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Community Question: Mines and Friendly Fire

All of our games thus far have featured a variety of explosives you can sneakily plant in the world, ranging from mines and satchel charges to outlandish contraptions like the Third Eye Camera in Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars. Generally, you'd stick them down somewhere (preferably hidden from direct view) and wait for an unlucky enemy to meet their fate. What has varied over the years is the matter of friendly fire: Do these devices inflict their fiery pain on anyone nearby, or just enemies? That's what we're looking to find out in this week's community question:

Should plantable explosives such as mines have friendly fire by default, or not?

Please cast your vote in this week's poll and, if you have particular reasons for or against, share them in your replies. We look forward to reading your views!

Dive Inside Brink's SMART System at GDC 2012

Gameplay Programmer Arne-Olav Hallingstad will be giving a talk about Brink's SMART system at next month's GDC in San Francisco. Titled 'Vault, Slide, Mantle: Building Brink's SMART System', Arne's session will examine the technical side of the game's iconic freedom of movement system, covering everything from early prototype to a detailed breakdown of the final implementation. This talk is going to be a great way to find out How Stuff Works and is a must-see/hear for anyone interested in bringing more fluid player movement to their games. For those unable to attend, we plan to make Arne's slide available here on the site after the event.

Community Question: V-Says and Automated Communication

Communication has been an important part of all of our games so far and we've used different approaches over the years. This has included everything from manual v-says (pre-recorded voice clips you can play via keyboard shortcuts) tp fully automated systems that let your team know what you're up to based on your actions and your character's status. With these systems having such a fundamental effect on the way you play the game, and what kind of information is passed along and when, we'd like to know the following from you this week:

Which in-game communication/v-say system is your favourite?

Is full control absolutely vital to you? Can you not be bothered to use voice messages at all in the midst of battle? Do you prefer partial automation?

Cast your vote in our latest poll and let us know the reasons behind your choice in the comments.

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Marc 'Marco' Fascia


Just in time for the weekend, we've got a brand-new staff interview starring none other than our freshly minted Technical Director Marc 'Marco' Fascia. As keen readers of press releases might recall, Marco previously worked at Ninja Theory, where he was lead gameplay programmer on Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. He now leads our ferocious squadron of programmers and guides Splash Damage in all its technology efforts and is an all-around fun guy.

To find out every single thing there is to know about Marc, including his daily duties at the studio, how he ended up in the industry, and his tips for aspiring programmers, jog over to the full interview on his profile page.

Production Testers Wanted!

Do you like playing games and breaking them in the process? Splash Damage is currently looking to hire additional Production Testers to join us in our offices near London. This a contract position and a great way to break into the industry.

What does a Production Tester do, you ask? Well, among other things:

  • Running daily test cases
  • Reporting, managing and tracking bugs via our bug tracking system
  • Performing regression testing and verifying fixes
  • Writing detailed test documentation
  • Ensuring tests are completed in accordance with project deadlines
  • Providing feedback and suggestions for improvements to the game
  • Ensuring that all bugs are recorded in a clear and consistent format, keeping with the standard required of our testers

If this tickles you in all the right places, check out the full Production Tester job description and follow the instructions for sending in your resume and cover letter. We look forward to hearing from you!

Announcing Fireteam Ltd, Splash Damage's New Online Services Partner


I'm really pleased to announce that Splash Damage will be partnering with Fireteam Ltd, a new company specialising in online services for video games. This partnership will give us greater control over one of the most critical components of our games; their online operation.

What this means for you as a player is that you'll experience a better and richer online experience - one that includes more beta tests for our games through Fireteam's service, with real-time gameplay analysis tools that allow us to improve balance and performance requirements before launch. In addition you'll get built-in social features, including friends, invites, lobbies, and matchmaking. It will all run on a robust and scalable infrastructure distributed around the world, with reliability and performance as its principle measure of success. We also have a few special surprises planned, but more on those at a later date. Ultimately we'll be much better placed to rapidly respond to your preferences and priorities as online gamers.

I invested in Fireteam as an independent company because it's headed by several former SDers with a huge amount of experience in, and dedication to, online services. The team includes its CEO Steve Gaffney, its CTO Arnout van Meer, and its Director of Operations Ben Hopkinson. For more information about the newly formed company, check out the official Fireteam website. You can also follow them on Twitter (@fireteamltd) for musings straight out the Fireteam headquarters.

We're absolutely thrilled to be working with Fireteam on our next wave of games and can't wait to be able to tell you more about them.

Paul Wedgwood (@PaulWedgwood)
CEO
Splash Damage Ltd

Community Question: Incapacitation and You


Community, each of our games has featured an incapacitation mechanic that kicks in once you take a certain amount of damage. While incapacitated, you can either wait for a friendly Medic to revive you, or join the next respawn wave. What we're interested in today, though, is the subtle differences each Splash Damage game has brought to incapacitation:

  • In Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, once you were incapacitated and chose to join the respawn queue, there was no going back from that choice (even if, say, a Medic suddenly appeared nearby).
  • Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars allowed you to freely switch back and forth between waiting for a Medic and joining the next respawn wave.
  • Finally, Brink added another choice to that mix, allowing you to pick the exact moment of being revived once a Medic had dispensed a revive syringe to you.

With all of these variations on the incapacitation theme, we put it to you, Community:

Which incapacitation mechanic reigns supreme?

Please cast your vote in our latest poll. Furthermore, if there's anything you particularly liked or disliked about the various incarnations of incapacitation throughout the years, or if there's an entirely different mechanic you'd like to see, let us know in the comments.

Ninja Theory's Lead Gameplay Programmer Appointed SD Technical Director


We're excited to announce that Mark Fascia, Lead Gameplay Programmer on the critically acclaimed Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, is now Splash Damage's Technical Director. Marc will be overseeing our programming teams and guide all of our technology efforts.

This is what Splash Damage's CEO Paul Wedgwood had to say about Marc's appointment:

We're hugely impressed by Marc's combination of insane technical ability and project management skills. In particular its Marc's obsession with fun gameplay and his personable nature that makes him the perfect person to lead our army of awesome programmers.

For more information, including Marc's background in the industry and a bonus quote, check out the official press release.

Finally, if you missed our other big staffing announcement last week, FIFA's ex-development director Griff Jenkins has taken up the role of Director of Production here at Splash Damage. Full details on that over here.

FIFA's Ex-Development Director Appointed Splash Damage's Director of Production


Hot on the heels of Paul's blog post about what you can expect from us this year, we've got our first announcement to make today. We're delighted to announce that Griff Jenkins has been appointed Splash Damage's Director of Production and will oversee all of our development efforts. Griff previously spent seven years at Electronic Arts where he led big franchises like FIFA and Need for Speed and managed multiple development teams simultaneously.

Here's what our fearless CEO Paul Wedgwood had to say about Griff's appointment:

Following FIFA's incredible success, Griff's new role at Splash Damage will be to improve our games by improving the way we make them. Under Griff's leadership we'll elevate production to a discipline on par with art, design, and programming. These are areas that we've always constantly strived to improve, and production should be no different.

For more details about this appointment and Griff, check out the full press release.

Unofficial Fix for Empty Wolf: ET Server List

Those of you playing Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory will have noticed that the internet server list currently comes up empty. This is due to an issue with the master server that is being investigated by the fine folks over at id. In the meantime, forum member Paul has put together a back-up master server that you can use to get your multiplayer fix for now.

This workaround is not officially supported and any modifications you make to the game are "at your own risk".

With the disclaimer out of the way, you can find Paul's workaround in this forum thread. Steps are offered for both server admins (to make their servers show up in the new list) and players (to retrieve the new list within their game). On a side note, Paul's solution is set up in such a way that it'll automatically be overridden the instant any official master server comes online.

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