi Jakk,
I’m not really the right one to answer your questions, since I came on board later in development and was not involved in the early stages of design. I can tell you, however, that the whole concept started with a conversation between two guys in a pub, which gradually snowballed into the massive project we’re working on today. Things really took off after our hugely successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014, which made it possible to expand the team and advance development much faster.

That’s really a question for the creative director, Dan Vavra, but the basic concept has always been “dungeons without the dragons”, i.e. a realistic medieval openworld game with no magic or fantasy elements.

All of the above. Also, a lot of thought has gone into making the story and the characters as interesting and as real as possible and the dialogue both natural and entertaining. The aim is to create an immersive environment in which the player feels at home. Authenticity has been the keyword from the start, so for example the combat is based on real medieval combat techniques.

This is the first game I’ve been involved with in development. It’s a new thing for me and I’m very happy to have had such a great experience.

Hi Jackalj,
While I am technically part of the Design team, I am, as you say, mostly translating and dealing with other aspects of the language in the game, such as polishing dialogue to sound natural and feel right for the characters. I did not personally make any quests or features; my influence is spread throughout the entire game in the language, whether in dialogues, cutscenes, objectives or ingame documents.

The gameplay video can be seen on Youtube, just search “The Good, the Bad and the Sneaky”. Considering it was quite rushed, I think it turned out OK. Hope you like it.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#138


Jan Milík is one of our Programmers here at Warhorse Studios, and he made it possible to have the rich flora in the game, which we have now. He was born in Český Brod, which is a small town near Prague, in the Czech Republic, of course.
Do you have any questions for Jan Milík? Please ask here.
:es: You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.

1) How did you hear about Warhorse?
One of my earliest memories of Warhorse was hearing Viktor Boacn speak at the Game Developers Session, which was about the dynamic world mechanics and emergent gameplay in KCD. That speach was partially responsible for me working at Warhorse. Viktor has already apologized for that.

2) Describe your position. What is it about being a Programmer?
I’m a programmer. Because I came in relatively late into the development, I don’t have a single narrow specialization or a specific responsibility for the team. However, one of my unofficial titles is the “Royal Gardener,” on account of me working on a few tools that helped to make it possible to have several tens of millions of vegetation instances in the game.

3) Have you ever worked on Videogames before?
Yes, I worked for Dreadlocks on Dex, a 2D cyberpunk RPG.

4) What are you currently working on?
I am currently trying to figure out why the Sazava Monastery flickers in and out of existence. I have discussed this with our historian and she confirmed that Sazava Monastery did not flicker in 1403.

5) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
I’m responsible for the coding of the dice minigame and uberlods. I’ve done my job well, if you enjoy the former and never notice the latter. Obviously, other people (artists) have worked on both of these too.

6) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
I like the setting. I think Czech history and the legends have an untapped wealth of settings and stories for games and possibly movies. In fact, I am still kind of surprised more people aren’t trying to do this.

7) What was your most touching video game moment?
The end of the Mass Effect 2 was quite memorable for me. Mass Effect had a way of making me feel emotionally invested.
Another one was in Portal 2, towards the end where you kind of have a boss battle with Wheatley. At one point, he pins you down to floor and there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do about it. There’s a huge hole in the ceiling though, where you can see the full moon. I had this moment where I started panicking and I tried to shoot the portal gun at everything in the room, but nothing worked.
Then I looked at the moon and thought to myself, “Could it be? No, that’s insane… or is it? Yes, yes it is, but not as much as a talking potato….” Go play Portal 2 to find out what happened next.

8) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
My favorite “build” in Fallout has always been the sniper. Too bad we never got a 4th Fallout. We just got a game that was called, “Fallout 4”.

9) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Kerbal Space Program and once in couple of months I fire up the good ol’ Minecraft.

10) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
One in which I could reenact the fall of the Galactic Empire ala Foundation by Isaac Asimov. Typical 4X games don’t allow for this.

11) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
No Man’s Sky. Enough said.

12) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
Well, a hard day at work is around 10+ hours, so I usually go home, maybe watch a YouTube video and go to sleep.

13) Your favorite movie or book?
One of my favorite books is the above-mentioned Foundation by Isaac Asimov. I’m also a huge Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman fan.

14) Favorite YouTube channel?
Yogscast. There are many games that I wouldn’t have ever played if it wasn’t for them. Lately, I’ve also watched lot of Jimquisition. I’m looking forward to seeing what either of those channels will have to say about KCD (provided they say anything).

15) What will be your famous last words?
Yes, I’ve tested it and it compiles fine.

16) How do you like living in the Czech Republic?
It’s ok. It’s my favorite country to be born in.

17) Who is your favorite historic character?
Jára Cimrman.

18) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you? Which weapon do you choose?
Vault Dweller, power armor and plasma rifle… or space marine, power armor and bolter.

19) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
Hi. Be good to your parents, brush your teeth before going to bed and always check your code compiles on PS4 and XBOX.

Do you have any questions for Jan Milík? Please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#139

And here are the answers to your community questions by Jan Milík

Mostly, I either agree with Jim, or don’t have enough information about subject to either agree or disagree. For instance Nintendo games. I personally don’t really see the point of 100th Mario game. I don’t play new Nintendo games and don’t see any reason to (with perhaps the Breath of the Wild being an exception).

Where I strongly disagree with Jim is when he starts commenting on some the technicalities and difficulties of the game development itself. He’s a game critic and a game industry journalist, but he knows very little about actual development (like most people who are not actually developers themselves). Consider asset flips. Jim has claimed in the past that the “developers” of asset flips use store assets because they are too “lazy” to create their own. Now I agree with Jim that the games in question were garbage and that they shouldn’t be allowed on Steam (at least not for any non-zero price). However the developers being “lazy” isn’t the problem. Not being “lazy” doesn’t magically give you the ability to produce high quality 2D or 3D art. Instead, I think, these developers should reconsider their aims. Producing 3D FPS shooter isn’t within their ability, they should maybe try simple 2D platformer first in which “programmer art” (it’s an actual technical term) would be acceptable. That’s just an example and it’s mostly relatively unimportant things like this on which I disagree with Jim.

The very first thing I did when I started working for WH was an extension of the Sandbox (CryEngine’s level editor). The thing is that in vanilla CryEngine, you can either load all vegetation in the level, or none of it (vegetation is kind of it’s own system separate from other static geometry in CryEngine and it isn’t represented by normal editor objects that you can put into object layers). That was sometime between the first and second public beta I think, we had vegetation only in small portion of the map (you could see trees on distant hills, but those were just kind of simplified backdrops, not actual trees) and the artists were already having problems loading all of the vegetation into memory. Not only would the Sandbox sometime crash because it ran out of memory, but even when it didn’t the work in the editor was horribly slow. So, we’ve implemented an extension of the editor that allows out environment artists to create “vegetation areas” in the map that they individual load and unload from memory.

The uberlod system helps with the vegetation too. Uberlods are kind of like normal graphical LODs (level of detail). That’s when you have several versions of the same model with increasing simplicity and you choose a specific version depending on how far away the object is from you (and possibly other factors such as how much space it takes up on the screen). Uberlods are like that, except they are a single simplified mesh (model) that represents many smaller objects. So, for instance, a small village, when observed from distance, is actually a single model. This doesn’t necessarily do anything with the number of polygons the GPU has to render, but it limits the number of draw calls (number of “commands” the CPU has to send to GPU), which is often the biggest bottleneck. We use this system both for villages and/or towns and vegetation. This contributes to our ability to render the open world at the frame rate we do.

No. See the next question.

The question is why would we use them? Even if something like that wasn’t huge performance problem in an open world game made in a game engine not designed for open world games, creating a story-drive RPG in an open world is difficult enough. Because of the inherent unpredictability of an open world, even designing a dialogue system is a non-trivial task. Why would we sabotage ourselves with giving both players and the NPCs even more ways to break the game?


#140


Melissa Fionda is one of our Character Artists here at Warhorse Studios. Although she came from London, she didn´t moved to Prague for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, as she worked for Bohemia Interactive on ArmaIII and Take on Mars before. Right now she is working on an often requested feature: scabbarts!
Do you have a question for Melissa Fionda? Just ask here!
:es: You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.

1) How did you hear about Warhorse?
It’s difficult not to have heard about Warhorse when you work in games in Czech Republic as Warhorse has grown to become such an influential games company here. I haven’t been here for that long at all; I joined the company in June this year. I had previously been working at Bohemia Interactive on ARMA III and Take on Mars but as projects wrapped up there it was time for me to start making games for my favourite genre: RPGs.

2) Describe your position. What is it about being a Character Artist?
I’m a character artist so I might be making anything from props to people to the clothing on an NPC to the clothing on the animals—what? Did you think we would leave your horses naked? Of course not! You’re welcome.

3) What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on creating scabbards for the game. Of course we could not just have the swords unsheathed by your side, that would be painful (and probably ruin all the clothes the character team have spent so much time making!)

4) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
Not the most glamourous job but perhaps sorting through the NPCs we had (which is 100s!) to update their faces and add variation to their looks so you don’t run into the same person when you turn the corner but you get to see the variety of faces and hairstyles we’ve made for our NPCs.

5) What is the most important characteristic a Character Artist must have?
Adaptability. You have to learn how to make a whole host of things as a Character Artist from cloth to faces to hair and metals all of which require different techniques. If you want to become a Character Artist remember that it’s not all about mastering how to sculpt a face you need to learn how to create a full character from start to finish and pay as much attention to the buckles on the belts to the hairs on the eyebrows and the gloss in their eyes. Remember you can always learn more, don’t be afraid to seek our harsh critique and practice, never stop practicing, even the masters need to get critique. Understanding anatomy and materials are important and eventually a lot of that will become second nature once you understand it.

6) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
I believe the first time I really got to play videogames was on the original Playstation playing Crash Bandicoot. Well, at least I thought I was playing Crash Bandicoot until I quickly discovered it’s not a two player game and for some reason none of my inputs were making the character move! I was playing with a kid who was about as close to an annoying older brother I would ever have, so of course, you know how cruel kids can be, he gave me a controller which wasn’t even plugged in and me being the trusting person that I was took a little longer to cotton on. It wasn’t until I was about 10 that I got my first proper console, an Xbox of my own and I remember the hundreds of hours that I sunk into Jet Set Radio Future and destroying my dad at Halo deathmatches. I also had Pokemon Yellow on my Gameboy to keep me entertained.

7) What was your most touching video game moment?
I still remember when Bioware made me both angry and heartbroken enough to quit and restart. I normally believe that you should try and stick to the consequences of your actions in games but they hurt Tali, no one hurts Tali. But the most emotional experience I had playing a video game was Life is Strange. I’ve mourned too many times for Chloe and having the power to control what happened to her and other characters in the game left me with guilt.

8) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
Anything that isn’t a straight up melee fighter because this is make-believe! You can be anything that you want to be! Why would you stick to a basic sword and shield? I like to explore every class option especially the weirder ones. If this is a team game I’m always happy to fulfill a support class role. That doesn’t mean I can’t kick the most ass, it just means that the team better keep me alive because without me they will all fall! So, maybe I’m not as charitable as you first thought… but I do seriously enjoy working out the synergy of my abilities with other characters and knowing that I contributed to the team dynamic.

9) Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?
Well, I’m sure many of you reading this have picked up a Bethesda game before. I have fond memories of having never-ending conversation topics for weeks on the most hilarious game-breaking bugs with my friends just after Skyrim came out. It’s impossible to pick out just one from that game though.

10) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
So many things. Table top games, D&D, drawing, playing acoustic guitar, binge watching Netflix shows, reading comics and on slightly rarer occasions I make costumes. When I was in the UK I used to LARP. I know that LARPing is still a big thing in Czech Republic but I still don’t know the language.

11) Your favorite music playlist
I have a not-so-secret love for musicals and Broadway. So sometimes I’ll be working whilst listening to Hamilton, Disney, Dear Evan Hansen and the lot! It takes a lot of strength not to suddenly belt out a number in the middle of the office sometimes. I don’t think my colleagues would appreciate it. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t only listen to musicals though! Of course not! Right now, I’m really into Shakey Graves. I’d check him out if you have an interest for a stripped-down modern blues sound.

12) What species is your spirit animal?
Foxes. Might not be the most unique spirit animal but what’s not to love about the perfect hybrid between a cat and a dog? I used to have a minor obsession with foxes when I was about 5 years old. According to my mum I used to fill my sketchbooks with foxes and nothing but foxes and instead of a monster under the bed I had a fox den. It seems that obsession stayed with me a little into adulthood. I have a little Nick Wild figure staring at me as I write this and I have done extensive research on what needs to be done to own a domesticated fox. One day my dream will come true, one day.

13) Do you have a Bucket List?
Most definitely, although my bucket list is ever expanding to encompass “Do everything that can ever be done in the world”. Not the most practical list. So, I’ve tried to whittle that down just a little bit. So far, I’ve already managed to tick off some like live in another European Country and make money being creative. I’ve gone Paragliding and visited so many amazing countries in the world. I just need to visit so many more and become fluent in a language that isn’t English…

14) What will be your famous last words?
“I haven’t finished yet. I still have a tattoo to get that says, ‘I’m living in the moment’.” Words curtesy of Amanda Palmer.

15) Is it possible to buy you with candy?
Not if you call it ‘candy’ instead of ‘sweets’. I will forever be at war with my American friends on how to speak proper English. I know I will undoubtedly lose but it’s a matter of British pride to keep fighting.

16) How do you like living in the Czech Republic?
It’s wonderful here. Prague is a stunning city, so clean, friendly and stress free compared the nightmare that is London. Don’t get me wrong, I will always love London but I think just not having to squeeze through crowds, pollution, sticky streets and noisy people will add a few more years to my life.

17) Who is your favorite historic character?
I remember learning about Boudicca in school, a Celtic Queen who fought against Roman rule in Britain. She was a true badass and strong woman. The essay I wrote about her was titled “Who were the true Barbarians? The Romans or the Celts?” (Spoiler: It was the Romans) because I think it’s always important to question things like that instead of so freely accepting that the victors in history were the better people.

18) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you? Which weapon do you choose?
As a mixed-race female I think I would struggle in Medieval times so I’ll probably be the mysteriously ambiguous masked mercenary with a Joan of Arc like story. I’ll use a spear, not the most practical but at least I can keep people far enough away from me. I don’t want people to get close to me. I don’t fancy my chances at winning a fight.

19) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school?
My favourite subject was unsurprisingly Art. Who would have thought I’d end up as an artist? My least favourite was Physical Education. It felt like torture. That was also probably not surprising. I got ‘A’s in History. I was a real nerd who strived to get ‘A’s in every subject and was heartbroken when I got a ‘B’.

20) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
It’s great to have fans who are so passionate about the making of this game! Just sit tight a little longer and I hope that soon you’ll be playing and falling in love with what we’ve made.

Do you have a question for Melissa Fionda? Just ask here!


Scabbards?
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#141

You had a lot of questions for Melissa Fionda. here are her answers:

I’m pleased that this step towards immersion is important to you. I can’t answer every one of those questions but I’ll do my best! All characters should have scabbards. There will be variations of scabbards. We will try our best to keep adding as much as we can into the game. So far there’s at least two. There is an issue with suspension, from what I know this is a scripting issue, it’s out of my wheelhouse but a compromise might have to be made between in game vs cutscenes. As for bugs I know our team is working hard on eliminating all of them if we can! The problem with games design is that once one bug is fixed another seems to be made.

In response to the fox hunting … Well, I’ll just put it this way: I’m living in Czech Republic now. :wink:
I’ll be honest I knew very little about Czech history before joining Warhorse, so it’s great to be learning more about Bohemia through the game. It’s important to understand the history and culture of the place that you are living in.
As for the female character, that’s a really good question and not something I’ve thought about. It’s tough because we rarely hear about women in war in history. It would be difficult to create a female character who’s in the middle of the action but it can be done, it’s just not a story we’re so used to hearing. Hopefully Warhorse can prove that sometime. The female character I’d imagine playing would be commoner who is caught in the aftermath of the destruction in war, having to deal with the destruction that it has left and be their own hero by helping people out of a burning village or something like that. It’d be nice to see more heroes who don’t have to use a sword to save the day. Not that I’m opposed to the idea of a kickass woman with a sword as well.

There are different sizes for the scabbards. So don’t worry about… your sword being damaged… moving on.
Thanks for the list of songs! I’ve added some of those to my playlists. Can I do the weekly torch every week just so that I can expand my music collection? No? That’s a shame.
And why does everyone always want Samurai and Vikings? If only there was a game out there that could fulfill the need of playing Samurai and Vikings against one another… maybe with Knights too. Sounds familiar I just can’t put my finger on it… In all seriousness, if Warhorse does decide to work on a different era or place I hope they continue with the history of countries we rarely see. I think we’ve all seen how badass Vikings and Samurai are before.

Hm, that’s a good question. I’ve thought about it before, I have put my initials inside clothes before but honestly people never see those details so, no, I don’t have a signature to my models. I know what I’ve made and sometimes I’ll add some details that weren’t in the initial brief so, that will be my little ‘twist’ and that’s good enough for me.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#142


Petr Maláč is one of our scripters, and as a tailor is sewing pieces of cloth together to create a pair of trousers, a jacket or a shirt, Petr has to combine the different parts of the game to bring Kingdom Come: Deliverance together.
He was born in Děčín, at the northern border of the Czech Republic near Germany, and started to work for Warhorse Studios in early 2014, shortly after our Kickstarter campaign.
Do you have any questions for Petr Maláč? 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?
At my desk with yellow headphones on my head or sometimes in the kitchen at the coin-op arcade machine

2) How did you hear about Warhorse?
The first time I heard about Warhorse was at Disney from my colleague. I joined shortly after the Kickstarter campaign in March 2014.

3) Describe your position. What is it about being a Scripter?
I’m one of the few expendable people who worked mostly on quests. The job is pretty simple: I read pages and pages of dialogues and make something playable with our in-house tools.

4) Have you ever worked on Videogames before?
This is already my second job in the gaming industry. I worked on mobile games at Disney mobile games studio as a level designer.

5) What is your favorite team activity?
Stand up/scrum every working day at 10:45.

6) Describe your usual day at the studio?
• Breakfast
• Fixing bugs
• Lunch
• Fixing bugs
• Dinner or not
• Fixing bugs
Every day for the last six months. Who said that making games are fun?

7) What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the day-one patch, which means I’m fixing bug on quests. I worked on a lot of quests so I have lot of bugs in them.

8) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
You can blame me if you see a bartender stuck to the meal tray at the tavern. The NPC’s logic in tavern is completely mine.

9) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Reading books on the toilet - the best feature ever, so realistic.

10) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
I don’t remember but my first computer was Didaktik M (ZX spectrum cheap replica). One of the first games I played was Manic Miner, or maybe it was something else.

11) What was your most touching video game moment?
Boss fight with The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3 was a very sad moment.

12) Which videogame character or figure is the best?
Guts from Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. He truly has a memorable large sword.

13) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
I like solving problems with brute force. So, I usually pick someone with a huge hammer or a very large sword.

14) Which videogame character are you?
A worm from Worms+

15) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
I’ve been playing some of the same quests over and over in KCD for the last three years.

16) A personal story?
I was born. I live. And some day I going to die. Sad, but true story.

17) Your favorite music
Queen, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Pink Floyd…classic rock

18) Your favorite movie or book?
Book: 1984
Movie: Dredd. The new one, not the shit with Stallone. Once Upon a Time in the West

19) What species is your spirit animal?
warm-water penguin

20) Your travel tip?
Japan. Beautiful country, nice people, awesome food. I would like to die there.

21) What will be your famous last words?
“Did I give the right of way……”

22) Is it possible to buy you with candy?
Candy? No. Money? Yes.

23) What is your weakest trait?
I’m a lazy person.

24) Imagine you are a cake, what kind of cake are you and why?
I don’t want to be a cake.

25) Knights or Samurai?
MechWarrior

26) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
Thanks for your support. Goodbye and stay alive.

Do you have any questions for Petr Maláč? Please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
New screenshots
#144

Here are Petr Maláč´s answers to your community questions:

We have one story pup brawl(I guess) but I didnt work on it. So you cannot blame me for this. But we have fight clubs. My work so again blame me.

Nope

Maybe, maybe not. Honestly, I don’t know. But It would be great find Guts’s Dragon Slayer in game.


#145


Rick Lagnese is a huge Kingdom Come: Deliverance fan, and as such, he has the energy and enthusiasm to present the game to reporters and members of the community. He is our right hand man in the United States and has his very own tasks as a Community Manager over there. A man with passion, born in Rochester, NY/USA and right now, he represents Warhorse Studios on Playstation Experience 2017 in Anaheim.
Do you have any questions for Rick Lagnese? Please ask here.
:es: You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.

1) How did you hear about Warhorse?
The story is actually quite interesting. I first heard about Warhorse Studios through IGN on Twitter. I saw the trailer and I couldn’t believe that a game was actually being made without dragons and without magic. My brother-in-law (James) and I started talking about how great this game could be. In fact, it’s the one game that James told me that I should check out at E3.
Then Warhorse sends out a tweet saying that they need help setting up a party for our fans in LA (for E3). Well of course, I immediately responded and was fortunate enough to start speaking with them (on Skype), pretty much on a daily basis! I couldn’t believe it. I mean, it’s just setting up a party at a pub for them, nothing more, but I felt like a part of the team already. Even though I was going to E3 as a journalist with a smaller team, they understood that this would become more of a priority for me, as we always were looking for other opportunities.
So, the party went very well for our fans and for the team. We got to show off some footage and so much more. It was great seeing so much support for our game that day!
I then had the opportunity to help present KCD to the industry at GDC in San Francisco. Fast forward a few months later and Tobias Stolz-Zwilling, our PR Manager, asked if I would like to be the US Community Manager for Warhorse Studios. Without him, I wouldn’t be here today.

2) Describe your position. What do you do as a Community Manager?
I have the privilege of working remotely in the US, of course. I actually work for a cellular phone company also, so I juggle between both jobs, while supporting a family of 7 (wife and 5 kids!). Onto the position: my job is more of a hybrid role – mainly Community Management along with PR as well. On a daily basis, I am engaged with our fans on Steam, Reddit, forums and more. I help work on our newsletters and I even get to check the marketing team’s grammar, which is always fun. Although I must admit, some of their grammar is better than what I’ve seen with some from many in the US :0)
I get to talk about our game on podcasts, do some streams on Twitch, run contests, do interviews and then some.
And then there’s E3, Gamescom, GDC, PSX and others. Tobi can get very busy at shows doing interviews, live interviews and more, so I am honored to hold down the fort and show off one of the most exciting games coming next year. It truly amazes me that Warhorse Studios has allowed me take on an enormous responsibility by presenting our game to the press and public. I am truly overjoyed by this!

3) Which job would you not want to do?
Anything that involves coding! I don’t really know how it all works, but I do know that those guys and gals work their tails off. The only thing that I can create with coding is cheat codes for Contra.

4) What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on adding more content to Steam and Reddit, along with assisting the marketing team with promoting our game more in the US. And then there’s some pretty cool stuff I am working on, but I’d rather not say just yet! :0) By the time you’re reading this, I will be on my way to PSX!

5) What will you be doing at PSX?
I absolutely cannot wait to show off our game to the fans. PSX is all about the fans, so we’ll basically be at out booth the entire time. Tobi and I will be there to show off the game, answer questions, slay some Cumans…whatever is needed to be done will be done. If you’re going to PSX, please stop by!

6) Will there be anything else going on at your booth?
Heck yeah! We’ll have some knights walking around the booth at the convention and we’ll also be giving away some very unique T-Shirts too!

7) We all know that events can be exhausting. How do you survive them?
Good question! Tobi and I feed off one another. The energy and passion that we have for Kingdom Come is what fuels the fire. Of course, when we are able to see the reactions from the fans, I quickly get reminded of why I do what I do, which means everything to me. However, once the event is over, I am definitely ready to go home and relax and hang out with the family.

8) Are you a PlayStation fan?
Why, certainly. I mean, I am a fan of all of the consoles, as I own an Xbox, PS4, the Switch, and a decent PC where I’ve already played hours and hours AND hours of KCD :0)

9) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
At the end of the day, it’s a team effort - one hand definitely washes the other. One major accomplishment that I can easily recall is when we were at Gamescom 2017, I held down the fort at our press/business booth for 95% of the time. We were all so busy that week – Tobi, Dan and Martin doing interviews, Chris our Community Manager in Prague working at our public booth the entire time with JR our Marketing Manager, so I had to do my part as well. By the end of Gamescom, we were voted the #1 PC game of the show by the press!! Obviously, we were ecstatic by the news!_

10) What do you think is the most important part or thing in the game?
The authenticity in this game is truly astounding. Trust me, I’ve literally been to several places in the game, in the Czech Republic, and it feels like I am TRULY in the game when I am playing. Furthermore, I have rarely seen any game that allows you to make so many choices/decisions throughout the game, while have a very story-driven game at the same time. Everyone will have the same ending, but everyone will have different stories to tell.

11) What is the most important characteristic a Community Manager must have?
Passion, enthusiasm, excitement, dedication and some kind of organization. Anyone can acquire knowledge of a game, but not everyone can bring the authentic passion and enthusiasm that you need in order to be the face of the company. I was a fan long before I worked for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, so I am honored to be working for them.

12) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Being able to see how the NPCs/AI react to your decisions is what makes this game so unique. Truly, I am looking forward to all the stories that will be told from our fans’ perspectives.

13) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
I was just a small boy when my Grandfather introduced the family to the Atari 2600 for Christmas. I played the Mario/Donkey Kong games, Mario and Luigi, pole position and more.

14) What was your most touching video game moment?
Maybe when John Marston from Red Dead Redemption died. Just didn’t see it coming. He was an amazing character and I hated playing as his son.

15) Which videogame character or figure is the best?
Link. Zelda games are my favorite games of all-time.

16) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
I like playing as a warrior/knight and as a male, if I can.

17) Which videogame character are you?
Link

18) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
I am so far behind in my backlogs of games that I don’t really have that luxury. If I did, it would probably be a Ghost Recon game.

19) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
Hang out with the kids and then my wife and I attempt to hang out alone lol We enjoy playing games, reading books, watching Little House or Highway to Heaven, playing Mario and going outside and running around. So you see, there is not much time for relaxation…until they go to bed lol Then, if my wife isn’t too tired, we’ll hang out and do as little as possible.

20) A personal story? About a brother, sister, partner, single?
My parents divorced when I was 5 and I moved out when I was 18. I received an award in High School for the “most changed.” My Dad led my brother and I down a very spiritual path, which I am very grateful for. I married at 20 and had my first child at 21/22. My Dad passed when I was in my mid-twenties, which made a profound impact on my life. I’ve learned that no matter what happens in life, everything happens for a reason and the struggles that we face are an opportunity to grow as a person on a daily basis.

21) Your favorite music
I’m all about passionate/inspirational music, which is almost impossible to find on the radio these days.

22) Your favorite movie or book?
Favorite movie: Braveheart or V for Vendetta
Favorite book: The Bible

23) What will be your famous last words?
God’s love never changes.

24) Is it possible to buy you with candy?
Not a chance. However, sweets are another story…

25) What is your kryptonite?
Cats

26) What is your weakest trait?
Pride. Just gotta let it go man.

27) Imagine you are a cake, what kind of cake are you and why?
Vanilla cake with vanilla pudding the middle, with Oreos around the side of it. My favorite.

28) Who is your favorite historic character?
I have much admiration for Jan Hus, Martin Luther and many more, but it has to be Jesus. He is the perfect model for how anyone should live.

29) Which is your favorite historic event?
Has got to be the martyrdom of Jesus. What he did set the stage for the entire planet, and then some.

30) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you? Which weapon do you choose?
I’m a knight on the frontlines and I’m going with the bastard sword – light enough for 1 hand or mix it up with two!

31) Knights or Samurai?
Samurai. More disciplined and more trained than any other.

32) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school?
Favorite subject was Math and the least favorite was history (ironically enough) because we always had so much work to do!

33) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
First and foremost, thank you for being such great fans. We’re on the brink of a very special game. Make sure you take your time with Kingdom Come: Deliverance and enjoy the atmosphere, the exploration, the story, the investigating, the cutscenes, the humor, the challenges, the battles and the music as much as you possibly can. We love you!!!

Do you have any questions for Rick Lagnese? Please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#146

Here are Ricks answers to your community questions:

Hey Waldkauz! It’s always a great experience going to events as we get all kinds of feedback. I find that “casual” gamers really like the fact that our game is not necessarily a fighting game. They can enjoy the landscape, the environment, the towns, castles, etc, and make decisions that can potentially lead to being a more merciful and peaceful Henry.

The “hardcore” gamer has shown appreciation for this as well, and they are very excited to see the challenges that they’ll face in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. We’re not going to hold their hand in the game, which gives the player more freedom to take on challenges that others may want to avoid. Now we know that some of the events in the game are unavoidable, but even those events will lead to some big moments in the game. The combat in our game intrigues many, as it can be quite challenging and very rewarding.

I really love it when we hear people say that they have been waiting for a game like this for a very long time. And then when I explain to them all the choices that they can make in the game, they are overwhelmed in the most pleasant way possible.

It’s also equally as interesting when we have gamers who have never heard of our game, and they love to try and compare it to other types of games, such as The Witcher, Skyrim, Oblivion, etc. The more I try and demonstrate to them and show them that the game has hints of these three games (as well as others), they quickly find that our game is still quite different in its own right.

Obviously, we have many who gamers who are very skeptical and I completely understand and respect that. Whenever you try to tell someone that our game is not a fighting game and they are already skeptical about the game, sometimes they tend to think, what kind of game can you actually make without it focusing on the combat? There are so many choices in the game, can your game be broken? How is it going to compete with all the AAA games out there?

February 13th is just around the corner and soon, I believe that our game will influence many others and more importantly, give gamers a video game that we’ve all been waiting for, for a very long time.


#147


Quality Assurance Tester Jan “Detective” Rücker earned his nickname because he likes to look a bit more into the details for the causes of bugs. Like a profiler, he wants to understand the deeper meaning of the bug, why is it there and why does it do what it does. He needs to become the bug to think like a bug, which sounds a bit kafkaesque of course…
He was born in the city of Trutnov, near the mountains on the northern border of the Czech Republic.
Do you have any question for Jan “Detective” Rücker? Please ask here.
:es: You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.

How did you hear about Warhorse?
I heard about Warhorse right after it was announced that the studio was founded. After some time, I saw their very successful Kickstarter campaign and even though I didn´t participate, I started to follow them. After that I was checking the updates that were released over time, but I wouldn´t describe myself as a hardcore fan.
I started working for Warhorse at the beginning of April 2017. How did this happen? It´s funny actually, because I was looking for work that I could do, while finishing my bachelor’s degree at the same time. I was a student of the University of Economics in Prague (and I still am), so I was looking for something close to my field. After a few weeks and a few interviews in tax consulting companies, I came across an article (mid-March) saying that Warhorse is looking for new QA testers. I told myself, ‘What the hell, why not try that?’ I always wanted to be part of the game development. After a few days of checking my email, I got through the practical test, then the interview and out of nowhere, it I started at the beginning of April and I was sitting at a computer in the studio. I couldn’t believe that I was able to get in :slight_smile:

Describe your position. What is it about being a tester?
Even though a Quality Assurance tester is an entry-level job, it´s still very important for the team. In reality, QA testers are the ones that can see the game as a whole for most of the time. For example, you see a character walking past a player waving and saying hello. This simple situation is a connection with many features: player movement (programmers), character is waving (animations), character is reacting to the presence of the player by waving at him, while doing something from the day cycle (script), somebody decided that the character should do this (design) and the character is moving through the city (graphic department and concept artists), plus the character is saying something (sound and a voice actor). That´s a lot of people participating on the one stupid character waving at the player. So where is the tester? What is he doing?
He’s telling all these people that it looks horrible and it sucks or that it doesn´t work at all. (in a more constructive way of course)
Without that feedback, all this people wouldn´t know what is wrong, and there would be no room for improvement.

Describe your usual day at the studio?
I have two types of mornings: The first type is when I arrive to the office around 6:40 am with my coffee and nobody is in yet. I can go through all the work that needs my attention before the rest of the people arrive at the office. It´s great, because I can do a lot of work in the morning, sometimes more than the rest of the day. The second type is when I arrive just before my first meeting around 10 am (because I was arriving at the studio very early in the morning from the previous day). The rest is usually the same - meetings, bugs, more bugs, lunch and even more bugs.

What are some of your notable accomplishments?
I work on the PS4 version a lot and I’m really proud that we were able to bring the game onto consoles and it’s in a very good shape, even though there is still a lot of work that could make the experience on the console even better. The biggest challenge was the technical requirements that are demanded by Sony. It was a long and complicated process, but with a huge amount of work being done by the programmers and few other people from QA, we were able to pull it off. I also created basic guidelines on how to work with the PS4, which are now helping other people who have the console and are not familiar with it that much. I believe it will be useful in the future for many more people as well.
I´m also proud of my work on various quests that were in bad shape in the beginning. However, with a huge team effort we were able to fix, change, and sometimes even redesign them a little. Those quests are now in a good shape and look better than ever before. This happened mostly with quests that have large battles in them and I can´t wait for feedback from the players. It was truly a great experience to be a part of this and it´s really great to see the outcome at the end, especially when you can say to yourself, this is my idea and it was added to the game.

How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
I started to play games on my friend’s computer when I was 6 or 7 years old. We played various games like UGH, Commander KEEN, the Czech classic Vlak, or Stunts. When I was in the 4th grade, I got a new computer from my parents and I was introduced to games like Max Payne, Warcraft, Starcraft, and most importantly Ultima Online. We spent hundreds of hours playing UO with my friends. I honestly think that this game influenced me the most from all the games I have ever played. We used to play on an unofficial custom shard, which was set in the middle earth after the third LotR book.

Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
For the last few years I have not been able to play all the new games, but there is still a bunch I play repeatedly from time-to-time. For example, Warcraft 3, The Witcher series, the first Mirror´s Edge, Machinarium, Bioshock, Mass Effect, or Max Payne.

What was your most touching video game moment?
I´m going to choose a game that I played not too long ago. I think that during Life is Strange, you can feel all of these moments in one playthrough. If you played the game, you know what I am talking about. If you didn’t, well now you know that it’s time to get playing this game asap.

What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
Mirror´s Edge: Catalyst. Don´t get me wrong, the game wasn’t a complete disaster, but it was mediocre at best. I really like the first one and I was excited about the rumors that there is going to be another game and it got rebooted? Why? They even changed the voice actress of Faith? Big mistake :confused: At least the soundtrack from Solar Fields was good again.

How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I watch a lot of films and sometimes I am able to find a few hours to play some games, read a book, or listen to music. I´m trying at least once a week to get together with my friends from outside the company and enjoy a beer or two. But when I get truly relaxed is, when I am able to do something together with my girlfriend - she is able to fill me with positive energy every time I feel down or tired :slight_smile:

Your favorite music or Spotify playlist?
I´m listening to music all the time - on my way to work, while working, on my way from work, literally all the time. I think that my average listening per day is around 8 hours of music, so yeah, Spotify is worth every penny. I don´t care about genres, therefore my playlists are mostly crazy compilations of everything. I can listen to some old school rap and the next song can be by Amy Winehouse, followed by Kasabian. But when I need to work and relax at the same time I listen to smooth jazz.
I create some new playlists every 2-3 months, it’s enough time to add around 120 new songs in there, which is too much for a single playlist. So, I create a new playlist - I take the last 20 songs I added to the old one and continue my music journey. I have at least 4-5 playlists for every year, plus the genre exclusive playlists when I am in the mood for some rap or some indie rock session.
It´s almost impossible to decide about my TOP 3 artists, but if I had to choose I would say Daft Punk, Gorillaz, and The Kooks. Those are my all-time favorites. Currently, I am listening to a lot of MF Doom (album MM…FOOD is particularly good), the new Gorillaz album, or Portugal. The Man. I also recently started to listen to some Lo-Fi vaporwave crazy tracks… well that´s something new for me.

Your favorite movie or book?
Like I mentioned before, I like films a lot. My all-time favorites are Lord of the Rings and Christopher Nolan films, especially Inception. I also prefer movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Only Lovers Left Alive by Jarmusch. On the other hand, I don’t read that much. I’m trying to catch up on that, but I am failing. I really like Harry Potter books, Lord of the Rings, and right now I’m trying to finish the Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski. I’m in the middle of the third book and it’s really great so far.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sweets or ice cream and junk food, preferably eaten in bed while watching Netflix. I know, it´s sad… :smiley:

If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
I really want to thank all the people that supported us in our journey to make the best game possible. We are working really hard to fix all the bugs and make the game even better and we are really close, so bear with us a little longer because the wait is almost over!

Do you have any question for Jan “Detective” Rücker? Please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#148

Here are Jan Rückers answers:

Hey Kakyou, thank you for the interesting questions.
1.1 How do you classify a bug?
There is a lot of variables and it depends on the bug itself and also on the feature/quest that is bugged. That basically means bugs for main quests are more important than side quests, but not every time. It´s something that you need to learn by experience and if I have to speak for myself at least at the beginning it was a problem for me how to correctly classify it and it´s still sometimes. But we of course have a set of rules, that are helping us to classify the bugs. There are 5 priorities that we assign to the bugs – minor, normal, major, critical and show-stopper. The boundaries of the categories were changed few times how the development went on. Basically Show-stopper is the biggest priority, these bugs are game breaking, and it needs to be fixed ASAP. Critical bugs are bugs that needs to be fixed for sure, but they are not breaking the whole game. Major bugs are often critical bugs with low reproduction rate or bugs which are negatively affecting the experience from the game. Normal bugs are those that u don´t like, but you can live with. Minors are tiny details that player can notice but they don´t break anything. These are mostly graphical bugs. After all this it´s about pragmatic decisions. How does it affect players? Do we have time to change it? Sadly, there is no way how to fix everything, that´s just how it is.
1.2 How would you classify these immersion breaking things:
I will try to answer in short comments and assign the priorities I mentioned before.
• breaking things like glued bows to the back
o Between major and normal, it doesn´t look good but…
• scabbards without suspensions
o Between minor or normal, it´s nice to have, but… :wink:
• Shields without carrying straps
o Same as scabbards
• Magically lighting torches
o This is minor bug
• Torches that does not react to rain
o Minor
• Disappearing objects (knives, Swords and unfortunately scabbards…)
o This is major bug that we are talking about a lot, BUT we need to think about performance vs. benefit, there is a still huge chance that this will be changed somehow
1:3 Are those things on your bug/improvement board as task already recorded?
Yes, because I just added the the bug about torches in rain to our tracking system, great idea by the way :blush:
1:4: Are there any strange but not really reproduceable bugs, which are funny, and could you share them?
Yes, I guess I can share this one. In the whole world all spawn points were spawning a few pigs a second until the game crashed.

image1

You lose some you get some. Our graphics did a very good job in scaling, so there was no need for downgrade due to the release of the game on consoles. But there were of course few things that were cut out from the game e.g. volumetric fog, mostly because overall technical issues they caused.
But in the end on thing is certain: we will do the maximum possible for all platforms individually. In general, whatever optimization for any given platform gives benefits for others as well.


#149

Viktor Bocan is one of the founders of Warhorse Studios and well known for his other game Operation Flashpoint which he developed together with his team at Bohemia Interactive. Afterwards he worked at 2K together with Daniel Vávra, and now he is working as the Design Lead on Kingdom Come: Deliverance with a team of Scripters to combine the different elements of the game to one organic unit. Viktor was born in Prague, here in Czech Republic.
If you have any questions for him, feel free to ask here in the barrel of questions.
: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?
Generally anywhere. Most of the time in the last year I discussed with people, attended in meetings, played a game, fighted in my proprietary combat level and answered questions like “hey, we came up with this system four years ago, why the hell did we do it this way?”

2) How did you join Warhorse Studios?
I am one of the founding members. I worked with Dan Vávra before at 2K and when he started to think about founding his own gaming studio. I just answered “yes” to a question whether I’d like to join. We shaped the project a bit, then he and Martin Klíma started to look for the funding and when they succeeded I just answered “yes” to a question whether I can come to the new office tomorrow.

3) Describe your position. What is it about being a Lead Designer?
I am mostly thinking about things. I was writing the general game mechanics at the beginning together with Dan, then he focused on story and quests with his team and I took care of the open world, helped to develop the scripting systems and how it all fits together. Now I have a team of scripters and technical designers that do their best to make sure the game is playable, the world is full of people and events and quests are working. They do an awesome job and there is a huge pressure on them now because they are at the end of a chain: programmers make game mechanics, artists do their great models, designers write quests and when it all is done, the scripters finally get it to connect all those things together, ideally due yesterday. So, I also support them with cookies and a kind word.

4) You were also the Lead Designer of Operation Flashpoint from 2001. How much of the Operation Flashpoint spirit will we find in Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
A lot. Not only because they are both realistic games (or games set in the real world). I really believe that when you make a game, you should do it in the way that it will be fun for you to play it in the end. I don’t believe (too much) in focus groups, user testing and questioners, I think developers should make the best game possible and you cannot do a good game for some illusionary “16 years old Joe from Idaho” because you have no clue who he is. You make a great game for yourself and believe there is enough people who will like it too. With this in mind we were working at Bohemia Interactive on Flashpoint and I feel the same approach here at Warhorse.

5) You have developed the Combat System of Kingdom Come: Deliverance. What was the most difficult part in transforming real medieval combat into a game?
First of all, it wasn’t just me, so if you won’t like it, also blame the others.
Interestingly enough, the most difficult part was to find out how medieval combat really looked. Because it’s quite a lost art nowadays, or it was for a long time. Now many people all around the world are working hard to rediscover it, but there is still a long way ahead for them. So, we took what they know now and tried to make a game from it. It was a lot of fun, to be honest.

6) What makes the combat system of Kingdom Come: Deliverance so unique?
Definitely authenticity.
People have a tendency to confuse the authenticity with realism. It’s not the same, especially not in combat. You will never have a real combat experience in a game until you get some awesome virtual reality system with perfect haptic feedback. What you CAN get is something that has a similar feeling.
You can feel the danger. You can feel a weight of the sword in your hand. You can get timing and positioning right and then you can fight in the game like you would in real world.
The other part of authenticity is, what I was talking about just before. We tried to reconstruct old combat techniques and make them viable for the game. Which is quite unique, too.

7) Please describe Warhorse Studios:
It’s awesome place with awesome people. As every crowded area, it’s sometimes difficult to have an agreement on something but what is awesome here is the will to think about things. And listen.

8) Describe your usual day at the studio.
Coming late as usual, opening an e-mail and a bug tracker, being surprised what new problems appeared, then walking through offices and trying to solve them. Then I play a lot and leave home late as usual.

9) What are you currently working on?
Fine-tuning the combat RPG so it’s a bit more accessible. We did well in the “hard to master” part, now “easy to learn” is something we should focus on.

10) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
I believe one thing that really works is how we connected the quite action-oriented combat with the quite static RPG elements. It’s not just that your strikes are stronger when you gain more strength. It’s the system that changes core concepts of the combat when approaching different enemies. Like this bandit over there is lightning fast, but you level-up and he becomes much slower because your character (Henry) is now good at fighting and PERCIEVE him being slower. Or he has this special technique and he cannot perform it on you because Henry is too good to fall on that trick.
That also means that if you are really good in action games, you can win duels with much stronger opponents. If you don’t want to do that, gain some levels and beat them with RPG. Both approaches work which is something I’m really proud of.

11) What is the most important characteristic a Lead Designer must have?
An open mind and to know something about everything while not excelling in any area particularly. For example, I’m quite a bad programmer so even when I can easily write tools that help me to design and tune something, I have no urge to look at the source code of our game (too much) or to tell the real programmers how to do what they do.

12) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
The combat and a beautiful environment. Also combat in beautiful environment. And looking at the beautiful environment when dying in combat.

13) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
Long time ago in a galaxy not too far away. I was quite a small boy yet, it was in the eighties and we went to some computer center with a school. There was a lot of boring stuff and a game, which was actually a clone of Tetris. With a glitch though, the game was able to speed up only two times and the third speed was final, the computer wasn’t able to run the game faster. It wasn’t a really good strategic plan from a teacher to tell us that at the end we can play one game each and leave once we lose. I accepted the challenge and felt it as serious injustice when I was thrown out after some three hours of consistent play, nowhere close to defeat. I managed to make my mother to buy me an 8-bit Atari some time later and I made my first game (a text adventure) in 1989. There was a revolution in Czechoslovakia, so I didn’t need go to school, I was on a demonstration at morning and made games in the afternoon. Good times.

14) What was your most touching video game moment?
Too many of them. It would be very unfair to mention just one.
But I will be unfair and mention one. In Demon’s Souls you kill bosses for souls and there is one named Maiden Astrea. She was a saint originally and pilgrim but when dealing with evil, she became corrupted from the inside and became a sort of demon herself. She has a bodyguard, a noble knight, who once swore to protect her with his life. And he does just that. You approach her, and her knight is there in a “you shall not pass” mood. He knows she’s a demon, but he swore so he is standing here guarding her. You kill him in furious fight (without using the glitch that is available there, come on!), go to her, she looks at you and tell you that if you were able to defeat her knight and if you killed him, you are too strong for her – and she has nothing left anyway. And then she dies and you get her soul for free. If you call that free…

15) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
Tank. Always a tank. I let others do the dirty job while guarding them. In MMOs on the other hand I usually grab a healer. I let the others do the dirty job and heal them. In World of Warcraft I have a druid and he is healer AND tank. Also, I’m really bad at DPS there.

16) Which videogame character are you?
Sir Auron. Silent, permanently surprised, somewhat cynical and not really there at the end.

17) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Many. I enjoy repetition, I watch the same movies all over again, read the same books, play the same games. When the piece is good, you always learn something new when you play it for the second or the third time. To name a few, most of the time in my gaming life I probably spent in Civilization (all incarnations), Souls games (all of them) and in the last few years I played Factorio too much.

18) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
It would be very similar to Dark Souls.

19) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I either play games, make them or write about them for a local magazine. When I am too tired from playing games on my computer, I turn on my Playstation 4. Or Nintendo Switch. Or Xbox. Or another game on a computer.

20) Your favorite music playlist
I listen to lyrics. So, the music I listen should either have awesome lyrics (so it’s poetry) or no lyrics at all. Or it should be in a language I don’t understand at all, it works too.

21) Your favorite movie or book?
For books: Hyperion, all of it. With movies, it’s more complicated. I love Studio Ghibli movies but otherwise I haven’t many long-time favorites. I liked Watchmen a lot and I believe people do not understand how good the storyteller Zack Snyder is (I am one of those who think Sucker Punch is actually brilliant, and people just didn’t get it). Ah, I almost forgot Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

22) What species is your spirit animal?
The hidden dragon.

23) Your travel tip?
Crete. It’s a perfect world with a warm sea at your feet and high mountains behind you. You need that, apples, electricity and internet, nothing more.

24) Sport is…?
Out there?

25) What was your greatest mistake?
Too many to count. Also boring to mention.

26) Do you have a Bucket List?
Nah, not planning to die any time soon.

27) What will be your famous last words?
“Interesting!”

28) Is it possible to buy you with candy?
I buy others.

29) What is your kryptonite?
Chocolate and Factorio. It’s very dangerous for me to start this game in late evening, it means I will go to sleep at 4 am.

30) Knights or Samurai?
Ninja.

31) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school?
I love languages, especially the Czech language. I kinda failed in history but I like it in the end.

32) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
Be kind to our game. In certain aspects it’s something never done before, not because we are good but because we are arrogant and crazy. Also, don’t let your expectations sky-rocket, remember that this is still our first game. We do our best and at the end I really believe that Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a good game, but we already know what to do even better next time. And we will.

If you have any questions for Viktor Bocan, please ask here.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the Warhorse Studios Team.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#150

Viktor Bocan will answer your question later, after the holiday season.


#151

Jan “Honza” Valta is our Music Composer for Kingdom Come: Delivernacce and works closely together with our Adaptive Music Designer Adam Sporka to create our unique adaptive music system, which reacts on your gameplay.
Do you have any questions to Jan “Honza” Valta? Please ask here.
:es: You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.

1) How did you hear about Warhorse?
I have been writing music for Warhorse since August 2014 (music for Alpha Teaser was the very first piece I composed for Kingdom Come).
But there’s a bit complicated story behind it. From the beginning, besides for me it also involved my colleague Adam Sporka.

In January 2014, we both spotted this game’s success at the Kickstarter. We checked the game, we said “wow!”. and we started working on a demo which we wanted to send to Warhorse, offering our services (me as a composer, Adam as an adaptive music designer).
This preliminary stage took 6 months. During that time, I collected all available information about Kingdom Come and - I totally fell in love with it. I was like: if there is one game in this universe I would love to score, it’s this one.

In July 2014, Adam’s friend who worked in Warhorse told us Daniel already has one particular composer in mind. That meant there isn’t any chance for us. Well… for me, it was just a dream - but yet, I was quite disappointed.
You may not believe in God or destiny, but here it is: literally THE NEXT DAY I got mail from Daniel Vávra, asking whether I would be interested in scoring his upcoming game called Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Dream come true!

If you ask how that is possible:
In 2007, I’ve done some of the orchestral arrangements for a Czech death metal band called Arakain. I guess you noticed this already (t-shirts?): Daniel is a big fan of death metal, so he found it somewhere, he liked it and he remembered it.

In 2011, during my family holiday I accidentaly met a nice young lady (well, accidentaly: there was only one pub in that village) who saw me working on some music on my laptop there (holiday, uhm). She said her boyfriend makes videogames, and she offered she can pass some demo of my work onto him. So, I gave her a CD with my symphony called “Fulcanelli”, saying - who knows?
That boyfriend of that nice young lady was Daniel Vávra.
That’s it - based on these two things, I’ve got that job offer. Thanks God for nice young ladies. :slight_smile:

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2) Ever worked on videogames before?
Kingdom Come is the very first game I’m scoring. But I am typing notes into scores since 2005. Originally, I am a violinist (studied at the Teplice Conservatory and Prague Academy, played in Czech Philharmonic for two seasons, proud member of the Herold Quartet since it was founded in 1998) but I never studied composition, instrumentation, orchestration etc.

There were two schools for me:
1. Listening to great works of the classic masters (Dvořák, Ravel etc.) and watching their music in the score (if you want to do the same - five letters: IMSLP). That gave me quite a lot of understanding how music works (and also, how to type it down - basic notation is easy but complex scores for a full orchestra do have many rules which you should obey - because they’re good).
2. Drinking beer with my fellows, Prague musicians. Many of my friends are excellent instrumentalists (winds, brass, strings, keyboards, percussion… you name it) and to have a couple of kegs with them gave me the opportunity to ask questions such as: when I write this, would it be comfortable to play on your instrument?, and if not, how shoud I write it then?, what’s the spot where you blow up to the upper register?, is it comfortable to play in the lowest register in pianissimo? etc.

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3) So much for theory lessons. Now the real experience:
Before I started working on KC:D, I’ve done quite a lot of orchestral music, chamber music, songs, I scored two TV shows… And - I’ve done tons of arrangements. Really many of them (surely over a thousand, don’t know the exact figure), various genres, various line-ups…
I would say it’s a great thing to start with, if you want to be a composer: as an arranger, you don’t actually compose but you’re working with the music of someone else (usually someone good, otherwise people wouldn’t be willing to pay for a new arrangement of it). And you are asked to re-shape it, re-orchestrate it, fill-in some emptier sections… That can’t be done if you don’t understand that particular piece first. It’s a great training.

And once you start working with music and scores, it never stops: you go to cinema, you watch the film but 20% of your brain analyses the music (why this, why that way, why now, why here yes and there no); you play a piece of music yourself and you watch the combinations of instruments they create that wonderful color, you think about why that composer didn’t use the french horn here and put the bassoon intstead… You’re doomed forever! :slight_smile:

So, as a game composer I was a virgin, but I had quite a lot of music experience before I joined Warhorse.

4) Please describe one of your colleagues or your department:
Our Music Department is very small, there’s only two of us. That gives me the chance to answer this question without hurting anyone’s feelings. :slight_smile: So, I present to you: Adam Sporka, our adaptive music designer and additional music composer. He designed many features of our adaptive music system, he wrote the Sequence Music Engine which rules our music in the game and he also composed some of the tracks (i.e. that Gregorian Chant you’re gonna hear in the monastery and music for armed combat).

First, I’ll copy/paste what I have written about him elsewhere already (because it’s 100% true):
“There are gifted programmers and gifted musicians. And then, there is Adam Sporka. He is both, in one person. Creating adaptive game music is a highly challenging task, and I am very grateful I could collaborate with Adam on the soundtrack for Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Provided with 10 minutes and pen & paper, Adam is able to find the most suitable and effective solution for a complex technological problem. But even as a composer, he is able to deliver a catchy tune or an enchanting atmosphere, both fitting the situation perfectly. Such a combination of technological and artistic abilities is extremely rare. To me, it makes Adam one of a kind.”

And, as we’re among friends here on this community forum, I can add: Adam is always willing to work harder if that may raise the quality for even 0.00001%, has a wonderful sense of humour, he writes fantastic chiptunes, he drinks coffe with milk… And after working with me for 3+ years, he became quite a skilled beer drunkar :slight_smile:
(I mustn’t forget: Adam and I are cousins. He was born just 2 days after me. Obviously, our family is a good family. )

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5) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
Our seamless transitions solution for the exploration music. If you’re interested, you can:
-briefly see it working in our video update (Bohemian Symphony), around time 2:55:


-watch it in complexity in one Adam’s lectures, around time 35:40:

6.1) Why we did what we did?
Kingdom Come is an epic story and it might as well be a fantastic Hollywood blockbuster. So we decided it deserves a soundtrack which would sound like a really good film music. But - it’s not film (so far) :wink: and being a game, it needs an adaptive soundtrack, too.

Nowadays music in almost every game changes when you move from one area to another - it helps the overall atmosphere of the location, it brings additional emotions… And when you come back from a wild adventure and the music for your village starts to play, you even feel like: so good to be home again.

In order to do this, you need to have a system which lets you switch from one track into another. In games, it is usually done through one of the following ways:

1. with just play / play something else (track A plays until its very end; track B starts after that)
2. with fade-out (track A fades out; when that happens, track B starts)
3. through crossfade (track A fades out whilst track B fades in - there is a short period of time where you hear both tracks playing together)
4. through an abrupt change (track A plays; track B starts playing abruptly, accompained with some loud hit on drum / cymbal to cover it).

These solutions are legal (everyone uses them, no one being arrested so far) and they are relatively easy to produce. But when you look at their descriptions in brackets whilst listening to our exploration music, you will see why we couldn’t use any of these:

1. means our music would react very slow (actually so slow that it would look as if it doesn’t react at all)
2. kills the natural flow of the music (it would kill the “film-like” feeling of our music in the game - and also, it’s way too cheap for something like KC:D)
3. would sound crap in our soundtrack (which is based of themes, melodies, quite complex chords etc. - simply, two tracks at the same time would quarrel each other badly)
4. would sound crap everwhere (with one exception which is Gothic 3, since it was scored by Kai Rosenkranz and I love that soundtrack!)

So - what to do?

6.2) Our big plan to rule the universe:
for every 10 seconds of every music track, there is a place for which we composed & produced an extra tiny little piece of music (usually 1 bar). That piece starts in 100% unison with the currently played part of the track, but it immediately starts to “cool down” the current music (finishing the phrase etc.), and within 5 seconds, it leads all its voices into one of the 3 exactly pre-defined chords (C, E, Ab - all of them with thirds omitted). These tiny little pieces are called BRANCHES.

for every track, we also composed & produced 3 openings (usually 2-4 bars). Each of these 3 openings starts with one of those 3 chords (C, E, Ab) - again, in the same exactly pre-defined shape -, but it immediately goes on with the overall mood of that track. And at its end, it lands into the “real” beginning of that track. (Same as BRANCHES start in unison with their track, these openings end in unison with their track). These openings are called INTROS.

Now, how the description of our transition from track A to track B would look like:
- track A plays, until it is valid. When the change is needed (i.e. you left one area and you entered another etc.), our music engine knows that.
- within those 10 seconds, we leave the (now non-valid) track A and we play the closest BRANCH available - just like taking the closest exit on a highway. Through it we cool the music down and we lead it into one of those 3 chords (C, E, Ab)
- when BRANCH ends (within 5 seconds), we play one of the 3 INTROS (yeah, the one, the end of that previous BRANCH was leading to)
- when INTRO ends, we finally start playing track B (but for most of the tracks, you will not notice where that is) :wink:

That means: for every transition you’re gonna hear in the game, we use two transtional tracks. This way, we are able to change the mood within 15 seconds latest - and completely seamlessly.

Not a rocket science, but - well, it wasn’t as easy either :wink: Considering the amount of INTROS and - particularly - BRANCHES needed for every single track in the exploration music, it was around 1.000 tiny little pieces of music which we had to compose, produce, export, index, implement into the music engine, test, tweak, re-export, send for mastering, control, and finally implement into the game.

Also, we had to do all this manually: anything else except a PERFECT unison wouldn’t sound seamless at all (you would hear a bump, or some of the voices ending abruptly / acting strangely etc.); anything else than a nicely composed transition would sound odd.
(1.000 pieces… it was hell :slight_smile: But from the very beginning our main rule was: nothing is too good for Kingdom Come!)

6.3) OK, and what’s the benefit of such a complicated solution?

When we switch from one track to another, you feel the change of the mood in music, but you can’t say when exactly that transition happened - because it sounds as if it was composed and produced exactly that way. Exactly for you, for your way of playing our game, all the way through.

And that leads to the point: in a good film music, there certainly are musical transitions between different moods, too. But they sound logical, nice, flowing… Seamless.

Simply put, they are not just some dumb joints. They’re music themselves, too. And that’s the right way how to do it.

7) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?

First were the handhelds: I remember Sea Ranger (damn, those sharks and coconuts!) and particularly Sub Attack (that one even had a solar panel, no need of batteries). Then Atari 800XL - I played many fanastic games on it (perhaps Rescue on Fractalus was the most memorable). Later Commodore (one word: Turrican). After that, there was a gap until the first PC (I started with Duke Nukem, Magic Carpet, Quake…).

For quite a couple of years, I don’t play anymore - no time. Last game I finished was Gothic 3, and that’s years ago. But now, I ended up in the industry where I have to play the game in order to fulfill my professional duties. Now that’s cool.

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8) What was your most touching video game moment?
I must say it. It’s one particular cutscene from Kingdom Come. As it is almost at the very end of the story, I can’t tell you more (when you gonna play it, remember: it’s a dream). I had tears in my eyes already when reading the script, then during the composing, then during the recording with the orchestra and finally when I saw it all put together in the game. My, it’s so strong!, and so much true!
(But in order to not mislead you: same as there are many really strong, moving moments in our game, there are also sooo many moments I was LOL! Wonderful script, epic lines. Really hope it’s gonna be a classic.)

9) Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?
Years ago. An RPG called Stonekeep. In one of the floors (75% of the game process done already) you could enter a fairy realm (those of you who laugh now: that’s just because you didn’t play it!) :wink: You could enter it through a portal, but I decided to go down into to the next floor first. And that was it: once you did that, you couldn’t enter that bloody fairy realm anymore and you couldn’t finish the game at all.
It was a major bug, many players complained and later I even downloaded some saves (prior this decision) on the Internet - but they weren’t my saves, it weren’t my magic wands, my carefully levelled character… For me, it pretty much spoiled everything.

10) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Downwell. I crashed 3 smartphones over last 2 years (certainly not because of that game - and certainly NOT because of our game!), and everytime, it was one of the first things I downloaded into my new phone. Simple at first glance, surprisingly complex when you know better what it is about. And that joke at the very end… Really love it.

11) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I have the best wife I could ever have, I have fantastic daughter (10) and two incredible sons (2) - twins. And I truly love them all. Being with them is the best relax I know. (Even when both boys at the same time are crushing their metal toys against my aching head.)

Wanna hear something more adventurous, like free climbing, rafting or driving an F1 car, huh? OK, here it goes:

I love cooking (definitely my mother’s DNA), eating, even shopping groceries (which is weird, as I totally hate any other shopping) and even washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. Anything around food makes me highly interested. I’m not a good cook, as that would need time which I don’t have, so I would say I am a bad cook but with a huge portion of a passion on the top of it.
Another passion? Spanish red wine - there’s nothing like a glass of Rioja (save for a glass of Cardenal Mendoza brandy, of course).
Beer - come on, we’re Czechs!, when one drinks beer here, we don’t even talk about it.

Certainly books, films, TV shows - see below. Besides for that… I’m interested in everything about the universe, actually. Speed of light, event horizon, correlation between energy and matter… (Don’t understand 1% of it, but that doesn’t bother me at all.)

Might sound strange but - I listen to music (outside my working hours) only rarely. But when that happens and I can listen & watch the score, I really enjoy it (probably I’m happy someone else did all the work and composed that already) :wink:

12) Your favorite music playlist
My family background is a bit classical, I would say (dad = conductor, mom = piano, sister = harpsichord; me = violin since the age of 5; no, we never played together on the same stage). So I love those really BIG composers (such as Dvořák, Brahms, Ravel, Debussy, Janáček, Martinů, but even some more contemporary ones - in case it makes sense to my senses).
Hard to say what’s the best: I love Mahler’s FIfth (it was the very first symphony I played in Czech Philharmonic, but I don’t think that’s the only reason) and I can’t tell whether Dvořák’s Eight is better than that.
(But it probably is.)

If one work only: Antonín Dvořák - Stabat Mater (no one can never, ever do it better)
If one more: John Williams - E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial OST (no one can never, ever do it better)
If one extra more: Alan Silvestri: Predator OST (this is just so cool!, love every second of this fantastic soundtrack)

(Btw., I am absolutely sure Williams, Goldsmith, Silvestri or Morricone already are true classics, fully comparable with those BIG composers I wrote about.)

Besides the classics? Beatles, Queen, Billy Joel, - fantastic tunes! Sometimes I’m sad, I feel as if no one composes such great melodies anymore. How did that happen? You might say I’m old, but - my taste in music didn’t change too much, over the years. (That means I was born old already.) :slight_smile:

13) Your favorite movie or book?
I love everything Spielberg has done (though Artificial Intelligence: AI was so sad I’ll never watch it again; great film, though). Also, with my wife we are crazy fans of the MAS*H TV show - we’ve seen all 251 episodes about 20 times already - but we want it again and again. I am a passionate lover of House of Cards - purchased Netflix because of it, couldn’t stop watching it. (I want Kevin Spacey back!) And then there are some Czech films which I totally adore but I am afraid it wouldn’t make sense to name them here (save for one: Kolya - it even won the Academy Award, and it totally deserved it).

If one film only: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (again) - to me it’s the very essence of what a film should look like. Not just in music, in everything.

Books? I love most of Umberto Eco’s novels, same for Márquez. Really not against a perfect thriller - Forsyth rules (everone knows The Day of the Jackal which is phenomenal but you should try i.e. The Negotiator - that is fantastic, too). Some years ago I fell in love with Jo Nesbo’s books about Harry Hole (I think I read them all - and then I went to bed, finally).

If one book only: Alejo Carpentier: Lost Steps. Quite hard to read, but absolutely impossible to forget. Strongest ending of all books I read.

14) Your travel tip?
Besides for Prague, you mean? Because honestly: I used to travel a lot whilst making my living as a freelance violinist, and I have seen some truly magnificent cities… but Prague is still the most beautiful place I know.
If not Prague, then Rio de Janeiro - an incredible city, in many ways.

15) Do you believe in Aliens?
Sure!, as universe is f*cking large. One of the sad things about my mortality: when someone finally breaks Einstein’s laws and humans will eventually reach for the other stars, I’ll be loooong dead to see it.

16) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
That I feel the utmost gratitude to them. Because without them, there would be no game at all.
To me personally, working on the soundtrack for Kingdom Come: Deliverance was undoubtedly the most difficult & challenging task I’ve ever done. (Century ago I would say that the most difficult thing in music is to compose an opera. No, it isn’t.) But also, it was the most beautiful, thrilling and exciting experience I ever had in my professional life. Also, I am extremely proud I became a part of the Warhorse team which is full of incredibly gifted professionals they give everything they can.
And all this wouldn’t happen without all the people they supported us (Kickstarter, our own community funding, but even on discussion forums or by posting under our Video Updates…). Over those years, it meant much more than you think, for all of us in Warhorse. Thank you for all this!
As I said, I loved the game from the very beginning. The end approaches and I love it even more. I hope you will have the same feeling about it. Thanks!

Do you have any questions to Jan “Honza” Valta? Please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#152

Jan Valta will come back to you later


#153


Henrieta Vajsabelova moved together with her Boyfriend from England to Prague and works as an Environment Artist for Warhorse Studios for around 2 Years now, she enjoys sci-fi movies and travelling and was born in Bratislava in Slovakia.
Do you have any questions for Henrieta Vajsabelova? Please ask here!
:es: You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.

1) How did you hear about Warhorse?
I previously worked in England, where I met my boyfriend David. When he finished his school, he started looking for a job. He was interested in working for Warhorse Studios, which was when I first heard about them. When he got the job, we both moved to Czech Republic, Prague. I started learning 3D at home and one day, when we got tickets to a graphics conference called SPLASH, I met some of David’s colleagues and I had mentioned that I work on 3D. At the time, they were looking for some environmental artists, so I asked if could do a test. I successfully passed the test, so they gave me an opportunity to work here and I was so happy :blush:. I’ve been here for 2 years now.

2) Describe your position. What is it about being a Environment Artist?
I am a Junior 3D Environmental Artist. In my position, I need to have solid aesthetic sensibility, a bunch of artistic knowledge, and also a good degree of technical skill. The main part of my job is to create and place 3D assets according to the real historical world. I use 3D’s Max and ZBrush a lot and also a variety of other tools to create textures and materials. Once I am ready to export my work to Cryengine, it can usually get quite interesting. I have to iterate a lot and make sure the assets pass through my own internal critic. My favorite responsibility involves creating natural environments in the Editor. We only use our own assets in order to fill the world of Bohemia. We are pretty lucky to have a great Art Director who leads a talented group of concept artists who help us by providing references to specific places in our world. When I first started to work here, I used to work on various castle furniture, props, small rocks, creating an environment around Rataje castle and riversides. I was also tasked with making points of interest in our world and fixed too many bugs to remember. Some parts of the work are really fun and creative and some parts are more technical and a little boring (like making levels of details for objects).

3) Did you ever worked on Videogames before?
I did not work in the game industry before I joined Warhorse. I actually studied molecular biology, but I have eight years of primary art school and art, in general, attracted me more than anything else. After graduating from university, I worked in the Slovak TV/Film Industry by attending various shoots as an extra.

4) What are you currently working on?
I am working on big rock formations right now. Together with some artists, we took photos of real rocks for photogrammetry purposes. I love art, photography, and nature, so this is the ideal combination of activities for me. Also, the releasing of KCD is coming soon, so I had to focus on polishing, cleaning and fixing the last graphic-bugs. For example, today I was setting up reflex lights which shine through windows of houses. They cast beautiful shadows in the interiors on our new Ultra High graphics setting. I am really glad we could manage this for people who enjoy playing visually believable games.

5) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
I grew up with games. My first gaming experiences were with Super Mario, then Barbie on SEGA. I spent too much time with Tamagotchi and Snakes on a toilet seat. When my brother and I got a PS1, we were pretty much addicted to it. My brother was addicted to Tekken and I was obsessed with Crash Bandicoot. In Slovakia, there was this one special TV show I watched a lot in which children called in by phone and played Crash by pressing dial buttons. I remember that every week my classmate called there and once she even won a jumping ball. I was so jealous of her :smiley:

6) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
I really enjoy creating characters, especially mad ones. I like to play with face sliders, making a good makeup, hair, and outfit :smiley: So I usually pick women.

7) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
My favorite game ever is The Sims. I started to play it on my cousin’s computer because we didn’t have one at home. I used to play long nights and when she tried to pull me away, I was pretty angry at her for doing so. I spent countless hours downloading new furniture and clothes for the game and sometimes I even downloaded some viruses as an extra :smiley:

8) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
I can imagine a pretty cool VR game with visuals that are inseparable from real life and you control it with your senses - my dream game!

9) Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?
During development, I stumbled upon a pretty funny collection of amazing bugs. My favorite involved our Alpha build in which a woman who was meant to sweep the floor started riding her broom and floated above ground. Another was produced intentionally by an animator (a fan of The Thing) who pulled Henry’s head so far out that his neck stretched like a giraffe while talking about his date.

10) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I don’t have much time during a crunch. If I find some, I like to watch good movies, read a book, cook specialties, go to the sauna or go for a swim. I also enjoy photography and when I get to capture a new batch of my moments on my travels, I like to edit them to my liking.

11) Your favorite music playlist
My favorite is electronic music, drum bass, chill out, and trip-hop. My favorite group(s) from my childhood are Linkin Park, Bjork, and Hans Zimmer.

12) Your favorite movie or book?
I love mystery, sci-fi movies and TV shows. One of my favorite shows is Black Mirror and it just came out again! I am also a fan of Ancient Aliens. My favorite films are Eat Pray Love, Butterfly Effect, Ex Machina, and Blade Runner. I really enjoy films from Tim Burton.
movies

I like to read about travel and Chinese medicine. I am currently reading a book from a Czech nomad Ladislav Zibura and Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah McDonald.

13) Your travel tip?
My travel tip is Thailand. It was my dream to get there a few years ago and this year, I finally managed to go and it was amazing. I love their art and culture. Buddhas and oriental temples on every step, exotic fruits, and just fantastic street food everywhere. You can meet a two-meter-long lizard by the sidewalk too. Bathing with elephants and fighting crazy monkeys who try to steal your bag full of groceries were pretty cool highlights :smiley:

14) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
I hope you will enjoy the game. Look out for surroundings of Rataje city and hidden points of interest :blush: Easter eggs too!

Do you have any questions for Henrieta Vajsabelova? Please ask here!


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#154

And here are Henrieta´s answers to your community questions

Our colleague Vojta is our sound designer. He recorded all atmospheres and random ambient sounds in the Czech forests, meadows, near lakes etc. He and Asia (our historian) did a bit of research into the medieval fauna. They selected animals and birds which reside or could have resided in the nature back then. According to Vojta, he recorded owls, crickets, buzzards, hornets, jackdaws, swallows, woodpeckers and many more. These sounds can be heard at places you’d expect to hear them… Hopefully :wink:
He tried to create a believable environment which sounds different from any game we know. In case you were wondering, no records of medieval music or songs were preserved, so we recorded some of our own!

Some of the textures we use come from our photo database, but some of them are generic. When it was possible we traveled to various locations which can be found in the game, to take pictures and study the textures. They inspired us during texturing if we used other sources too. Most of these locations don’t look the same as in the medieval times. We tried to recreate them according to how they could have looked during that time.
We used the generic textures, for example of wood, for houses from open air museums. Of course, we had to remember that models in museum have glass windows, which were impossible to see in medieval times. Medieval wooden remains, if preserved, were not always the best reference because the wood got too old. In medieval times it was much brighter because structures were often rebuilt.

Taking the photo references:

We used reference photos, sometimes from old documents, to build our furniture asset library. There are certain requirements we had to consider when modelling these. Our animations had to be compatible with all kinds of chairs or tables.
Furniture: Left: references, Right: in game

When comes to environments, our concept artists inspire us with illustrations, which keeps every scene visually interesting and consistent with reality.
Environments; left - concept, right - game

There are many factors to consider, such as the number and style of houses constructed at the time. Roads were obviously not made from asphalt. Sometimes we could not use as many assets as we liked to as well. For example, to optimize, we had to tone down density of rocks placed in rivers.
Today’s environment:


Our main source were blueprints of castles from historical documents, books and our photo references. Some of the interiors were burned down in fire, so there are no sources about how they looked. We only have interpretations from various sources. In some cases, we used the data from preserved documents, pictures of the exact era and consulted with historians and experts who work in museums.

Ground plan of the Pirkstein castle in Rattay based on plans made by T. Tomíček


Cross section of the Pirkstein castle in Rattay made by our concept artists

Flying objects, stretched roads, cleaning places where Henry can get stuck, fixed slots for picking/placing items

There is always something to improve or fix. We are currently working on a Day 1 update as well as some near-future updates.
The number of bugs is secret :slight_smile:

yes

If critical animations, effects or textures are missing, we do our best to make sure they are in the build you will play.

yes

yes

yes

yes

Yes. In ultra specs, for example, all the windows cast shadows.

yes

There were not too many shiny things at that time, but if they were, we will have them in the game. For example, church floor or armour.

Recently I have been adding detail maps to materials of roads. They were often blurry and the detail maps give them a more realistic and sharper look. Another improvement I worked on was adding little shimmer spots onto stones due to the faded look of their material.

We created these for the shops and they should be interactive in the game.

No, we won’t have Easter Eggs like that in the final game :smiley:

I do not program shaders or do much with the presets we use. Of course, I work with materials, and in order to enable reflections of metal or glass, I need to set the light probes properly.

Yes, the Czech forests are wonderful! I hope that in the future, when we are not so limited by optimization, they can look even nicer.

I think the character artists think that Henry looks sexier with boobs! :smiley: No, seriously, I am afraid that there is no story twist about that. It is just that animators sometimes use Henry’s face on female bodies in order to animate.

Both :slight_smile:


Combat concerns
#155


Martin Strnad is one of our Designers here at Warhorse Studios and with around 10years of experience in the gaming industry he is almost a veteran in his field. He also is the drummer of our Warhorse Band.
Do you have more questions for Martin Strnad? 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?
In-between my headphones :wink:

2) How did you hear about Warhorse?
Being that I’ve worked in the videogame industry for the last 10 years, I knew about Warhorse’s existence and I was aware of some of the plans that Dan Vávra had for his next game. In fact, even before Warhorse was a thing, I sent in my CV.
I did the interview and the test assignment and I got accepted, but since Warhorse was still looking for a publisher and funding in general, and the fact that I was in-between jobs and without money, I decided to choose a more, let’s say stable company to work for: Bohemia Interactive. Their DayZ Standalone project is where I stayed for almost 2 years until I got burnt-out a bit, so I took a break by travelling the globe for almost 1 year. Once I came back, I knew that the KCD development was in full swing, so I contacted the studio and was accepted without much hesitation to help with finishing and polishing the game.

3) Describe your position. What is it about being an open world game designer?
I make sure lots of small details in the game-world fit together. I make sure that people have a chest with clothes in their bedroom(s), chests, baskets and shelves with food in their storage room, properly locked doors, AI functioning correctly – going to work on time, shop-keepers putting their goods properly on display, what people are carrying around in their pockets, or even the resources you can acquire while hunting (trust me, I’ve re-learned lots of stuff I never thought I’ll need to know in terms of biology :D).
It is all these things that seem obvious to be there, but someone has to make sure they are there and that they make sense. It’s a tedious systematic work with lots of data and metadata, but it suits my way of thinking, so I quite enjoy doing it.

4) You said you worked on Videogames before, can you tell us something about your experience?
As I mentioned above, I’ve worked on games for 10 years (it’s actually my anniversary of being a game dev :blush:). I worked for Disney Mobile at the time, started with a solitaire game for Java phones, and managed to design and produce games based on Disney brands, like Hanna Montana, and after they bought Marvel, I even worked on Thor.
I did some other phone games later with a startup and other, more or less, mobile/social f2p games like bubble companies, where I’ve made some simple word games and mobile puzzle games. Previously, I got contacted by a person from Bohemia Interactive, when a DayZ mod was the one thing I spent most of my time with, so it was quite the natural choice for me to go for that and so I finally got to work on some proper AAA games and tech. Honestly, before game development, I was already doing some gaming journalism, I did lots of reviews for Nintendo DS games and also worked as a film journalist where I enjoyed press screenings at 10am and explaining how to work with google calendar to some thick humanities students and such.
Then some small jobs here and there on some web sites and during my yearlong travels I’ve made some good food money by busking, playing on my small steel drum in the streets around China and ended up teaching English in Taiwan which was quite the experience both for me and the kids, because I couldn’t stop myself from gamifying every single class I had, much to the surprise of both local teachers and kids with good results both in their marks but also in their loudness.

5) What is your favorite team activity?
When our office band meets to play music together after work. It’s a great way to relax, with lots of silly jokes and the awesome vibes that it brings while rehearsing our setlist or just jamming. I really enjoy that.

6) Describe your usual day at the studio?
I show up, (sometimes even on time), annoy everyone by eating a smelly soup for breakfast, while going through the issues reported to me to see if I need to lower the number of bugs I need to fix, or if I can work on a longer task I started previously, and then proceed with the given task at hand.
In the meantime, I drink some coffee, eat some more food, drop some jokes, share some ridiculous bugs I find, or discuss what I played last night. It’s office life, like most people know it, just with an office full of gamers, which makes it very enjoyable for me.

7) What are you currently working on?
To be honest, right now it’s fixing bugs, tweaking and balancing, which sounds quite boring and truth-be-told, it is boring, but as our northern neighbors would say, nothing works well without a proper dose of polish. :blush:

8) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
Well, I managed to fill all chests, bags, pockets, baskets, graves and pretty much all containers you can open in the game with relevant items, which was a huge chore, but the point of satisfaction came after understanding the whole system and utilizing that for bigger tasks like setting up shops and tweaking the games economy. I’d say most of my work stays a bit in the background but also makes the whole game-world feel more consistent. One of the many small things I did that I enjoyed would be the funkier stuff - putting weird combinations of items around some secret places, or hiding treasures around the game-world, or just having fun with putting some spicy puns into the merchant-shouts they use to attract customers, so pay attention to what especially the vegetable and butcher merchants scream in the marketplace :wink:
Also, between me and the reader, there are some pretty lucrative, let’s say differently balanced dice hidden around the game, so look for every nook and cranny for those, you may end up getting filthy rich if you can find them…

9) What do you think it’s the most important part or thing in the game?
Immersion.

10) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
I am and always was a sucker for both immersive sim games and stealth games, so I’m quite proud of how Kingdom Come has elements of both - the game world reacts to you and it works quite well even without players input, so it’s good to see how every action a player does is reflected in how the NPCs react, which makes one get into the so-called flow, which is the ultimate goal of every game designer, I think. Kingdom Come has the unique combination of doing this both by mechanics and by the very personal story.

11) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
My first and very faint memory is from the late 80s, when I was a small kid and my neighbor’s grandson somehow got his hands on a NES. I saw him play and then I tried to play (in a very uncoordinated way) one of the early Mario games, some 3D Tetris clone, and possibly even Zelda, but it was so long ago. I may start remembering which specific games I played when I’m old enough to enter second childhood, I guess :blush:

12) What was your most touching video game moment?
Saddest was probably when Agro, the horse from Shadow of Colossus (spoiler alert here) died before the last colossus, especially since there are no other friendly living creatures in the world wehre one makes a connection with him. Agro was also a super helpful sidekick to defeat some very dangerous giants.
A touching or maybe most jaw-dropping moment was the end of Walking Dead Season 1, when in short time Lee gets to meet with the consequences of his previous actions that Clementine must deal with Lee. Also, the “would you kindly” moment from the first Bioshock was amazing, even though as a fan of Thief and System Shock, I was expecting some twist like that. I didn’t expect it to be so 4th wall breaking though, no one did.
I’m trying to remember the happiest moment, which is not easy with all the dark games that I play, so I’d say lots of the narrated points of Thomas Was Alone made me pretty happy. The ending of Journey was another.

13) Which videogame character or figure is the best?
Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3 … what a perfectly crazy psycho. Seriously, why don’t they make a prequel with Vaas as the main character? I’m looking at you, Ubisoft!

14) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Journey. I finished that game like 30 times or more but we all have ever-shining stars, so when the time is right, I always go back to Transport Tycoon Deluxe (or the open source version of it). From the more recent games (and I actually just peeked at my steam statistics) I go back to Left 4 Dead 2 a lot, because I enjoy co-op games with friends, oh, and also Castle Crashers, and I just realized I replayed the first Bioshock or the HD version of it more than 6 times by now, which means it took the place of the first Deus Ex - I’m just a fan of the whole objectivistic, antiutopian Rapture setting and pretty much all Ken Levine fictional worlds and the settings of the games.

15) Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?
When I started working at Warhorse, most of the more hilarious bugs were pretty much solved, but I had a good laugh when I saw a bug report back in my DayZ days stating, “the bull has eyes on his ass.” The attached screenshot proved the tester right with the eye balls somehow moving on the X-axis back to the behind of the bull model and peeking out of its ass cheeks. Worst video game experience? I try to avoid those, as I have no pleasure in playing bad games …however… I was a guest on a gaming radio show I HAD to play through the Wolfenstein New Colossus - the dialogues, story cut-scenes, and the whole script was pretty much an insult to anyone’s common sense. I mean, even if I tried really hard to use some sort of suspense of disbelief, it felt like quite a waste of manhours of otherwise a waste of a talented team for that story and characters, because the rest of the game was quite good.

16) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
The fourth Thief game. I was disappointed by how they “streamlined it” (yes, that’s sarcasm), how anticlimactic it was, and how they just got rid of so many good elements proven time-and-time again by other good games, such as Dishonored. At the very least, it led to Dishonored taking the throne, even though I’m not such a big fan of an overpowered player that’s just ploughing through enemies.

17) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
Drumming, then a good, loud-head-cleansing gig, successful hunt and good sleep, exactly in that order :wink:

18) Your favorite music playlist
I listen to psychedelic rock, post rock, shoegaze, triphop, nujazz, and all sorts of instrumental music with good gradation. I always prefer tracks with spot-on or complex drums.

19) Your favorite movie or book?
I like weird movies. In recent years I can recall: 7 psychopaths, Frank, Gentlemen Broncos, and Ah-ga-ssi (Handmaiden)
A book everyone should read: Virtues of Selfishness by Ayn Rand.

20) Your travel tip?
Don’t travel like a tourist or in groups, or not even as a couple. I travel alone with as little luggage as possible, meet new people, try new things, break your own boundaries, get yourself into some crazy situations, and don’t hold yourself back because it doesn’t really matter where you go, just GO. You’ll understand only after you try that.

21) What’s your guilty pleasure?
That’s unpublishable :smiley:

22) Do you have a Bucket List?
Only one thing on my bucket list: explore all the extremes you can and then enjoy the wide horizons.

23) What will be your famous last words?
It was worth it.

24) Is it possible to buy you with candy?
Depends on … well … what I consumed before :smiley:

25) How do you like living in the Czech Republic?
Well, I was born here, and I’ve lived here most of my life. After seeing lots of the world, I have to say it’s always worth returning to the small club music scene, the lively art scene in general, and for the relaxed vibes and safety in the city. I’d recommend it to everyone to at least pay a long enough visit.

26) What is your weakest trait?
Very little tolerance to hypocrisy.

27) Imagine you are a cake, what kind of cake are you and why?
I’m not a cake, I’m more like a Snickers bar - sweet with hard nuts and can make one happy anywhere :smiley:

28) Who is your favorite historic character?
I personally took lots of inspiration from Jan Amos Komensky, in how he described learning as playing.

29) Knights or Samurai?
This would be one of the cases where I really prefer an Asian take on things.

30) What is your favorite historic event?
Velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989 is my favourite historical event, because it dispelled illusions in local society and helped me have much enjoyable and generally better life.

31) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school?
I was that kid that always had problems with artificial authority, so I only really liked the subjects where the teacher assumed his authority in a natural way, without much screaming or punishing, so it always shifted depending on the teacher.
And in terms of history … well, I didn’t like it so much when I was younger because most of the historical books and syllabuses were just being rewritten and updated due to the regime change, just before I went to school (trust me it did confuse lots of kids at that time, especially those that didn’t pay much attention in class and then ended up memorizing lots of made up information from the old books about the Soviet Union and the eastern Block). But then during my university studies, the school rector, Petr Čornej, was the Czech historical expert on pre-Hussite and Hussite period. He had natural authority while entertaining everyone in the class with, weird small details he chose to teach us. He then asked about them during exams, so he earned lots of my respect, which turned out to be a very lucky thing, as apparently, he was helping Warhorse at the beginning as a historical advisor and he also helped me to get all the necessary knowledge of the day-to-day history of 15th century.

31) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
Stay tuned, there’s more stuff that suits the good-old Interplay logo line, “By gamers. For gamers,” coming from us.

Do you have more questions for our designer Martin Strnad? Please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
#156

Hello, Martin has seen your questions already and is working on their answers.


#157


Ondřej Stuchl is one of our testers, and as we are already in the production of all the disks for the physical version, he is working on the Day1 patch right now to fix as many bugs before the release as possible.
As for now, for the whole development of the game, we fixed 31387 Bugs so far, but of course, sometimes fixing one bug, brings up another one, and most of them are minor ones.
Do you have more questions for our tester Ondřej Stuchl? Please ask here.
:es: You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.

How did you hear about Warhorse?
A few years ago I quite often read Dan Vavra’s blogs where he wrote about Warhorse‘s beginnings and his opinions on game design. I considered them to be great articles and I really liked it. When Kingdom Come Deliverence appeared on Kickstarer I was a first day backer. At the time I did not think that I‘d be at this company 4 years later.

Describe your position. What is it about being a quality assurance?
It’s like a dream job. I just play the game all of the time and then tap some scripter’s shoulder saying “Hey, your NPC does some crazy sh*t, when it definitely shouldn’t. Repair it!”… but seriously, in reality, I have to do some not so fun stuff too. Like test some situations that happen once in every 50 tries and record the NPC’s actions for the scripters.

Did you ever worked on Videogames before?
I never worked on Videogames before. My previous jobs were webdesign, coding websites or graphics (mostly prints). Since I was 14 I have always been trying to make some small games in my free time. I used Game maker before and now I’m trying to learn hot to code with Unity.

Please describe your department:
I’m really enjoying working in our Quality Assurance team. We can endlessly offend each other, but at the end of the day everybody knows it’s only a joke, I think, but I can’t be sure in every case :smiley:
We’re also the first in office at breakfast with the AI/sound team, because ham is the first to disappear from table because everybody wants ham!

Describe your usual day at the studio?
I get in to the office mostly around 8 am. A few testers and of course Detective (Jan Rücker) will already be here, so we greet each other and then the ham competition starts (breakfast). Then I spend the whole day verifying fixed bugs, (if they really are fixed or if a scripter / programmer is just testing my attention to detail :D) or I find some new ones.

What are you currently working on?
We’re now in phase where we should be playing the game from the beginning to the end and try to find the latest bugs that show only in continuous playthroughs. But first I still need to verify or retest the older bugs. Right now I’m the tester on longest quest in the game, so it takes a quite a long time.

What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
That unique feeling you get when you are playing it. It’s really different in good way. As a tester I’m digging through bugs and not seeing the game all of the time, but then sometimes we’re playing it from the beginning and I’m like: “Holy sh*t, it’s actually really great and I love to play it!”

Which videogame character or figure is the best?
Sulik! He’s not very smart but the way in which he uses a hammer to break the enemy‘s heads is lovely.

Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
I usually pick the class that other people don’t play often. I don’t know why, I’m probably trying to play it differently than the ordinary playthrough.

Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Fallout and Fallout 2. It’s a masterpiece.

What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
Honestly almost every mmorpg in the last 10 years. Last time I played Guild Wars 2 and didn’t like it that much. Why all of these games are trying to be the same is a mystery for me.

How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I’m trying to be effective with my free time, so I‘m usually learning to code (c#) with Unity or playing on some musical instrument. I can play the piano, guitar and a little bit of drums. I also have a double bass at home, but it works more like a room filler than something that I actually use.
Besides that I really like to go running, but honestly, sometimes I just sit and watch dumb youtube videos or tv shows.

Your favorite music?
I mostly listen to hardcore, metalcore, progressive, djent music, but not in the office. When I am listening to this music I cannot concentrate on work. So in the office I usually play some soundtracks or some electronics, like drum’n bass. I also like playing in a melodic-hardcore band. We recently released a new single with a music video. You can watch it on youtube, just search “Uprise From The Ashes - Heartless Promise”. Please check it out! We need views! :smiley:

Sport is?
Football, I mean the football with a round ball. I really love it. I’m at almost every home match for my favourite club Sparta Prague. I also play for a small local team. Well, most of the time I’m injured so I’m not playing that much. I actually have a sprained ankle.

Is it possible to buy you with candy?
No, everything with sugar is pure evil! But still, walking past Tobi shop is sometimes really hard.

Knights or Samurai?
Knights! The knights in Kingdom Come especially.

If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
Thanks for your support. Please buy at least 3 copies of our game for everyone in your family!

Do you have more questions for our tester Ondřej Stuchl? Please ask here.


Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions
Weekly Torch - the barrel of questions