Digital Spy Interviews Josh Olin

villan4eva Aug 21, 2010

  1. villan4eva

    villan4eva Ultimate Ninja!
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    Another day, another interview. Josh Olin talks with Digital Spy about the Cold War, Multiplayer, patching and more.

    Does it ever end? Another interview with Treyarch community manager Josh Olin (a.k.a. JD_2020) was published a few days ago, this time on Digital Spy ».

    The interview, while not very surprising, speaks of more surprising multiplayer features, more multiplayer customization, possible glitches, a new way of patching, and the future of Treyarch and the Call of Duty series as a whole. Enjoy, and for those of you who don't like reading - there's a tl;dr at the bottom. ;-)
    The interview

    Josh first started talking about their decision to move from World War II games to the Cold War era. Infinity Ward were the first to move away from World War but Black Ops is Treyarch's first game that ventures outside of the traditional World War Call of Duty's.

    Digital Spy Interview 01

    It's not that they don't like working on World War II games, it's just there's so many more opportunities they could work with for the Cold War era in this Black Ops game. You know, we've been making WWII games for a long time and we're pretty good at it and we have a lot of fun with it, but any time we start a new project we want to start telling new stories and create gameplay that people haven't seen before in the Call Of Duty franchise. Back in World At War, our solution to that was to create the Pacific Theatre, but now Call Of Duty has done WWII, Call Of Duty has done modern, let's make a brand new genre, so that was important.

    He then talked briefly about Multiplayer and customization within the mode. He states that our theories and analyses regarding the teaser are pretty accurate and that create a class 2.0 will be very thorough. We're also in for a hell of a ride when the full Multiplayer reveal event arrives on September 1st.

    Digital Spy Interview 02

    You've seen the teaser for sure and you're probably picking it apart for clues and hints, and the point of the teaser was to create more questions than answers, we wanted you guys to wonder and theorise.

    I can tell you that a lot of your theories are pretty accurate, but I can also say that everything in that teaser is just the tip of the iceberg and there is so much more to multiplayer. I think people are honestly going to be really, really surprised when we unveil all of our multiplayer. I think they're going to go, 'Holy s**t, we didn't see that coming'.

    Pretty thorough. A lot of that lives in Create a Class, it's very much renovated and overhauled, but that's not it. There's other elements to it as well that I can't reveal quite yet. But it's a big part, and I don't know that to the first-person shooter gamer, they want to create their own online identity, they want to make the game their own, play it the way they want to play it. So we're going to be giving them the platform to do that.

    Plenty of games are full of glitches and hackers nowadays, Modern Warfare 2 is a clear victim. Therefore it's obvious that this is one of the communities key issues. They want a game that they can play without the hassle and frustrating of glitches and hacks plaguing online play. Can Treyarch solve this problem for Black Ops?

    Digital Spy Interview 03

    Absolutely. That's one of the advantages of [Black Ops]. They all started coming out after World At War's development, they also started coming out pretty much at the end of Modern Warfare's development cycle, which didn't leave that much time to put in preventative measures, they left them chasing their tails in terms of patching it. Black Ops we've had plenty of time. We know how all those hacks are done, and we have preventative measures built into Black Ops built around those. Of course, hackers are very smart, they'll find new ways to break the game I'm sure, and when they do we'll have security measures in place to enforce our policies, enforce our leaderboards, enforce our matchmaking and lobbies to keep those clean, so that shouldn't be an issue for Black Ops.

    We would all love it if developers could plan, develop and upload a patch instantly. Sadly, that's not the case. Patches must be approved by Microsoft and Sony before it can be available to download by gamers. Thankfully, certain stuff can be "hotfixed" and Josh details how exactly hotfixes work and how they can be used.

    Digital Spy Interview 04

    This is a really technical discussion that is actually pretty boring, but basically how these hacks work is that they change system level variables, that we didn't expect to be exposed because we expected the consoles to be these closed systems, and [on] our PC we have anti-cheat technology. On the consoles, that kind of came out left-field when they broke the signing authorities for Xbox. So we had to improvise. With those variables that they are exploiting, well those network variables are the things that we can hotfix. So whenever they would mess with one of those, we could just release a hotfix where we would replace the bad variables with the good ones, and everything's back to normal, so we can do stuff like that. But if you're going to do a big patch, like patching actual code and script, then that has to be done through a title update, and that takes longer.

    Treyarch have expressed their desire and commitment to the Call of Duty franchise. Their two-year development cycle and 250 developers working on just Black Ops is very good evidence of this.

    Digital Spy Interview 05

    That's what the last couple of games were, yeah. Two years is a pretty good development cycle, it's a long one. It's plenty of time to make a great game. Any longer than that it's pretty touch. A one-year cycle is way too short, it's not enough time to make a game, so two years is fine.

    Actually at the end of World At War's development, that year we shipped Quantum Of Solace and Spiderman: Web Of Shadows for that holiday season, and boy that was tough. We have 250 developers for a studio but they're split across three blockbuster titles. After that shipped, we refocused all our development efforts exclusively on a Call Of Duty unit. Right now, everyone's working exclusively on Black Ops. We have 250 developers, rather than working on three games, they're working on three components in one game, that's going to be in one box - campaign, multiplayer and co-op. We've had dedicated teams on those modes for day one, working in parallel, and it's the first time we've been able to do that at Treyarch.

    TL;DR

    And, as promised, a short summary of all noteworthy quotes:

    * Treyarch's primary focus for the storyline is to create "a rollercoaster ride", with a "a complex story but not so complex to the point where it's confusing".
    * The teaser was supposed to "create more questions than answers".
    * The features featured in the trailer are "just the tip of the iceberg".
    * A lot of customization is a part of the Create-a-Class 2.0, but that's not all.
    * On the subject of glitches and hacks: "We know how all those hacks are done, and we have preventative measures built into Black Ops built around those".
    * On the subject of patches: "We have this hotfixing technology where we can push out network updates, updates that live on the network side, which live on our servers that you guys can pull down. So a lot of things can be fixed and prevented there.". However, "If we're going to do a big patch, like patching actual code and script, then that has to be done through a title update, and that takes longer.".
    * Olin also confirms that Treyarch is now a Call of Duty-only studio, and that he has no idea what the remains of Infinity Ward » and Sledgehammer are up to.


    Thanks to hybrid46 » for bringing this to our attention and be sure to check out the interview in full on Digital Spy ».

    Sorry About The Wall-o-Text But The Last Bit Is Quite Humorous "On the subject of glitches and hacks: "We know how all those hacks are done, and we have preventative measures built into Black Ops built around those"."

    Lets See How Long It Lasts :p
     
  2. GamrInsanity

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    * On the subject of patches: "We have this hotfixing technology where we can push out network updates, updates that live on the network side, which live on our servers that you guys can pull down. So a lot of things can be fixed and prevented there.". However, "If we're going to do a big patch, like patching actual code and script, then that has to be done through a title update, and that takes longer.".


    Epic JTAG fun.... bring on the hacked files :p
     

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