Welcome to 2004 SWG fans!fficeffice" />
Its a brand new year for Star Wars Galaxies and our community. In the beginning of this journey, the SWG team and the SWG community came together to create the largest, most interactive effort between a game development team and the members of it’s supportive virtual community - - developers and fans alike intermingled for years from the game’s fledgling stage, through beta testing and retail launch. With that massive and exciting launch, there were many goals to meet and overcome. The first of those goals for the development team was focused on getting Player Cities, Mounts and Vehicles into the game environment while the community acclimated to new forums, new members and many new discussion topics.
As the New Year begins and our community approaches its 4th anniversary, the time has come to develop things to a new level. As such, the development team has produced a “next stage” of growth and the developers and community alike can now turn it’s collective consciousness towards 2004 and the next stage of community and game evolutions.
So what does that mean, really?
In a nutshell, SWG is a new type of MMO on a new type of game platform and to be as successful as possible as this whole effort evolves, we want and need to improve the quality of communication, both to create a game environment that is not only rich in spontaneous discovery and surprise, but also meets and grows to exceed player expectations.
To do this, the SWG team is working to involve the quality of community involvement and the best way to do that is to improve the quality of the communication. Going forward, the official web site and the forums are going to change a little bit to accommodate our communication goals. To accomplish this goal, we will be changing the web site and the forums to channel information through four stages of game development and community involvement. For each of these stages, we will announce a start and finish date for accepting comments and also label the discussion topics in a way so everyone understands how and when their contributions will be considered by the development team.
The process begins when we announce that a game feature (or feature sub-set) is planning to be added or changed and it will progress through the following path:
In Concept: “In Concept” is the first stage of game development and it can be considered “blue sky” thinking and brainstorming. The idea is to just consider all the possibilities and angles of the announced topic. During the dates listed in the post, the development team and the correspondents will keep track of all the great ideas and suggestions, catalogue them and send them to the game designers in a neat package so that they might be properly considered for the game.
In Development: The next stage is “In Development”. When a game development topic reaches this stage, it means the design document is being produced and will be posted for community comment. At this point, the community can see what was included, what has been designed and it will be open for discussion. The difference at this stage is that this is the “polish” stage of design. The “blue sky” is gone and now the focus is to tweak, fill in gaps, uncover problems. No sweeping changes will be made unless something critical has come up and jeopardizes the integrity of the design. Any “big” changes made to design ideas will have to have very strong community support to be considered.
In Test: When the game topic reaches this final stage, the game developers will announce the status of game feature, including any changes that had to be made during its creation to accommodate technical details. Additionally, we will post a basic “test plan” in the Test Center forums so everyone can help test what they have been involved in and to help find the issues that were unforeseen.
You can expect more changes in the web site to make this a more seamless and integrated process. Starting things off, we have begun by updating our “In Development” portion of the web site with the first of our upcoming changes.
All in all, we’re very proud of this path and this direction to grow our community to a new level of interaction. As part of our continued efforts, here is what is on deck for the first part of 2004:
- First on the list is to change the community forums to accommodate the new Community Development Process and improve communication channels. As part of the new process, we will post the “proposed changes” in the Development forum. It will be considered “in development” because the brainstorming is over. The forums are in place and only the fine-tuning will come into consideration.
- Next on the list is an “In Concept” feature we know everyone is anxious to be a part of and that is the development of the Galactic Civil War. This will be a “big ticket” item so expect there to be many parts to this discussion and if you think you have some good ideas to contribute, hang on to them and post them when we make our forum changes and we can properly review everyone’s contributions.
- Starting the New Year off with some fun and excitement will come one of those surprises I mentioned earlier. Denizens of Star Wars Galaxies can look forward to an Imperial Crackdown! That’s right! No more Rebels wandering around in broad daylight without being harassed by Imperial Stormtroopers! No more free reign of the wild countrysides, just wandering around doing as they please! The Empire has issued new orders to its armed forces and now those not loyal to the Empire will be hunted down and brought to justice!
The Imperial Crackdown begins the first stages of development for the PvE portions of the Galactic Civil War and we will have additional “in Concept”, “In Development” and “In Test” discussions to support these and other new changes.
- Following the GCW feature changes, we will have discussions in both “In Concept” and “In Development” for an exciting new Droid Invasion! With the changes to the Creature Handler profession, players need help in combat and that help should be droids! Combat functionality will highlight the upcoming droid changes and there are many other issues of Droid Development to be discussed.
Our first Galactic Civil War changes will be “In-Test” early in January. We will make more announcements on all of the changes and post some more details next week. We are anxious to get your feedback on our new Stormtrooper spawning systems, Imperial interactions with factioned players and especially the first in our city redesign plan, Bestine!
These are just some of the exciting new changes coming to the Galaxy and what everyone can look forward to. Thanks again for being part of the Star Wars Galaxies Community and we wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.
May the Force Be With You.