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  Click here to go to the first Rift Team post in this thread.   Thread: The Making of a Soul - Interview with Chris "Keyens" Meyer

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    Community Manager Yaviey's Avatar
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    Default The Making of a Soul - Interview with Chris "Keyens" Meyer



    Meet Chris “Keyens” Meyer, System Designer for RIFT. He works tirelessly on callings and souls. Let’s learn more about his craft!

    Chris “Keyens” Meyer is a video game industry veteran with six years of experience in MMORPGs. He loves skateboarding, great food, and of course, playing games. We sat down and asked him a few questions about what goes into the making of souls in RIFT. Enjoy!

    Q. What is your inspiration for creating new souls?
    A. It depends on each soul, but I devour media so that I have a constant stream of different depictions of various power sets. Once we decide we are doing new souls one of my first steps is finding anything I can that might contain even a small amount of inspiration for their development.

    Q. Do you ever over-analyze classes in other games?
    A. All the time. I actually quite enjoy playing every new class or character that comes out in a game and looking at them as part of the design of their game as a whole. It’s incredibly informative, and I believe it is critical to finding more and more interesting design spaces to work in.

    Q. How do you get into the mind set of creating souls for RIFT?
    A. I generally start by getting a rough image of what kind of power fantasies we haven’t served for a particular calling, or otherwise investigating interesting twists on archetypes that appear in various media.



    Q. What is the process you use to map out the creation of a new soul?
    A. Once I have a clear mental image of what the soul feels like, I open a blank text pad and begin jotting down ideas and mechanics. This phase is mostly stream of consciousness, and generally leaves me with walls of text in varying states of design cohesion and completeness. Once this is complete, I break down the various ideas until something starts to resonate with the image I have in my head of the new soul. Once I find that mechanic or ability or whatever text it was that caused that resonance, I begin to flesh out additional ideas until a soul starts to form. Once that happens, the process gets a little more formal by constructing a document that shows the actual root and talent tree, with levels at which everything can be obtained. This document is then used for the approval process. After that, assembly of the soul begins.

    Q. How do you work with internal and player feedback?
    A. Internal and player feedback are handled slightly differently, although this is largely owing to the methods in which they can be given and where in the timeline they go. Early on many souls have crazy ideas or gameplay and we don’t know if they will work. Once a prototype is assembled and generally ready (this might mean it only has some abilities, or doesn’t have a talent tree yet, etc.) it goes out for internal playtesting. This is the period where gameplay feel and how well it serves the power fantasy are tested and iterated on. This generally leads to adding or removing abilities, or otherwise tearing out and rebuilding large chunks of functionality to iterate and update it. Player feedback, on the other hand, is much more focused on balance and the intricacies of the rotation. This is the period where the bulk of tuning happens and small focused changes are made to update the rotation and gameplay to remove unintended friction or stress that don’t add to the soul.



    Q. How do you consider balance when creating new souls?
    A. During the initial design process, certain balance considerations are made, although it is largely about getting the mental image of the soul translated into the game. The main concerns during the design process are accessibility of certain abilities low in the tree (and the risk of runaway hybrids), as well as making sure no single ability seems to be designed to subvert some of the core combat rules in the game. This is a more nebulous thought that tends to come up more frequently during iterative testing, rather than during the design process. Once we are out of that initial time however, balance comes to the forefront. One of the largest difficulties of this phase of design is making sure that the soul is accessible to most players and provides satisfying gameplay, while still having some level of depth that lets experts show mastery by extracting effectiveness out of more complex interactions.

    Q. What goes into revamping a soul?
    A. As it turns out, soul revamps generally follow the same process as a new soul. Often we won’t use everything that comes out of such a redesign, but we try to keep the process similar.

    We hope you’ve gained some insights with an insider’s look at how souls are made in RIFT and enjoyed this peek inside Keyens’ brain. Share your thoughts in this thread. We’ll continue to bring stories and interviews from our team, the community, and more. Have ideas you’d like to hear more about? Let us know in this thread!

  2. #2
    Rift Chaser
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    When will the long overdue primalist fix/nerf coming? (whatever you want to call it)
    I`m sure it`s the cash cow for Trion, but for every Primalist soul-pack someone uninstall Rift.

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    Plane Touched bollesti's Avatar
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    WHYYYYYY NIXIA?????WHYYYYYYY?????ITS SO FUNNY AND PRICELESS BUT DUDE......WHYYYYY???????

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    Rift Chaser Rivkah's Avatar
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    It's nice to see these kind of Q and A sessions, but I would have liked to see a little more in the way of specifics regarding specific classes and souls. Maybe the intent behind primalist being the best in every role currently, or plans to buff other classes so that they can compete with rogues and primalists, or what niche Keyens thinks BM fills.

    Some specifics and plans for the future would be nice!

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    Plane Walker
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    Quote Originally Posted by bollesti View Post
    WHYYYYYY NIXIA?????WHYYYYYYY?????ITS SO FUNNY AND PRICELESS BUT DUDE......WHYYYYY???????
    Um... what?
    !

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    Shadowlander
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rivkah View Post
    It's nice to see these kind of Q and A sessions, but I would have liked to see a little more in the way of specifics regarding specific classes and souls. Maybe the intent behind primalist being the best in every role currently, or plans to buff other classes so that they can compete with rogues and primalists, or what niche Keyens thinks BM fills.

    Some specifics and plans for the future would be nice!
    Yes, if would be nice to hear what the devs plan for the future because it doesn't make sense to play anything other than Rogue or Primalist.
    be realistic let's try the impossible

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    Rift Chaser Rivkah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ora pro nobis View Post
    Yes, if would be nice to hear what the devs plan for the future because it doesn't make sense to play anything other than Rogue or Primalist.
    Right, at this point there's really no purpose to anything but rogues or primalists. Mages only get a niche because they have archon, which is better than BM by a large margin in terms of support utility and flexibility, but aside from that everything non-dex is pointless.

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    Soulwalker
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    Wtb some love for bm pls and ty

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    Rift Master Dizbo's Avatar
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    Default Interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Yaviey View Post

    Meet Chris “Keyens” Meyer, System Designer for RIFT. He works tirelessly on callings and souls. Let’s learn more about his craft!
    ---
    Dear Yaivey,

    I like what you are doing here: your introduction is fresh, the format is entertaining and shows your muscle to get access to Keyen's brainand translate into a well written article.
    -------------
    One small question what is the definition of "great food" when he has time for a sit down meal, and what is his "power food" for crunch time?


    Looking very forward to future interviews and articles,
    Diz


    Last edited by Dizbo; 08-23-2017 at 04:02 PM.

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    Plane Touched Rifleman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaviey View Post
    Q.How do you consider balance when creating new souls?

    A. During the initial design process, certain balance considerations are made, although it is largely about getting the mental image of the soul translated into the game.
    lol
    Last edited by Rifleman; 08-23-2017 at 10:11 PM.

  11. #11
    Soulwalker
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    Default Primalist Souls vs. Original Souls

    As one of the original beta testers for Rift, I find it difficult to see much difference between the all new "primalist souls" and the "old souls".
    It is a given that the primalist and latest soul creations (thanks Chris) are assumed to be the very latest and greatest.
    I simply do not see much difference - can anyone give a comparison of the good/bad/ugly between the "Old Souls" and the "Primalist Souls"?

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