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Glaucon

Funcom
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Glaucon last won the day on May 6 2015

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About Glaucon

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  1. Sanctuary AMA: Glaucon

    Thanks for having me guys. So many great questions I couldn't even get to all of them before I was out of time! You'll just have to save them up for next time.
  2. Integrating Mods

    I generally try not to roll GUI mods into the game. I do look at what is out there, and if they are valuable features, I try to replicate them in a way that makes sense for the way the game works. It may seem like there's not really a difference there, but there is. The biggest part of that being that I have access to the C++ side of the GUI code, as well as access to our server and database code if I really need it. This enables me to do things in ways that GUI modders simply can't. Because of this, I can do things "the right way" instead of creating workarounds and shortcuts that make it work, but in unstable or low performance ways. The other part of this is that our default GUI has to be accessible to the largest portion of the playerbase possible. Even our most popular GUI mods are only used by a small percentage of players, so they can go all out and focus in on very specific use cases that might not fit the needs of the 90% of players who aren't using the mod. So anything we add, we have to consider ways to have it not interfere or detract from the players who just don't need or want it there. This is really the best space for GUI modding, as it allows players to get UI features that are super specialized to fit their exact needs, without interfering with players who don't need or want those features, or spending lots of development time on replicating feature sets in a dozen different ways for a dozen different types of player. EDIT: For more on this, I made a response to a similar question here: https://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?79359-Why-don-t-Mods-get-Incorporated&p=1752348&viewfull=1#post1752348
  3. Do you have a beard?

    It depends on how busy my schedule has been since I last shaved. They say a programmer's talent is relative to the magnificence of their beard. Our lead programmer's is truly a sight to behold.
  4. GUI Mods & Lag?

    Player made mods do certainly cause lag. Flash is not a very optimized language from a performance standpoint. It would be fairly simple to make a mod that just deliberately caused your machine to lag horribly. I don't think anyone would do that of course, but it's still easy to trip into a pitfall of making a mod that unintentionally causes a good bit of lag. This is still true even for people who aren't using the mod, to an extent. Our GUI modding system basically gives you full access to anything that can be done with the GUI. Several of these things are then sent to the server, and in turn sent to other players. I shouldn't really get into ways that you can do this, since that's sort of borderline asking for someone to do it, but there are definitely mods out there that are already potentially creating issues with lag for other players purely do to the way they spam the server with requests. Because everyone uses the same server, anything you do that sends information to that server will slow down other people's requests to the same server.
  5. Ghosts of characters past

    Fun fact, a new character is actually created every time you enter character creation. They are then used as a doll for you to play dress-up with as you define their lives and what paths they will take. They look out at you with eyes foll of hope and wonder. They even get sent up to the server for just a taste of what their future will hold. When you back out of character creation they get discarded from the server, rejected to live out cold lonesome lives, their remnants packed into dark folders on your local disc. So... basically, no, they don't exist on our servers as far as I know.
  6. If you could add one thing ..

    What do you mean? Like wave a magic wand and new features magically appear? Isn't that how everyone does it? In seriousness, I would probably have to go with a new Chat GUI. Our current one is kind of a sticking point. It's lacking features that a lot of other MMOs have, it's not terribly visually appealing, and a lot of the options are really quirky. If I could just wave a magic wand and have one thing be suddenly and magically updated, that would be it. With a whole suite of channel color selections, subscriptions options, window configurations, the works.
  7. Quest markers on map

    Interface Options/General/Show active mission waypoints will remove the quest markers from your map.
  8. Favourite Improvment.

    Hands down my favorite improvement has been the custom GUI layout and scaling stuff. That was something I decided to do basically on my own as a side project, since it seemed like a lot of the complaints about the GUI that I was getting could be boiled down to the GUI not being laid out in the same way as it was in whatever previous MMO the person had played. It was also something that a lot of GUI mods had done, so there was clearly a demand for it. It took a good bit of effort, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out. As a bonus, it's really easy to add all the hooks for new HUD elements to be movable, so it's not an expensive process going forward.
  9. I would create a more robust system for updating values on the Flash side of the GUI from the C++ side of the GUI. A lot of our issues tend to stem from disconnects between the C++ client code getting updated, and the Flash side catching those updates and updating the displays. C++ is also a faster language, so doing more of the manipulation of data on the C++ side, only using Flash to display it, would increase performance a decent amount.
  10. Currencies

    Cash has actually always existed in TSW. It just sorts of sits there and doesn't get used for anything. I suppose it's still on the table though. You know what, since you're not using it, why don't you just go ahead and put all your cash on the table too. Then look right over there and...
  11. Compared to other games ..

    Programming in Actionscript is super easy. If you're curious about it, go try out making a mod! The drawbacks of using Scaleform and Actionscript for the GUI are that it's really easy to get really bad performance doing anything in Flash. I also find the flash IDE to be a bit frustrating at times, often I can be sitting around looking for the answer to a problem in code for an hour before I realize there's some checkbox that shouldn't be checked over on the art side of things. A lot of the other GUI programming I've done has mostly been a combination of C++ for code and XML for layout, with a smattering of Lua for scripting. It's a lot harder to do the visual layouts of things using those systems, and the code tends to be more complex just because the languages are much more powerful and complex themselves. Using the Flash/Scaleform generally makes creating GUIs quicker and easier, but at the risk of running into more issues down the road with performance or unexpected behavior.
  12. Are you annoyed?

    I don't get annoyed at people who claim that the default UI sucks. Everyone tends to have really strong opinions on the way that UIs should work and behave, and a lot of the time a UI that works really well for one individual would be absolutely terrible for another individual. I spent a lot of time when I first came on as the GUI programmer for Funcom, and I actually still spend a lot of time, sending messages to folks who say 'the UI sucks.' Part of my job is to identify what people don't like about it, and how to fix those things. What I do get slightly annoyed with, is people who refuse to expand on that. The vast majority of people I've asked about it either don't respond at all, or respond by saying that it should be obvious why it sucks. I really want to help folks out and make things better, so it's a little frustrating when people refuse to tell me what they do or don't like when I reach out to them personally. What I learned from the people who did answer me though, was that a lot of the issues that people had with the default UI could be fixed by giving them more customization options. So that is what I've been trying to do a lot more of, and now I'm seeing a lot fewer of those complaints. Now, clearly, bugs don't fall under this umbrella. Bugs are always bad obviously.
  13. Nanos. We really need more NCU. The chat system from TSW is an amalgamation of code put together from Anarchy Online and Age of Conan and then sort of smooshed into TSW with some upgrades added in. It's actually a bit less arcane than it used to be, since I did some changes to the way that the chat system behaves in order to make it work more in line with the customizable hud stuff that we added. The chat is basically an IRC server that connects to the Community server that sends updates to the C++ code in your game client. Those updates then get parsed and pushed out to the appropriate places using the old GUI system. The difficulty comes in that a lot of the old GUI system doesn't work in TSW, due to engine upgrades or changes in the way that things had to be done in order to accommodate the new Scaleform GUI system. Really, if we wanted to do anything dramatic with the chat system for TSW, we would need to create a new chat system from scratch in Scaleform, which would take a lot of time and effort to do. If we did that though, you can be sure that we would be incorporating much of that feedback into the new implementation.
  14. Gearmanager use command upgrade

    I believe that this is a limitation on the way that our chat system interprets parameters that are passed into it. Now, this is more on the gamecode side than the GUI side, but I have looked in the general area that this code resides in, and I think that the problem is likely to be that it interprets a space character as the end of the parameter. I know there are some similar issues when you're loading certain GUI elements from the chat interface and trying to pass them load parameters. Since I would really need to do some extra digging to figure out the answer to this, I'll give you another one. I'm interested in creating a better flow for people to rapidly switch between a few builds that they frequently use. I personally have a couple dozen builds, and scrolling through the gear manager interface to find the one I want can sometimes get a bit confusing. That's something that I would like to fix when I get the time, in one way or another.
  15. What is it like...

    I think Tomium is a pretty cool guy. Eh manages community and doesn't afraid of anything. Getting serious for a second though, our community managers are pretty cool. You always think of community managers as a sort of funnel that goes from the developers to the community, but it does flow the other way as well. Tomium will often send us neat things you guys are doing or saying throughout the day, and its always really cool and inspiring to see what people are doing. The #IAMTSW contest has been really great for this. Tomium's ego aside, keep doing cool stuff, we love seeing it!
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