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Subtitles from AoCWiki

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Game development

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a presentation about
game development in Norway

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about virtual worlds 
and how they are made

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Presented by 
Erling Ellingsen

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movie made by 
Ståle Olsen 
aka Ostekake

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International game development 
... in tiny Norway!

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Can you hear me now? 
Welcome everybody to this small lecture about game development.

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My name is Erling Ellingsen and I come from a company called Funcom, and Funcom is sort of a Willy Wonka's chocolate factory in Norway, where we make computer games. 

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We're about the only company in Norway that make videogames, so we're kind of special in that regard.

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For those of you who see I'm using powerpoint and thinking "oh no, powerpoint!", it's not only powerpoint in this presentation, I'll use some powerpoint then I'll show some videos and finally I'll play Age of Conan live here.

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But first, I'll talk some about Funcom, how we create games, the gaming industry in general etc.

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As I said, I come from Funcom. We're a company established in 1993, and with that we're Norway's oldest game developer.

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Coincidentally we're also about Norway's only game producer.

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There are some small companies with some 10-15 employees, but in Funcom we have over 200 employees in, now it's actually 30 different countries, so that slide is a bit wrong.

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Which kind of makes us like Norway's little Disney.

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Funcom is situated in Oslo mainly. We have headquarter in Oslo where around 200 people work. 
This is where basically all development of the game is done, but we also have offices in USA and China. 

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In China we have artists, and in USA we have testers etc, 
but basically the whole production is in Oslo. 

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We started to develop games for other people, so-called "developers for hire",
i.e. Disney came to us to develop Pochahontas.

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Around 2000 we started with Anarchy Online, our largest game so far. 

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A so-called "massive multiplayer online" game, like Age of Conan, the game we're developing now

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Now we're a large company, we're over 200 employees, use hundreds of million kroners (NOK) to develop games.

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We're not that well known in Norway, but there's actually around 200 people in Oslo creating computer games all day.

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At the moment we have two games in production. It's Age of Conan, the game I'll talk a lot about today and show some of to you. 

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And we have another online game called the secret world. It's at the moment a bit secret, hush hush, but it's an online game that's set in our own time in our own world.

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I'll talk some about the gaming industry. It has grown extremely lately, the last years, the gaming industry has be come a multi-multi-multi-billion business. 

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The numbers you see are are a bit outdated, videogames has actually grown. Now the videogame industry is around the same size as music, and it's growing to catch up with the movie industry in many ways.

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Only in norway there are over 500 000 PS2s consoles.

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Considering we have a bit over 4 million citizens, that's an extreme number. 

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And there are sold over two million games each year over the counter.

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Our largest problem in the gaming industry, is piracy. 

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It's somewhat unpopular for a game developer to talk about, but piracy is an extreme problem for the gaming industry. 

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Piracy hurts the sales, and the internet increases access for it. 

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This means that games cost around the same amount as a couple of year ago, but we don't sell any more, we almost sell less, and this gives us less money.

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The solution for us, and Funcom, and the gaming industry in general, is so-called paid subscription online games. MMOs, where you pay a subscription to play. 

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You need an account and you have to play on the internet, and this removes the problem of piracy, because you need to play on official servers. 

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This makes piracy impossible, and it gives us a possibility to use more money in production and produce better games.

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So, paid subscription online games, I expect that most of you here have heard about it before. 

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You pay ~100NOK each month, and log on to a server on the internet to play with other players around the globe. 

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So, it's a internet world with thousands of people running around together. 

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It's more than a game: it's a world, it's an alternate life,
and all the characters you see running around ingame are real people. 

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This is what's so exciting about these kinds of games, it's that everybody you meet ingame are real people, so the line between what's real and what's not is a bit blurry.

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Online games are becoming more and more popular, and lately you might have heared about a game called World of Warcraft. 

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A game that has over 9 million players, which is an extreme number - if you multiply it with 100 NOK a month you can imagine what values are at stake here. 

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There are of course many who want a piece of that cake.

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What's exciting about the MMO market is that a couple of years ago, we though the top was reached.

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You had a game called EverQuest, released in 1999 which reached it's peak in ca 2001, with 500 000 gamers. 

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It was a cultural phenomenon, and everybody said the top had been reached and there wouldn't be anymore gamers than this. 

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Some years later, we have World of Warcraft with 9 million gamers. 
So this is a market that's just growing and growing. 

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Some say the future is only online and we'll all be plugged into machines etc, 
and, it's possible, if you see the recent development, more and more of the games are played online.

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There are many games like this on the market, for example Anarchy Online, which is our own game.

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Everquest, WoW, Lineage, all these games that have millions of gamers, together. 
So the question you have to ask is; is there room for another online game? 

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We believe so, and that's why we're creating Age of Conan. 

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Making an online game is extremely difficult, and I'll tell you about how we actually develop online games. 

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Making an online game is totally different from making a SinglePlayer game. 

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A SP game is supposed to be entertaining for maybe 20 hours, maybe 30, 
while an online game it has to be entertaining for hundreds or thousands of hours.

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Taking a look at our own numbers, our own players in Anarcy Online, we can see that some invest years of their life to play these games, so you can imagine how difficult it is to create these games. 

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In normal computer games you follow a certain path, and you only see what you're supposed to see. 
But when creating an online game, you have to create a world not just a game. 

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You have to take into consideration that you don't know what the people playing the game actually will do. 

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They have many different tools they can use to create their own experience in the game, but we don't actually know what they're going to do. 

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Suddenly they build a building where you weren't supposed to build a building, or they run somewhere they weren't supposed to. 
All these things make online games so much harder to make. 

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The technical part, for those who are interested in that. 
You need servers that people connect to that has to handle these thousands of players at the same time, you need support, billing, all these somewhat boring things to talk about here, but it's an extremely large project.

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As an example, when Blizzard made WoW (Blizzard is the company that created WoW), they had 200 people that worked on it. 

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Now, some years later they have around 2000 people that work at Blizzard, to keep this game running. 
Helping people that encounter problems etc.

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Now we proceed to development, but before I start talking about how we actually develop the game, 
I want to show you a small video, that'll give you an overview on how this actually works. 

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We've created what you can call a "behind the scenes video", which is similar to when you take a Hollywood movie and see their behind the scenes parts.
We create this for Age of Conan.

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There you got to see a bit how we do things at Funcom, how we work. 
As you probably understand, this is sort of like going behind the scenes of a large Hollywood studio.

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There are 200 people who sit around there who draw and create all these amazing stories etc, so I think I can say with confidence that it's Norways most exciting workplace.

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Now, a bit on how we develop games. 

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To develop games is a huge process, a couple of years ago it wasn't that huge. 
In the 80s and early 90s, four people could sit in a basement and create a game that sold a lot. 

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Now, creating a game is about the same complexity as creating a large Hollywood movie.
You need millions of NOK. As an example Age of Conan cost around 200 million NOK to develop.

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200 people over 4 years, so you can imagine what a project this is. 

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It's like making The Lion King or Finding Nemo any of these huge movies, and creating a game is even more advanced.

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What you need when you develop a game, if you're developing a so-called AAA title, i.e. a game that's going to sell a lot, featured on TV etc, you need a lot of money. 

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You need technology. You can develop this yourself. 
The technology, or the codebase, is the foundation of the game. 

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You have to program a codebase to tie the game together. 
You need tens of programmers that develop this for years, to ensure that it's as good and bug-free as possible.

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You can go out and by a 3D-engine, take it into the studio and work with that, or you can create your own from scratch.

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Funcom has created it's own technology called DreamWorld. 

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It's a so-called game engine, an engine that handles everything the game has to do, 
such as display graphics, talk to people ingame, play sounds the relation between mouse and keyboard, etc etc. 

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It's an extremely complex project. You need a lot of people. 
In Funcom there works over 200 people, we're present in over 30 countries. 

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It's hard to find enough excellent people in Norway, so if anyone here feel you have the call, you should by all means contact us later. 

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So we bring in people from all parts of the world, Australia, India, USA, everywhere.

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What you really need when creating a game is a good idea. 
You might think you can pour a lot of money into it and create something that looks cool, but that doesen't cut it. 

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You need a very, very good idea. 

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As an example, GTA, a game many of you probably have heard about, a game where you drive around and shoot at people, it's not very nice, but it's a good concept, and it's sold millions of copies.

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Super Mario, extremely simple, you jump over different obstacles, gather money etc. 
Extremely simple to produce, but when you actually sit down to play it it's extremely fun

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An even more simple example is Tetris. 
Extremely simple, but if you sit down to play it you'll be thinking this is a load of fun.

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So, you need a good idea, and what we do with Age of Conan is basing it on a lisence. 

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We contacted those who own the Conan lisence and said we wanted to create an online game, we agreed upon the details,

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and we sat down to create a game that's fully based on stories about Conan, books, 
written by Robert E. Howard, a somewhat unknown author that lived in the 30s.

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Development, like I said, costs a lot of money, here you can see a rough development curve, based on the Hitman games, which is an extremely popular lisence as well. 

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In the beginning of 2000, when the first game came out, it cost around 40 million NOK to develop the game.. 

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Now, it's closer to 200 million. 

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This is because the demands increase all the time. People want something new, something that looks better and is more fun. 

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And while the technology moves forward, to create better graphics, better sound etc, we need more people, and the development cost increase.

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Why does development costs increase? Well, graphics should look hyper-realistic today. 
Playing Tetris, it's extremely simple, just some blocks falling down. 

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Today, this isn't enough. 
You can't release these kind of games unless you have an extremely good idea and get very very lucky. 

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Here you see a character created for Dreamfall. 
This character takes a very long time to create, weeks, while you have Pacman which is simply a yellow dot.

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The worlds should be big, bigger, for example when you play Super Mario you walk on a straight line, jump up and down, doing exactly what the developers want you to do. 

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If you play GTA, you have a whole city to explore. 
Every little detail of that city is open for you to explore in a 3D environment. 

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Creating worlds like this takes a long long time. 
It's much simpler to make a line you have to follow than to actually make a world. 

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It's something completely different.

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Physics needs to be very realistic. 
Physics is for example if you throw a ball, the ball needs to look like it falls in a realistic way. 

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In older games this wasn't a problem, because the graphics were so bad that you didn't notice if the physics were wrong. 

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Today you have games like Half-life 2, where if you shoot at a wall, bits of the wall needs to be blown out and fall realistically about, 
and should you bump into a table, the table should fall over in a realistic way. 

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Again, this takes an extreme amount of time for our programmers, to program these things into the game.

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Animations, voices etc, very important. 
Animations today need to be completely realistic. 
At Funcom we have a so-called motion-capture studio. 

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That means we take real actors, martial artists and so on into that studio, we attach various balls to them, 
sensors, and they need to stand in a room and perform different moves,

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and then there are cameras that capture these moves and we interpret it into a computer, 
put it onto models like this guy here, and they move around realistically. 

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Again, very time-consuming to make. 

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Voices too, it's no longer sufficient with text down in a corner, 
you actually need actors who talk and make dialogues and really immerse themselves in the acting.

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The games needs to be released on different platforms. 
Releasing it on only PC isn't enough, and developing for different platforms take time.

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And music, when they created music for Commander Keen, and old game, the way they made the music was simply pressing keys on a keyboard,

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While when creating music for Age of Conan, we take in whole choirs, 
and we a composer that creates hours of orchestra music, it doesn't even compare.

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Also, marketing, not that fun to listen to, but extremely important today.
It's a cynical business the whole gaming industry.

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If you pick up a magazine and see a game on the cover, it probably cost the developers a lot of money, might millions of NOK to get on that cover, and you need to do this to sell games. 

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So, it's a huge business, that can abolutely be compared to movies etc.

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And you also might want to tie famous actors to your game, etc, and you want a good licence like Conan.

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As I said, Super Mario, like you see on the small picture up there, very very simple graphics. 
Super Mario 8-bit had very simple graphics, consisting of very few elements. 

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They sat down when they made the game and thought: 
We need a plumber, we need some pipes, some clouds, and some brown bricks to jump on, and they sat down and made that.

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Age of Conan looks almost photo-realistic, not quite, but very realistic, and we must make all these different elements. 

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We need to make the gloves that a person wears, the clouds, the mountains, absolutely everything.

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In Pac-man, there was a yellow dude that went around eating white dots, very easy.

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In Age of Conan you're living a virtual life, you're entering a world and doing loads of stuff that even developers don't know that you're going to do. 

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So just to program these games is an incredible undertaking.

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The sound, in Commander Keen, you had small beeps,
while in Age of Conan we have choir, musicians, thousands of real sounds.

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The production process, when we're actually creating a game.
It starts out with a good idea, as mentioned.

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When we started Age of Conan, before we started to make Age of Conan, we though, "we're going to make a cool online game".

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We knew we were going to create an online game, that's where the money is.

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What do we do? We travel around the world and try to find different things we could make a game of.

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Should use this lisence, that lisence, should we make a game where you can explore the pyramids or whatever...

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We found the Conan lisence and thought, "yes, we'll do this, this is awesome"

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We sat down and had different brainstorming meetings, and this is one of the coolest meetings you can have.

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There's a bunch of adults sitting around a table for, probably hundreds of hours, talking about what they want to see in the game.

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Somebody says "I want to be able to decapitate people", so ok, we write that down "We have to be able to decapitate people in the game".

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Somebody want's to be able to make clothes etc, so we write that down, 
and we end up with hundreds, maybe thousands of pages of text saying "this we want to see in the game"

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Simply dreaming, fantasy meetings where we sit around and plan like this.

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We create a "design bible", a thick book, which contains everything we want to see in the game.

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Then there's planning, that's the more boring part of production.
We assign roles to everybody, we start with teams consisting of 20-30 people.

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For example The Secret World, the game we're making, has around 30-40 employees working on it now. 

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While in Conan, we have around 200. 
We start out very simple, and while we're getting closer to release we bring in more people.

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The way we do this in Funcom is that we have something called "strike teams", meaning we create different teams;

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One team is in charge of the sound in the game, one for combat, one for quests,
everybody sit around and do different things, and somebody looks over them checking that they do this right.

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Production is ofcourse the fun part, and it takes years.
You have programmers, graphics people and those that create the content.

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Then you also have a lot of reality checks.

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We sit looking through the design bible, 
"ok, you should be able to make hats, we don't have time to make that, so we'll cut it out"

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So people sit cutting out stuff, 
"we don't have time for this, or this"

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Then we have to tie the pieces together, because the production consists of programmers sitting at their own computer working on their little version of the game

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At intervalls, every team sends in their version of the game to a sort of center in the middle where everything is merged together, and we're hoping that this will work

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then, nothing works, and it goes back to the programmers who have to test it, bug test it, etc.

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This is a part of the process while we're making the game, and also after we're done with it, it's the testing

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We actually have hundreds, no, we don't have hundreds at all, we have tens of people who play the game all day long, 
checking that it works, doing the same stuff over and over again

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when they get a new version of the game, they have to play the same stuff over again to see that it still works

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so, while it might sound like the dream job to just sit around playing games all day, it's not really as fun as it sounds like

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So, who do you need?
This might be interesting for those of you who want to get into the gaming business.

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You need designers, programmers, graphics people, sound techs, content-builders and marketing.

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Going through, designers are the ones that come up with everything.

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They come up with the ideas and get them down on paper.
You have people writing down, "that sword looks cool" then another one agrees that it looks cool and they decide to have it in the game.

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They describe every last detail.
We have a city in Age of Conan called Tortage

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So they start out with, "what should this city look like?", they start scetching what it should look like.

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What kind of people should live there, what colours should the roof tops have, what sounds should the ground outside make, 
all these extreme details have to be written down

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They write down a set of rules, how the game should work.
Ok, you should be able to fight against other people, but how should the combat system be, how should it feel, what should you be able, and not able to do?

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There are thousands of pages with rules like these.

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There are formulas, excel-sheets and all these small things, but they're very important to the production.

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Then you have the graphic artists, they're a large part of the production team.
They're the ones that draw everything, models everything, etc.

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They take the designers demands, ok, they thought this sword looks cool.
They take the scetch, look at it and give it to a 3D-modeller who create a 3D model of the sword. This can take several days.

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Then they give it to a texturing artist, who makes the textures for the model, how it's supposed to look like.
If it should be steel, wood or whatever.

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Then they send it to an animator, who create the animation for say, if the sword should brake in two, the animator creates this.

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So you have concept, modellers, texturers and animators who are the graphics artists.

00:35:01,500 --> 00:35:05,000
They use different programs such as 3DMax and Photoshop.

00:35:05,000 --> 00:35:15,500
They always have to be aware of the technical limitations, because you can't just make all these amazing things, and just hope it will work in the game

00:35:15,500 --> 00:35:21,000
There are actually many limitations, you have something called polygons.

00:35:21,000 --> 00:35:34,000
It's a sort of advanced concept, but if you look at the model of Conan that we have here, he looks very real.
This is because we use many polygons to design this character.

00:35:34,000 --> 00:35:49,000
Points on his body that define the details, and this sounds pretty advanced, but it's simply that the more polygons you can use, the more details you can have on the character.

00:35:49,000 --> 00:36:01,000
So the graphic artists have something called a "polygon budget", they're allowed to use, say 500 polygons for this sword, 
so they have to create the sword the best they can within those limitations

00:36:01,000 --> 00:36:13,000
Then we have motion-capture, which I've talked about, 
and we have people that make animations by hand instead of using a motion-capture studio and create the animations there

00:36:13,000 --> 00:36:17,500
To show you an example, this is a Stygian galley that we use in Age of Conan

00:36:17,500 --> 00:36:23,000
This is a ship, when the game starts you'll be on this galley.

00:36:23,000 --> 00:36:29,000
So, this is an important part of the game, even though you might only spend minutes there, it's an important part of the game.

00:36:29,000 --> 00:36:39,000
Then you have the concept artist who draw this.. He sit around dreaming a bit, "it should look like this, and this", etc.

00:36:39,000 --> 00:36:48,000
Then he takes it to the art director, who says "no, it can't look like this. The sails have to look a bit different", etc.

00:36:48,000 --> 00:36:53,500
Then, what's created in that process is given to the 3D modellers, who create this model.

00:36:53,500 --> 00:37:02,000
You can see all these squares, which can basically be described as polygons, more or less.

00:37:02,000 --> 00:37:09,000
So, the more of these squares you use, this sounds very abstract, but the more detailed it gets.

00:37:09,000 --> 00:37:16,000
Then you have the 3D modeller who uses a program on his computer to make this, before he sends it to the texturing artist.

00:37:16,000 --> 00:37:34,000
Then the texturing artist lays textures on top of the model.
He might go to the Viking Ship museum in Oslo, take pictures of how the wood on a ship looks, and place this on the model.

00:37:34,000 --> 00:37:40,000
It's an extreme process, and creating that ship might take, say a week.

00:37:40,000 --> 00:37:53,000
To show you how this works, how our graphic artists work, I have another video, that shows how things go from being a concept, to being in the game.

00:48:41,000 --> 00:48:44,000
There you got a small view of how the graphic artists work.

00:48:44,000 --> 00:48:56,000
As you heard, every last ... "nvidiahhhhh" ... detail in the game has to be created.

00:48:56,000 --> 00:49:03,000
If you want a rock on the ground somewhere, you have to create that rock, if you want a ship you have to create that ship, etc.

00:49:03,000 --> 00:49:17,000
and in Age of Conan there are hundreds of thousands of different graphical objects and all goes into a database, into the game, so it's almost hard to keep track.

00:49:17,000 --> 00:49:22,500
Then, we continue to some of the other roles in the project.

00:49:22,500 --> 00:49:30,000
The programmers are very important, although maybe not that visible as the graphical team

00:49:30,000 --> 00:49:35,000
The programmers are those who get all parts of the game to work.

00:49:35,000 --> 00:49:54,000
I'll try not to get to technical, but they develop the code, the game code, that makes all the parts of the game to work together, 
such as enabling you to write on the keyboard and see the mousepointer etc.

00:49:54,000 --> 00:50:03,000
We have engine coders, game play coders and the so-called tools coders, and then these are divided up into even smaller parts.

00:50:03,000 --> 00:50:12,000
We have the engine coders, who code the graphics engine. These are people who are great at math, pyhsics etc.

00:50:12,000 --> 00:50:15,500
gathered from around the world because they're extremely good at what they do.

00:50:15,500 --> 00:50:31,000
So they have to create hundreds of thousands of lines of code, as you can see here as an example, which enables the graphics to be shown.

00:50:31,000 --> 00:50:47,000
We had a journalist at Funcom the other day, who asked one of the engine coders "what do you really do?", 
and the engine coder answered "I basically just makes nice pictures show on the screen 60 times per second"

00:50:47,000 --> 00:50:50,000
and that's basically basically what the coders do.

00:50:50,000 --> 00:51:03,000
Each picture should be "painted" 60 times per second, up til 60FPS to make things look smooth etc.

00:51:03,000 --> 00:51:14,000
Such as the light effects in the game, if a torch burns and you see the light effects on the wall etc, this the coders have programmed, so you can get all these nice visual effects.

00:51:14,000 --> 00:51:19,500
And they create hundreds of thousands of lines of code to get this to work.

00:51:19,500 --> 00:51:24,000
The game play coders do something that's a bit easier to explain

00:51:24,000 --> 00:51:33,000
they define everything that can happen in the game. I.e if you press a button, your character should take his sword out of his scabbard.

00:51:33,000 --> 00:51:44,000
This they have to program, with different conditions etc, such as that you need to have a sword to take it out of the scabbard.

00:51:44,000 --> 00:51:47,500
So they have to program all these different conditions.

00:51:47,500 --> 00:51:53,500
You can imagine that, when we're creating a virtual world, it's like sitting there, if you've seen The Matrix

00:51:53,500 --> 00:52:07,000
if you'd push a button to see all the code in the game, it would look like the matrix, 
loads of code that runs down the screen to show what happenes in the background when you're playing.

00:52:07,000 --> 00:52:17,500
So, the game play coders program things such as quests, and if you click on a door, the door should open, they have to program this option etc.

00:52:17,500 --> 00:52:22,500
Then you have the tools coders, who make the different tools in the game.

00:52:22,500 --> 00:52:30,500
As an example when we create the world we use an editor called Genesis, a sort of editor to create the world, putting out trees etc.

00:52:30,500 --> 00:52:35,000
The tool coders create, and maintain these tools.

00:52:35,000 --> 00:52:38,800
Age of Conan consists of hundreds of thousands of lines of code

00:52:38,800 --> 00:52:51,000
I believe it was Windows, the OS, that consists of one million or a couple of million lines of code, and I think Age of Conan is, if not as much, very very high.

00:52:51,000 --> 00:53:04,000
We use programs such as Visual Studio. We code in a programming language called C++, and if this sounds Greek to you, that's totally understandable because these are very specialised lines of work. 

00:53:04,000 --> 00:53:18,000
If you're looking for work at Funcom, or other gaming companies, usually it's enough that you're very good at what you do, i.e. if we need a graphics person, if you're good at drawing we don't care what school you went to.

00:53:18,000 --> 00:53:29,000
Programmers are often very different, these are people with a long education, computer engineers, phycisists, mathematicians etc, a lot more specialized.

00:53:31,000 --> 00:53:37,000
You have the content builders, which I believe if I was to work in development, that would be the most fun.

00:53:37,000 --> 00:53:44,000
These are the ones that actually build the world, take the different graphical elements and tie everything together, so that you can walk through it etc.

00:53:44,000 --> 00:53:49,000
A typical content builder is a so-called "world builder", those who actually create the world.

00:53:49,000 --> 00:54:11,000
They start out with a huge flat area, which can represent maybe 4x4 km, and create mountains, using editors they pull up the ground, 
playing God, create rivers, define that there should be snow at the top of that mountain.

00:54:11,000 --> 00:54:16,000
They place trees and roads in the game, build different buildings etc.

00:54:16,000 --> 00:54:26,000
It's an extremely elaborate process, because we have to create a game people can explore for hundreds of hours, so it can't just be a straight line.

00:54:26,000 --> 00:54:37,000
If you play Super Mario, the developers know exactly where you'll go, while in Age of Conan we create a world that you can access whenever you want, and you can go to any part of the world. 

00:54:37,000 --> 00:54:55,000
They work closely with the graphics team. Say they're going to create a bar, they can go to the graphics team and say I need a chair etc, and the content builder place this into the world.

00:54:55,000 --> 00:54:58,000
The content builders are also so much more.

00:54:58,000 --> 00:55:10,500
They create the quests you can do ingame, i.e. if a girl needs help, you have to save hear from a dragon, and then you'll get loads of gold and fame.

00:55:10,500 --> 00:55:25,000
Then the content builders have to define what's going to happen when this plays out, i.e. if the dragon dies, what should happen, how hard should the dragon be, how much gold should you get.

00:55:25,000 --> 00:55:27,000
So they use Excel-sheets etc.

00:55:27,000 --> 00:55:37,000
Then we use a program called Genesis, as I said.
This is what Genesis looks like, although it might not tell you much. 

00:55:37,000 --> 00:55:54,000
What you see here is a dungeon in the game, where you can go in and explore, meet monsters, find stuff and pick it up, wear etc. 

00:55:54,000 --> 00:56:11,000
The world builder started with the flat area you see below it, and he started setting things together, digging tunnels, putting textures on the walls and defining where the lighting should be etc.

00:56:11,000 --> 00:56:18,000
Now we've moved the camera inside the dungeon, we're still in Genesis, the editor we use.

00:56:18,000 --> 00:56:24,000
You can see different stuff here that you wont see ingame, but you can see the arrows on the ground.

00:56:24,000 --> 00:56:31,000
This is defined by the content builder and is used for where the creatures should walk.

00:56:31,000 --> 00:56:47,000
All the creatures you see in game might look like they're wandering aimlessly around, but when we create the game we actually define exactly where they're supposed to walk, and this you can see here, how this looks.

00:56:47,000 --> 00:56:53,000
This is so that we can avoid them walking into the wall or areas they're not supposed to be in, etc. 

00:56:53,000 --> 00:57:02,000
We can do this so that you'll only meet creatures that are of a certain level when you first enter, and they become harder the further inside the dungeon you travel.

00:57:02,000 --> 00:57:11,000
This is an extremely fun line of work, you use your creativity to create worlds, you build your own worlds.

00:57:11,000 --> 00:57:22,000
This is an image from ingame, this is how it looks like when you load this ingame and start walking around with your character, like I'll show you later.

00:57:22,000 --> 00:57:30,500
Now you can't see all these things you see inside the editor, but how the game is really supposed to look like.

00:57:30,500 --> 00:57:37,000
To develop this dungeon can take, say a month.

00:57:37,000 --> 00:57:46,000
During this time, the world builder will work with the graphical team, say needing a rock, a barrel to be placed like at the bottom of that cave etc.

00:57:47,500 --> 00:57:53,000
Sound technician is very very fun work. 
These are the ones that create all the sounds you hear ingame.

00:57:53,000 --> 00:58:09,000
They have to think about all the different sounds you're going to need in the game, from the sound of walking on sand, to walking on tree, to taking the sword out the scabbard.

00:58:09,000 --> 00:58:13,000
If you're drinking, it should play a certain sound.

00:58:13,000 --> 00:58:24,000
You have different versions of the "same sound", i.e. if you have a sword that hits a person it would sound totally different that it would be if you're hitting a barrel or a wall.

00:58:24,000 --> 00:58:31,500
And they have to create all these different sounds, if the sword is made of wood, or steel, what sounds do you have?

00:58:31,500 --> 00:58:36,000
They're creating a sound library that consists of thousands and thousands of sounds.

00:58:36,000 --> 00:58:44,000
While walking around in the game, you'll be hearing different sounds all the time, even though you might not be aware of it, but that creates the feeling.

00:58:44,000 --> 00:58:54,000
Say, if you're walking in the forest you'll hear maybe ten different birds in the background, when I'm showing you the game afterwards you'll see this.

00:58:51,000 --> 00:59:06,000
All of this we do to make it seem more realistic when walking through the woods, if you hear the same bird constantly, the illusion will be broken and you'll become more aware that "this is just a game".

00:59:06,000 --> 00:59:10,000
We have to create the music. 

00:59:10,000 --> 00:59:27,000
We have our own musician that do this all the time, and he uses his own studio, an orchestra, we use a choir as you can see here, and he creates music that we put into the game.

00:59:30,000 --> 00:59:35,000
The sounds can be created in very funny ways.

00:59:35,000 --> 00:59:46,000
Such as the sound of two swords hitting together in the game is really the sound of two spatula that are hit together in front of a microphone.

00:59:46,000 --> 00:59:50,000
This might not sound to exciting, but in the game it really is.

00:59:50,000 --> 00:59:56,000
They take this sound and modify it on their computer so that it sounds a bit different.

00:59:56,000 --> 01:00:01,000
Say you have a huge monster in the game, a spider that's going to eat you.

01:00:01,000 --> 01:00:16,000
That sound is really just a 20 year old guy in Oslo screaming into the microphone, then altering it on the computer, so that it sounds like a real monster from the abyss.

01:00:16,000 --> 01:00:19,000
In Age of Conan we also have actors.

01:00:19,000 --> 01:00:27,000
We have over 100 different actors that lend their voices to different characters you talk to.

01:00:27,000 --> 01:00:39,000
This is a lot of work, because you have to make it believable. If you see a movie, you very quickly understand if an actor is bad, and this is true for games as well.

01:00:39,000 --> 01:00:46,000
It should feel real, and often when games are reviewed in the media, the journalist can say "this isn't believable" and "this is believable" etc.

01:00:46,000 --> 01:00:53,000
Funcom, the games Funcom have made, have gotten extremely good reviews on this, because of the sound.

01:00:50,000 --> 01:00:57,000
So this is extremely important to make it immersive.

01:00:57,000 --> 01:01:03,000
Again, I have a video that shows how the sound technicians actually work.

01:05:35,000 --> 01:05:39,000
That was a small view of how they work.

01:05:39,000 --> 01:05:48,500
As you can see, this is an extremely large production, there are so many people who do so much work over all these years.

01:05:48,500 --> 01:05:54,000
So it's almost as going into an animation studio in Hollywood.

01:05:54,000 --> 01:06:00,000
To continue, or, I can say a bit more about the sound.

01:06:00,000 --> 01:06:04,000
As you heard, they talked a lot about a sound engine.

01:06:04,000 --> 01:06:17,000
This is a sort of enigne that's running in the background all the time that chooses what sounds to play.

01:06:17,000 --> 01:06:40,000
Say you're fighting a demon. If you see an actor fighting against a demon in a movie, you can hear the same sound over and over, because this is only shown 1-2 times, while in a game you might fight the same demon hundreds of times, so you need different sounds.

01:06:40,000 --> 01:06:47,000
This is done by the sound engine, it selects what sounds to play.

01:06:47,000 --> 01:07:04,000
Also, the music, if you're fighting against a rat you might hear some low, simple background music, while if you're fighting a dragon, you'll hear much more music with many instruments sounding a lot more epic.

01:07:04,000 --> 01:07:07,000
So, sound is very important in game development.

01:07:07,000 --> 01:07:13,000
Last, but not least, the testers are extremely important.

01:07:13,000 --> 01:07:18,000
We have tens of testers that sit at Funcom and play the game all the time.

01:07:18,000 --> 01:07:39,000
They're told what to play, say they're supposed to play a certain class or in a certain place in the game, and each time they find a bug they use a tool where they record what they were doing when the bug occoured, maybe take a screenshot of the bug, and send it to the programmers.

01:07:39,000 --> 01:07:49,000
The programmers fix the bug, and send it back to the testers who retests the same thing again, and it gets a green light, or a red light and has to be sent back.

01:07:49,000 --> 01:08:04,000
This happenes thousands of times, everything is tested and streched in every direction, so that when we release the game, the players wont stuff that wasn't supposed to be there.

01:08:04,000 --> 01:08:26,000
They approve versions of the game, so that when a version is approved we know this version works, so that when the programmers makes new additions we put this into this version, and new stuff has to be fixed etc, it's a continuing dynamical process.

01:08:28,000 --> 01:08:36,000
A part of releasing a game is marketing, it might not be that much fun bit it's very important.

01:08:36,000 --> 01:08:41,000
For example, how do you keep the media interested in the game for many years.

01:08:41,000 --> 01:08:58,000
We announced the development of Age of Conan in 2003, I think... 
No wait, we started development in 2003 and about a year later we announced it. 

01:08:58,000 --> 01:09:10,000
Now we have to keep people interested all the time, we have to release some information continually, so that people sitting at home are thinking "wow, I really have to play this!"

01:09:10,000 --> 01:09:24,000
To do this we work with the media, we get visitors from the media to Funcom, and they can play a part of the game, then they go back and write about it and we can be placed on the front page on some magazine etc.

01:09:24,000 --> 01:09:33,000
Getting the game on the front page is important, as you can see Age of Conan on the front page of "Game Republic" in Italy, as you can see here.

01:09:33,000 --> 01:09:44,000
When you have tens of thousands of copies of the magazine around in stores, the game gets attention.

01:09:44,000 --> 01:09:56,000
The problem is that there might only be 10-12 issues for each magazine each year, and there are hundreds of games released constantly, so we have to fight with tooth and claw to get on the front pages.

01:09:56,000 --> 01:10:03,000
To do this, we have to give them something interesting, or we have to develop a game that's extremely interesting that the magazine just has to write about.

01:10:03,000 --> 01:10:05,000
Marketing also has a lot to do with the community.

01:10:05,000 --> 01:10:10,000
We're building a community at the moment

01:10:10,000 --> 01:10:19,500
Right now there are thousands of people on our forums, talking about the game, what they're going to do when the game is released "oh, i'm going to build this and that keep"

01:10:19,500 --> 01:10:27,000
Critiquing, this we don't like, we want you to change how the game works

01:10:27,000 --> 01:10:36,500
This community, I believe consists of tens of thousans of people who're at these forums, discussing the game long before it's released.

01:10:36,500 --> 01:10:38,500
That's very important.

01:10:39,000 --> 01:10:44,000
The lisence is very important when you're developing a game.

01:10:44,000 --> 01:10:47,000
We've chosen the Conan lisence for this game

01:10:47,000 --> 01:10:57,000
Today, more and more developers choose to use a lisence when they develop games, because they get some extra attention when basing the game on a lisence.

01:10:57,000 --> 01:11:08,000
It's not accidental that when a new Hollywood movie is released, a game is released at the same time, i.e. Superman, so that each of the products bring more attention to eachother.

01:11:10,000 --> 01:11:15,000
A good lisence can sell the game for you, even though the game isn't very good.

01:11:15,000 --> 01:11:24,000
It's a shame, but that's the way it is, because they're rushing the game to release it at the same time as the movie, which often results in somewhat bad games.

01:11:24,000 --> 01:11:37,000
For Conan we don't have this problem, there's no certain time it has to be released so we've taken the time we need, so we're hoping to avoid that particular pitfall.

01:11:38,000 --> 01:11:42,000
As I said, now I'm going to talk a bit more about Age of Conan, because I'm going to show you the game.

01:11:42,000 --> 01:11:57,000
Age of Conan is based on the Conan lisence, which is mainly based on books written in the 30s by an author called Robert E. Howard who killed himself when he was 30 and his mother died. 

01:11:57,000 --> 01:12:02,000
He was a very interesting person who wrote these amazing stories.

01:12:02,000 --> 01:12:17,000
Many view Conan only as these comics you can buy at the local store, but in reality it's much older than that, it came before Lord of the Rings, it's extremely well written.

01:12:17,000 --> 01:12:26,000
Stephen King said "(Howard was the Thomas Wolfe of fantasy, and most of his) Conan tales seem to almost fall over themselves in their need to get out", it's fantastic.

01:12:26,000 --> 01:12:37,000
And this is good for us as well, we have books, comics and even movies created about Conan, and all of this brings more attention to Age of Conan.

01:12:37,000 --> 01:12:55,000
If you were to create an online game about life in Tromsø, this might not be too known around the world, while when we say we're creating a game about Conan we have millions of Conan fans around the world who say "oh, this is interesting, i'll follow this"

01:12:57,000 --> 01:13:03,000
Before I show you the game I can say a bit about what Age of Conan is.

01:13:03,000 --> 01:13:07,000
Age of Conan is one of the most anticipated online games in development now.

01:13:07,000 --> 01:13:12,000
It will be released March next year, and we've already won many international prizes.

01:13:12,000 --> 01:13:24,000
It's often viewed as one of the 2-3 largest games in development right now, so it's a lot of pressure.

01:13:27,000 --> 01:13:48,000
Before I start playing, I'll show you a small video we've had made, by a studio in Hollywood actually, a so-called CG-video, created to make you want to play the game. Enjoy!

01:13:48,000 --> 01:14:00,000
Subtitles from AoCWiki

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